The majority of the snow fell throughout the day on Monday. By the time I left work at 4:30 p.m. my car was buried in snow and the parking lot was a mess. Luckily I was wearing boots, a warm coat with a hood and leather gloves. I made sure to get my car sweeper/scraper out of the trunk and into my car before I left my garage that morning so I was prepared. I'm so happy that I have remote start on my car, so it was semi-warm and the ice on the windshield had melted by the time I got outside.
As I worked to clear the snow off my car my co-workers were also coming out to their cars and working to clear the snow from their vehicles. I usually try to get ALL of the snow off my car before I get home so that it doesn't melt all over my garage, so I tend to be there longer than most people. As I was working on clearing the snow several of my male co-workers finished cleaning their vehicles and drove out of the parking lot.
At this point I should be clear that I am, for the most part, capable of taking care of myself and I don't expect anyone else - male or female - to feel responsible for me.
As I watched co-workers leave, men in particular, I pondered the fact that they didn't feel like it was necessary to help their female co-workers clear their cars or stick around to make sure that they got out of the parking lot. It made me wonder if chivalry was dead.
I wondered if it was generational; in other words if older men might have a greater sense of obligation to help women. I wondered if it was because of "women's lib" and the desire for equality. As women, have we made it clear that we don't need - or want - help from a man? Did I want help from a man? Should I expect it?
I don't have answers to any of these questions, and in fact, I don't know how I feel about this topic. I do consider myself to be an independent woman, but at the same time I wouldn't turn down help in certain situations. There are some things I can't do, like lifting 80 pound bags of softener salt, and in those cases I'm ok with asking for help.
In some ways I feel sorry for men, because it's probably confusing for them too. Should they offer to help? Will they offend a woman if they offer to clear their car?
To get a man's perspective I called my stepdad and asked if he helps the women he works with (he's the only man in the office). I wasn't surprised to hear that he cleans off all of their cars when it snows. When I asked him why he does it he explained that he thinks it's the right thing to do.
Well, that answers one quesion - chivalry is NOT dead. It may not be as evident or widespread, but it's not dead.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic. As I said at the beginning of this post, I don't think there's a right or wrong here, just a variety of opinions and I think that's a good thing. I'd love to hear yours.