Elevators changed transportation forever and helped create the modern city. Today we don’t appreciate the elevator until they are out of order and we are forced to walk up the stairs. We use them daily around the world and yet it can be one of the most awkward places on Earth. So what does what we do in an elevator say about our culture?
So you walk into the mobile square room and where do you stand? According to research done by Australian ethnographer Rebekah Rousi, it largely depends on the people already inside. She said that there is a “clear social order” that people unknowingly follow when riding in an elevator.
Very interesting findings and in most cases it seems like valid findings. Rousi did her research in Adelaide, Australia, which is known to be a relatively conservative town. It would be interesting to see how people act in elevators in different neighborhoods.
So how do people act once they are inside the elevator? Well Rousi also paid attention to this and she found that;
• Men watched TV monitors and checked themselves out in mirrors, regardless of who was with them.
• When women were with men, they would also watch the TV monitors, but avoid eye contact with others and would not look into mirrors.
We also comprised the elevator pitch due to the communal awkwardness that comes with riding in the elevator with strangeness. The elevator pitch is when someone summates his or her preoccupation to another, hoping for some sense of mutual investment. This usually will break the awkward silence or just lead to an even more unbearable ride to your floor.
So next time you step into an elevator pay attention to where people are standing and what they are doing. I’m sure you’ll see someone struggling to reach around to press their floor number because the person by the buttons doesn’t want to help. Or you might get the awkward “clearly the elevator is too full for one more” look as you try to squeeze in. And if you get on the elevator and no one else is inside, I would bet that you hit the “close doors” button 20 times hoping they will shut before someone else can get in.