Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tarantino and Chivalry

On more than one occasion, I have relayed to my students that I was not a girl who received much attention from boys in high school. This topic often arises during College Week at my school which is a time when teachers share about their college experiences with their students.  Inevitably, I recount the numerous times in college when guys would literally elbow me out of the way so that they could speak to my roommate.  High school had been no better and I am quite confident that I spent many an evening wishing for more attention from the opposite sex. I longed for romance.

Now, in my house full of men, I realize the old adage, "Be careful what you wish for!" is true.  It is not uncommon when I arrive home in the evenings for all three of my sons to overwhelm me with hugs and kisses.  Another familiar sight in our home is me in our over-sized chair with each boy sitting on or sidled up next to me.  Combine the affection of my boys with the advances (welcomed, of course!) of my husband and it is clear that I am no longer undernourished when it comes to male attention.  When people ask me if I hope to add a baby girl to the family (and of course I would!) a part of me is saddened by even the most remote chance that I may not always be the only girl in my family.  Not only that, but I am really into raising my boys,  and keeping in mind that I am raising future men, men who someday will have relationships and need to know how to treat women. 

While I consider myself a feminist, I still believe that chivalry is a quality we should develop in our boys.  This may come in actions we readily associate with chivalry, such as carrying a girl's books to class. This rarely occurs anymore -- which given the size of textbooks and the 7-minutes-only passing period -- I can sort of understand.  But I see young women all the time carrying heavy boxes or moving large furniture without guys stepping up to help.  I want to teach my boys to be the ones who notice when a girl has her hands full and I want them to be the ones who take her books, or the box, out of her hands.  When someone does that for me, it makes me feel good, safe, and special.  That's how I want my boys to make girls feel.

Chivalry can come in other forms as well.  Recently, my husband and I were watching a Tarantino film together.  We are Tarantino fans, especially appreciative of his use of dialoue and music.  But with any Tarantino flick comes the violence.  Usually, I can brace myself for that and even see the artistic purpose and value.  However, on this particular night I was tired and a bit edgy.  As the first violent scene of the movie began, I turned away and looked at the back wall.  I stayed like that until I was sure all of the gunshots and massive injuries were over.  Though I would have continued to watch the movie, my husband could see how agitated I was.  And even though he really likes to be able to watch movies together, and we had been waiting months to watch this one, and he had been planning all day for us to have a movie night together -- he stopped the film.  "Maybe you could blog tonight," he suggested.  He was not upset or irritated, he was being protective of me and my emotional state.  He was taking the box from my arms, giving me time to be alone and time to think and create.  My heart fluttered. 

This is romance.

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