You know one thing we haven’t figured out as a society? It’s, what’s the proper etiquette when you’re walking behind a person who is walking a bit slower than you are? If nothing changes velocity-wise, you’re on a collision course to awkwardness, and everyone knows it. There will be a brief but seemingly eternal moment during which you two will both walk together in unison, side by side, avoiding acknowledgment if all goes as planned. There’s something about that prospect that makes me, and I would assume most people, so uncomfortable.

So, what’s a man to do? As I’ve worked it out, a man has got exactly two options: slow down or speed up. Slowing down is fine, but imperfect; you will have conceded your ideal pace of locomotion to that of a stranger. And what does that say about you if you are willing to capitulate so readily?

But speeding up is even more fraught. Because to pass the person you’ll need to accelerate significantly, so as to not only overtake the person, but to also gain some distance on them. Otherwise, the roles merely reverse; with them now tailgating your buttocks.

So, fine. You accelerate hard. You gain real distance on them. But I must report that your dilemma is not yet over. For if you slow down to your original pace, you may inflict upon them the shame of knowing that you unnaturally switched your speed to high gear to avoid that innocent moment of togetherness you both could have shared, on a block you both probably frequent, in a city you both probably call home.