“I can do anything you can do!”
I don’t remember the first time I heard a woman assert this to a man, and I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard it since. When I was younger, I would silently pump my fist in agreement at statements like this and proceed to find ways to prove I was just as strong as and much smarter than any other boy I was playing with. Now, however, I cringe at such outlandish proclamations and silently facepalm.
Recently, my dad and I were talking about men and woman. The conversation took an interesting turn when he burst out: “The solution isn’t for men to be more manly, because they’ll just be shot down. Men are tired of trying. They’ve given up.” In our efforts to prove that we are as good as men (which is true, we’re all created good) we have gotten off track and instead have attempted to prove that we are the same as men. If my dad is to be believed (and I’ve always found his insights on the masculine heart/mind reliable), men get tired of acting like men when women try to be men. We’ve shot ourselves in the foot, because in trying to get treated better by men, we’ve only succeeded in doing worse. Yes, ladies. Chivalry is dead. And we killed it. And I, for one, am sorry.
Fortunately, I do believe chivalry can be resurrected. I have seen the spark of life return to chivalry in some courageous men who have not taken my crap (pardon the English (French is too beautiful a language to classify bad words as such)). These men open doors, pay for checks (despite many protests and arm-wrestling matches), stand between me and danger, and go out of their way to make my life easier, simply because they are men and I am a woman. You know who you are, and I commend you, sirs. However, if chivalry is truly to resurrect, we cannot only rely on these few stubborn, good-hearted men to revive it. This would be like allowing two rescuers to continue doing CPR on someone instead of taking that person to a hospital and correcting the problem, if you’ll allow the medical metaphor. No, we all must step up, especially women. There is much to be done, and it’s a complex problem that will take more than one act of true masculinity/true femininity to correct. But how do we begin? I propose beginning with an apology to men.
My dear brothers in Christ, I would like to apologize on behalf of myself (and the rest of the female population, if they consent). We have emasculated you in many ways, some subtle some not so subtle, and I am so very sorry. I personally have lost count of how many times I have given a man grief for trying to pay for a check, asserted myself as stronger and/or smarter than a man, or flat out ignored a show of chivalry for fear of being vulnerable. Men, you have been put down, ignored, and manipulated by women. Words cannot undo the damage, but they are the only place to start. I would ask that you graciously give us a second chance to respond with true femininity to your true masculinity. I know you are gracious and forgiving fellows, as I have been the happy recipient of masculine graciousness many times over in my life. (Again, men, I hope you know who you are and receive the thanks.) From this point on, I am going to amend my ways, check my tongue, and be ready to praise even the smallest act of chivalry.
It’s not much, but it’s a start. So this is where I will leave off for now.
For more ways on respecting those great men out there: