A Generational Generalisation

27 July 2010

In general, I don’t like to generalise.

But now that I’m back working, doing a bit of shopping and catching public transport, I’ve found it interesting to discover that people definitely do seem to fall into distinct categories when it comes to how they cope with a middle-aged woman using a crutch. 

The most helpful are elderly women – I presume that’s because they’re a generation of women brought up to be the care-givers and also that so many of them have suffered similarly, with hip and knee replacement operations etc.

The second most helpful group seem to be young women – teens and twenties.  I’ve absolutely no idea why that is but I’ve found it most heartening.  Whenever a fragile elderly woman tries to give me her seat, a younger, much more agile one, always pops up to offer me hers.  And young shop assistants and waitresses have been incredibly helpful and thoughtful (far more so that when I’m able-bodied).

And the worst groups.  Unfortunately women with children come near the bottom of the pile.  They’re probably always in a hurry and want to push past me if they don’t think I’m moving fast enough.  I’ve lost count of the buggies I’ve nearly fallen over and am dismayed that mothers will push their toddlers in front of me where they’re likely to be tripped over, kicked or hit in the head by a crutch. 

The worst group is without a shadow of a doubt middle-aged and elderly men.  I’ve yet to be offered a seat by a man over 50, I’ve been pushed past to get into lifts and I’ve had doors let go in my face. 

As I said, this is a rough generalisation but, for safety’s sake,  I’ll keep out of the way of mothers and old men for the time being.


  1. I think that middle-aged women (with or without crutches) are generally invisible to a large proportion of the population. Good to hear that there are so many helpful young women around. Also extremely good to hear that you are getting out and about!

  2. Just to stick up for mums, toddlers are horrendously difficult to drag through busy footpaths, and the one or two times I’ve taken Inigo to the city, he’s been trodden on, pushed over, and tripped up. It was awful, and I can imagine why most mothers would react defensively after not too much of that.

    And I would ALWAYS stand up for someone who needed a seat – unless I was in a worse way than them 😉

    I love the story of the pregnant woman in the tube in London who asked a bloke to give up his seat for her. He refused, so she threw up on him.

  3. Lara will have to prepare herself to spew on similarly horrible men.

    You can just trip them up with your crutch!

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