What She Really Wants Is giving up your seat a show of respect or an act of outdated chauvinism? A panel of actual women tell all! Our lovely* panel: Katherine, 29, psychologist, Palo Alto, California Alyssa, 29, lawyer, Brooklyn Laura, 33, fashion-magazine editor, New York Patricia, 53, teacher, Cranston, Rhode Island ESQ: The scenario: We are walking into a building in front of you. Do we hold the door open? Katherine: That depends. If you are a step or two ahead of me, I'd expect you to hold the door. If it's more than that, don't bother. If you're far ahead of me, it's like you're waiting and I feel like I have to hurry up. We are seated on a packed train and you're standing next to us. Do we give up our seat? Alyssa: I actually think the idea that men should get up for young, healthy women is ridiculous. I'm perfectly capable of standing. I'm not a delicate flower who needs to sit. Laura: It would kind of freak me out a little bit, like I'm old and infirm and not a sassy young thing anymore. We think you may be pregnant -- it's hard to tell with those loose dresses. What do we do? Patricia: In that case, just offer the seat -- without asking when we're due. You don't have to say why you are getting up. Nothing looks worse than a man who makes a pregnant woman stand. A woman is lugging a large suitcase through the airport. Do we offer to help? Katherine: I think a good rule of thumb is, if it looks like we're struggling, offer to help -- we'll really appreciate it. Alyssa: As much as I want to be pro-feminist and able-bodied, if I'm carrying something heavy, help a girl out. Okay, so we lug the case up a staircase for you. We would love to keep helping, but now we've got our own flight to catch. Patricia: Helping me up the stairs is plenty. Just exit by asking, "Are you okay with this now?" Laura: I'd like you to help me take it through security, take my laptop out of the case, put it back in again, take my shoes off, and smuggle in my water. That is modern chivalry. I'd marry that man. We pass a woman walking down the street, crying. Do we do anything? Laura: You already feel bad enough if you're crying in the street. It's better if nobody else acknowledges it. Katherine: If we happen to be standing next to, say, a broken-down car, ask if we need help or if we need to use your phone. It's late at night and we see you stumbling alone out of a bar, extremely drunk. Katherine: Call us a cab, or ask if we have any friends who are still inside the bar. Any more and you could seem a little creepy. We are in a parking lot and see you fighting loudly with a man, probably your boyfriend. Do we intervene? Patricia: Not unless it gets out of hand. If there's just an argument, respect people's privacy. Laura: If I were fighting with my boyfriend, I'd be already pissed off. There's chivalry and then there's delusions of being a knight in shining armor. Get lost. We don't do anything, but then it starts to get physical -- we see him grab you by the arm. Katherine: If you know you don't stand a chance if you try to pull the guy off, then call the police. And let them know you're watching. Sometimes just the social pressure of knowing that somebody's looking at you or knowing that somebody's calling the police can help. We are at a bar when we see you being aggressively hit on by David Spade. What now? Laura: We are more than capable of dispensing with an undesirable man. Katherine: I would appreciate it if you came over and struck up a conversation with me and gave me an excuse to end the conversation with the other guy, but I'd probably assume you're hitting on me, too. *And by "lovely" we mean no patronizing offense.