On the scarcity of gentlemen…or how not to remain a damsel in distress

Arriving in Madrid at the Avenida de América station on Monday evening, I found myself wondering how on earth I would manage to get to my future home with one huge suitcase, a large trekking backpack, a guitar, a normal size backpack and shoulder bag. I was happy to find a lonely trolley some other traveller had kindly left behind and after loading all my things onto this handy device, I made my way towards the metro. After asking two ladies and one gentleman I managed to find the lift and reached the metro station. At that point, the trolley and I had to part – so I put the big backpack on my shoulders, the other backpack on front wise, somehow carried guitar and shoulder bag and pulled my suitcase behind me. I wondered how strange I must appear – resembling an overloaded donkey more than a damsel in distress…soon I found myself at the top of a flight of stairs leading to the track where my metro was due to arrive. There was an escalator, but only for coming up. Just to make sure, I asked a girl that came by whether she knew of any lift or escalators – she said no, but kindly offered to help me with my things. I gave her my guitar and one bag and was about to carry the rest of my luggage down the stairs when I heard a deep voice behind me – “Hola, guapa! Can I help you with that suitcase?” I turned around and there stood…a Fata Morgana. I suppose if this were the only time such a thing had occurred, I would not presume to generalise – but somehow I feel that a woman genuinely in need of assistance, because she simply has way too many things than she could possibly carry, does not inspire acts of chivalry. Having learned from my experiences, I want to give some advice to those girls out there that do not want to remain damsels in distress.

  1. Do not carry too many things with you – only as much as you can carry. Somehow an overloaded donkey only encourages spectators, not gentlemen.
  2. Try to show you are in need of help without being too dramatic or hysterical.
  3. It helps if you’re petite, dress nicely and flirt a little – adds to the charm of helping you.

Next time I will make sure to follow these rules – maybe if I had done so this time, the two men I encountered would have offered their assistance instead of flashing a smile and commenting that I could surely carry two more backpacks without difficulty.


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