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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Women are Chivalrous Too


I think my friends over at VerySmartBrothas.com provided a great service for the world when they wrote, "The verysmartguide to 21st century chivalry." Most men still  open doors without a second thought. (I always find it charming, when guys have a low-key anxiety attack when you're walking on the outside and physically move you to the inside of the sidewalk.)

But some men are grudgingly chivalrous. A friend of mine has asked me at least twice, "What is the female equivalent to men's chivalry? What do you all do that warrants our gentlemanly behavior?"

Short Answer
The short answer is history and precedence doesn't dictate that we have to do anything. For centuries, women weren't allowed to work. "Gentlemen" (usually fathers or husbands) funded "ladies" lives. Even in working-class cultures where men and often children were expected to work arduous hours in factories, some men still didn't want women to work. A woman's job was to take care of house and home. Chivalry arose as a need, not so much as an arbitrary responsibility for men.

Long Answer
I agree with the short answer. But I think that for every chivalrous man out there, there are "chivalrous" women that do the following things for men:

Disclaimer: Just like every man is not a gentleman, every woman does not do these things.
1. Your team becomes our team. I know some women are into sports just as much as men, and they may be a fan of your rival team, so they are exceptions to this one. But otherwise, if you're a Buckeyes football fan, we overnight become Buckeyes fans too. We may not know the difference between a field goal and a touchdown, but we think it's appropriate to make scarlet and gray cupcakes in support of our new team, and we go hard in the paint for a team we knew little to nothing about before you. (But if there's a bad breakup, please believe we will support your rival for life! This is how I became an Auburn fan.)

2. Your passion becomes our passion. Somewhat related to the previous one, this one is also something women do without being asked. I remember a girl friend of mine was up late studying HTML and CSS Code. Why? Because her new Web Designer boyfriend was a total techie who talked about it all the time and she wanted to relate. Sure, a good guy will go with you to a play to show support, but they typically won't study it.
What's crazy is we even support passions that don't look promising. We support long-shot rap careers and pyramid schemes too.

3. We keep bodily functions to ourselves sometimes risking danger to internal organs. I hate to break it to you, but all women pass gas, burp, do #2, and some even have the urge to spit. But most of them don't do it in front of you. Some will sit uncomfortably for HOURS clenching body parts just so that you don't see this very human side of us. While guys usually do this at first too, they're usually the first to let one loose.

4. We remember the little things that you often take for granted. For some odd reason, you may like sitting facing the window when you go out to restaurants. So, when the hosts walks us to our table, we automatically opt for the seat that we know you don't want. Why? Because our brains seem to have this strange function where it retains details that make your lives smoother. And we love doing it. You don't have to ask; it's included.

5. We learn how to make that one dish you love. All women can't cook, and it seems men are reluctantly realizing that it is not a guarantee that they'll find a woman who even wants to learn. But if there's one dish you rave about that your momma makes or that you salivate for, we learn how to cook it (or where to buy it). There are a few dishes in my repertoire I would have never learned to cook if it wasn't for certain individuals' specific tastes.

6. We know how to do things there is absolutely no reason for us to know how to do. Like a Windsor knot on a tie. Or folding your pocket square.

Some people wouldn't consider these things chivalrous, and that's fine. Dissenting opinions allowed. I do think however, just as men do things for women that go above and beyond the call of duty, so do we.

What did I miss? Anything I left out?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Patriotism Has a Funny Look to It


Last week, the Washington Express' front cover was of a Islam extremist in Pakistani at a rally in support of the anti-blasphemy laws. These laws were recently under fire because a Christian woman, Asia Bibi was sentenced to death for "allegedly assaulting Islam's Prophet Muhammad." Soon after the rally, a Pakistani governor, who supported overturning the anti-blasphemy laws, Salman Taseer was assassinated by a member of his own security for his "liberal" philosophies. In a sappy, patriotic moment, I BBM'ed a friend and said, "I'm so glad I'm an American... where I can be Christian without worry of a death sentence."

Less than a week later, (D) Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was shot by Jared Loughner.

I don't think America's political climate parallels Pakistan.That's melodramatic. However, I do think we can learn a lesson from the mistakes being made in Pakistan and other countries. The loose-lipped political rhetoric from the left and the right is dangerous, and can easily provide fuel for people to justify their fatal actions. We've got Congress members interrupting the President in the chambers, rallies from conservative extremists that get nasty and include racial epithets, Rush Limbaugh saying "I hope our President fails", Bernie Sanders resounding filibuster, and Glenn Beck being... well, Glenn Beck.

Interestingly enough, on the day that the news broke about Rep. Giffords, I was discussing Glenn Beck's responsibility as a voice that speaks to millions. Beck is not a politician, he's an entertainer, which some people believe gives him the right to say whatever he wants with no regards to the consequences. The person I was discussing Beck with insisted that while he is a "hothead", he's a "true patriot." Allow me to walk you through a few of the patriot's comments:
Progressives are using the same tactic as Hitler did in "rounding up Jews and exterminating them"...Obama is the antiChrist... Maybe it's better that [America] doesn't make it because they (who is they?!?) are building a global cage...Woodrow Wilson and Barack Obama don't share any respect for the Constitution... Obama has a deep seated hatred for white people... The health care bill is the end of America as we know it...Bailing out General Motors is FACISM!... America is destined  to repeat FACISM! Facism is on the rise!The climate change people are pulling a page from Nazis' Hitler youth.

Say what you want Glenn Beck; you still have that freedom. But don't you dare consider yourself a patriot, when you speak of an impending doomsday for our country and use riotous language.

Whatever happened to supporting discussion and compromise? People consider compromise an ugly word because they construe it as giving in. I wonder if these people ever had to share their toys as a child or traded sandwich triangles. Did you ever say "Have some of my ham and cheese so I can have some of your peanut butter and jelly?" It seems 3rd graders have a better handle on compromise than many of our congress members and adult citizens.

I'm no Glenn Beck with an apocalyptic prophecy for the end of America and the world as we know it, but I will say this. If we want to move forward as a country... if we want our citizens and congress members to be safe, if we want the U.S. to truly progress (which is not a dirty word), we have to cut the crazy talk, stop being so stubborn, listen, and hold people accountable for virulent commentary under the thin veil of "entertainment" or "patriotism."

Disclaimer: I'm not blaming anyone, aside from the individual who pulled the trigger, for the shooting of Arizona citizens, federal judge, and Congress members. However, I do believe that many (Fox, MSNBC, Huffington Post, ex Alaskan governors, Congressmembers, etc) have helped to foster an ugly, angry climate that causes much more harm than good.

What do you think? Is the present political climate healthy or no? Should we cue EPMD's "You Gots To Chillllll"?

Sources:  
1. (book)Tears of a Clown: Glenn Beck and the Tea Bagging of America
2. (article) Washington Post: Arizona Shooting Suspect
3. (article) Washington Express: Gone Too Far? 
4. (article) Washington Express: Pakistani Extremism
5. (song) EPMD - You Gots To Chill
 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Most Hated Holidays


It's 2011, a new year, which means, the opportunity to celebrate all our favorite holidays again. But...my most recent post and the comments have informed me that some people hate certain holidays. More than I hate coconut, domestic cats, and bad hair days. Which ones are they?

3. VALENTINE'S DAY
Why People Hate It:
Every year, I hear theories about how this holiday was created by:
A. Hallmark to create revenue
B. Happily married women who want to make single women feel left out
People hate Valentine's Day because they perceive it as a time to shine on their loneliness and/or because they don't like the idea of spending money to show someone how much you care. They argue that if you love someone, why not show it every day? Why does their need to be a holiday to commemorate your affection?
Why It's Not So Bad: V-Day creates an opportunity/platform for people to be romantic/mushy without being perceived as soft, and gives many emotionally reserved people a specific time to express their love/affection. Plus kind words, affection, and chocolate are rarely ever a bad idea! And it's been around for centuries; it wasn't created by Hallmark. Read more here!

2. CHRISTMAS
Why People Hate It: Christmas gets a lot of flack for a myriad of reasons. Many decry its (similar to V-Day), heightened commercialism, its pagan roots, its Christian roots, and its crimes to reindeer. Poor Christmas.
Why It's Not So Bad: Regardless of the several pagan customs that have been attached to Christmas, Christians recognize Christmas as the celebration of the birth of Jesus. In secular, non-Christian households however, Christmas can also represent positive themes including gift-giving to loved ones, time with family and friends, and peace on earth. If you're personally offended by Christmas, then take it as an opportunity to give to others, volunteer (you're off anyway!), or spend time with your family. Either way, it's a win-win!

1. THANKSGIVING
Why People Hate It: Traditionally, we're taught that the first Thanksgiving dinner was a meal shared by Pilgrims and Native Americans, who shared their food with hungry Europeans. Thanksgiving Haters have a great point. Commemorating a meeting between the violent, hostile and racist/culturalist/imperialist./everythingelseist New Englanders and the peaceful, friendly Native Americans is barbaric. (Sidenote: The previous sentence contains dramatic generalization, but you catch my drift.) As we all know, the European arrival in America was nothing but tragic for Native Americans/American Indians. So why should we sit down to a dinner and pay homage to these horrible events?
Why Its Not So Bad: I don't eat turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, dressing, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, or ham so you'd think Thanksgiving wouldn't be that important to me. However, in a country where the American Dream includes the urge to keep up with the Jones' and want More, More, More, I embrace a holiday that encourages us to be thankful for what we have. Thanksgiving is one of the few times of year I get to see my family, eat a hearty meal, and be purposeful about reflecting on what I'm grateful for. When else are we expected to literally attempt to count our blessings? Your turkey dinner and acknowledgment of the awesome things you have isn't going to cause a Native American to be scalped somewhere. I recommend for those offended by this holiday's origins, they teach others the ugly side of American history, often swept under the table, but also thank the people in their lives for what we are lucky to have.

Other Hated Holidays include Columbus Day, Halloween, and Martin Luther King Day. I say research them all, and do your best to find the silver lining. Because everyone can use a day off every now and then.

What about you? Do you hate any of the holidays listed? Do you love them? Share a word or three.