Realities on Divorce, Dating, Parenting and Re-Invention

#47. Chivalry is Dead, Buried & Defected On

47 Chivalry

#47. Chivalry is Dead, Buried & Defected On

Since I was born in 1970, I’m not sure if I can ever recall the concept of ‘chivalry’ as a common occurrence in my life. Perhaps it was only a practice in Victorian England, as acts chivalry are certainly not prevalent in today’s society. When I was pregnant, and huge, in the dead of summer, you would have had to pry the cold dead male carcass off his subway seat before he would offer it to me. In fact, it was only other women who ever offered up their seat. Since I am on the subway and streetcar daily, I have noticed that my experience is the norm for pregnant women. And the elderly. And the handicapped. In fact, if a blind, deaf, mute, pregnant old woman on crutches would be standing over a man, (of any age), he would, nine times out of ten, ignore this woman at all cost.

Some of the tactics to remain planted in his seat on public transportation include, but are not limited to: the bury the head in the paper/ibook/smartphone/cell game/bible; the ‘pretend you’re asleep or in a coma'; the ‘stare at your feet'; and the ever popular ‘aversion of the gaze’.

I’ve been thinking about the chivalrous gestures of old that seem to be forgotten. The opening of a door. The walking on the outside of the sidewalk. The pulling out of a chair. I do not believe that the Women’s Liberation movement is the reason why men have stopped being polite towards women. I think that men have just gotten lazy, spoiled and entitled.

The more roles that we women take on, the less we seem to be gaining from this ‘doing it all’ lifestyle. And the more that we accomplish seems to allow men to do less and take us, and the lifestyle that we afford them, for granted.

There is a ‘shout out’ section of the evening edition of the T.O.Night – a free newspaper accessible to all Toronto public transit commuters. There has been an on-going discussion on this forum from various women who write into the paper about their husband’s loafing around, not helping with the cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping and children. Basically, women are pissed off and wondering why they are doing all of the household chores, child rearing and working hard at their careers without any assistance form their so-called husbands/boyfriends. Most of the responses to these ‘sickandtired’ women are urging them to throw the bums out. Of course a few responses were of the, ‘as long as he loves you, keep trying to get him more involved’. Or, ‘try couple’s counseling’.

Look, I know not every man and husband is a lazy, boorish squatter. I just think that there are way more of these creeps floating around than there are the good guys. What would I tell all those women out there that are sick and tired of pulling all the weight around the home, children and finances?

Unless your husband or boyfriend has a medical condition that inhibits him from being an equal partner in your relationship, then roll him off the couch and kick his useless butt to the curb. Especially if you are a mother. Who needs their husband behaving like a child? And, who wants their kid/s to think that this behavior is acceptable? I have one mantra that I believe in whole heartedly, which is as follows: The only thing worse than a husband/boyfriend who is a combo of qualities that are: lazy, rude, selfish, alcoholic, drug dependent, unreliable, angry, infantile, egocentric or a cheating husband, is the woman who allows the loser to behave like he’s the King of Siam.

Gloria Steinem asked us to ‘become the man we want to marry’. She and the woman’s liberation movement that worked tirelessly in the face of male oppression succeeded at elevating our status from that of man’s property. Becoming the man we want to marry doesn’t mean that we don’t want or need men, but that we have every right to inhabit a life of passion, strength, power and dignity. We have more options and rights as a result. So why are we going to let men that are just not good enough for us make us ‘sick and tired’?

To all the men who love, celebrate and partner with their strong and accomplished women, you are what a real man should be. Anything less Ladies, is unacceptable. Being a strong woman with many hats does not mean that you should also endlessly cater to a man. Real men do not need to be mothered and want to play an active role in the household maintenance and child rearing activities.

If you are a married mother reading this who is doing everything on your own anyway, what exactly do you need or want a deadbeat husband/boyfriend for? Are you scared about becoming a single mother? NEWSFLASH: You already are! And worse, you have an extra delinquent ‘kid’ (husband/boyfriend) that is likely draining the life out of you! Thin the herd. Kick him out, enjoy some peace, less laundry, and a life on your own terms! That’s the secret we single mother’s have. It’s way easier and much happier being a single mom than a married wreck!

If anything, chivalry should be making a serious comeback to show women how much their tireless efforts in the home and at work are appreciated if they want to keep us in those roles. It might be advantageous at this point in societal evolution for men to start proving their worth to us and give us some reasons to keep them around!

I find it very interesting that many charities now exist to give money to the women in developing nations because studies have proven that they will use the money to assist and contribute to their entire communities. Studies have also shown that the men who are given the same amount money in the same communities, blow the same amount on alcohol. And who is the inferior gender?

  1. Tammy Flores
    Tammy FloresFeb 04, 2012

    Hayley, you always seem to hit the nail on the head. You have no idea what has been happening with me these last few days, but I’ve got to tell you. I went from depressed to happy again after reading this. You should never have to apologize for being a strong woman it’s the men around us that have to give themselves a shake.

    You know what really ticks me off? Is when you just express things they way you see them and the man’s reaction is… that they feel sorry for you and… they know you will never apologize and…hope you get over trust issues and … how someone so strong can be so fragile… it just pisses me off!

    It’s like a psychological warfare. They are bound and determined to effect your emotions. One caution to any man out there reading this. We bite back.

    Like I said in the beginning, I went from being depressed to happy that I read this. Keep writing. I really enjoy the articles.

    • Hayley
      HayleyFeb 05, 2012

      I’m so pleased that this blog could bring a smile to your beautiful face! I think we all need to be reminded about what we as women deserve.

      Whether its race, economics or gender, those with power in our society prefer to categorize their perceived ‘subordinates’ to elevate their status and lifestyle. Being Black in America used to translate into slavery. The rich all over the world still need to exploit the poor, and keep them poor, to make them richer.

      Men still get paid 30% more than women for the same job here in Canada. ‘Domestic’ work is still seen as ‘women’s work’ and not worthy of a man’s precious time and effort. The only way to change this imbalance is to stop accepting and complying with this learned female role.

      If we stop behaving like the domestic ‘help’ as part of our female identity, then we take away the power for men to treat us that way! Like Rosa Parks – sit wherever you want on the damn bus!

  2. Bob
    BobFeb 06, 2012

    Being in a relationship just like what you describe where my ex stayed at home and did nothing for me and the kids and I worked all the time and maintained the household, I understand exactly what you mean, but I think your advice is harmful. I never looked at my marriage as something to throw away because it was hard and unpleasant. I think the fact that people look at them as disposable is the root of a lot of issues in society, individuals and families. I agree with not just sitting by (you call it allowing) as this behavior goes on, but I disagree strongly with the “kick to the curb” direction you encourage. Find a way to fix your relationship as if divorce was not an option, because it should not be. Realize you are not perfect and you need to change in the relationship as well and do not just blame the other person. You are not referring to abusive relationships in this post, just to lazy ones.

  3. Bob
    BobFeb 06, 2012

    I also realized I had another point. It is important to realize that the most likely way to palce ourselves into a situation where we are treated like Rosa Parks in a relationship is because we did not really get to know the character of the person we chose to be with. A good man will not suddenly turn into what you describe. Getting sucked in by the hot, confident, smooth talking boy will. Chivalry had value in relationships because the crude, lazy men would not be chivalrous. They would cat call women, leer at them, and not behave chivalrously. They would take the wench out back, have sex with her, and beat her, but a truly chivalrous man viewed all that behavior as beneath him. Women lost an outward sign and have to look harder for it now, but it did not absolve them of looking for it. When women stopped looking for the inner traits they created a part of this.

    Lastly, lets remember Rosa Parks was made to sit in the colored section by white men and white WOMEN. The comparison is not really correct. Society was oppressing Rosa by an allowed and institutionally endorsed behavior. No one forces us to meet, select and marry a bad partner. We do that on our own. We have the responsiblity and the blame not the partner. It’s too easy the other way.

    • Tammy Flores
      Tammy FloresFeb 12, 2012

      Bob, I agree with your Principles, however, when the one you choose to marry is not willing to change and has bad behavior, yes you made that choice, but there is a divorce clause in every contract “marriage”. I can speak very boldly about my own circumstances and say I did not enter it lightly and I am thankful I was able to get out of it and did not become the “property” of that man. You do realize that in some parts of the world, women are still viewed as property and not as equal contributors to the family arrangement. For those women, it absolutely is the equivalent to the Rosa Park illustration because the man’s behavior is institutionally endorsed behavior and they are forced marry the men they are with in some cases.

      Woman’s issues in Canada only started to get better in the 70’s. That was not in the too far distant past. We still have issues with men and how they view our role in society. It should not be in this part of the world, but it exists.

      • Hayley
        HayleyFeb 12, 2012

        Yes – in a world where stoning a woman to death, female circumcision and other ghastly common practices are not only acceptable but normal, women need to plug into the roles that were created for them in order to re-construct their own identities. And on their own terms. Not the terms defined by men. I believe John Stuart Mill’s book from the 1800’s, “On the Subjection of Women” clearly states the absurdity of female roles as dictated by men.

        • Bob
          BobFeb 13, 2012

          Certainly good points and if you notice I said “created a part of this”. Everyone’s circumstances are different, and certainly in the areas of the world you discuss the points are relevant. I was just addressing the point in your context of Canada and the US, where I do not think there have been any women stoned publicly in recent memory. My point was to focus on those people (and I believe they are the majority), who view marriage as disposable and therefore just toss it aside. That’s where I felt your comments were harmful, encouraging them to continue to feel their view is condoned. If you were writing the articles to the women who are in danger of being stoned to death, then I think it would help, though I also think they are not reading this column.

  4. Pierre Boxwell
    Pierre BoxwellFeb 18, 2012

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