Side-By-Side In Sisterhood

Now that I’ve regained my masculinity, I guess I can start making sweeping sexist generalizations again.

What is it about women that make them constitutionally incapable of walking Indian-Native American file, even for the briefest of moments? I have a number of running partners, many of whom are female — The Queen, her friends, some coworkers here at the office — and one thing that’s always struck me is that while men will quickly assemble into a line when the trail narrows, women will often steadfastly refuse to deviate from their side-by-side formation, even if it means slowing to a crawl, hunching their shoulders forward, and moving within picometers of their companions to navigate a bottleneck.

And it’s not just on the run: in the mall, on the sidewalk, on the escalator… Is it because women are so egalitarian that no one wishes to assume the lead? Or are they so independent that they refuse to literally “fall in line”? For whatever reason, the behavior seems endemic to the whole sex. I’ve noticed this phenomenon so often that I’ve started to wonder if it is, in fact, the origin of the phrase “walking abreast.”

52 thoughts on “Side-By-Side In Sisterhood

  1. Two comments:

    1) I often end up having to go across a pedestrian bridge towards the ferry terminal here in our fair city, and invariably I end up crossing at a time when one of these ferries has recently arrived, spewing forth a flood of passengers. I am always amazed at how this flood of people refuse to take up just one person less in width to allow me to walk against the flow. I often aim right at a person coming my way, hugging my side of the walkway, in a small game of pedestrian chicken. They do move, but I am always amazed at how close we do get.

    2) I have also been amazed at my own wife’s inability to make adjustments to aproaching pedestrian traffic. If we are walking side by side, and someone is coming the other way, I will begin to either slow down or speed up so that we end up “single file” to avoid collision. She will often stay right with me, making my adjustment futile. In the words of an above comment, WTF?

  2. I think I have solved the female problem of walking in single file (note, I am a midwesterner, and a proud wisconsinite). When I slide in behind my girlfriend, I place my hands on her hips, and get a great view at the same time. no complaints from her, no complaints from me.

    The toilet seat… now that is a different ball game all together. I think I will just leave that one alone.

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