12/28/12

Chivalry Should Die, My Good Lady . . .

In one of the final reader suggested posts of 2012, I take a look at the notion and the VALUE of chivalry in the year 2012 - and beyyyyyoonnnnnnddddd (voice trailing off and echo effect turned on)!

Some background - two friends sent me a link to an article about Mitt Romney's "woman problem" in the 2012 election. Their proposed post was far more direct - talk about Mittens. My response? Let's talk about ALL of us . . .

Here's the thing - in my personal life I'm a RAGING liberal. I believe we should take care of those in need, I believe the governments should prop us up when we are down, I think our civil liberties should be kept in the context of the larger good, etc. I do not believe we're all created equal (maybe we once were but the poker chips have been reassigned over time). I think we should do more to ensure that we all have an equal chance at success. NO WHERE in that position, does the world need chivalry.

Let me clarify before you hairy-pitted, sandal wearers (crass dismissive stereo-type inserted for fun and frivolity) get your sensible cotton panties in a bunch . . . I'm NOT attacking employment practices that fall within affirmative action and I'm NOT condoning sexual harassment in the work place. I'm NOT pro rape or objectification of women (despite my previous post about women that make me crotch happy). I'm NOT saying women should all be barefoot, pregnant, and in the proverbial kitchen (or the literal). I'm talking about SOCIAL chivalry here.

The notion that men "should" hold the door for a lady. That we "have" to take her by the arm as we walk a crowded street, that we "might" let them order first at the table or HORROR OF HORRORS we "could" even order for them. I tried this once on a date. Early in my adult years. I actually said "The lady will have . . . " and the woman grabbed her purse and left. It's cool - I ate what I ordered for her when it arrived. (post script - I was KIDDING in the gesture but my sense of humor was not as finely tuned then as it is now)

That being said, my mother and father raised me right. I WANT to hold the door (I'll do it for a man or a woman). I would LIKE to help people through a crowded street (I don't take a dude's (said to establish heterosexual discomfort) arm), I usually let the person the waitstaff looks at first order first and I don't actually think for a second that any woman is even aware of these things. Because if she is, I've failed.

It is not the GESTURES of chivalry I have a problem with. It is the MANDATE of them. It flies in the face of being genuine and sincere. It falls short of making a woman feel truly special because you're doing these things for her. It makes you look like you think she's weak, needy, submissive, or - worse - in to that sort of treatment. And if you are, ladies . . . oy. You poor things were born too late. Our manners have sailed in this world. Except in the Deep South, maybe.

I'll say this - let's forget chivalry and the "need" for it and, instead, focus more energy on how you women can take better care of each other and support each other more and be more kind to each other. Let the fellas off the hook a little bit and stop talking trash, making each other insecure, allowing each other to make you insecure (I got you, self esteem queens and Life Coaches (capital letters to show respect for a bullshit profession)). Maybe some of you should take more time to hold the door for each other, help each other through a crowded environment, and order for each other at the restaurant.

And cut the crap with the salads. We know you do not WANT to eat one. Maybe that is why men used to order for you.