The Destruction of Gentlemen

view arial, buy sans-serif;”>By Leo G. Alvarez

nurse arial,sans-serif;”>Sir Walter Raleigh was a God Send for women and not just the brand name of a tobacco. He was known to those of my generation as a gentleman to be copied and as this generation dies so will his fame.

It is said that he laid down his cloak over a puddle so that the Queen could step on it rather than the puddle underneath it. This is more anecdotal than a documented fact, nevertheless, being oral history it became a “fact” and Made Sir Walter Raleigh a legend…to my generation.

Gentlemen share one attribute. They treat all women as Ladies. For my generation it dictates that we stand when a woman enters a room, that we open doors in buildings and automobiles for them. That, if seated in a public conveyance (bus, train, etc.), we offer the seat to the Lady. That if walking with a Lady on a sidewalk that we always walk on the curb side so that in case a passing carriage (from which the name “car” was probably derived) splashes water it is at the Gentleman, rather than the Lady.

A man of my generation has the attitude that all women are Ladies until they prove otherwise, and, even then, they are accorded a level of respect. Women are our mothers, and, the mothers of our children and therefore very special. Yes, there were defined roles. Back then few women worked outside the family.

My Mother was, as all mothers, special, but SHE did not assume there were defined male/female roles. She did not discourage me from learning to cook or sew, or clean house. She would tell me that someday, as a grown man, I might have to do such things for myself. She insisted that I learn to type which was then the domain of female secretaries. This piece is being created with all ten fingers and not just the thumbs or forefingers.

Much of this changed in the 60’s and 70’s when women wanted equal rights and equal pay for equal work as they worked to free themselves from male oppression and supremacy and that imaginary glass ceiling. That was their mantra, that anything a man could do they could do, as well, or better and they wanted the same pay.

The death of Chivalry may never be acknowledge since few women know what it is. Since the 60’s and 70’s women have indeed expanded their roles and capabilities and proven that even though they may not dunk, they can play basketball, and complete marathons, as well as run companies and corporations and campaign for President all while being mothers just as men continued being fathers while holding down a job.

Even so, Ladies, you have traded off that special feeling of being accorded respect for just being a woman.

Gentleman

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Leo Alvarez is retired from Oxnard PD and is President of the Children’s Wall of Tears™ www.thecwot.org

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