Why chivalry should never die

Way back in my college days, I took a Women’s Studies course and, as a result, I went through an Anti-Man phase like you would not believe. Back then, I would have told you that porn objectifies women, that advertisers were conspiring to make us all feel fat, and that men who opened doors for women were chauvinist pigs.

I wasn’t about to let a guy make me feel weak or inadequate by carrying my books, offering me his jacket, or fixing my flat tire.

Are some jobs better left to the men?

Are some jobs better left to the men?

Oh, the poor men who performed such chivalrous acts were met with a virulent string of icy wit—the kind of verbal language that could cause a tiger to fold back his ears and skulk away.

For some odd reason, a few guys actually still wanted to date me during this stage of my life. I attribute that to the fact that I never stopped shaving my armpits. And, it must be said, braless women are hot.

Anyway, I, at some point, grew out of most of it.

Of course, there are some feminist topics I still believe. Women still have to work twice as hard in corporate America to earn the same money and promotions as men who are less qualified and less talented. That’s why so many women like me are leaving corporate America and starting our own businesses.

As for the opening doors part? All I can say is this: I’m quite smitten with my husband whenever he does anything manly. For instance, on Christmas Day, I found myself locked in the bathroom. The door handle, not so conveniently, had decided to stop working after I’d stepped inside to do my thing. When I tried to get out, it would not unlock. I jiggled it for a good five minutes before I resorted to banging on the door and screaming, “Help! I’m locked in the bathroom!”

Of the five adults and three children in my house at that given moment, only my husband heard my cries.

“What’s wrong?” I heard his calm voice from the other side of the door.

“The handle is busted. I can’t get out!”

He tinkled with the door from his side. I found some tweezers and tried to pop the lock from my side.

After about 10 minutes, one thing was clear: I’d done something to offend the bathroom door. It was not about to let me out.

“You need to come out through the window,” my husband said.

And I thought, “The window! Of course! Why didn’t I think of the window?”

As I started to climb out, I heard him say, “Wait. Don’t jump down. I’ll help you.”

And just like that, he was there, under the window, ready to catch me. I climbed onto his back. He did groan a little and I did apologize for jumping on his back at my heaviest time of the year. Still, he didn’t put me down. He carried me back into the house, so my bare feet would not have to touch the icy walkway.

Then he got a screwdriver and crawled through the window and into the bathroom.

When he opened the bathroom door, I looked at him standing there with the door handle in one hand and the screwdriver in the other and I thought, “Can everyone please go home right now? I want to have some serious sex with my manly husband.”

Could I have gotten out of the bathroom without my husband’s help? It’s debatable. I suppose I might have come up with the idea of climbing out the window before I died of starvation.

I could definitely have gotten from the bathroom window to the back door without his help, but it was so much more fun and satisfying to be his damsel in distress for a few short moments.

I don’t get to be a damsel in distress very often. In our relationship, I’m the primary breadwinner. I handle the budgeting and investing. I occasionally shovel the snow.

Truth be told, I even own my own screwdriver.

I don’t give him the chance to be a man very often. Yet, I have to say, when I need a man and he volunteers for the job, I just love every bit of the experience. I love when:

  • I’m cold and he offers me his jacket.
  • I buy four bottles of wine, and he carries all of them rather than asking me to take two.
  • He opens my car door for me.
  • I arrive home from the grocery store and he’s at the trunk before I’m out of the driver’s seat, telling me to go inside and relax while he lugs in the groceries.
  • He does anything with a screwdriver, hammer, or “man toy.”

I do like him in an apron, too. That’s true. Yet, in this world, there are some jobs that are better left to the men, and rescuing a 38-year-old mom from the bathroom is one of them.

Do you prefer a manly man over a sensitive one?

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Are some sex roles better left unchanged? Should chivalry never die? Do you prefer your man to act like a man? Leave a comment.

Tomorrow: Why all feminists should wear lingerie, get waxed, and check out all things XXX.

10 comments… add one

  • Tracy December 29, 2008, 1:48 pm

    I agree with you. I can take care of myself but it’s nice to know that there is somebody who is willing and able to give me a hand when I need it.

  • Philippa December 29, 2008, 2:16 pm

    I love reading your stories. I can always visualize everything. But about this post I think I found the best of both worlds. My husband is a very manly man, who would do almost anything to help me around the house and outside the house. We haven’t carried our cars for oil changes in a long time, he does it all. But on the other hand he cried like a baby when we watched Spirit (the animated horse movie – great movie). He is not ashamed to cry and show his emotions. I like this balance.

  • admin December 29, 2008, 7:01 pm

    Philippa: your husband should clone himself and sell the clones on EBay. You could be rich in a matter of days. I too love a sensitive guy who talks and likes art films and books (not my husband) and a manly guy who kills bugs/rodents, fixes things and can carry me in a pinch (my husband). In all of the various men I’ve dated, I can’t say I’ve ever seen those two world’s collide. It has always been one or the other. But because I cannot in a million years ever bring myself to kill a mouse not to mention a spider, I’m glad I married someone who thinks nothing of taking a hammer to their tiny heads.

  • Marilyn Bauman December 30, 2008, 12:27 pm

    Since I am of the age of the dinosaurs, for the first part of my married life my husband always “took care of me” in all important ways. He was a doer and task oriented. I was a feeler and liked lots of unstructured time. He worked and made the money. I stayed home and ran the house and raised the kids.

    Until what I refer to as the “bad years,” this was a fine blend. When the “feminists” started providing me with much food for thought, I decided I had to learn to “take care of myself.” That this occurred at the juncture of my mid-life crisis certainly made the time memorable, or as my daughter recently said, I was “one angry woman.”

    But now he is retired, and I am working full time at a job I love and that defines me, absorbs me, and challenges me. I make the money, and I work, and I continue to paint my pictures. And he does all the housework, shopping, fixing, etc. He rubs my back when I am tired, and he drops everything to do whatever I need doing at any moment I need it. I am completely spoiled. I love it. And I love him more now than at any time in our marriage. After 44 years, this is an extraordinary fact.

    I will never change a tire (as I know Alisa can and does); right now, I can’t undo a string caught in the zipper of my gym bag, but I know my husband will tackle it and succeed as soon as he comes home. It used to be he could not cook at all, and he was hopeless in the grocery store. Now he is an expert at both. He feels freed from the burden of supporting a family, or us, and he loves his “time” to do whatever he enjoys.

    Love and patience saw us through. I recommend it.

  • Heather Cook December 30, 2008, 3:29 pm

    I do quite love my manly man. Yes, sure, he could show more emotion… but you know what? I was already married to an emotional guy and hooooboy I wanted someone to just suck it up once in a while, we can’t all have emotional breakdowns every month, someone has to stay strong!

    I choose each day to overlook the little things my husband doesn’t do because I know he does the bigger things because he loves me, he will always make sure there’s a roof over our head, I can overlook the fact that he doesn’t leave me love notes under my pillow or cry at movies.

  • Natalia January 3, 2009, 10:30 am

    That’s not being manly, that’s being good with your hands and at fixing things. My last roommate was like that, always fixing whatever needed it. HER name is Leslie. And what good is a guy who can change a tire if he’s a sexist jerk? Also, you can have a guy who cries who also knows how to change a tire.

    This is a very essentialist post.

  • Sara Reed January 5, 2009, 2:52 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. I love “manly men” and all my friends know it. It is probably the single most attractive and sexy quality in the opposite sex. I love when he can fix and build things, offers/insists on doing the heavy lifting without being asked and acts like an old-fashioned gentleman – opeing my car door first, offering me his arm when the ground is icy, helps me climb up or down a steep drop while we’re on a hike and general takes pleasure in doing things to make my life easier.

    A degree of sensitivity is also nice, I wouldn’t want a manly man who was cold and unfeeling. The sensitivity part should be mild though. I enjoy feeling protected, not the protector. :)

  • cory @ AGoodHusband.net January 14, 2009, 2:36 am

    Great post. Chivalry should be discussed more than it is right now. It’s a great topic. I think men & women have made great strides in figuring out what we can do for each other.

    I always admire the older men I meet who set such good examples for me in their lives with their wives. It reminds me how I should be treating my wife, and the rest of the ladies out there.

    Thanks for following me on Twitter, Alisa!

  • John August 24, 2009, 11:18 am

    Men have always been known for their chivalry. If they are treated well by women, they get treated better in return. If women want to be taken good care of by their men, they need to respect and treat their men with dignity.

  • John August 25, 2009, 2:54 am

    Men have always been known for their chivalry. If they are treated well by women, they get treated better in return. If women want to be taken good care of by their men, they need to respect and treat their men with dignity.


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