Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Women are Chivalrous Too

I think my friends over at 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?