Okay, it just seems to me if he’s polite enough to pick up her handkerchief, you’d think he would have offered her his seat in the first place.

Or should I not be trying to make sense of Mutt and Jeff at 4am?

Thinking about this — because, again, it’s 4am — I still offer my seat to women, even though it’s long out of fashion, because that’s how I grew up. But only to adult women: offering my seat to a woman forty years my junior just seems weird (not that this is usually a conscious decision).

You know what really made me feel old? The first time somebody offered me a seat. Maybe I looked particularly aged that day.

Interesting how these things differ regionally: when the extended family was in Boston a few years, I noticed that nobody was offering my octogenarian mother a seat. My son, who lives in Boston, explained that Bostonians rarely offer their seats to the elderly, but seem happy to give them up when asked.

(He himself always offers, because he’s still a New Yorker)