Tag Archives: the stranger

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.

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