that’s another of my resolutions. i have kind of a mishmash of resolutions this year, but it’s working. in my mind.
so i’m thankful for gentlemen!
(i feel like i should preface this with that i understand and respect the complexity of gender and sexual identities, but right now this is about my single hetero lady issue with femininity. no disrepect to my homos! join the convo!)
this year i want to explore and embrace my femininity. when i’ve tried to explain that to people, it has gotten really garbled and comes out sounding like i’m just putting out stereotypes about chivalry and being ladylike. i also read steve harvey’s book, act like a lady, think like a man. interesting book with some gems, but definitely very simplistic and stereotypical. i think it’s some peoples’ truth for sure and parts of it i do definitely agree with. but it got me thinking about what behaviors i do as a lady that affect a man’s masculine identity. when i thought more about it, there are a few things that stick out as i try to work this out for myself:
- a memory from when i was young: my mom and i got a flat tire. she micromanaged me around fixing it. when we got up and running she said, “who needs a man when you’ve got Lola?!” super funny, mom. but it was like this. i did all of the work when i was younger. i was trained to predict needs, take care of everything, and all the while my mom micromanaged. so if i wanted to feel like i was doing something of my own accord, i’d have to beat her to the punch. as i’ve grown up, i’m ridiculous independent, i didn’t learn to ask for help or work well with others, and if i want something i go get it. in short, i was trained to do everything by myself really good and be quietly resentful about it.
- when i used to go to church all the time there was this singles retreat where they talked about the roles of men and women. one thing i have always remembered and liked was this: men and women are different in a complementary way. and their brains work differently. men have a very strong singular focus, whereas women are better multitaskers, better able to see the whole picture. and in the simplest of terms, men’s cardinal need is to be respected/shown respect and women’s need is to be loved/shown love. though i take it with a grain of salt and allow for exceptions, i like the concept. there are things that come easier to men and others that come easier to women. the most important thing i take from it is to find someone that complements me. for present conversation, find someone whose way of being a man is complementary to my way of being a woman.
- on chivalry. i have always enjoyed watching and being on the receiving end of chivalrous behavior – holding doors, offering an arm, paying. i just like it and i think it’s proper. i do live in modern reality so i don’t expect it, people don’t generally do it anymore. and frankly i hold more doors than anyone else i know (see 2 paragraphs up). but i notice it when it happens and it always seems to me that this is how it should be. i remember when i first met my guy friends from lombard, they were all gentlemen and it made me think that lombard must be some utopia of good manners and boys who got raised right! i remember years ago telling don that he was the only guy i would stand back and wait for to open the doors for me (he had done it enough that i could relax and expect it) and that i really appreciated it. i watch jt and the way he always opens car doors for lisa and is just caring and polite in the physical interactions. there was a guy i worked with last year at my internship and he did it, too. it’s just manners. but those are important to me and i want to be on the receiving end more often.
pulled together, what i’m trying to say is that i want to be treated as precious, worthy of respect, taken care of, protected, provided for, cherished. and i think chivalry is a way that shows that respect and care in small yet significant (to me) ways. i feel like from the way i came up, i steal my own blessings in this area and i want to learn how to act in a way that embodies my beliefs about my own femininity and worthiness to be treated well.
it’s not about the chivalry. but it’s not not about the chivalry. (thank you women, food, and god!)
i want to be less focused on myself and just assuming i’m going to have to independently go grab what i want, and make room in my life to be cared for by a nice, chivalrous, respectful man who complements me! i don’t think i ever thought about my independence this way before. so that’s what i’m thankful for.