We had our keys in had and were headed up to the hotel room. Both tired from the day and the drive we were glad of arrival. Mercifully the room was right by the elevator, a fact which suprised us because we've stayed there before and always had to be way down the end of a carpetted hallway. This was better. Way better.
Joe plunged the key through the reader and slammed the door open only to find it barred by one of those flimsy chains that hotel's give you to keep out intruders. A small cry from within the room indicated that we'd startled someone. A woman came to the door and we explained that we must have been given keys to the wrong room. Her harsh face relaxed to a smile and she wished us well in finding our room.
Back downstairs, coming out of the elevator we saw the clerk running towards us with new keys in his hands and apology in his mouth. He was clearly upset by his mistake and promised to also call the woman to apologize to her. Back upstairs now and, yep, down the long carpetted hallway.
The following morning we were having breakfast and the woman we'd disturbed came in. She stopped at the table and asked if everything was OK with the new room. I apologized again for us barging in saying it must have frightened her. She laughed and said that as soon as she saw me she knew she was safe, then - without thinking about what she was saying - "It's not like it was a real man barging in."
I swallowed my pride and the words forming in an angry mind were held back. It ended a with more niceties.
Now, I truly am glad that she wasn't frightened. I know how vulnerable a woman can be travelling on her own, I wouldn't have wanted to add fear or terror into her life.
I'm a man.
I'm not a rapist, a murderer, a mugger. She could have said, 'I could see you didn't have murder in your eyes," and I'd be OK
I'm a man.
A good one I hope.
But a man.
A real one.
There was no fear of assault from me, who knew that there was fear of assault by her?