I often wonder if women think I’m being rude or creepy when it comes to stairs. I’m just old enough that I learned a certain amount of probably outdated etiquette, and still follow it. For example, if you’re walking on a sidewalk with a woman, the man should walk closer to traffic. That one has obvious explanations – for example, if there’s a splash from a passing car the woman will be at least partially shielded.
When it comes to stairs, however, etiquette seems backward. When descending stairs, etiquette dictates that a man go first. If one isn’t aware of this, it can seem rude because we are used to “ladies first.” When going up stairs, however, etiquette dictates that a man go last. This can seem creepy because it places the man’s eyes at butt level, and a lot of women may think it’s a ploy to use the stairs to stare.
Women – if you find yourself on a staircase with me, I’m not rushing past you or trying to check out your butt. I’m just trying to remain downstairs from you, so that if you slip or trip, you’ll fall on me instead of falling down the stairs. It may be outdated, but it’s pretty firmly ingrained in my brain, so I probably won’t stop.