h a l f b a k e r y
Contrary to popular belief
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Holding a door open for someone is a nice thing to do.
However, for the British, this apparently simple act is a
nightmarish minefield of social awkwardness. In an
attempt to appear nice, many will try to go above and
beyond by holding a door open for anyone travelling
toward a door within
line of sight, theoretically several
miles. Traditionally, British planners prevented this by
ensuring no road, and therefore building, is straight for
more than 150ft. This restricts corridor length and
therefore imposes a maximum door-holding-open range.
Britain does have long corridors. One is in an old Insane
Asylum <link>, and another within an example of
architecture at Leeds University <link>. Subjecting the
mentally unstable to long corridors and the inevitable
door awkwardness is of course cruel, but this is
one of myriad arguments against the general concept of
Leeds University. Other British establishments such as
Blenheim palace and RAF Brize Norton, have long
but are generally only accessible to those with extensive
training in social and military order and the RAF.
The USA, in a fit of new-country puppy-like enthusiasm,
has blundered into the long, straight road concept that
precipitated the rise of Rome's decline and defines the
metropolitan legacy of certain French and Austrian
megalomaniacs. The columns, obelisks, statues and
are all related symptoms. The road system breeds
straight buildings with long corridors. As such, you find
yourself holding a door for someone only to find that
walking is not among their finer qualities and you're
for 20 mins. Worse, someone holds a door for you, and
feel obligated to walk-jog a short distance. More
types might be tempted to hold a door for one of the
admin staff when there is significant distance to cover,
perhaps enjoying a coffee while they shuffle-shamble
way along, or holding open the wrong door for one of
wide eyed undergrads out of understandable curiosity.
Anyway, to the point, the US door system is like the Wild
West at the moment. No one knows what they're doing,
leading to low level generalized anxiety and
for the sort of social hooliganism detailed above. Let's
solve it. The obvious solution is to demolish large
buildings, carefully remodel the road system and
some kind of rudimentary social order. However, this
take weeks and in a nod to common sense, a pragmatic
intermediate solution is required. I suggest a line. A
and tasteful one, on the floor and perhaps a raised
on the skirting board to alert the blind*. This line should
serve as a visual reference for whether or not you hold
open the door. If the person is past the line, you hold it
like a civilized person, if not, carry on sir your work is
done. From the other person's perspective, if you're
the line you don't need to rush, the distance has been
calibrated. Conversely, if the line is ahead of you, it
provides an opportunity to slow down, perhaps because
you intend to use a side door, or stop for a bit of a
Obviously this is a stopgap, but should alleviate 20-77%
*guide dog retraining should be relatively simple, they're
certainly aware of such a glaring problem.
**an undergraduate favorite.
[bs0u0155, Jul 27 2016]
Needlessly Punitive Social Experiment of Questionable Value.
[bs0u0155, Jul 27 2016]
[calum, Jul 27 2016]
||In Russia, door holds you.
||obligated? What happened to obliged? nobless obligatum de pompt de pompt moc-moc-a-moc indeed; and
||the problem of course is that the line solves the problem and creates another. The problem it solves is mild and, given the epic distances between held-open-door and the starting point of the potential threshold crosser, is not that much of a problem, no, for it allows for transatlantic romances, platonic or otherwise, to blossom, seep through the parties and then go stale and sour, and wither and die just as the door is arrived at, all this roiling depth of feeling effected through the use of gesture, looks, glances and, most British of all, charmingly obvious attempts at repression of emotion, yes this chasm of time spent with heel pressed against the shiny footplate on the heavy institutional fire door is a world in which wonders happen, the meet cute in the romcom Tarkovsky never made. This is the problem solved.
||The problem it creates is altogether more pressing. By giving a solution to the masses, we can be sure that a sick subset of the masses will fail to pay atfuckingtention and instead will hold doors while you are miles away, trying in their cheerful, charmless way to hit you with some of that great American niceness but instead inconveniencing the fuck out of you, making you scuttle like some recently admonished scullerymaid fresh in from the Black Country and unlikely to last long in service. By creating an solution to the problem we create an altogether more irritating crime of transgressing the solution.
||//obligated? What happened to obliged? //
||"Obliged" was OK in the 60's when people had
smaller houses and lower disposable incomes.
"Obligated" was introduced in the 80's for the
aspirational classes. Now, of course, people are
once again dissatisfied, and the use of
"obligationized" is becoming common even in
single-income families. These are the same people
who, a generation ago, were happy to use
whatever words were available; now they utilise
||We were once informed tht something was "A case of nobless oblige". We replied that we weren't going to lay out money on a full case of anything we didn't recognise, especially if they had their knobs missing.
||She seemed quite offended ... she gave us one of those bulldog-chewing-on-a-wasp glares, handed the sword to an equerry, and went out to walk the corgis.
||I think you're going to need several lines. The
standard. The gracious male looking for a mate,
(preferably one who doesn't slowly shamble), the
coming, the office troll is coming... this could get
complex, like Japanese bowing.
||You could call it the 'Hodor' line.