Monday, June 16, 2008

Gentleman Feminist

The Rooster, The Mayor and I rounded the corner onto a very narrow sidewalk on a really busy street.

I noticed that The Rooster kept trying to hold The Mayor’s hand. The street traffic must have made her nervous.

“Mayor, Rooster wants to hold your hand. Would you be willing to hold hands with her?” I asked.

The Mayor took her hand and asked his signature question.

“Why?”

“I think the busy street is making her nervous. Holding your hand makes her feel safer,” I told him.

“How come?”

“Because you are her big brother and that’s what good big brothers do… they help take care of their little sisters.”

We entered a shoe store where The Rooster rejected many, many perfectly fine shoes.

[What girl in her right mind leaves the shoe store empty handed??? Is she really mine?]

Walking back out to the narrow sidewalk, The Rooster again grabbed for The Mayor’s hand.

“Thank you for being such a nice big brother, Mayor. You’re even walking on the street side just like a gentleman!” I told him.

“What’s a gentle man?” The Mayor asked.

“A gentleman is a nice man, a good man.”

“Why does the gentleman walk on the street side?”

[Ack! Why did I choose to tell him this? What is the best, most feminist answer?]

“Um… to make the ladies feel safe and protected from the fast cars.”

[The ghost of Bella Abzug hit me with her hat.]

The Mayor held Rooster’s hand and walked her down the street.


As we turned the corner and left the whizzing traffic behind, The Mayor said,

“Mom, I don’t want to be a gentleman. I think I’d rather be a girl.”

Oh, The Sweet Mayor.

While chivalry can be nice, he has no idea what he’d be getting into.

39 comments:

Emily N said...

OMIGOD I'd never seen that Youtube video before. What a great way to start out my week - ENRAGED.

ps - I thought what you did with Mayor and Rooster was very appropriate. I would have had my older son hold his little brother's hand the same way.

Miz UV said...

How cute! I think I read once that in some places it's considered more gentlemanly to walk on the building side so no one jumps out of a dark doorway and grabs your lady.

Gee, whizzing cars or scary jumper? What a dilemma!

Patience said...

I think once he realized the details, he'd rather be a gentleman than a girl

furiousBall said...

haha, loved the video. i'm teaching my son to hold doors and stuff too.

Amanda said...

Shaving my legs the other day I had a similar thought, but then the whole spider slaying thing hit me and I decided I rather like being a girl. Does he know about all those manly duties? You might tell him about how he won't be having to push 10 pounds of baby through a five ounce slot...

Travis Erwin said...

Cute story.

LSM said...

I've also heard that the whole "man on the street-side" thing would be to protect the woman from getting splashed with water or mud if it's been raining. My mother-in-law evidently did not teach this manners rule, and it's always bugged me just a little bit that my husband doesn't do it. And, yes, generally I think of myself as a feminist. :)

jakelliesmom said...

Oh, the double-edged sword.

apathy lounge said...

Street side walking, of course, gives the erroneous notion that the car would strike the closest walker and spare the one next to him. Personally, I don't think that works. My husband insists on it and I just think (despite the chivalry) he's reinforcing the notion that a car might not mutilate his body the way it would mine. I'm so conflicted about this.

QT said...

Wow - love the video. Hadn't seen that before. I always remind myself that one of the most powerful and wealthy people in this country is actually a black woman....

Manners are not sexist - holding a door or having a door held is a kindness, as is having a chair pulled out for you, etc. I graciously accept it when others offer to do these things for me - just as I do them for others when the opportunity presents itself.

And yes, the street side walking was actually from when people dumped garbage and chamberpots out their windows into the gutter. That is also why men wore hats.

WILLIAM said...

Or he could become a pimp because they let the women walk on the street side.

amy said...

What a sweet story... I love Mayor's many, many questions.

zellmer said...

I heart that kid.

catnip said...

Your kids are darling. I have four older brothers and they were very protective, but I'm not sure any of them ever held my hand.

GRAY MATTER MATTERS said...

Bella Abzug, nice reference. You are truly the Dennis Miller of the blog world.

Mocha said...

The video hurt my tummy. Or maybe it was my uterus. No. It was my vagina! Ack!

But the story warmed my heart. I think that might be the most important thing I got out of it. My boys have been instructed to hold doors for women and the elderly and just anyone who is walking through it because it's good manners.

Hold your head up, girl. You're doing well.

amanda said...

I missed the video the first time around. Shit. That was chilling.

Don Mills Diva said...

What an adorable coupla kids you got there.

jeanie said...

I learned many years ago that the whole walking on the outside thing was due to chambers being emptied out of windows onto the streets - the theory being that the woman may be saved beneath eaves and the gentleman would take the crap.

Tory said...

They must have looked so cute walking hand in hand together on that busy street. They both sound so nice.
Take care
Tory

Damselfly said...

What sweet sweeties you have!

It will be interesting to see how this next generation of boys grows up.

I watched the video but my sound isn't working tonight!

A Whole Lot of Nothing said...

DAMN - how do you teach boys? I'm so glad I have girls.

Rapunzel said...

Cute story! For the record, I love it when my man walks on the street side, opens the door for me, etc. There's just something sweetly protective about it.

T. said...

Seriously? That Youtube video makes me nauseous...the whole "nagging voice" thing is so....1950. How far have we come?
Honestly people, honestly.

Wendy said...

I think he'd dig it if you said, you're on the street side so the mud will splash up on him! Cool, right?!

Betsy said...

Makes me think of the song, "When I was a Boy," from Dar Williams.
"When I was a boy, my mom and I we always talked, and I picked flowers everywhere that I walked. And I could always cry, now even when I'm alone I seldom do..." I'll stop there, but if you haven't heard it, it's a gem. Just like this blog post. Thanks

Betsy said...

Shoot, I completely botched those lyrics. Just go here and see for yourself: http://www.guntheranderson.com/v/data/wheniwas.htm

Molly said...

So funny! I've been asking my son to do the same thing with his little sister. Unfortunately, now he wants to hold her hand ALL the time and she's not having any of that. Be careful what you wish for!

Queen of the Mayhem said...

The grass is always greener!

Emily said...

I've never seen that video before.

Gives me a lot to think about with my 3 girls.

Kevin Charnas said...

HHAA!! When it comes to traffic, I can't say I blame him.

My Dad ingrained it in my head, I don't know where the hell I'd walk if I didn't walk street-side of ANYONE.

I'd probably just stand there going, "WHICH WAY DO I GO? WHICH WAY DO I GO? DDAA, DA, DAA..."

'cause you know...I'm so articulate and such.

cce said...

I'm with those that say The Mayor is much better off being a man, street side duties and all. I can't help but think they've got a lifetime of easier with which to taunt the opposite gender.

Jenifer said...

Love this post and the links.

Maureen said...

Har! That was great... you handled that beautifully.

TRS said...

OMG! That video is depressing.

so glad I don't have cable.

That may be the answer - keep your kids away from 24-hour news channels. I never saw a single one of these comments until I saw this video... and I work in media!!!

bzybead said...

that was more fox news and mnbc than I care to see this year. i'm angry now. . . the day started with sunshine, birds chirping and some yoga stretches so i won't let the flippin media get me down.

Maggie said...

that video just made me so sad.

Noelle said...

Ugh...that youtube video made me teary. Then it made me MAD!

Jenna Consolo said...

What a sweetie!