Politics of Front Seat
Few weeks back I was seated in the passenger side of a friend’s car, he was dropping me off at my house but first he had to quickly pick his girlfriend at the gym to save himself double journey.The girlfriend wasn’t the most endearing type so I was not looking forward to the awkward silence that would ensue the rest of the ride as I knew I probably won’t say much in her presence, but kept this counsel to myself after all I was getting a free ride and who am I anyway to dictate.
As soon as we got to the gym car park he called her on the phone that we had arrived at the car park and pointedly mentioned that I was with him, I didn’t think that was out of place although I was a bit puzzled considering he knew me and the girl weren’t that close, or maybe it was in a bid to psychologically prepare her for my unwelcome presence I don’t know.
Few minutes later she flounced out in her gym leotard and bag, as the guy opened the boot from the inside and she dropped the bag in, then turned round as I held the car door open,
Hey how you doing, how was gym
A curt, Fine! (Remember I said we didn’t get on)
I unconsciously pushed the lever for the front back rest to slide forward so she could get in, instead of getting in she stood there for a few seconds not saying anything while I wondered if something had happened. Let me backtrack a bit, the car was a coup, and my friend being tall always shifted his own seat back with no space for anyone behind him hence the reason i instinctively made way for her to enter into the back seat. As she paused she gave her boyfriend a funny look then reluctantly bent down and settled in the back seat.
The rest of the journey to my house she was even more taciturn and belligerent? Than usual, making it a point not to indulge in any of the few conversations her boyfriend initiated, she will rudely interrupt remind him of some mundane or irrelevant issue, or ask that I moved the seat forward as she was having leg cramps, considering she was not a tall person not even average it was obvious that she was boiling with anger and ready to burst, all the while I am thinking in my mind hoping and praying this lady will not embarrass me before her Boyfriend gets to my destination. Since silence“no dey cause fight” I lapsed into silence but I could still feel the uncharacteristic volcanic warmth of her eyes at the back of my neck. I asked the guy to drop me on the road making an excuse that I had to get some stuffs from the shops as I thankfully escaped his girlfriend’s withering looks. Note that all these while I still was not sure of what happened, until a few days after when I asked the boyfriend why his girlfriend was acting funny.
No mind her jarey,she say na you suppose move go back seat for her as per Gf of car owner..
In a mixture of incredulity and relief that it was not something more sinister i burst out laughing, not even knowing the right response to give as I have never been involved in such front seat politics situation before.My friend quickly added “but trust me now I tell her make she enter cab next time if she no fit sit down for back when I carry my friends”
The weekend after while lounging at another married friend’s house, we started the topic
Who should have moved to the back seat the friend or Girlfriend?
All of us including our friends wife and a female cousin on a visit holidaying from Nigeria all took a stance for and against, debating it well into the night at the end of the day none the wiser yet both sides raising instructive points.
After a sole introspective look at the issue while on my own, I realized that the initial laugher as a reaction when I first heart it was induced not so much because of how laughable or incongruous I thought the issue sounded to me, but the dysfunctional sense of entitlement and quest for validation that will make anyone male or female feel the need to attach themselves to the front seat of a vehicle, what if it was a private jet or a Boeing Aircraft.
Surely if we want gender equality, the first and most instructive step was to make it a point of divesting with gender specific social etiquettes with its implied negative connotations.
How many females still demand you compliment their aesthetics yet will turn around and ask not to be defined by their beauty but intellect? Now to be fair I don’t know if this Politics of front seat holds for men as well, or even for majority of females so lets assume we are on about a minority at least I am yet to witness any more, but for what its worth if any of the partners in a relationship feel the cogent need to validate their position by an…and exclusive use of the front seat like a king or queen will demand sole and exclusive use of the throne, then I humbly submit there are deep seated physiological issues which need to be addressed in the relationship before it begins to grow root.
Nb since that incident I have learnt to be mindful in other people’s vehicles, instinctively diving to the back seat without prompting.a friend’s wife on Sunday said I embarrassed her …….sigh…..what do women want