Rant: Elevator etiquette needs to stop

Here’s the scenario: Four people get on an elevator. One, a woman, stands in the far back corner. When the elevator comes to a stop, who gets out first?

It reads like the start of a bad joke, but I find myself in this scenario at least four times a week. To me, the answer seems simple: The person who is closest to the door should exit first. If there is some sort of awkward social moment, defer to traffic rules and let the person to your right go next.

Apparently, I’m just about the only person who thinks so. Time after time, I find the entire elevator waiting for me—a woman—to exit first, no matter if I’m wedged in the back behind six other people. Is this gentlemanly courtesy? I suppose—if I lived in the 1950s or wore a corset. Instead, I have to clamber out of the back of the elevator, bump elbows with fellow passengers, and mutter some unladylike words just so the guys around me feel chivalrous.

This awkward moment happens in other places as well: escalators, any door-like opening, and most waiting lines. (With the exception of airport security lines where even the most decorous person devolves into a Neanderthal.)

I don’t mind another person holding a door for me if he got there first. That’s common decency. I just don’t want him to stumble when I try to do the same. (Even worse than tripping, he often reaches over my head to grab the door and I get a faceful of armpit.)

When will we stop being courteous based on gender and start being kind just because?

I was pondering this very question yesterday while in an elevator with a young boy, probably about eight-years-old. The car stopped on the top floor. I waited because I was—once again—in the back. The boy turned to the side, gave a magnanimous sweep of his hand to usher me—and my husband—out of the elevator first. I almost hugged him. There may be hope for humanity, after all.

Rave: 5280.com’s new “Meet the Brewer” series

Being an editor at 5280 means that I get to tackle some pretty cool assignments while “on the job,” from hiking to whiskey bottling. Now, I can add “brewery tours” to that list with the launch of 5280.com’s “Meet the Brewer” series.

Each month, I’ll take you inside a brewery to introduce you to one of Colorado’s brewing geniuses. For the first installment, I stopped by Renegade Brewing Company in the Art District on Santa Fe. The neighborhood brewery was celebrating its one-year anniversary by canning—for the first time—Ryeteous Rye, its flagship brew. Want to learn more? Check out the three-part feature:


1. A Q&A with Renegade’s Brian O’Connell

2. A video of Renegade’s canning line

3. A beer review of the tallboy Ryeteous Rye

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Natasha Gardner
Natasha Gardner
Natasha Gardner is a Denver-based writer and the former Articles Editor for 5280.