A glimpse into homelessness.

homelessIt’s a cold grey evening in the middle of winter.  I’ve been at work all day and have found it hard to concentrate on the tasks at hand because I am constantly thinking about where I will sleep tonight. There’s been a blistering cold wind and rain all the previous day and I’m really worried it will rain again tonight. I’m carrying a cardboard box, sleeping bag and a small bag of clothes. I’m bundled up in a hoodie, beanie and scarf but the wind is biting at my face and it’s chilly. It’s the first time that I am homeless.

I look around for a reasonably covered spot to shelter for the night. I find one in an alcove and go about making my bed out from the cardboard box and sleeping bag. It’s 6.30pm and I try out my bed. The harsh reality of the unyielding concrete and cardboard box mattress is not softened by the sleeping bag. It looks like it might rain so I cover my bed in a tarpaulin and carefully tuck up my bag of personal belongings in there too. I’m worried someone might wander past and take the very little items I have with me while I’m not there.

It’s dinner time and there are other homeless people making there way towards the line for a meal tonight. As we eat we talk about the night ahead. How will we cope with the rain, the cold, will we be warm enough tonight? There is a collegial spirit but you sense the uneasiness and trepidation of what lies ahead amongst them. Tonight I have heard the story of a young women who found living on the street a safer option than home. A woman who fought her way out of poverty, unsafe housing, abuse,  mental health and addictions  back into employment and housing. Could I do the same, display the same courage and resiliency? After a warming cup of tea the homeless crowd disperses  and I make my way back to my bed.

At midnight its very cold and dark in my bed. I pull my beanie down low, wrap my scarf tightly around my neck and pull my hood up. The hard blue tarpaulin rustles loudly as I struggle to find comfort from the cardboard and sleeping bag.  I’m painfully aware of the other  homeless people nearby who are trying to sleep so I just lay still and hope to drift into an uneasy sleep.

At 3am I am still awake. The unfamiliar sounds of the city, the lights overhead from the building in whose alcove I shelter cast an eerie grey light. The footsteps of strangers walking past me make me uneasy. I realise I have no control of my environment tonight. No certainty of safety or even that I will be able to remain there all night. Others have warned  me that we may be asked to pack up and move on by security patrolling the area.  Perhaps drunken 3am revellers may come across us and abuse us for being “useless, lazy addicts” and tell us to “go home” when clearly this is our home for the night. I feel really vulnerable.

Just after 4am a loudly chattering couple stir me  from my light sleep.  The high heel footsteps echo loudly on the concrete and I shift in my bed as they pass me and avoid making eye contact. They did not pause to check I was ok. They did not offer to help me. They did not even say hello. I feel invisible under the tarpaulin.

There is now a light wind and the predawn temperature has dropped. My body has begun to ache from the hardness of the concrete and I realise how cold my feet and hands have become.  I try to ignore these things,  close my eyes and will myself to sleep.

At 5.ooam one of the other homeless along from me is packing up his gear and moving on. He does this quickly and efficiently.  I wonder how many times he has done this. He walks past me and sees me awake and nods his head in acknowledgment. There are no words said but a moment of solidarity  and respect passes between us.

By 6am most of the others in the same area as me are awake. I have had about an hours sleep.  We talk in hushed tones of the cold night air, how our bodies are aching and the strategies we used to get through the night. We stiffly arise from our beds, roll up our sleeping bags and pack away what little belongings we have with us. I want a hot shower and to change out of my clothes. I feel tired and dirty. I look a mess and I have to go to work for the day. I wonder if my colleagues will be curious about why I look so terrible and if  they will ask why?  Will they choose to look away from me awkwardly and not question what has happened?  This rests uncomfortably with me.

I have been homeless for the night. But this is only one night by choice for me. For 15,000 people in Auckland homelessness is not a choice it is an every day struggle. After one very long and uncomfortable night I have a new glimpse into homelessness. I have just participated in the Lifewise Big Sleep Out.

Lifewise work tirelessly to support our most vulnerable people back into safe accommodation. I chose to become homeless for the night because of the increasing population of young homeless people who social service agencies find it extremely difficult to place into safe accommodation. Young people like Joe.   I would like to thank the many people who have donated to my fundraising efforts for Lifewise and who supported me to participate.  I was wrapped up in the warmth of your generosity throughout the night. For any of you reading this who still want to donate and be part of the solution to end homelessness it’s not too late. My fundraising page will remain open until the end of July 2014. http://bigsleepout.org.nz/page/katdoughtyyouthlinecentralaucklandmanager

Footnote: The day after I participated in this I was contacted by a colleague to notify me of a group of very young people sleeping rough. No 15 and 16 year olds should be homeless in New Zealand. We desperately need safe emergency accommodation to house them. This is why we need to support agencies like Lifewise and to find solutions to homelessness. So please give generously if you can.

     

Be part of the solution – Please donate to Team Youthline Big Sleep Out

imagesCAJXQ8G3You don’t know how often it brings a smile to my face to know that my blog posts are now bringing in over a 1000 hits. When it’s been a long day, an awful day and I still have two hours of meetings to go and when nearly everyone else has headed home, I remember and can’t help breaking into a smile. Big thank you.

We still have four sleeps to go before Team Youthline participates in the Lifewise Big Sleep Out. At Youthline we work with many many homeless young people and are keen to support other agencies working to support our most vulnerable community. I need to ramp up my donations – in fact the Youthline Team are in need of some boosting. There were numerous clicks through straight to our donation page from my previous post  but I think a lot of people were put off by what looks like a minimum donation of $25. That is a lot of money for a lot of people right now, I know. I’ve had a number of friends keen to donate but can’t do that much so they’ve given what they can. I would love $5, I would love $1. If everyone managed $1 I would be home and hosed.

As a team we’re looking for $1000 each – so I’m in here too for a boost to Melodie McDonald’s and Shae Ronald’s donation total.

Let me introduce you:

Melodie sits in the same office as me and is almost as noisy as me! She is the Youth Development Practice Team Leaders and one of my right hand staff. Her work is tireless for both the young people and those Youth Workers in her care. She is cool without knowing it, has the driest sense of humour and you can spot her work station anywhere – I’d like to call it colour co-ordinated and accessorised –  in reality it’s all purple and there are fluffy pens involved.

Shae Ronald is just about as new as me to Youthline and sits in our CEO team. She has come from the Human Rights Commission, is a lawyer and is extremely dedicated to justice for all. She gets involved in everything here at Youthline and done some killer hours in support of everything Youthline is about.

So, I’m asking…for a dollar…my take-away coffee cup is already out -getting into the homeless vibe already. and feel free check out how we’re all going and give that dollar whoever needs boosting the most). Your donation counts so please click here and go straight to our fundraising page.

Every dollar raised goes straight to Lifewise so that they can continue their awesome “No Band Aids” approach to assisting homeless.

Please give

Blokes- Just because we’re not looking at you doesn’t mean we are gay!

dance hall charles crichtonThere is nothing more fun than gathering your friends together for a  girls night out. It’s a chance to get rowdy and have a rambunctious romp through the town with  your besties. To let your hair down without having to worry about your bloke (if you are lucky enough to have one) being bored or left out.

A few weeks ago some friends and I thought we’d go for a wee girls night out to the local RSA (Returned Services Association) club to enjoy a comedy show and a few wines. Being the single girls about town that we are, we all donned our killer heels, lipstick and skinny jeans and trotted off to the club.

We should have known what was ahead for us as soon as we arrived. The poor bloke, in his late 60’s, on the door looked all flustered and blushed as we entered in a heady cloud of perfume and expectation of a good night. He awkwardly stammered out the signing in instructions, dropped his pen, nervously looked about for rescue from some of the other  patrons and then ushered us to the bar. Three gorgeous women dressed to impress are obviously  rare patrons at this club.

We quickly ordered a very cheap bottle of wine and found a table at the back of the room and started regaling our latest dating escapades. Before long an official looking bloke approached our table and asked us to move to the front of the room to fill in the empty tables by the stage and to create an “atmosphere”. We settled in and then “wham” the spotlights for the stage were turned and almost blinded us so we quickly stood up to move to another table. But no! The officious bloke quickly appeared and insisted we remain seated where we were. A few sniggers from nearby tables enforced what we were beginning to think – yep we were going to be that table at the front of the comedy show who are relentlessly picked on by the comedians and MC.

Sure enough, within a few minutes of the show commencing the MC turned to our table and asked where our husbands were. Hmmph. “Have you left them at home to look after the kids?” he innocently asked. Sure because all women over 30 have a husband and kids right? I emphatically retorted that we were all single and happy that way to which he replied “Oh, you’re lesbians then?” Ummmm WTF? Because three gorgeous single women who aren’t interested in looking for potential hook ups in a room full of over 50’s must mean we are lesbian right? Unimpressed we downed our glasses of wine, straightened our backs and put on our best “Oh no you didn’t” faces.

Why do people assume that if you are single and not looking then you’re gay? Not that there is anything wrong with being gay either. I’m all for finding love, whether that be in a heterosexual, bisexual or same sex relationship. Could it possibly cold be that blokes of a certain age, over 40, find it difficult to grasp that strong, intelligent and gorgeous women really don’t need a bloke to fulfil them. My friends and I are witty, sexy and sassy. For us “Single” isn’t a status. It’s a word that describes a person who is strong enough to live and enjoy life without depending on others.

C’mon blokes. Please don’t patronise us by insinuating that there must be only one reason that we are single. We choose to be single rather than be in a relationship for the sheer sake of it. We have standards and are happy to wait until we meet a bloke who meets our needs and we meet theirs. Isn’t that the heart of a successful relationship?

End note: During the break I made a dash to the bar to order another bottle of cheap wine and the “president” of the club nervously asked if I was enjoying my night. I clarified for him that we are single and not lesbians. The sheer look of relief on his face was priceless. “Why don’t you think about joining the club then?” he replied.  The bottles of wine might be cheap but I’m not keen to patronise a bar where single women not interested in looking for a bloke are stereotyped by narrow minded citizens.

 

Just call me Nigella (but without the cocaine)!

Chocolate Cake

Divine Chocolate Cake

The inspiration for this blog page was to share my cooking journey with you all and discussing my feminist views on blokes and life in general along the way. I have been so busy lately blogging about blokes, dating, fashion and feminist issues that I have fallen a wee bit behind in sharing my cooking adventures. But Keep Calm Readers and fellow feminists! True to my intention and inspiration I have been venturing into the kitchen weekly and honing my culinary skills.

Over the past four weeks I have made a variety of edible items;
*Chinese Pork and Brown Rice Salad
*Crème Caramel
*Savoury Pinwheels
*Divine Chocolate Cake

Due to my tres busy schedule of dating, new job orientation and contributing to social causes I have been somewhat exhausted and time poor. This has meant the dinner guests have been on the waiting list for 3 weeks, although I have had afternoon tea pinwheels! It has also meant that the wine consumption has diminished and this is certainly not sustainable!

I am pleased to report to you all though, that a week ago I wandered into the kitchen and easily put together the Thai Chicken Meatballs as an encore performance. I think this cooking adventure is starting to work as I am becoming a wee bit more confident in the kitchen! I am no longer breaking out into a cold sweat at the mere thought of producing a meal and I have even extended the cooking into baking delicious treats.

A domestic goddess? Just call me Nigella!

Crème Caramel

Crème Caramel

Savoury Pinwheels

Savoury Pinwheels

Chinese Pork and Brown Rice Salad

Chinese Pork and Brown Rice Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women should be paid the same as blokes despite not having a penis!

equalpayI work hard in my job. I always have. My work ethic is incredibly high and I strive to always do the best job I can and produce great results for my employer. Yet despite all of this I am still paid, on average, 13% less than a bloke for the same job. Women have been battling against gender discrimination in the workplace for decades with little improvement. Is this a fair deal? This modern feminist does not think so!

When discussing the Pay Equity  issue with blokes their responses seem to follow fairly similar themes of “We work harder”, ‘Women are always taking time off to care for sick children” and my personal favourite “Women get to take maternity leave’! Hmmmph. Lets break this down shall we?

Blokes just because you have a penis does not mean that you work harder than women. In fact in my own experience I have seen many many many women working twice as hard as blokes in the same jobs just to prove the ‘Blokes work harder” statement false. I’m not saying that blokes don’t work hard, I’m just saying that it would be fairly impossible to prove that blokes work harder than women because they have blokey body bits.

Yes women do take more time off to look after sick children because typically blokes don’t seem to see this as their primary  responsibility. The role of childcare, even in 2014, still falls into the gendered domestic division of labour relegated to women.

Now lets address the “Women get Maternity Leave” which seems to imply that blokes think that taking time off to have children is like a paid holiday! Don’t even get me started on how horribly hard it is to carry a small child in your stomach for nine months, give birth to it and then endure the months of sleep deprivation and exhaustion to care for an infant during its first months in life. Hardly a holiday right? Lets focus instead on how taking these “holidays” impact a woman’s earnings over the course of her career.

Martin King is the General Manager of Human Resources at Coca-Cola Amatil NZ Ltd (CCANZ), and has been instrumental in achieving a proud record of 100% equal pay within the organisation. Martin wrote this as part of the YWCA Auckland Pay Equity Campaign;

“Even if women are receiving equal pay when they go on maternity leave, gaps start to form when they return.  They have missed out on annual salary reviews, usually structured to meet the rate of inflation. Subsidies, such as medical insurance are often cut and most women are not eligible for holiday pay until they have again accrued time working.

Consider, for example, a woman who has three children over a nine-year period.  She has culminated up to three years maternity leave, adding up to three salary reviews she may potentially miss out on.  As a result, she is likely to be making approximately 10 – 12% less than her co-workers over this time period.  It’s these women who are responsible for New Zealand’s future generation – surely they shouldn’t be disadvantaged for their efforts?”

I don’t’ think so!! And neither does the YWCA Auckland who are continuing to fight the Pay Equity battle for women. In 2012 the YWCA Auckland ran a campaign to raise awareness of the gross gender pay gap the highlights of which are on the media clip below. In 2014 they are running a corporate and SME friendly campaign to champion Equal Pay in businesses. Through the YWCA Equal Pay Awards businesses get to demonstrate their valuing of women in the workplace by showcasing how they are addressing the pay gap issue and even obliterating it all together. Now as a modern feminist I would like to know which organisations respect women by paying them fairly as these would be organisations that I would support and see as the most desirable workplaces.

Simply, if women are doing the same work as a bloke they should be paid equally. If the pay gap is not 0% then it’s not right! I’m raising awareness of the issue and supporting the YWCA Auckland Pay Equity campaign because as a woman I deserve to be paid equally, not on average $3.90/hour less;  and for my daughters because I don’t want them to be fighting this battle 20 years down the track.

Or perhaps we should start charging blokes 10% more on goods and services because they have a penis?

 

Did you just tell me to “shush?”

shhhI was talking to a bloke the other day and he told me to “shush!” “Ahhhhhh pardon?” I  replied. “Just shush”  There it was again,  the utterance of the word “shush”. I don’t believe I have been told to “shush” since I was an infant. So why would a bloke think it was ok to say this to me? And more to the point, why would he say this?

I know I talk a fair bit. I do have a lot to say on matters and I also like to share my thoughts freely with others. The poor bloke whose desk is next to mine at the “new job” has a stunned possum in the headlights look about him by mid afternoon. But I can’t help but feel that telling a woman to “shush” is highly patronising and offensive. At the time of the “shushing” incident I was merely chatting to the bloke about computers and sharing my suggestions with him about how to fix a computer issue he was having. Nothing offensive. I wasn’t shouting or arguing with the bloke. I wasn’t even pretending to know more than he and therefore, potentially intimidating the poor bloke with my intelligence. I was merely making a suggestion. Hmmph.

One would have to wonder why blokes feel the need to tell an adult woman to “shush” Is it a means to just end the conversation on the spot? Or is there something more at play here? Could it be that by telling a woman to “shush” the bloke is asserting his dominance and putting me fair and squarely in my place as a submissive woman?

I have to admit in this instance telling me to “shush” actually worked because I was so stunned by it. I think my mouth even gaped open and stayed that way for a few seconds as I fought with all of my modern feminist reserve to not snap back “WTF?” Instead I gave him a very steely gaze, raised my eyebrow and replied ” Ahhhh pardon?” To which he uttered it again! At this I replied “Did you just tell me to shush?” And then very swiftly turned on my very high heels and marched out of the room so as not to allow him the right of reply – my very feminist way of telling him to “shush” himself.

But I wonder how many women let blokes get away with this demeaning behaviour? This is the sort of behaviour may of been acceptable of blokes in the 1940’s and 1950’s, when women were submissive creatures and  talking to blokes as an equal was deemed very unladylike and quite a threat to a blokes masculinity. But this is 2014! Is there a resurgence of this behaviour or was this bloke just being very brave or very stupid in telling me to “shush”? Surely the modern bloke is well equipped to live and work alongside intelligent, sassy women without feeling the need to use such a demeaning phrase? I surely hope so because as a modern feminist I am not about to curb my enthusiasm of conversation to placate blokes.

Either way, I don’t think this bloke will be telling me to “shush” anytime soon. And if he does he is likely to be getting more than the very reserved response that was directed his way in this instance. What would you of done?

Handbags; functional fashion or a mysterious dungeon?

Last weekend I went shopping for a new handbag as my fake Prada was beginning to look a little shabby and I wanted a new stylish yet functional bag to use for work. The handbag shop was akin to an Aladdin’s den. The plethora of options was overwhelming for this modern feminist who has a shopping anxiety disorder. Every colour, material, shape, size and style imaginable was on display in a small space. All I wanted was a functional black leather bag that I could fit the essentials in.  It took me close to an hour to sift through the multitude of options to select the perfect handbag and an extra one just because the azure blue colour matched my eyes!

When I arrived home I was quick to empty out the old bag contents onto my bed in readiness for the hand bag swap. I was mortified by the sheer volume of it’s contents and it got me thinking about the purpose of the handbag. Is it a stylish accessory to compliment our attire? A purely aesthetically pleasing accessory? Or has it become a carrier of all things deemed necessary for modern women to survive the day?

A woman without her handbag feels as lost as a wanderer in the desert. The handbag is the movable base of her supplies, the depot of her expected needs. These eventual needs may reach out to a degree far beyond any man’s power of imagination. A woman’s handbag is a mysterious dungeon. It’s the key to her real self; the prosaic answer to many poetic conceptions.

Keys, tissues, Vaseline, sunglasses, batteries, tampons, condoms, paracetamol, plasters, sewing kit, rescue remedy, makeup, pens, notebooks and earplugs. How come women feel naked without a handbag stuffed with items ‘just in case’, but men can cope with a pocket or two?

It all got me thinking about the differences between the sexes (it doesn’t take much!); what we carry round with us and how. How often do you see a woman without some kind of handbag? From tiny backppacks through sequinned glamour bags to big mummy handbags, it’s very rare to see a woman without one. Men, on the other hand, seem to get away with carrying very little clutter on them.

A female friend tweeted her delight in finding internal pockets in her boyfriends jacket she was wearing. A mutual male friend of ours replied, ‘wait women’s clothing don’t have them? No outer pockets on a lot of stuff too?’ He was surprised.  I decided to bring him up to speed, responding with: ‘This is why women carry handbags. There is very little utility to women’s clothing.’ And suddenly I felt the familiar, bitter taste of having been duped.

Why is there very little utility to women’s clothing? Why don’t we get pockets which actually open? Why do we have to put up with the ‘false pockets’ that are frequently sewn onto women’s jackets and pants to give visual interest without ruining the ‘line’ of the garment? Why, when pockets are actually present, are they so rarely large, stable, or loose enough to accommodate a phone or a wallet? And why, given this is the case, do women go on to cop so much flack for carrying handbags around with them?
Oh wait. Is this one of those double standards which we feminists are always going on about; one of those innocuous little things which everybody just accepts because it is the norm?
But why? I have watched my male friends get ready to go out. They slip their wallet into one pocket, their keys into another, their phone into a third pocket, and some of them even still have spare pockets large enough to carry a novel for the journey. Those of my friends who wear women’s clothes, though, face an entirely different situation. If they are wearing the right jeans or jacket, they may have up to two usable pockets (not at all guaranteed). However, in most cases they won’t have any pockets at all. Utility and style rarely meet in women’s fashion, so they grab a hand bag.
So suddenly I’m looking at my handbag with suspicion wondering if, somewhere along the way, someone should have thrown her beautifully designed bag  the colour of which matches her eyes, to the ground and demanded that someone make her beautifully designed clothes do something a little more, well, useful.
To prove my point – here is a photo of the entire contents of the old handbag. If  you can name all of the items I would be impressed. And why don’t you post a pic of your bag contents in the comments box. Lets see how much you carry and for what purpose?
bag contents

Keep Calm! I’m a little behind in my posting.

stressedI was asked “When are you going to share the next instalment of the date update?” and  “Are you still cooking?”

The answer to the cooking is “YES!”  And in response to the dating update “A girl has to have some secrets huh?”

The simple fact is that this modern feminist is tres busy with a new job and the blog posting has taken a wee bit of a dive on the priority list. This past week I have come home from the “new job” and collapsed on the sofa with a glass of wine. The tidal wave of new information and faces has rendered me incapable of forming entertaining yet coherent sentences.

But “Keep Calm!” readers. There are cooking adventure posts half completed, almost ready to be published and I’ve plenty of modern feminist opinions yet to share! I’ll be making this a top priority on the weekend, in between the cooking and dating of course.

The Heel Appeal

D33A2CADB749012AF74988A5A11I recently told a bloke I know well that I had reclaimed the high heels in an effort to amp up my sex appeal. Dead silence then a high-pitched reply of “You! Really! In heels?” So used was he to seeing me in my jeans and t-shirt variation that the mere thought of his friend, the no bullshit modern feminist, donning high heels stunned him into silence. Does my wearing high heels make me a bad feminist?

Last week I was asked on a second date. Careful consideration is needed when choosing the appropriate outfit for a second date. I joked with Mr First Date that I would wear my killer heels even though he very chivalrously suggested I wear more appropriate footwear as we were going to need to walk a short distance. But I wanted to have a level of appeal so went for the killer heels.

Society tells me that high heels are a tool of the patriarchy, and yet, putting on a pair of killer heels always make me feel sexy. I like the way they make me feel, the way they make my legs look longer, the way I swing my hips when I walk wearing them and the way that they somehow make me feel more liberated.

Some would argue that women wearing heels are victims of fashion; vapid mindless objects caught up in appearances and the desire to appeal to blokes, brainwashed by gendered ideals. That wearing heels is torturous and that we are damaging our feet and more in the endless quest of plastic fantastic attractiveness.

Really?  If you don’t like high wearing heels, then don’t wear them. That is why the good Lord made free will and cute flats! I understand that many women don’t find high heels to be comfortable, practical, or even desirable. That is a perfectly reasonable way to feel.  Flats are always a good choice. Isn’t that what feminism is really about? Having the freedom to choose for ourselves and more about what is in our heads than on our feet?

On my second date I navigated the short distance walk with ease and a wiggle.  Mr First Date had parked his car over a drain. I was quick to point out that had I been wearing stilettos and not wedges this would have been an issue. My killer heels and I walked through car parks, swanky hotel bar, ferry terminal, onboard a ferry, along a ferry pier, up a street, up some stairs and then back down later as well as a moonlit stroll along a pebbled path.  I have to point out here that Mr First Date was indeed being chivalrous throughout and constantly checking that my killer heels weren’t infact killing me. (tick).
Heels are sexy, that’s what it comes down to, isn’t it? They make you feel frisky and vixen-like (if that is what you want to do of course!).  And since I am only 5 foot 5″ they increase my height making it easier to kiss a bloke. Which is exactly what I did. Thank you killer heels. I think you amped up my appeal!

The First Date Update – Proving Chivalry Is Still Alive

After the great “Who should pay on the first date?”  debate Mr First date is on a mission to prove to me that chivalry is indeed not dead.

After reading several times, (and committing some lines to memory to repeat back to me),  my run down on the first date I thought I had probably put him off and that would be the end of that. Another First Date = Last date scenario.

To my surprise Mt First Date has asked me on a second date this weekend ( I know! Sit down feminist sisters and pour yourselves a massive glass of wine!).  I, of course, have agreed. Mr First Date has planned the date and even asked me if he can collect me just so he can open the car door for me (chivalry?) It took all of my willpower to stop myself from defaulting to my usual feminist retort of “Nah – I’ll just meet you there.” Last night Mr First Date very thoughtfully let me know what I should not wear, particularly “killer heels” as apparently there will be walking involved (chivalry?). Although not too much he promised. This is a good thing because as a bloke he obviously hasn’t grasped the fact that all high heels are killer heels on the feet of a woman at the end of a long week. Am I right?

So in preparation for the chivalrous date I have done a wee bit of research to let me know what I might be in for. Let’s start with the definition;

chivalry [shiv-uhl-ree]:

Definition: (noun) valor, gallantry

Synonyms: courage; courtesy; courtliness; fairness; politeness; valiance

Antonyms: cowardice; fear; humbleness; humility

Further research has indicated that chivalry is  still alive, but fighting to survive. In their valiant – and very necessary – effort to bolster women’s rights in the 1960s, feminists fought hard to deny the very real differences between the genders. Chivalry became insulting, a threat to women’s equality. And, men became confused…and scared. Hold the door open…or, let it swing shut behind them? Pull the chair out…or, sit down and get down to business?

Do we really want chivalry to go the way of rotary telephones and record players? Have we replaced it with something better?

The results of the poll in the “Who should pay on the the first date?”  showed that 50% of respondents thought that chivalry was still sexy, and only 2% thought that “Women wanted equality and therefore should pay!” The other 48% were confused and responses were split between being “unsure” and “it depends on the situation”.

I could argue that this proves that most of today’s women are fascinating enigmas: strong and nurturing, tough and sensitive, capable and emotional. Most are secure enough to be the recipient of a man’s respectful chivalrous efforts without feeling threatened or insulted.

So I am feeling prepared with the knowledge of what chivalry is, secure in my modern feminist ethos to accept chivalrous behaviour without being threatened or insulted and secure in the fact that I am sure I can still wear the killer heels and walk the suggested short distance.

I shall report back to you all next week on the chivalrous behaviour displayed on the second date by Mr First Date.

What do you think he might do? I don’t like surprises so any ideas and thoughts left in the comments box will be greatly appreciated.