Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Taking Back Our Princess-Status

So, last week I met a few friends for dinner and trivia (one of my favorite evening pastimes...finally an outlet for all this useless knowledge that I've picked up over the last 29 years.  Remember anything from college that I paid $345 a credit hour for?  Eh.  Remember what apartment number Jerry Seinfeld lived in?  Sure...5A.  Doesn't everybody know that? Come on, people.).  One of my friends started to share her terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day experience.  Upon leaving work, she discovered that her car had a dead battery.  I don't remember all of the details, but she ended up with a female friend trying to jump start her car in a gas station parking lot.  As these two women attempted to create power where there was none, several men glanced over and completely dismissed the event.  To my friend's great surprise, the only person who offered her assistance was a woman she said was very obviously a lesbian.  I wasn't there to clarify this statement (you know, with my very talented discerning ability for sexual preference) but she seemed assured of this and although she was completely grateful for the woman's assistance regardless of her personal affiliation, she was highly dissatisfied with the men's responses or lack thereof. 

Recalling my recent post about chivalry, I couldn't help but stick my two cents in.  "You mean to tell me that the only gentlemen left in this world are lesbians?!," I announced in disappointment.  Surely the world was not so bleak for us hetero gals!  After the initial laughter waned (you know, I fancy myself an amateur comic with my one-liners)  I contemplated this statement in my usual overanalyzing style.  Had we reached the point where men no longer stopped to help a damsel in distress?  Why?  Have women pushed men away from being the knight in shining armor with pro-feminine sentiments?  Has the "I can do anything you can do better" saying permeated our culture to this extreme?  I hoped not.

I decided instead of being Debbie Downer and catching all the times that men disappointed me with their lack of chivalry, I would mentally note all the times that they were just the opposite and am happy to announce that I've been pleasantly surprised and impressed.  There ARE still gentlemen out there; men who walk a couple of steps faster to dart ahead and hold doors open for women to enter first; men who offer to hold our stuff (and if you meet me, you'll realize in minutes that I come with a lot of paraphernalia) while in lines at cafeteria counters so we don't have to balance trays, cups, plates, purses, wallets, computer bags, etc.; men who walk you to the door and make sure you get in okay before leaving; men with a cart full of groceries who step back in line to let us go first when we're only satisfying a late night ice cream craving with a pint of Ben & Jerry's.

And in the few short weeks that I've been trying to look on the brighter side of this equation, I've decided that, if not the primary reason, at least a major component of why these gentlemen are in such few supply is our fault.  That's right...I said it.  We, the women, are to blame.  I can't believe that there are that many men in the world who do not want to treat a woman like a princess.  We've been taught for too long that being treated like this is some form of belittling our status in society.  For a man to hold a door open for us must mean that they think we can't do it for ourselves...right?  I don't think so.  I think it means that the man wants to acknowledge that we are the more delicate gender of our species and respect us for our place and role in our society.  Take a look at some other cultures and their views towards women and compare them to ours. Then you can tell me that holding a door open for us is demeaning.  I also know that we've been taught to be on guard with men, but trusting our instincts when they tell us that something is amiss and assuming that all men are out to attack and pillage us are two different things.

Now, don't rush to call me out about men who are in fact and in action belittling to women; I know they exist and I've been in their company.  The only guy I've almost ever slugged in my life sat in a room full of women in my college dorm room and announced that he completely believed in the "barefoot and pregnant" philosophy and fully expected his future wife (I thought "good luck" but amazingly, he's married now) to go along with the idea of simply being the housekeeper and the childbearer.  Before this statement, he was pursuing one of my suitemates.  That ended quickly.  But, I think there are more true gentlemen out there than there are this kind of creep.  We need to relax and be appreciative of these little things that should make us feel special or at least noticed for the wonderful women that we are.  We need to become comfortable with taking back our princess-status and be thankful that there are men who believe that treating a woman with extra care and attention isn't intended to demean her but to promote and flatter her.


  1. Yesterday you had writer's block, today you have new inspiration--woo hoo!

    Since you brought up chivalry, I need to vent about how it quickly disappears once the guy is comfortable in the relationship. Take last weekend for instance: my hands were full, and rather than walk around the car to open my door, Dave leaned over in his seat and pushed the passenger door open for me. When we first started dating, he *always* opened my door for me, irregardless of whether my hands were full or not.

  2. Hmm...good to know. Let's trouble-shoot this. We'll come up with an addendum entitled "How to Take Back Your Princess-Status Once You Have a Ring."

  3. We have to let the men "open the pickle jar" once in a while. Yes, we are strong and independent, but the human mind has not evolved as fast as societies expectations have. It still feels good to be treated like a princess! And men need to be treated like men - big and strong - but some women do not treat them like men. Metrosexuals?!?! But I agree with you, as women we need to allow men to treat us like a princess :)


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