Friday, September 17, 2010

“Today, When a Girl Goes Out, She Better Have Two Hands, a Sweatshirt and a $50 Bill”

I wish I could take credit for the name of this blog. I subscribe to a fun and satirical online publication that sent out a recent editorial about the loss of certain things in life that used to be of utmost importance and this was a direct quote from the article. Cursive writing was mentioned, for example, as it is now barely taught in school since children are learning to type as young as kindergarten these days. Another was sewing – thank God, by the way as the only sewing I could ever do resulted in the form of a crooked scrunchie for my hair. What kind of girl has two thumbs and gets a C- in Home Economics class? This one.

The one lost behavior, and the reason for the aforementioned quote was that of chivalry.

I have had this conversation many times in my life. As a 30 year old woman living in 2010, the art of chivalry has been completely lost on me. Yes, there are many factors that go into this and it is quite likely that I simply haven’t attracted the right type of men. However, looking at our culture as it is and where it’s been in the last 20 years or so, it’s not surprising that the idea of having a door opened for me or a jacket handed over on a breezy night is not only rare, but almost completely extinct.

I find myself and many women of my generation to be a product of the Women’s Liberation Movement which, by the way, I am not a fan of. I think this would surprise most people. Many people who know me or have even just met me can tell that I am a strong minded, very opinionated, hard working woman. However, this is only based on the fact that I grew up thinking that this was the way I was supposed to be. My mother always worked and it seemed very commonplace growing up that women and men were to be seen as equals. So while this was the belief that I was used to, as soon as I was old enough to realize that it hadn’t always been this way, I felt a little robbed to be honest.

I think many people would look at me at first glance and consider me to be a feminist, once again, given my overall personality, my independent nature and the fact that I wear Vans out in public. The truth is, I’m all about the idea of being barefoot in the kitchen cooking a meal and keeping the house clean. Not all that crazy about the pregnancy part, but you get the point. I like the idea of taking care of my man and our habitat. More than that, I like the idea of my man taking care of me. I think that if we look back on the evolution of human beings, it is most definitely the circumstances of the world that have made us who we are today. For example, when all the men went off to fight in World War II, the women had to step in and take on masculine roles as there really wasn’t anybody else to do these tasks. Once these women realized that they didn’t have to stay at home and be secondary to everything, they got very excited and wanted to take on a bigger role in society. Thus, the revolution begins.

Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I think that there are a lot of very powerful women who have made remarkable changes in the world today and there are many more out there who are quite capable of continuing this trend. Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey and Hilary Clinton come to mind… Sarah Palin, not so much… however, the problem with all of these women stepping up requesting equality is that the old fashioned idea of what it looks like for a man and a woman to take care of each other has been completely changed.

Think of it in caveman terms. The man’s job was to go out, work, hunt and provide for the family while the woman stayed back, raised the children, kept the home comfortable, clean and warm and gave the man a reason to get back up the next day to go out, work, hunt, provide and… well, you get the idea, yes? I know we aren’t cavemen and cavewomen anymore, but I find myself many times over wishing the same principles applied today.

I have been on countless dates in my life. There are many, many reasons why I am grateful that I met Jeremy and why I hope every day that he truly is the one I’ve been waiting for. Not far down on the list is so I never have to date again. Dating is a constant reminder of the fact that chivalry simply doesn’t exist as it used to. Yes, I have met men in my life that wouldn’t think about letting a woman pay for her food on a date or have to open the car door herself. But let’s be honest, how often do you really experience this kind of behavior?

I went out on a date with a Marine once. I am a big fan of military men not only because of their dedication to our country (even if I don’t believe in the reasons we choose to fight, I always believe in the hearts of those who wish to stand up for our freedom), and also because of the discipline that is either already a staple because of their upbringing or something they picked up from being in the service. I have many friends who are serving our country and love them with such a huge part of my heart that it actually hurts sometimes. However, this one doesn’t get to share in that special love… it was many, many years ago. In fact, it was 1998. I remember because we went and saw Saving Private Ryan in the theatre. As many of you know, the opening scene is a horrific depiction of the soldiers storming the beach at Normandie and getting slaughtered in ways that I can’t even begin to describe. It was shocking, brutal, violent and graphic. My date spent the entire opening scene trying to put his hand down my shirt and his tongue down my throat. Afterwards, we went for frozen yogurt and halfway through my delicious cookies and cream flavored delight, he removed it from my hand, declaring that I’d “had enough” and threw it away.

When I first moved to California, I met this guy at a house party. He asked me if I would be interested in going on a date the next week. I thought it was very sweet of him to officially ask me out so I said yes. He picked me up at my apartment, drove me to an In-N-Out on Sunset Boulevard (I was a vegetarian at the time), forked out the $3.50 for my grilled cheese sandwich that he watched me eat and then got back in the car and asked me to provide him with oral sex to complete the date.

Sigh.

One of my more recent boyfriends actually ran ahead of me to catch a door that was swinging shut, squeezed in quickly and proceeded to let it slam in my face. He also allowed me to go dutch on every meal that we shared in the year and a half we dated. Actually, that’s not true - he did pay for a few meals, following up his signature on his tab with the statement of “you can get the next one” to me and, believe me, he meant it.

I guess I can’t really blame a lot of these guys. As I am a product of the Women’s Lib Movement, so are they. The last one for example; his mom has been and remains to be the primary breadwinner in the family while his retired dad stays at home on the computer all day. My boyfriend of five years in California was the youngest of three boys who was raised by a single mom who worked 60 hours a week to keep the family fed, clothed and sheltered. I have a close friend who struggles with receiving a regular paycheck and lets his girlfriend of two months pay for everything. As in… everything... and she seems to be quite happy with the arrangement while she works full time and overtime in her demanding career.  

I know there are men out there who not only understand the idea of chivalry but can’t comprehend treating a woman the same as they would their regular drinking buddy. I’ve met men who were raised with the same idea that I have grown to be fond of… the idea that to take care of a woman who is willing to take care of you is the greatest gift of all. For both parties involved. And while I realize that this idea and way of thinking is not for everyone, it is something that deep down, I really hope I can be a part of one day.

In the meantime, knowing that we are all, to some extent, a product of our environment, I take what I can get. While I find it completely unnecessary to be notified whenever my guy needs to have a bowel movement, at least he has the decency to pay for breakfast on his way to the bathroom.

2 comments:

  1. Chilvarly is dead by about 99.8% lol yes I pulled that number out of the air but since I live with a chilvaric (word? who knows? who cares!? lol) man I figured I would make it known. Shaun till this day opens my car door for me. He also lets me go first in just about anything we do, and asks for my opinion before we make a move. Just like you Tina people look at me and say I'm a feminist, well mainly because I think I say it too (but that's another story for another day). Shaun stands strong on this chilvary aspect just like you. I have learned to love his chilvary, and embrace it. It shows that he loves me in a different way, the same way that I believe holding hands is a symbol of commitment in public, being chilvaric shows that you respect your lady enough to think of her before yourself in the most simple ways like opening a car door :)
    He started opening my car door 2 years ago and hasn't stopped since.
    Question: Do you think if women were to make it known to their men that they enjoy chilvarly that they would try it more often?
    p.s. I love your blog.

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  2. I do believe that Chilvarly is a dying art. I grew up in a family where both parents worked. Sometimes just my mom had a steady job, but for the most part my father has always been the bread winner. It actually used to bother me when I was younger to see my dad work so hard and see my mom spend money like it grows on trees. You see I was oblivious to the fact that my mom did all the grocery shopping, laundry, ironing, cleaning,cooking,check book balancing, etc. When I was a teenager I mentioned to my dad that it bothered me that he works all the time and that my mom didn't really have a job. (My mom plays violin and had gigs here and there but in Michigan there wasn't a whole lot of work for a musician.... now she is thriving playing the Vegas shows). My dad explained to me that my mother actually worked harder than him being a mom, and that they are a TEAM. Ever since then I realized how much she really did do and that I never really saw her just sitting around.
    I used to be all about woman doing everything for themselves, but mainly so that we would know how to if need be. I am sure most people now would see me as wanting to be Suzy Homemaker. Yes, to some extent I do want to be. Yet I also want to run my own business and show other woman how they can do it too.... and stay at home and keep the nest.
    I have been spoiled by my now boyfriend and how he does treat me like a lady. He opens doors, pays everytime we go out, and when I leave work he walks me to the door and watches me get in my car safely. Now once in awhile I have to remind him to hold my hand down some steps while I am in high heels but over all he is a gentleman. Honestly I thought all men were like when I was young because my dad is.... well like I have to tell any girl, they are not! I am sick of guys who treat woman like another one of their guy pals. Men do need to be told and what is worse is that most already think that they are gentleman!!!!

    ~Kelly

    Ps. I love your blog too!

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