The Allure of Chivalry


What decade or era do you find particularily fascinating?

Hands down, the 60’s. The music (the Beatles, Hendrix, CCR, Bob Dylan? Elvis, and Johnny Cash, both a few years earlier, granted, but come on!), the clothes, the hair and the makeup and the cars. That white picket fence.

I come by my obsession with Don Draper and Mad Men honestly. (A plinky prompt from a couple of weeks ago asked what show I would like a guest role on. Do I even need to say?)

I’m fascinated by the dynamics between man and woman, the obvious inequality and yet the allure of chivalry. Men opening car doors, bringing flowers, a hand on an elbow, the protectiveness. Things that were cast aside as women forsake those things to prove their independence. I have a minor in women studies, understand and appreciate the need for equality in the work place, the home, the world. But the appeal of Don Draper and his chivalry? Not lost on me. Oh, no.

Last night after I blogged about my experience having Clara – and the regret that still lingers in how little control I felt I maintained throughout – I ran a hot bubble bath and opened the bathroom windows to let some of the steam escape while allowing some of the cool night air in and settled in to read a few more chapters of AThousand Splendid Suns. And if I thought the chapter where one of the main female characters and her toddler daughter are locked for two days, by her HUSBAND, in a dark room with the windows boarded up in the heat of summer with no food or water was horrifying, than nothing could prepare me for the later chapter when the same woman goes to have her baby in Taliban-ran Kabul at the “women only” hospital where there’s no electricity, no drugs, no sanitizing of surgical instruments and c-sections are done without the use of anesthesia.

And then today, thinking about the 60’s I thought about how women gave birth back then, when they were put to sleep (twilight sleep? Really?) for the majority of their labors, therefore relinquishing all control of their birthing experiences. And forget about their husbands looking out for their best interests (chivalry only goes so far) because it was unheard of for them to be in the delivery room.

Suddenly, my labor and delivery with Clara, though not perfect or as ideal as I would have liked, suddenly it doesn’t seem so bad. In fact, I’m painfully aware of just how lucky I was.

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2 Responses to The Allure of Chivalry

  1. Jody says:

    I loved that book, even if it had me in tears at the injustice of the whole situation. U were very lucky sister. And so lucky to have been able to experience a healthy pregnancy at all. But you know that 🙂 xo

  2. Tina says:

    Sounds like a good book. I may have to find that on ebooks. Oh, and you’re right, you are lucky you were awake for Clara. Due to circumstances beyond my control I was asleep for both of mine. Luckily my amazing husband videoed Joey seconds after he was born so I could see it. That is my one HUGE regret about having my tubes tied at the same time. I would have really liked to experience it. BUT, I do have 2 healthy children, and that is all we can really ask for. 🙂

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