Let me introduce today's post with a short story. I had to go to the mail center this afternoon to pick up boxes of brochures for my art show (woo! more on this later). As I lifted the second, heavier box, I thought, "Oh. This isn't so heavy." But as I got about halfway back to my building I though, "Hmm. This is a little awkward to carry." And as I neared the front door I began to think, "Sheesh. I'm glad I'm almost back." So as I walk and the box is gradually slipping from my numbing fingers, the thought strikes me...If I were walking with a male companion, would they ask me if they could carry the box for me?
Cue deep thoughts about gender roles.
Now I know many of you have probably read that post about feminism and stuff from a while back. Just so you know, I don't always think in the context of previous posts, so if I contradict myself anywhere along the line, please forgive me. I haven't sorted out my life philosophy 100%. Anyhow, the question still stands. Who of my guy friends would actually ask to carry the box? Better yet, who would ask before I started to almost drop it? As I run guys I know through my head, I feel like the answer is unfortunately low in number.
This brought me to think of my grandparents. My grandpa is a very traditional man, and he always helps me carry things around if he can. I can imagine that back in the day, it might actually be embarrassing for a guy to be seen with a girl who was carrying a heavy load, as if he was shirking his chivalrous duties. So what happened? Where are the Ray Sloups of the 21st century? Maybe chivalry is dead.
Or maybe it's hibernating. I do believe one result of the feminist movement is the watering down of chivalry in guys today. When ladies tore off their pantyhose and sprinted to the office, I guess men figured they could open their own doors. Obviously I'm making vast generalities here, but you catch my drift. So do women have to retreat into the helpless, fragile female stereotype in order to jolt guys out of their stupor? I would say a huge NO! I'm not talking big gestures here. Sure, we girls can get into the car by ourselves, we're not idiots. But making the effort to show respect and politeness never goes out of style.
So guys, if you've survived reading this, I'm going to reward you with a secret on girls. No, I won't explain why we act fine when we're really upset. What I will tell you though is this: a little chivalry goes a long way. Personally speaking, I would much rather have a guy hold open the door for me or walk on the street side of the sidewalk than get me flowers or something. HONESTLY. With the caveat of course that the gesture is genuine, i.e. doing it one time and then never again is kind of a turn off. It's more a lifestyle thing. And guys, you always, always, always get bonus points if you're chivalrous to girls that are just your friends. Just because you don't want to date them doesn't mean they aren't girls.
So to conclude: No. I don't think chivalry is dead. I just think it's hiding deep (or not so deep) inside most guys. This is me doing my part to make the world a better place. :)