Front Seat Reserved: the long standing battle of the sexes in cars?

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I came across a meme recently posted by blogger Derrick Jaxn which was the cause of lively debate on Facebook. The meme was addressed to women asking: “Ladies, your man comes to pick you up with his female friend in the car. You come to the car and she stays in the front seat. What’s your next move?”

I’ve often heard little stories from women about not wanting other women sitting in the front seat of their man’s car; worse yet, if she refuses to move when the girlfriend/wife comes to the car. It is believed that this space is reserved for the girlfriend/wife and his mother only. Giving a friend a ride may not be a problem to most women, and of course the friend cannot be expected to sit in the back seat if the front is empty – the man is not a chauffeur after all. But when both the friend and the girlfriend/wife needs to be in the car at the same time, there is apparently a hierarchy that needs to be honored.

So how important is this coveted front seat in your partner’s car? After seeing the comments from women in response to the meme: some threatening to become violent towards the friend by “dragging her out by her hair” to some not entering the car if she doesn’t move,  to others stating that it’s the boyfriend’s job to say something if the friend doesn’t move, I decided to do a little research myself. I posed the same question to a few of my girlfriends publicly and privately, with only about two (2) women suggesting they will not care whether or not she stays in the front seat. However, the rest indicated that it will be a problem for them. Female friends should know their place. And what place is this really?

Wondering if this situation was only of importance to women, I also put forward the question to some men too: “If you’re going to pick up your girlfriend and your female friend is in the front seat, what would you expect to happen when you get to your girl and it’s time for her to get in?” ALL the men responded by stating  the end result should be their woman has to sit in the front with them and their friend will have to sit in the back seat “out of respect.” They [the man] will either tell their female friend to move to the back verbally or non-verbally if she did not move on her own. One guy indicated firmly however, “my female friends have respect, they will move” without him having to say anything. It seems to all boil down to respect: it will be disrespectful to have your lady sitting in the back seat while your friend sits in the front.

“Girlfriend before female friends” said Eric* “Some women will say it’s just a seat. Regardless, female friends should show that respect,” he continued. When asked if there was any importance in where his girl sat in his car Anton* stated, “Yes. She should be next to me.”

So sitting in the front seat seems to be a matter of showing respect to the significant other,  according to both men and women. The conversation was further extended by all parties saying, whether the front seat friend is a man or woman, they will need to move. In the hierarchy of seating arrangements, the only person, and particularly only woman who can sit in that front seat when the girlfriend/wife is in the car, is the man’s mother. Everyone else, the back seat will get you there just as fine. #showsomerespect

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