Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Chivalry is not dead.

When I was in my twenties, I dated a boy who insisted on holding doors for me. Admittedly, his noble gestures were lost on this girl, the one who was raised like a farm hand.

I found myself sitting impatient and irritated as he held up a finger-instructing me to stay seated- and walked around the front of the vehicle to open my door. 

I found myself slightly agitated when he abruptly stepped into my path to grab the door handle for which I was reaching.

I found myself ungrateful for his "gallantry"; probably because it didn't feel authentic. It didn't feel at all like it was for me. Instead, it felt like a blatant chivalry display (like something at a museum), one which I was required to admire and enrich with praise and noises of ladylike astonishment. Clearly, that relationship failed to work for either of us.

Through the remainder of my 20's, I didn't have any further struggles with excessive or forced gallantry. In fact, it was quite the opposite. I had managed to cut all the gentlemen from my world. Go me. Until I met Brock...

I will never forget the first time Brock heaved my heavy purple Walmart bike into the bed of my pickup truck for me. I was shocked. No one had ever loaded anything heavy for this girl who grew up lifting haybales that equaled her in weight. I wasn't accustomed to people thinking I couldn't do something physical. I mowed a five acre lawn with a push mower when I was 12. I used to challenge myself to load the full grain buckets over the side of the truck bed with ONE ARM. For fun. I was the only girl in my 6th grade class that could climb the peg wall. I could do 10 chin ups (past tense- who do you think I am, Wonder Woman?). I certainly could load a freaking bike in the bed of my own freaking truck! How dare he! So I froze, unsure of what to do. Then I remembered my manners and grunted out an insincere, "Thanks", after which I waited for him to fall into a well-rehearsed diatribe about his mama raising him to be a gentleman or some shit like that. I was poised with my eyeballs ready to roll behind their lids.

Instead, he looked at me in confusion and asked, "For what?"

Suddenly a light dawned upon me. Maybe it wasn't so bad having someone to lift all the heavy things. After all, I did suffer from chronic back pain. Maybe this new way of life would allow a manicure to last more than two hours.

I laughed and realized that this guy was probably honestly courteous. So I married him. From that day forward, he has continued to randomly surprise me with gestures that are authentically for me: throwing my giant man-saddle on my giant man-horse here, crafting a handmade trunk there, delivering a cup of hot coffee to me when I silently prayed for it, and building me a freaking awesome Zen Den.

No, my friends, true chivalry is not dead. I found it! But maybe that's because I married outside of my own generation. Those AARP benefits and early bird specials are pretty sweet, too.

Fast forward to Spring Break 2015. Brock, the boys and I were headed back from Iowa, hauling two horses that we will be using for the summer. After six hours in the vehicle, we stopped for lunch, pulling into a large empty parking lot across a divided road from a busy burger joint. I carried two new five gallon water buckets to the establishment to fetch water for the horses. Once they were filled, they needed to be lugged back across the divided road, which was a 150 meter obstacle course of cars, curbs and slopes.

Brock was at the table with the boys as I  carried the full buckets out the door. He met me outside.

I heard his voice behind me, "You can't do that."

I looked up at my husband's mocking face and said, "What are you talking about? Of course I can."

He clearly had forgotten my entire childhood history.

"I'm not going to let you do that, you silly woman " He said, incredulously. "I'll do it," he insisted.

I raised an eyebrow and calmly suggested, "Let's just leave the buckets here and finish eating. We'll talk about it after lunch."



After the greasy burgers were consumed, I announced, "I'm going to take those buckets. You bring the kids and my purse, mkay?"

Brock started up again, "Oh my Gawd, you cannot carry those buckets! You'll spill it all over everything, then I'll be listening to you whine about me not helping you. You'll soak your jeans and your boots. You'll whine about being wet. You'll never make it all that way. Do you think I would even let you do that?"

"You're mocking me. Now I have to do it," I concluded stubbornly.

I added, "Don't worry about my purse. I'll come back for it."

Then I carried those freaking buckets across that obstacle course and NEVER SPILLED A DROP.


Once I arrived at the trailer, I looked up at the horses heads, which were far above my own 5'6" frame and decided that Brock could lift them high to offer the water to the steeds.

I walked back to the restaurant, grabbed my purse and the boys and told Brock that he could come too, if he desired.

I then instructed him to inspect my jeans and boots for water, which there WAS NONE.


I win.

When we got back to the trailer, Brock lifted the buckets as I loaded the kids in their car seats. I sized up the bucket and the window height and decided to take the challenge. I heaved that water up and held it at my nose to let the dun horse drink. 

Naturally, after all that work and strife, both horses declined the water.

I set my bucket down carefully, still never spilling a drop.

But Brock's experience was a little different. You see, Brock's bucket caught on his shirt pocket and he doused himself, from pecs to piggies, in water.

I took pictures, because evidence.

Water buckets of shame. So much well deserved shame.

"You're going to blog about this, aren't you?" he asked.

"Duh," I said.

No friends, chivalry is not dead, but neither is mockery... nor karma.

Peace, Love and Girl Power,

P.S. Speaking of karma and mockery, a little story I wrote, titled "What You Mock, You Become", which was published in a fun little humor anthology titled, I Just Want to Pee Alone, is now a New York Times Best Seller- making me and 35 of my friends a New York Times Best Selling Author! Hells yeah!