Chivalry is dead.
… and it’s all your fault!
A recent FB post by my cousin (Dara Parker) prompted me to write on the looming disappearance of common courtesy. Stay with me on this one, it’s short and DOES have a good ending.
Many years ago (when dinosaurs roamed the Earth perhaps) man in his quest for a mate was often self-sacrificing in his efforts. Opening doors, a helping hand, placing her needs before his own, these were some of the common practices that when used properly would garnish a woman’s respect and hopefully lead to admiration.
Then some bitter woman got angry and demanded more. I’m not sure who this woman was, but if evolution is real then I assume she is descended from some sort of shrew. Whatever the case, woman in her quest for equality said, “I don’t need your help, I can do it MYSELF!” And thus a social arms race began, pitting women against man for a sense of equality.
Then a lot of stuff happened (The “Step 2” effect)
And then man became bitter; unable to please women the old fashioned way he began to forget that there were still old fashioned women out there who had a need for his chivalry and longed to be treated as they were in days of yore.
How do we fix it?
As I listened to the LDS General Conference today I was moved by The Prophet’s talk on gratitude and how we can all multiply our life by it.
If more people expressed gratitude when a kind act is done for them, more people would do kind acts. It’s not complicated, just hard for some people to swallow their pride!
Where’s your backbone?
Too many times have I seen men trampled (figuratively) on because of a condition that seems to be spreading across the globe.
I’m speaking of course about Sin-Vertebratum Extremium, the total absence of pride and self-respect in a man, causing him to appear as a “wet-noodle,” “push-over,” “a tool.”
Gentlemen, if time would slow down I’d establish a committee to find the cause of this horrible condition, but until then I’ll continue to do what I’ve been doing and try and help you realize this stuff on a case-by-case basis.
First: Realize that even the smallest and weakest man is still one of God’s creatures, created in his likeness. If you’re made by God, don’t you think he’d want you to be a bit proud of this and act like you’re of importance and your opinions and ideas are important and influential? Would He let his co-workers dismiss his ideas because He’s just a paper-pusher? NO, He’d “man-up” and stand His ground, making his point known and fighting for what He believes is right.
In Early American history when two men had a disagreement things would often escalate to the point where someone had to die. These men were so sure that they were right that they’d put their life on the line. I’m not advocating killing someone who disagrees with you, but as times change, so do the tactics we use to achieve our respective goals.
Second: You will never get the respect you feel you deserve without proving your value. Sometimes it takes removing yourself from a situation to show people how much they relied on you. There’s a point where having backbone and standing up for yourself will suck, that’s just the way the world works. Trust in God to help you and show HIM that you’re a badass too.
Back on topic…
Well… not exactly on topic:
This Steve McQueen film illustrates a man of little importance doing great things and standing up for himself despite position.
The Sand Pebbles (1966)
I’m tired and have legit work to do. Good luck men.
You can’t be a man, in skinny jeans.
The word “sexual” has many different prefixes: Hetero-, Bi-, Homo-, Metro-, etc. Having homosexual family members, and being in the Infantry (Lots of gayness) I’m not disillusioned to the fact that these things exist all around me and throughout society today. My intent is for there to be some black and white here, a proverbial ‘line in the sand.’
When people start trying to cross these lines and meld different aspects of each form of sexuality into a personal identity I start to have issues and would like to offer some clarity for these individuals…
Skinny Jeans were made for: Hetero, homo, or bisexual women; or homo, or bisexual men. Skinny jeans were made to extenuate the natural curves of a woman’s body, highlighting the <insert politically correct word for ‘ass’>. When worn buy a man it does the same thing, and puts out an alert to all the people who have an interest in your <insert politically correct word for ‘ass’>.
If you don’t want me to refer to you as a hetero, homo, or bisexual women, or homo, or bisexual man then I recommend not wearing those damn skinny jeans.
Also, Levis regular fit jeans (not relaxed fit as most of today’s non-skinny jeans are) are perfectly acceptable. They were designed in a simpler time, when men were men and women liked them to be handy, broad-shouldered, strong, and all around bad-ass. I rock a pair of Levis 527 Low, Boot Cut jeans as my favorite pair. They have a regular fit and are worn out just the way I like ‘em. I wear them when I work on the ‘Vette, or when I’m taking Lis out to dinner. They go anywhere and are ready for anything, like jeans are supposed to.
Bottom line: If you’re paying > $50 for a pair of jeans, you’re 1. getting ripped off, and 2. probably in love with a man.
That is all.
Growing Up V. Selling Out
I can remember the exact moment that I realized who I was, wasn’t who I wanted to be.
There I was, 16 and punk rock to the core. My main focus in life was rebellion in any and every form possible. I had recently formed my second band (who put on one show, then split up because the guitarist was high and tried to stab me over the 10$ I wouldn’t lend him to score). My heroes at the time were Curt Cobain and Jim Morrison who both died before hitting their thirties from drug related causes. I wore jeans with holes in them from skateboarding, shirts with bands on them or whatever randomness I found at Goodwill. I would go to the mall on a regular basis with my friends to verbally pick apart the “preppy kids” with their department store cookie-cutter image. I had no solid opinions on anything political, social, or otherwise important to mankind. My only real concern in life was to get high and make a fool out of myself to make people laugh.
In my sophomore year of high school I met up with a friend to go meet the lead singer of one of my favorite local bands. Because I respected him then for his musical talent and showmanship, he’ll be known here as Johnny. At 32, standing 5’9” with stringy black hair down to his shoulders; Johnny was the epitome of who I aspired to be. Living in a run-down 1 room studio in a ghetto part of town, Johnny lived alone. His “Limbo” as he called it, “Neither Heaven or Hell, but comfy as well.” He told me one thing that to this day I feel was the most influential sentence I’ve ever heard. We walked to the mall and picked up some random things from the clearance rack at “Hot Topic” then strolled over to the adjacent middle school and got high on the roof. Under the stars, thinking that I was exactly where I wanted to be for the rest of my days, Johnny turned to me and said, “If I could go back to your age, I’d beat the **** out of myself and tell myself, ‘do whatever it takes to not end up here.’” He took a long drag off the joint we were passing around, blew the smoke in the air, then got up and left.
To this day I haven’t crossed paths with him.
15 year old me would look at 23 year old me and call me a sell out. At 23 I’m in the Army, married, and have a daughter. I’m able to live how I want to live and able to afford the things I want in life. 16 year old me would say that I’ve grown up. The big question is, “What is the difference?” The difference is 100% mentality. I still listen to the Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Misfits, and several other “The” bands who long since have faded out of the lime light. I still hate the government and think that it’s corrupt beyond repair. I still think certain people are “preppy,” but know that I look damn good in a suit and tie. I know that there are jerks who drive BMW’s and act like they’re better than me, even when I take the t-tops off my Corvette. I have tattoos but know that they have a deep enough meaning to me that I don’t have to show them off to the world.
I’ve grown up into the man that 16 year old me knew I had the ability to be and that 15 year old me wished he could be but was too “rebellious” to strive for. I was lucky enough to see the end state of where I’d be had I stayed in my previous mindset and how miserable he was. What I’m trying to get at is that there’s a point where you have to look at who you are and the person that you’ll become if you keep living like you do. If you don’t like who you’ll become, take a stand; you don’t have to sell out and forget where you came from or who you are inside.
Lis and I each have our own bucket list, but as we’ve grown closer and our lives become intertwined, our lists have followed suit. Everyone should keep one of these if for nothing else than to keep you on track!
1. Visit a remote country and live humbly for a week.
Growing up Lower/Middle-Class I’ve been privileged to lead a life with all of my necessities covered. Too often do we take for granted the little things like the clean water from our faucets.
2. Drive the Autobahn.
From everything I’ve heard about the Autobahn, the allure of a place where I can drive without speed limits and see the European Countryside is irresistible to me.
3. Visit New York and run Central Park.
The Big Apple is home to some of my favorite shows and some excellent culture. I’d like to take in a show on Broadway, attend an invitation-only gala on top of a skyscraper, and most importantly take a jog through Central Park.
4. Own a successful Business.
My father’s father built his engineering practice into a successful business and was able to bring his sons into the business and provide for multiple generations because of his hard work. My mother’s father ran a successful medical practice eventually expanding and moving into real-estate. My father started one of the first computer sales companies in our hometown and now owns his own motorcycle restoration business. Hard work and dedication are the greatest examples they could give me.
5. Attend all three major Longhorns games (Football, Basketball, and Baseball)
I recently bought tickets to the Big 12 Championship game where the Texas Longhorns will be representing the Big 12 South division!!!
6. Learn Japanese.
My hero Shintaro Katsu starred in over 200 movies including over 100 Samurai films. He made a legacy out of portraying the legendary Blind Samurai “Zatoichi.” All of his movies are filled with moral dilemmas and his means of solving them like a man. I want to one day watch his movies without subtitles.
7. Brew my own beer and throw a party with it.
In episode 3 of the 5th season of Futurama “The Route of All Evil”, Bender uses his body as a “big disposable tub” to mix the ingredients for their own beer. After it’s all said and done, ‘Benderbrau’ is born and they all celebrate.
8. See Conan Live in Los Angeles.
Since Lis and I started dating we’ve watched a lot of streaming videos online and one of our favorite things to watch is Conan. He has a way of making himself seem like someone you’d want to hang out with that appeals to both of us. I’d love to see him live, who knows, we may get to meet him?
9. Teach Kay how to ride a motorcycle.
I learned how to ride a motorcycle at the young age of four. That same bike stayed with me until I was about 11! My dad made sure to get a bike that had adjustable shocks and a governor to adjust the throttle all the way down to a gentle putt-putt when I was small and up to a nice little cruising speed when I was older. I have hundreds of memories from that little Yamaha dirtbike and I want Kay to have the same opportunity.
10. Ride motorcycles with Lisa and Kayleigh all together.
While my brother is incarcerated (long story) his mini-bike has been stored with my brother-in-law. It’s a little Thumper 125cc mini-dirtbike with street tires on it; the perfect pit-bike! Lis learned how to use the clutch and got the basic principles down without the fear of a larger bike… the next step is to find a bike with ~400cc’s so she can try it out.
11. Finish the Stingray and leave it to Kayleigh.
Toward the end of my first deployment I bought my 1975 Corvette Stingray. It’s been a project car ever since. As I go I add a bit here and there, eventually I’d like to get it into semi-show quality. I know that I can’t stand when I see really old guys driving around in the cars that I always dreamt of owning, so I decided that once Kay is ready to head off to college, It’ll be her car. That’s still 15 years of me enjoying it…
12. Take my extended family on a vacation and pay for it all.
For New Year’s 2010 I’m taking my in-laws and my parents to Ruidoso, NM. It’s not the biggest trip, but it’ll be a good vacation for all of us.
13. Compete in a legit triathlon.
The 2010 Texas Triathlon Series has several good triathlons that I intend to check out, and possibly enter New Braunfles, and Austin.
14. Record an album.
Lis and I have planned to turn our guest bedroom into a studio and there I will lay down our first LP.
15. Drink and Dance in a /real/ roadhouse bar.
If you’ve seen the movie ‘Black Snake Moan’ then you know what I’m talking about. There’s something that a dirty backwoods roadhouse bar can offer that I wouldn’t expect to find anywhere else. Maybe it’s the people and their attitudes, maybe it’s the music, whatever it is, I like the way it comes together and everyone can go crazy without a care in the world.
16. Finance someone getting back on their feet asking for nothing in return.
We all have the ability to do great things for others. I get a deep sense of satisfaction from helping others in my daily life. I’ve been blessed with a good life; why not share what I have for the betterment of someone else? Sometimes, no matter how good a life you’re living, the world will toss you a curve ball and you end up on hard times. I agree that some people end up where they are because they chose to do things a certain way…
17. Simultaneously own a House, Car, Truck, and motorcycle.
I grew up in a mobile home. My parents always taught me to appreciate what I had, and I always did. Right now I own the car and motorcycle; Lis and I are looking at our finances and debating whether or not to buy a house in today’s market. The truck will come in time.
18. Finish College.
I recently took the first step and enrolled in an online university. Colorado Technical University here I come!
19. Take Kayleigh and Lisa to a proper Opera or Play on Broadway.
This co-insides with #3. Our generation doesn’t appreciate good culture. I can buy a ticket to see the Jonas Brothers dance around like idiots pretending to play instruments OR I can buy a ticket to see a choreographed portrayal of a story written ages ago that has a moral dilemma and comes to a resolution through the actions of the actors on stage. I think only one of the choices will result in an aneurism.
20. Attend a big invitation only event such as a gala or benefit.
I grew up on the James Bond movies where he would slip into these ultra-exclusive situations, dressed to the 9’s, with the most beautiful woman on his arm. Suit? Check. Most beautiful woman on my arm? Check. Event? Still looking.
21. Compete in a fully sanctioned professional fight.
Amateur complete, only a few more to go…
22. Build Kayleigh something that she’ll remember for her lifetime.
My dad has always been a craftsman, all the way down to using only Chraftsman © tools when he works! When I was growing up there were tools and supplies to build all sorts of crazy things but the stuff I remember most was always built by dad. He could repair anything that I broke, and would do so often. I think a playhouse or riser-bed is in store for Kayleigh; I’m very good with wood.
23. Forge my own sword.
Famous Samurai would wield only hand-forged one of a kind swords. Each one had a story behind it, and a story was told using it. The process of metallurgy is really intriguing to me and I’d like to go through the step-by-step of making my own one of a kind sword, even if it spent its life hanging above my fireplace.
24. Meet one of my heroes.
We have so much to teach the generations that follow us. I’d love to sit and enjoy a lunch with one of my heroes and just listen to their experiences and learn from them.
25. Live a life with enough meaning that I’m remembered as a good man.
If no one remembers who you are then you lived a selfish life.
As a Non-Commissioned Officer I counsel my soldiers and team leaders on a monthly basis as to their performance for the month, highlighting things that they can sustain or improve upon. These counselings are usually one to two pages and help the soldier or team leader to analyze themselves from another point of view.
A large part of being a man is the accumulation of knowledge. The other part is sharing that knowledge. (Be mindful that there are people who don’t want to hear what you have to say, people who want to hear it, but not from you, and people who want to hear it from you but you’re not skilled enough to teach them.)
Counseling and Mentoring a young mind is a great way to put your knowledge to good use. The lessons learned from you can have a much larger impact on a person than you would think.
As Lisa is packing to move (yet again, thanks to the Army) she came across this letter that I sent her a while back. I don’t remember what it was for, but I can tell you that it was honest, and easy to do, and probably resulted in showers of kisses and tasty grilled cheese sandwiches…
The Army has multiple awards that are given for ‘valor’. I rarely find myself in a situation to judge others, and when placed in such a situation, I try and refrain as it’s not my place to pass judgment on others.
Today however was different; today my platoon sergeant was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. In the line standing with him were several other Sergeant’s First Class, multiple Lieutenants, and a whole bunch of other officers and upper enlisted personnel who had no reason being up there receiving an award like the Bronze Star.
I can name two other individuals who I knew and had the opportunity to serve with (in different facets) who have also received the award, and it is because of them that I feel this article needs to be written.
Cpl. William T. Warford (K.I.A. September 5th, 2007) and Sgt. Andrew McConnell (K.I.A. September 14th, 2009) both received the Bronze Star Medal posthumously. They both volunteered to join the Army in a time of war, and gave their lives for their country fighting to protect Americans the world over from Terrorism. Although the details of their sacrifices were different, the values that they both held were the same.
Sergeant First Class Foster (my Platoon Sergeant) has served three tours of duty as both an Infantryman and a Scout. He has led in multiple combat operations, and received several other awards for his service. This deployment he has led the BRIGADE COMMANDER’S Personal Security Detachment through multiple missions, and because of his direct leadership, we’ve succeeded in our mission. I have no argument against him receiving this award as he has proven himself to be a truly valorous soldier.
My issue is with the ‘less’-er individuals that were standing next to him…
GUT-‘LESS’… SPINE-’LESS’… USE-‘LESS’. At some point over the past few years, it has become “customary” for persons in the ranks of Sergeant First Class and above to be awarded the Bronze Star Medal simply for deploying. Nine-tenths of the people who were standing up there waiting to receive their awards have never left the base, let alone had an opportunity to show even the simplest form of valor. I am sad that my friends who were KILLED IN ACTION were awarded the same medal that is apparently given out like candy. If anyone tries to award me for such MEDIOCRITY, I would either decline it, or have to common decency to eat my own gun.
What a Girl Wants, 81-100
This will be the final installment of the ‘WaGW’ series. Hopefully, going into depth and breaking down these 100 specific items or “requirements” from one specific girl will help you with the 100+ things that your S.O. wants from you! When in doubt, remember to use the S.T.O.P.P. acronym…
81.He will put the toilet seat down for me It’s just as easy to lower the seat as it is to pick it up. If you can remember to do it for a week, it’ll become a habit and you’ll start lowering it every time you finish. If you don’t want to, just remember that every time you flush, millions of germs fly up into the air in a plume of disgustingness, if you close the lid (one step further than the seat) you’ll solve both problems ;)
82.He’ll pick up the dog poop A dog is a man’s best friend. Establish that it’s your dog or her dog. If she has one of those dogs in a purse, you should get out of the relationship because she’ll be nothing but trouble. From what I’ve learned, no girl worth your trouble will carry a dog in her purse. Cleaning up after your dog should be like second nature.
83.Kisses well If you suck at kissing, practice. The best way to practice is to avoid her mouth. Kisses on the neck, etc. will be more productive and provide you with an opportunity to see first hand how you’re doing. If you’re using too much tongue, you’ll leave slobber on her neck… no one likes slobber. If you’re not using enough tongue, she’ll seem uninterested.
84.Will build [insert child’s name] a tree house! A man should be able to do anything. If you don’t know how to do something, it’s easy to look skilled by being involved. If you sucked it up in Woodshop class, hire a guy to help you build it (who knows how to do it himself) and look like a badass by simply helping out and being visibly involved in the production of something manly.
85.Will buy me daisies Some girls like flowers. Call 1-800-flowers or go to http://www.google.com and search: “flowers” There are several ways to make a girl melt in her shoes in two minutes.
86.Doesn’t have ugly tattoos Sorry, I don’t have an answer for your ‘bat-winged vagina with fangs’ tattoo (Ask Nate)…
87.Is reliable It doesn’t make you less of a man to carry around a planner, or USE the iPhone’s scheduler application. Keep notes of the things that are asked of you. Even if you fail at the task, you try and try your best and people will take notice.
88.Will watch scary movies w/me If you’re not into scary movies, but /do/ enjoy having a woman wrapped in your arms, you’ll be surprised what kind of crap you can sit through (any of the ‘Scream’ Movies)
89.Is alright w/staying home on Friday & Saturday nights There are things that couples do when in love… like play Scrabble! A quiet night at home can teach you things about your S.O. that you’d never know otherwise.
90.Is creative If you’re not generally creative, then be creative in your own ways. Find a way to be unique in the things that you excel at.
91.Will consider moving to England for a year (at least) The world is awesome, explore the heck out of it!
92.Will take naps w/me A nap is a good way to not fizzle out when it gets late. If you take a nap on Friday, your chances are better to not get tired when you’re out till 2am.
93.Will fight for me if I’m ever in a coma & they tell him I won’t pull through Have faith hommie. This is a really personal one, and I’m not gonna get into it.
94.Will appreciate me Women are awesome, and sometimes they need to be reminded of it. One common misconception is that they want gifts to recognize their hard work. Sometimes it’s as easy as saying ‘Thank you’.
95.Will hold me when I have a terrible nightmare If you’re like me, when you sleep, you want to stay asleep. The best way is to make an arm available at all times. If she wakes up and wants to talk, fight the urge to sleep, one good idea is to pretend you have to pee and slam a Redbull so that you can stay awake through whatever she wants to talk about.
96.Will not let me give up on my dreams Everyone has wild and crazy aspirations. If she wants to dance in the Russian Ballet, but has two left feet, take her to watch ballet and drive her to her lessons. Don’t waste time being negative, let her enjoy her life, as you enjoy yours. If You’re a douchebag with big chrome tips on your exhaust and fake vents on the sides of your hood cause you think you’re in the movie ‘The Fast and The Furious’… I will personally kill your dream, and any girl who dates you should be given some sort of award.
97.Will let me take pictures of him Even if you’re an ugly dude, if she wants to take your picture, she can see beauty in you and wants a way to freeze that moment in time to enjoy it again later. Don’t be shy, remember that God made you, and he did it with purpose.
98.Will call me by my name Pet-names and nick-names are all cool, but occasionally a girl needs to be reminded that she’s your love, and not a pet or buddy.
99.Will look me in the eyes The eyes are the gateway to the soul, they’re also the easiest way to tell what emotion a girl is feeling.
100.My future husband should be willing to walk through fire, as I would for him! A woman is the ultimate partner. Just like any friend, you should strive to make her the best thing in your life. I personally intend to teach Lisa (my wife) to shoot, perform first-aid, overcome any obstacle, survive in the wild, and do basically whatever it would take to save my ass, cause I know that I would do anything for her.