1. Fixing someone’s shirt tag.
We’ve all seen it. We’ve all been on one side or the other of it. A complete stranger’s tag is sticking out of the back of their shirt and we feel the need to “rescue” them from possible further social humiliation by just ever so discreetly tucking it back in without saying a word. And what is that stranger expected to respond? “Thank you.” Thank you. Thank you for touching me without my permission. Thank you for deciding that your societal expectations extend to me and outweigh my right to personal space.
What to do instead: UH, HOW ABOUT JUST SAY, “EXCUSE ME, YOUR TAG IS STICKING OUT OF YOUR SHIRT?” or nothing. How about nothing? Who cares? It’s a tag.
2. Adjusting someone’s bra strap.
(Let’s just get this one out of the way.) NO. NO NO NO. NO. If you’re not standing in a dressing room with a friend who asks, “Is my bra showing, can you fix it?” then you probably shouldn’t be touching somebody’s bra. Especially a stranger. Trust me, it gives girls flashbacks to middle school when douchebags went around snapping their bras through their shirts and then laughing about it with their friends. Humiliation is a hard memory to shake.
What to do instead: AGAIN. JUST ASK. BE POLITE. BE DISCREET. THEN, LET IT GO.
3. Adjusting someone’s hair.
If you’re like me, then you probably do this twenty times a day. So it’s easy to forget that not everyone is going to appreciate this motherly, doting gesture. But if you’re in a crowd and you see someone with a little cowlick or a mild case of bed head, that is NOT your problem. If you walk up to that person — whether it be an adult, an elderly person or a child — and start fixing their hair, you may as well just say, “You’re not living up to my standards and I have the right to pretty much violate you to fix it.”
What to do instead: UH, HOW ABOUT NOT WORRY ABOUT IT. IT’S JUST HAIR.
4. Holding a door open for someone.
Okay, here’s the thing. I don’t care what your gender is. If you’re at a door with a person near you who also looks like they need to go through that same door, and you’re first to that door, open the damn door and at least push it open behind you. Forget chivalry, forget politeness, how about just being aware of your surroundings and reacting to them in an optimal fashion? You’re not the center of the world. People need to get through doors whether they’ve got a penis, a vagina, or a monkey hanging from their pelvis. It’s called “Team Work” and humans could be doing a lot more of it.
What to do instead: Choose to only walk through entranceways that have revolving doors or no doors at all, because you are clearly a very well adjusted person.
5. Gendered bathrooms.
The LBGT community has come under fire lately because some dumbass closeted, publicly homophobic politician wants to make it illegal for someone to use a bathroom unless it corresponds with their sex at birth. My personal favorite reasoning for this is: They might look at me in the bathroom. Allow me to let you in on a secret. People look at you in the bathroom who are straight and born with the same sex as you. If they have eyes and can see, they look. They’ve been looking since 3rd grade in the locker room. Curiosity is human. People are going to look at you whether you’re young, old, thin, thick, tan, or wrinkled. Maybe, if we spent less effort demonizing the human form and more time celebrating it, nobody would sneak a quick peak through the door in a bathroom stall, or care if someone else did. However, as far as the LBGT community goes, THEY AREN’T LOOKING AT YOU. THEY JUST HAVE TO PEE.
What to do instead: If you’re worried about who might be using the same public restroom as you, try this. Hold it. Go home. Use the bathroom there. Then Shut the fuck up.