98. Chivalry–Blondes Prefer Gentle (As Do Brunettes, Redheads, and Blue-Haired Ladies)

13 Jun

When I moved to Seattle for the second time back in the early 00’s (can you believe we’re already into a new decade and have yet to settle on a name for the last one?), I kept running into a problem with the menfolks here: they just would not help. Now, I’m about as feminist as Sarah Palin is not, but I’m not above letting y-chromosomed folks handle the heavy lifting…or anything involving wires…or car parts. Also, insects.

Let me take you back to late 2002 when my then-roommate and I were reduced to doing something shameful and unnatural, namely, hiring a man from the back page of The Stranger. The situation was that we needed a gi-normous desk moved from one room to another through a narrow doorway. We did not have A. the upper body strength to do the job ourselves, and, yes, we did try or B. a guy who would give us a hand (or more accurately two strong hands and biceps to match). So, naturally, we turned to the back page of the stranger, bypassing the ads for paid research studies, DUI lawyers, and “massage” therapists, till we spotted just what we needed: Man With Truck. Actually, we did not need a truck, just a man would do. When we explained this and offered to cover his minimum fee, he reluctantly accepted the job. He may or may not have driven over in his truck. We neglected to check.

After a few more failed attempts at soliciting male assistance (including a potluck wedding reception at which we’d been asked to construct an elaborate electrical-cord system–we’d asked a guy nearby to help and were refused with the excuse “I’ve got to bring in the potato salad”) I was starting to lose faith in the gender as a whole. Then my mom called to tell me about how she was leaving a store and struggling a bit with her purchase when a one-armed man ran over to help her.

Let’s review: a ONE-ARMED man helped my mom with her bags. A ONE-ARMED man she DID NOT KNOW. A ONE-ARMED man who RAN over to help. I’m sorry if I sound a little biased, but Southern gentlemen ROCK.

To be fair, I should say that my opinion of men in Seattle was formed before I made the acquaintance of many kind, generous, and helpful people of the male persuasion who live here. Especially the one who lives here in my house. I guess one should refrain from making general assumptions about the opposite sex when one is on an Internet dating spree.

Where's a boy when you need one?

However, I think it’s fair to say that Southern gentleman do tend to act more gentlemanly (except when they don’t–this means you, Skoal spitters) than their Northern counterparts. I think they’re more likely to go out of their way to help folks they don’t know. Sure, guys here will hold the door for you and would most likely lend you a cell phone to call 911. But would they pull over to change a stranger’s tire? Open the car door for you? Offer to carry your groceries? Maybe not. I mean, during my time in Seattle, I’ve come across approximately 2 million five hundred and twelve rain puddles and can count on no fingers the number of times a man has thrown his coat over one for me.

Have you encountered a random act of chivalry? Do tell…

Photo credits from Flickr Creative Commons: Tire changing by Raul Lieberwirth, Carrying groceries by Amber, Rabbit by Pablo Domingo.

19 Responses to “98. Chivalry–Blondes Prefer Gentle (As Do Brunettes, Redheads, and Blue-Haired Ladies)”

  1. Tori Nelson June 13, 2011 at 11:21 am #

    I nearly cried the first time I visited the West Coast. I took having to elbow past men to open my own door downright scary!

    • Kim Holloway June 13, 2011 at 6:58 pm #

      Good thing you’re spunky enough to fend for yourself!

  2. Kim's Sister June 13, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    So last week when I was back in Memphis we had to go on a scavenger hunt. One of the items on our list was a bulletin from a specific church. After trying 4 doors that were locked we finally found one that had a buzzer you could ring for assistance (nothing like lock-down security in a church). There was nothing less than chivalry on the other side of the door when the little man sitting in the lobby got up ON HIS ONE LEG AND CRUTCHES and opened the door for us!!!!! He didn’t even work there, he said the lady was gone for a moment and he didn’t want us to wait! ONE LEG!!!! NO WHEELCHAIR!!!!! CHIVALRY!

    • Kim Holloway June 13, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

      LOVE IT!! What is it about the Holloway women that inspires physically-challenged folks to rush to our assistance?

  3. littlecackles June 13, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    It’s even becoming old-fashioned here in Louisiana. Or, at least CenLa. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been struggling with bags & a stroller and people have cut in front of me to get to the door. But not to help — just to get in themselves! So then I’m left to hassle with bags, a busy toddler, and a stroller that hates my guts, while trying to open a door to the mall… or whatever. And don’t even get me started on going to a public restroom with all of the above mentioned.

    Even still, I don’t think I’d trade my place here for your place in Seattle.

    • Kim's Sister June 13, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

      littlecackles…oh my I can SOOOOOOO feel your pain! I can picture myself in the same scenario! Thank heaven’s for my one legged man to give me faith that chivalry is not dead.

      PS – Why do ALL of our strollers hate us! Surely someone without small children designed them! My current one has a seat that seems perpetually stuck in “lean-back mode”. I feel like my 11 month old should be in a Snoop Dogg video!

      • littlecackles June 13, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

        Don’t I know it! Mine has a mind of its own. If I want it to go left, right it will go. Stupid things.

        • Kim Holloway June 13, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

          Too funny y’all! For what it’s worth, I always rush ahead to open doors for folks with strollers. As an unencumbered single person, I sort of consider it my duty. I would also happily open the door for a one-legged person on crutches.

  4. Mama Peanut June 13, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    I totally feel your pain about chivalry, and I’m impressed that you stepped out and said it. We are a family living “out west” now, but I am still raising three door-opening, “yes-ma’am-no-ma’am,” grocery unloading, permission-asking, manner-using, heavy lifting southern gentlemen that are actually protective of females. They even wanted to lock our puppy up when I told them she would eventually go into heat (so that no male dogs would ever have the chance to bring her shame.) They certainly aren’t perfect, but people here go into shock because my kids actually have manners.

    • Kim Holloway June 13, 2011 at 7:10 pm #

      Thanks for carrying on the tradition. Perhaps it will catch on!

      “no male dogs would ever have the chance to bring her shame” LOVE it!

    • Kim's Sister June 14, 2011 at 8:41 am #

      Mama! A woman after my own heart. So proud of your young’uns!

      Here is the really funny thing about the whole “yes ma’am, no sir” thing. Living in the great states of Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi, no child of mine will EVER reply with a single “No” there had better be a ma’am or sir connected to the end of that at all times.

      However, my husband, who I would say in most instances has impeccable manners but has the misfortune of growing up in the non-Southern “Iowa” thinks that children should NOT say these words. He says that “I am not a drill sergeant, my children should not have to address me in that same way!”

      Thinking that I could at least get his mother on my side as she is a woman who had at the time lived for over 20 years in Tennessee I went to her to report on her son…and to my horror, she totally agreed with him! The woman who wouldn’t let a card come without sending a thank you note for it or would mail you a wayward sock even though you live less than 10 minutes away because she was concerned you might need it before she could see you again. THIS LADY DID NOT BELIEVE IN YES MA’AM!

      Oh well…I guess we can’t blame people for their raisings. But rest assured, I have won the yes ma’am and sir battle with my husband, he understand that even though he was a foreigner here, he had better learn to speak the language!

      • Kim Holloway June 14, 2011 at 10:25 am #

        “better learn to speak the language” Love it!

  5. lisa in alabama June 13, 2011 at 8:30 pm #

    Great post and great topic!

    I experienced a great show of chivalry at a punk house in Wellington, New Zealand, of all places. We were helping someone move but didn’t really know most of the people there. I helped cook a big meal for about 20 people who were there, and after dishing it up, discovered there was enough food for all but one person – myself. I wasn’t going to draw any attention to it, maybe find a piece of bread or something for the moment and get something later, but as everyone sat to eat, one very observant kid said, “Hey, where’s your food?” I tried to brush it off, but he said, “No way, (bleep) that!” and proceeded to grab an empty plate, scoop a spoonful off of everyone else’s plate and heap it onto mine, until I had the largest portion in the whole house! That was a really incredible moment.

    I had the opportunity to “pay it forward” a few years later on a safari in Rwanda, where the tour guides were standing off to the side while we ate our bag lunches of sandwiches, boiled eggs and fruit packed by the hotel. I was like, “Don’t you guys get to eat?” They did the same sort of dancing around an answer, and we learned that it came out of their salary and they were trying to bring the money home to their families. No way I was going to eat in front of them. I made them come sit with us, and we shared our food and plenty of stories and laughs as well. It was a blast that we won’t forget and I’m sure they haven’t either. There was more than enough, and somehow again, they still made sure that I got the largest share. Strange, how there is always enough to go around if you want it to.

    • Kim's Sister June 14, 2011 at 8:25 am #

      What a great story Lisa!

      • Kim Holloway June 14, 2011 at 10:28 am #

        Love those stories! Especially how you summed it up with “there is always enough to go around if you want it to.”

  6. DessertForTwo June 14, 2011 at 8:26 am #

    Totally loved this post!

    I felt the same way when I left the South–where did all the chivalry go? But I soon discovered military men to be chivalrous, no matter where they’re from 🙂

    • Kim Holloway June 14, 2011 at 10:31 am #

      Thanks! Perhaps they learn it at boot camp?

  7. Anonymous July 22, 2011 at 7:24 am #

    No Ma’am,the Military only has the best of the best volunteering.

  8. Anonymous July 22, 2011 at 7:25 am #

    And generally 7 out of 10 will be SOUTHERN

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