An open letter to the two gentlemen that offered to help me today (and the endless carbon copies of those gentlemen who exist in my past and in my future):
Hi. It’s me. The very tiny female human that you offered to help today.
I drive an old car- it’s cute, right? I love it, but at forty years old, it’s got a few aches and pains. I’m cool with it. We love each other. It stopped cold in the middle of the street today – inconvenient, I know. Luckily, I know how to handle these types of things. When you pulled up next to me with a smile and asked if I needed help, I smiled warmly at you and said with all the cheer in the world that no, thank you, I was just fine and waiting for some cars to pass.
Imagine my surprise when you ran up to my open car window, obstructing the traffic that I needed to pass me in order to roll safely back into a parking space, and started touching things and attempting to push my car forward with your shoulder!
First, I said no. I don’t care if you think you know better – I asked you not to.
Second, the car was on a hill pointing up – it is not macho, only bad common sense, to try to push it up the hill when it can easily roll down.
Third, I am perfectly capable of pushing my car myself if that had made any sense at all. But it was really not helpful that you, in an already stressful situation, underestimated my strength and my intelligence simultaneously.
Fourth, I said no. I don’t care if you think you know better – I asked you not to.
Imagine my compounded surprise when, after I turned to you with wide eyes and said, “I appreciate it, but I said no twice already – I’ve got this.” you scowled at me, and called me a bitch. Am I? Am I really a bitch? For what, being alarmed when you invaded my personal space? For asking you to stop touching me and step away? I’m being facetious, of course. I know that you called me a bitch because I wouldn’t fake damsel in distress and let you be the hero. I know it hurts, baby.
If I had a dollar for every time someone called me a derogatory name because I refused help, I’d probably be able to fix up my damn car. I’m not saying don’t be polite – I love when people offer to help. Manners are great! If you offer something I need, I’m not going to be too proud to accept. Seriously, ask the four people it took to push start my car last week. But if I tell you I’m okay, I’m okay. You have to walk away. It doesn’t matter why. Only that I asked you kindly.
So, thank you for your sweet offer – you should have just left it there. And thanks in advance to all the people who offer to help me push start my car because sometimes I will need it. Honk if you love autonomy.