It took me a long time to figure out that being a girl comes with certain powers (and by a “long time” I mean approximately 24.5 years so this is still rather new for me). Sure, I’ve flirted my way to a drink or two over the years, and I’ve started to accept help with my luggage when I’m traveling but I’ve never been able to talk my way out of a speeding ticket or into a nightclub simply by virtue of my sex.
(Then again I’ve never gotten a speeding ticket but I’m pretty sure you have to be at least “C” cup to talk your way out of a citation.)
Nonetheless, I’ve recently discovered that being a girl—even a flat-chested girl—does enable one to get away with certain things.
Thing such as jaywalking.
I may not have cleavage but I do have legs and this time of year, they’re out in full force. When walking into Center City, I used to stop at every corner and wait my turn to cross the street but about a month ago I realized something: a male driver will always stop a wait for a girl to cross the street, even if he has the right of way.
I’ve been testing this theory for the past several weeks and I’m still alive so obviously I’m onto something.
My mom is a total rule follower (and a bit of a wimp about jaywalking) and I keep telling her, “Mom, you’re a woman. You’re wearing a skirt. The man driving that car would much rather stop and watch you cross the street in front of him than run you over. Trust me.”
She always replies, “Yeah, but you’re young and cute. They don’t want to run you over.” She then waits dutifully on the corner while I stride brazenly into the street and give the drivers my very best firm-yet-flirtatious “Don’t f*ck with me” look.
It works every time.
Recently, however, my dad relayed a conversation he had with my mom while they were crossing the street. Evidently they were walking home from Old City when they reached the intersection at about the same time as a car that was making a turn from the opposite direction. My dad is a master jaywalker, and my mom is getting better, so they decided to go for it. The driver (a female) gave them a nasty look, which prompted the following discussion on street crossing etiquette.
My dad: She should have let us cross first.
My mom: Yes.
My dad: We’re the pedestrians. We had the right of way.
My mom: Yes, but if you were driving would you have let us cross?
(My dad is notorious for California stops whenever he reaches an intersection and his driving habits inspire frequent… discussions in the Richter household.)
My dad went on to explain that his willingness to stop depends on the pedestrian.
“If it’s raining, if they’re old, if they’re pushing a baby carriage or if it’s a couple walking together, I stop. If not, they can wait.”
They can wait?
This puts a bit of a damper on my “girls in skirts can jaywalk whenever they want” theory because I’m neither old nor pushing a baby carriage nor am I currently part of a couple. In fact, if I do end up getting run over, it will probably be by my own dad (unless of course it’s raining, in which case I might live to tell.)
So ladies (and gents), for today’s question: What have you managed to get away with over the years thanks to your sex and/or good looks? (If I do indeed survive the summer, I’d like to branch off from jaywalking so I’m looking for something to which I can aspire.)