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Mother, writer and daydreamer. Also chocoholic and chick-flick lover. But mainly mommy. To two boys, at that! When not escorting my Elder One (EO) to karate class, I'm trying to get in as many cuddles as possible from my Younger One (YO). And when not doing either, I'm hard-at-work trying to maintain a steady relationship with my laptop. And as for the Man I Married (MIM), well, let’s just put it this way – even though we share a bedroom, our most meaningful conversations are held over the cell-phone!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Gentlemen – The New Endangered Species

A friend asked me to write this. He wanted a few lines...it became an article! Go figure! Anyway...I hope you enjoy...
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They say chivalry is dead and that ‘gentlemen’, as a breed, are extinct. I beg to differ. Chivalry ain’t dead, it’s just comatose and in the ICU while ‘gentlemen’ have probably boarded their father ship and gone back to the planet from whence they came. Or maybe they’re just hiding out in the bathroom with a smuggled TV set, watching hours of mind-numbing Test matches and James Bond flicks. Well, whatever the case may be, there’s not one to be spotted for miles around!

And if truth be told, I think it’s us superwomen who have scared them off good and proper! And we didn’t even need to show them the door. To preserve their sanity and their family jewels, they clawed through the walls to high tail it out of home and hearth. Seriously. Let’s sit back and review, shall we…

After years of male oppression, suppression and domination, we have finally broken out of the formulaic a-girl-is-born-to-get-married-to-worship-her-husband-and-give-birth-to-his-many-babies cycle. We have shaken off the patriarchal dust with a violent, Shakira-like flourish of our hips and stepped out of our keeper’s (read ‘Male’) shadow and into the light. We have trampled upon their innate God complex with Mother-Durga-astride-Her-lion like intensity only to establish temples in our glory in the form of designer boutiques and other places like the neighbourhood mall.

We climb corporate ladders with the grace of a ballet dancer and the skill of a chimp, often holding our laundry in one hand, a baby in the other and a grocery list dangling from our mouths. We can be Kamasutra babes in the bedroom yet Yashoda maiyya in the nursery, all the while keeping our CEO persona in the boardroom firmly intact.

Bras burnt and Wonderbras firmly in place, today we revel in our hard-won independence and god help the poor man who tries to get in our way. Like the mascot of our female tribe, Lady Praying Mantis, we just might bite his head off. Except, in our part of the animal kingdom, it’s called ‘bobbitizing’.

So, the last few gentlemen who were left ran off scared. “I am woman, hear me roar!” By the time we finished roaring, the poor dears were left cowering and unsure of themselves and their many intrinsic deeds and acts.

Were they still supposed to hold open the door for us? Or would we push the doorknob into their beloved nether regions for thinking us helpless?

Were they expected to always pick up the tab at restaurants? Or would we break the wine bottle over their heads for being so chauvinistic?

Was sending flowers still considered an act of sweet thoughtfulness and tender romance or condescendingly silly mush-mush?

And if they did lose their hearts to one of us, were they still expected to get down on one knee with diamond-ring-in-a-box and ask us to be theirs forevermore or were they supposed to wait for us to do it over an SMS or e-mail?

Poor guys. It’s no wonder they disappeared.

Gentlemen. The royal Bengal tiger. The Puerto Rican parrot. Water. Petrol. Precious, few and far between. And all in need of saving.

14 comments:

Indyeah said...

Can I just say brilliant?:D
or awesome is another one:)

hmm confused they certainly are...but also I think the refusal to change with the times..the way they lag behind while women have taken giant strides is the reason..

Mamma mia! Me a mamma? said...

@ Indyeah: Thanks. You know, personally, I don't think the fault lies totally with them. A lot of the thinking is inculcated as well.

I did a post on something similar to this way of thinking some time back. Maybe you'd like to check it out?

http://mammamiameamamma.blogspot.com/2008/07/bringing-up-men.html

Mystic Margarita said...

OMG! I can't stop laughing and shaking my head in agreement to each word!

As for opening doors, R got an earful about opening a door for me during the initial days of our courtship - and till now, he deliberatley slows down as we approach a door, unsure how to go about it! :)

Monidipa said...

i like this. i thought i wouldn't, and that it would turn into yet another where-are-the-chivalrous-men gone rant, but it didn't and i'm quite relieved!

the fact is, man or woman, it takes a lot of self-assurance to be genuinely nice, courteous and non-offensive. when men had a secure position in the gender hierarchy, more of them could afford to do that. now that men and women are practically equal, it can be only the truly self-assured man to be chivalrous.

i remember one evening sometime back i was talking about chivalry with a male friend, and we both agreed that one has to be a very brave (or incredibly stupid) man indeed in these days to actually go down on one knee before a woman and propose her. but that's not necessarily a bad thing, is it? more stringent levels of quality means you get few, but only get the best. :)

Indian Homemaker said...

First of all brilliantly written, absolutely loved this one!

This requires a lot of thinking!

Somebody recently said similar things to me and I really wasn't sure what to think or how to explain that equality did not mean we are no longer required to be courteous.

Changing norms always go through this phase of directionlessness I guess!
We will find a new generation evolving where sharing and mutual respect will be taken for granted... I hope :)

wordjunkie said...

Great post, M4! Bravo!

Still thinking said...

:)
Sweetheart, romanticism or chivalry can never be confused to being chauvinism. I don’t think we women will ever fail to differentiate that! Or will we? :)

So, why have all of them disappeared?

@lankr1ta said...

Lets put it this way, if a man needs a little piece of shoe leather for being chivalrous, maybe it is a good thing they are extinct.

Mamma mia! Me a mamma? said...

@ Mystic: Thank you dear, I aim to please! So do you throw R a curve ball every now and then?

@ Monidipa: I agree about the equaity factor and it really does take a man sure of himself to be able to perform little courtesies that other boors seem to shrug off. I'm an incurable romantic. So give me the works!

@ IHM: Remember a book that came out some time ago, "All I Ever Really Needed to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten". It's about good manners, simple courtesies, minding one's p's and q's. It all so simple isn't it?

@ WJ: Thank you sweetie!

@ Still: Ufortunately, sometimes it is confused. Have seen it and been guilty of it myself a few times :( Not any more though!

@ Alankrita: ;)

Piper .. said...

:):) Cant help smiling at the glaring truth in every word! 'shakira like flourish of hips'!!! lol
Btw, I liked your previous background setting. Am visiting after a gap(was going through a rough patch)and now I see its changed! :(

WhatsInAName said...

wow clap clap
You said it and how! Frankly i really dont care for plain actions. I want it all from his dil se. And yes if they truly respect us it will surely show

Mamma mia! Me a mamma? said...

@ Piper: Oh no! I hope everything is under control now! I feel the same way about my backgroud! I was trying to add a new one (I like changing it every now and again), but blogger just refuses to attach a new template...even the old one! Sigh!

@ WIAN: Aaahh! The Genuine Gentleman...an even rarer sub-sect!!

Mama - Mia said...

:)

oh well! i go for the fact that men who were chivalrous are so even now! and i dont mean the MCP varierty in any case!

those who do it out of genuine respect... it just shows!

and thos post was brilliant magic with words namesake! :)

cheers!

abha

dipali said...

So very true- we seem to have confused the poor guys thoroughly!