I was clothes shopping the other day. I desperately wanted someone to tell me if the sweater I tried on was too tight. I stepped out of the dressing room and both women in the hallway were quick to tell me the sweater was a little tight but the color was fabulous.
I was recently asked by a reporter, “Why do women sabotage each other?” I have experienced some women who betrayed my trust. I have experienced many more women, including strangers, who were willing to help the moment I asked them. Many even helped when I didn’t ask.
Two strange women approached me in the train station in Milan, Italy. I had taken a train from the mountains in Switzerland hoping to get to Florence. The route had me changing trains four times where I had to climb up and down stairs hauling two huge pieces of luggage while trying to decipher signs in a language I could not read. I missed one connection, got thrown off of first-class on another (I had no idea which car to board) and ended up in Milan feeling lost and alone.
As I stood on the platform trying to figure out what train to take through the tears welling in my eyes, two women sandwiched me and forced me to walk to a food kiosk. Before I could scream, one said, “Don’t be such an easy target.”
The other asked me where I was going. When I told her, she located the train I was supposed to take and explained what I needed to do to exchange my ticket for a new one.
When I finally caught my breath, they told me that any woman traveling alone carrying huge suitcases, a big purse and a look of confusion would quickly lose something important to them. I should be more careful with my belongings and stand more confidently when I stopped to regroup.
Who says women don’t help each other? Let’s tell more stories about how we do support each other so people will stop saying we don’t.