Modern day etiquette: Should men offer ladies their MARTA seat?

There we were, packed into the 5:30 p.m. southbound Airport train like sardines, and as more and more women entered the train, men who were enjoying the comfort of MARTA seating… remained firmly in place.

One brave, old school soul stood at last, graciously motioning to a young woman to take his seat. She shyly thanked him and slid into the space that had been his. He stood the remainder of his trip, never retaking a seat as other women moved into and out of that seat. Meanwhile, other able-bodied young men sat impassively, making no effort to even offer seats to the many ladies who joined the crowd on the train.

If this is the new normal, it saddens me. Maybe I’m somewhat alone in feeling that way, but I was brought up to appreciate a kind gesture – and when a man offers a woman his seat on a train, a bus, wherever – it still strikes me as simply a nice thing to do.

Sure, I’m just as capable of standing throughout a full MARTA train trip as the next woman but there’s something nice about at least being offered a seat by a man, even if I politely decline to take it. To me, it’s a sign that a fellow was raised to think of others, which is saying a lot in a culture where “selfies” are all the rage.

On a similarly crowded train one morning, I saw no open seats, so I prepared for a somewhat lengthy trip. A young man, bobbing with the beats in his headphones, rose from the seat next to where I stood. He spoke quietly, but confidently.

"Here, ma'am. You sit."

He didn’t have to make the offer, but I sure appreciated it. One more gentleman in our midst.