this question was on my mind all day, triggered by a situation i observed in the hall between classes. picture this:
a girl is speed-walking to her next class. she drops her binder. and papers… pencils… photos… are scattered everywhere. a boy stops. puts his binder on the ground. and starts to help the girl pick up her stuff and put everything back together. i join them. and, a sharpener… a couple of pens… a couple of sheets of paper later… the girl has everything back inside her binder… and she’s ready to head to her next class. she starts to stand up… loses her balance… and the binder goes tumbling… again.
the girl begins to cry. the boy stops… frozen. he stares at her face… rapt. he has a look of such anguish on his face. and the girl is crying… with abandon. what’s the matter? i ask her. i’m gonna be late for my next class, and this will be my third tardy so i’ll get detention again and my parents are gonna get me in real big trouble! yes. a dilemma, for her. besides... who wants to stay after school for an hour and a half with the ogress from outer space… the one with the beady eyes and hair that looks like it’s been held in place by fluffed up egg whites? not me, for sure. don’t worry. i’ll write you a pass. now, stop crying. leave your binder here and go wash your face, i tell her.
and that was the end of that part of the deal.
but the boy. he’s the one who really caught my eye… and my mind. the look on his face was… beautiful. it’s not that i reveled in his anguish. oh, no! it’s just that he stopped what he was doing… didn’t think twice about being late for class and getting into trouble, himself. he automatically did what he thought was right.. he stopped to help a girl with her mess. and that… to me… was… gallant.
gallantry is almost non-existent, nowadays. in fact, i think the word probably sounds archaic to most people, and i really think it’s on its way to becoming obsolete. but, i like a boy who’s gallant… because… he reminds me that i'm a girl.
in this day and age, where women talk about wanting to be “men’s equals,” i baulk at such statements! i don’t want to be a man’s equal. sure, i want to have equal rights as a man… in terms of work… and social dynamics… and pay… and all those other things we have rights to… but that’s not the same thing as being a man’s equal. underneath the straight-lacedness of a business suit or a collared shirt and dress pants with my badge being my jewelry… i… am… a… girl. i beam inside my heart when my husband opens the car door for me… or pulls out my chair at a restaurant. i burn with love and joy when he comes home with flowers… not because there's an occasion… but because i was thinking about you. imagine me coming home one day with flowers for my husband!
i’m quite content with my husband washing the cars while i cook dinner for the two of us. no, i don’t want to get my polished fingernails all busted and grimy with car oil and mud. but i’ll stick my fingers in dough, anytime!!!
in moments of desperation, i feel like some women are losing their grip on their femininity. like i said, i can have my rights and my entitlements. i have a job and an income and i am independent and successful and happy. but still… because i’m a true girl… if you’re a man… i’ll always want you to be gallant… i’ll always want you to open the car door for me, thank you very much. and i will never forget you if you do. because a man who's gallant... is a rare gem!