The other day, a friend posted on Facebook about an experience she had with her car. It was very cold outside, she wasn’t sure what she was doing, and as she attempted to fix a problem on her vehicle, several men sat in cars not far from hers and watched her without offering any help or even asking her if she was having trouble. As a young, godly, single mom, she made a point of saying that she hopes to teach her own two sons how to be more of a gentleman than these men who stood by and simply watched while she was clearly in need.
Someone posted simply this in response — chivalry is dead.
I can see why this might feel true. Our last week in November was spent traveling back and forth to Disney parks on overcrowded buses where grown men and teenage boys wouldn’t stand to give up their seats to young mothers holding small, sleeping children. I even saw a tiny toddler stand up on one of these trips because a group of twentysomething year old men couldn’t be bothered to get their lazy butts up so she could have a safer seat. Trust me — I see it. And while I have my own suspicions about why it might be like this (haven’t we demanded that men treat us women just like men throughout the feminist movement, and don’t we treat men who are chivalrous with a bit of contempt and suspicion?), I still believe that some chivalry might exist.
Actually, I know it does.
I saw it in action on that same Disney trip. After a long, long day in the parks, Wes and I had taken the girls down to my in-laws’ room for the night so that we could get up early the next morning and do our long run together. Just as we were beginning to walk back to our own room, a frantic group of women about my mother’s age came up to us.
“Do you know where the elevator is?,” one of them asked us, clearly out of breath and frustrated.
I hadn’t seen an elevator in this particular block of rooms. Likely the handicapped accessible portion of the resort was nearer to the check-in building, leaving nothing but stairs for the guests on the higher floors in other buildings on property.
Wes and I relayed this to these ladies, and they all were visibly distressed… and rightly so, as they had more luggage with them than I took with me when I moved overseas. (Good grief, y’all.) While I was ready to wish them a good night and go on my merry way, Wes said, “Which floor are y’all on?”
“The third!,” the lady exclaimed, looking at her bags.
“May I carry your luggage for you?,” Wes asked.
She looked at him, no doubt searching for a name tag since only someone who worked there would be offering to, you know, work like this, but seeing none, she gave him a baffled, “Really?”
“Yeah,” he said. “I’d be happy to.”
And so he began the arduous process of moving all of these women upstairs, all the while chatting with them about their vacation, offering up great tips and suggestions, calling them ma’am and being his totally charming self.
This isn’t really that unusual, as Wes does things like this often. But I’ve grown accustomed to his chivalry and his thoughtfulness, so much so that it took seeing the shock and surprise of a whole horde of sixty-something year old women cooing over him to appreciate this wonderful part of him even more.
After he finished hauling eight hundred pieces of oversized luggage up three flights of stairs, we bid adieu to those ladies and saw them on their way.
I turned to Wes and smiled at him. And when he smiled and said, “What?,” I told him, “You’re awesome.” And I grabbed his hand and dragged him back to our room, counting it as wonderfully providential that our girls were sleeping in someone else’s room that night.
So thankful that chivalry is NOT dead. So thankful for Wes…