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October 7, 2010 / Lauren

The space between.

I work in a regular office building.  It is not cool and basket shaped like this building:

Next to my sadly not-a-basket office building, there is a parking garage.  I typically park on the bottom floor and climb two floors of stairs to exit ground level and enter the building.  From my car to the lobby of the building, I go through two sets of doors.

Often, there’s a person walking behind me- maybe they look like one of these ladies:*

"We are stock photo business women poised and ready to kick in that glass ceiling with our sensible shoes!"

Here’s my question of etiquette- how many feet behind me must a person be for me to hold the door for them?  Obviously, if she is either right on my heels or twenty yards back, it’s a no brainer.  There’s this kind of sticky in between that I worry about.  I’m terrified that if I don’t hold the door for them and they are, say, twelve feet behind me, I’m slamming the door in their face.

My mind races with thoughts of what a terrible person I am.  Why do I feel the need to pretend like I’m the CEO of a Fortune 500 company on my way to an earth-shatteringly important meeting?  Sheesh. While I berate myself for not holding the door for someone 12-15 paces behind me, I try to increase the space between us.  I feel like I’m proving my point.  See, Miss Ann Taylor Loft Petites Section, look how far up here I am!  Yes, a yard and a half is my normal stride.  I have long legs.  No, I’m not sweating profusely in an effort to be thirty feet ahead of you by the time we reach the next set of doors!

What do you think?  At what point do you not have to hold the door for someone?  Be specific.  I want to know if I’m an evil superbitch or just someone who doesn’t want to spend five minutes waiting for someone to catch up so I can get the door for them.

My solution?  All doors on earth shall be replaced with revolving doors immediately.

*Okay, if you google image search “business women”, this comes up on the first page of results:

It’s absolutely terrifying.  Don’t sue me when the nightmares haven’t stopped in a few weeks.

Also, is she wearing a Chinese throwing star around her neck?  Oy.



Leave a Comment
  1. Danae "KeenaMuzzle" Castle / Oct 7 2010 9:26 am

    finding your blog has made my day today.

  2. Briar Gates / Oct 7 2010 8:53 pm

    Well, Lauren. That’s an excellent question. While I am obviously male, because the name Briar is a badass man’s name, I make a solid effort to hold doors for ladies. While holding the door for your own sex is a polite gesture, this gesture is not a direct requirement of etiquette. “Time of flight”, as I refer to it, pertains to the distance between someone else and myself. This distance is determined by years of street smarts. There is no set derivative in terms of required door holding. You have to judge this issue for yourself. Several factors come into play when judging. Is the person behind me male or female? Are they attractive, unattractive, carrying something, pissed off, oblivious, or smiling? Are they moving fast? Are they moving slow? These are the things that come into your mind. You sometimes only have a split second to engage and decide on further action. For people carrying objects, I will generally wait several seconds holding said door while they make their way to point of entry. For ladies, I will of course make a general effort to hold said door for reasonable periods of time until they reach point of entry. Reasonable periods of time can fall under legal analysis, because time is relative. You must judge for yourself whether or not said time is worth your personal stock. When dealing with the same sex I will hold said door in politeness, but I do not make it a direct requirement to liquidate my personal time. If you do not feel the responsibility to hold said door you must keep moving and never look back. I hope this perspective can help you in some small yet effective way. Good day. Always remember, walk without rhythm.

    • Lauren / Oct 8 2010 9:08 am

      Wow, Briar. Thanks.

  3. Briar Gates / Oct 7 2010 8:56 pm

    Lauren, I would also like to add that strange men with fake pistols and large breasted women with ninja star necklaces do not scare me. I’ve had training.

  4. Siddhartha Herdegen / Oct 8 2010 7:38 am

    I think Briar makes some good points. My personal rubric is much less generous however. I let the door close on anyone who is not directly on my heals or carrying a large package, something that takes two hands to hold.

    The one instance I try to avoid is having a door close in such a way the handle is just out of reach as they approach. You know, while you’re approaching it’s moving away at the same speed. This is frustrating because you have to walk forward to catch the door and then back off to open it.

    But if there is enough distance or they’re moving slowly enough that the door will be closed for a few seconds before they get there I let it close.

    I’m not a complete jerk about it though. If I’m walking toward the door and there are other people in view I’ll generally time it so we arrive close together.

    • Lauren / Oct 8 2010 9:02 am

      That’s a good rule of thumb- don’t let the door close just as they the handle would have been reachable had the door been open. I think you’ve just defined my new personal door holding rule, thanks!

  5. Ashley Rainey Sullivan / Oct 8 2010 10:17 am

    Hey Lauren

    I’m loving the blog. Seriously, keep it up.

    Okay, now to the door holding dilemma. I’m right there with you. I don’t know what to do either. And I totally feel like a jerk if I don’t hold it open for someone. So I do the same thing. The rush walk. Or sometimes if I’m behind someone I’ll do the slow walk so they don’t have to face the same dilemma that I do and they’ll realize they don’t have to hold the door open for me.

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