In the old days, they always said, “Ladies before Gentlemen.” These days…well…times have changed. Is it Ladies before Gentlemen, or is it Dudes before Broads?

Which should it be? It depends on who you ask.

A couple years ago when I first started solo truck driving, one day I pulled into a Receiver and parked by another female trucker.

“Hey! Another Lady Trucker,” I said cheerily.

Uh oh. Shift. Reverse. My friendly greeting was perceived as an insult.

“Don’t call ME a lady,” the creature roared. “Hell, I ain’t no lady and proud of it.”

“I could hardly tell,” I tittered.

“Don’t get me wrong,” the woman barked. “I love men, but they are useless. I’m a bad arse, and clear full of sheeee-it.”

Okay, fine. Up went her window, and up went mine. Each to her own. Oh, gracious womanhood, where hast thou vamoosed?

Way back three years ago when I first started trucking, a female trainer whom I shall call Big Belle informed me in extra colorful language, “Now, Maggie, you HAVE to learn to flip birds and say the F word all day. There ain’t no way you’ll survive out there unless you fight for every inch. Those F’n men and their F’n trucks will get in your F’n way.”

I couldn’t help smirking at her “tough gal” bravado since she looked for all the world like Fat Broad with her club looking for unsuspecting snakes.

I replied, “My friend, I am convinced I can get further faster if I behave like a lady. Just because I work like a man doesn’t mean I have to look like a man or act like a man.”

That has proven to be true. I get along just fine and I don’t have to flip birds or say the F word. If I ever have breakdowns on the Road, there is no shortage of gentlemen truckers who are kind and respectful and willing to help a lady.

Once in a great while, I meet a grizzled old surly Super Trucker with long past dead chivalry.

Last week I pulled into a Petro truck stop for fuel. Judging by the overcrowded lanes at every pump, you would have thought we were in line for hot dogs and Buds at the Super Bowl.

I saw one fuel lane at the far end opening up as a truck departed, so I swung in and parked. As I did so, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, a cool dude driver waving his arms and running towards his truck which was parked off to the side. I didn’t think much of it until said driver descended upon me a few minutes later and shook his fist in my face.

My fuel pumped cheerfully as the man hollered.”How dare you PIG in front of me? You are the rudest woman I’ve ever met. Can’t you see I was in line waiting to fuel? That is unforgivable of you to just drive in there like you own the place when the rest of us have to wait in line!”

My keyboard is rather sensitive so I refrain from typing out the rest of his explicit language which largely favored the letter F and the consonant combinations SH.

I was so shocked, I probably stood there gaping like a guppy. My momentary paralysis soon resolved into barely concealed mirth because there’s something about the sight of a full-grown man jumping up and down and shouting cuss words like a maniac that never fails to bring on the giggles.

“You’re absolutely right,” I agreed between chortles. “Totally unforgivable of me to not behave like a gentleman. Heaven forbid that a lady should go first. Would you like me to shift this here pump in reverse and siphon that fuel out of my truck and put it back into the ground? If you’ll get out of my way, I’ll be happy to back up and let you go first.”

The irate man shut his mouth and suddenly his shoes became more fascinating than my face. Perhaps by now he began to see the foolishness of his position. After all, he wasn’t even in his truck when I drove in. While his truck was parked off to the side waiting for an opening, he had probably run to the potty. Poor pitiful man. If only I had understood the situation before I OINKED my way in front of him.

“Listen,” I told the embarrassed UN-gentleman. “The last thing on earth I want to do is demand to go first. I have noticed that most of you cool super truckers insist on being first, and I’m fine with that. I’m in no hurry.”

“My mom would kill me,” the driver muttered.

“What did you say?” I queried.

“My mom. If she were alive, she’d hunt me down and string me up for behaving so rudely to a lady.”

“Sounds like you had a good mother,” I replied.

“I sure did,” the man mused. “I apologize for forgetting my manners. Seriously, most women are so demanding, I have turned my back on old-fashioned chivalry.”

“I can understand that,” I sympathized. “These days, it seems like everybody is in a hurry to be first. Many women get offended if men treat them special. I can understand why you’re out of practice.”

And then miraculously, that rough, rude, selfish, cool dude truck driver turned into a gentlemen. He shined up my truck mirrors and washed the windows. He asked if I wanted a tire check. He tended me and my truck like a caring big brother, and we parted as friends.

So, I have to flip birds and shout the F word to survive in a male dominated industry, huh? Not hardly. I must have been  born in the wrong century.

When men behave like gentlemen, it’s way funner behaving like a lady. Oh, gracious Womanhood. If only modern-day woman could understand the benefits of your honorable qualities.

Wait. Maybe if men would lead out in the Improvement Movement and start behaving like gentlemen, eventually…most, if not all, of the Fat Broad battleaxe women will see the benefit in putting down their weapons of war and embracing their true identity of

Princess and Queen.

Maybe. Just maybe.