August 1, 2011

a brief defense of chivalry

I realize this is a minefield.  Just humor me.

Recently, in a public setting, I came very close to falling down some stairs while holding precious cargo:  my 14-month-old son, Lil' Snip.  Two men, seated nearby, leapt instantly to their feet, hands automatically outstretched to catch us or break our fall.  Shaken, I regained my balance (and my composure) sufficiently to thank them, and moved on, baby intact.

Could that have been embarrassing?  To be caught by two men, mid-fall, in public?  Absolutely.

Did I wish they had left me to save myself by dint of my woman-power?  Absolutely not.

This is not the first time that men of limited moral proximity to me (thank you, Isabel Dalhousie) have instinctively risen to rescue or protect me.  Once, at the pottery studio, eight months pregnant, I was applying glaze with a small brush to bisqued pots, being very careful to avoid getting the potentially toxic-to-my-baby mixture on my skin.  Two resident potters entered the studio in conversation, saw me glovelessly glazing, and rushed in tandem to alert me to the danger.

Knowing that there are men out there who are programmed in their very DNA to protect women and children (despite jeopardy to their political correctness) makes the world seem, to me, a safer and a friendlier place.  I wanted to go on record as being in favor of this.

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