Yesterday The Washington Post had a delightfully humorous column analyzing another result of the DC blizzards–the unleashing of real manliness. I chuckled the entire way through, as columnist Kathleen Parker described what the mass accumulation of snow has done for men. Apparently, the snow has exposed the almost universal, internal need of men to protect and defend. By doing what? Shoveling snow of course. And she is right! Just look at the comments from our readers on their experience in the DC snow storm; somehow the snow has channeled the chivalrous side in men.
In Kentucky, where the snowfall has been significant, although much less extreme, I’ve watched from my window as all of my male neighbors one by one appear with shovel in hand to clear their driveway,sidewalk, and walkway. The snow may keep you from driving and getting out, but it can’t keep you from being productive and being a gentleman apparently.
Parker goes onto defend her view and illustrate just how different men and women are in fact:
“Lest I be accused of sexist stereotyping, let me tweak the record to reflect that many women were also out clearing sidewalks and unearthing cars no longer identifiable as such. But most women do these things because they must, while men apparently can’t wait to do them.”
She goes on to discuss the economic hardship that is facing men and women differently, and how men and women are responding. According to Parker, respecting men might be a good idea, especially when feet of snow fall outside of your window:
“Women can’t be blamed for wanting to be independent and self-sufficient, but smart ones have done so without diminishing the males whose shoulders they might prefer on imperfect days. Add to the cultural shifts our recent economic woes, which have left more men than women without jobs, and men are all the more riveted by opportunities to be useful.”
This is a real opportunity to learn a few important facts as evidenced by the snow storm…
1. Men and women are different in their genetic makeup. Do women universally get a thrill from shoveling snow? If so, I don’t know many.
2. If we encourage men be men (ie, give them opportunities to do things like shovel our cars out of the snow), then maybe they will see that the majority of women want men to act like gentlemen.
3. It’s amazing the important lessons that the folks in Washington can come up with, in spite of being snowed in. (Just follow them on Twitter, this snow storm hasn’t slowed them down one bit.)
I’ll close with an insightful statement by Parker. It’s something I think women should read, reread, and remember:
“Man is never happier than when he is called to action, in other words. That is to say, when he is needed.”
Many women seem to have lost sight of this truth. Perhaps the chill of the snow will serve as a reminder to us all.