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Chivalry modernized

BY NATE WHITNEY | APRIL 09, 2009 7:30 AM

Years ago I dated Amber, who was adamant but not forceful that I always open the door for her when getting in the car or going into a restaurant. That could be construed as “being whipped,” or it could be that she was “high maintenance,” depending on what side of that argument you sit on. I’d wager that whether or not you have a penis determines your response.

When it’s raining, I’ll gladly open the door. When going into a building, I’d open the door first and let people go in no matter their sex or my dating status; it’s just courtesy.

One thing that I’ve never been willing to compromise on with the women in my life is the toilet seat.
A boy in grade school learns early on to lift up the seat before taking care of business, so as not to leave a liquid reminder of your visit to the bathroom for the next unfortunate soul that sits on the throne. Then, at some point later on in life, boys (and some men, still) are instructed to put the lid back down, under the guise of being “courteous.” As if the toilet’s natural state is to have its lid in one position or the other.

Why am I dedicating 750 odd words to this most ridiculous of subjects?

I’m finally at the stage in my life where my days as a bachelor are numbered. I’m mentally preparing myself as I face an engagement and plan a wedding. I’m ready, anxious, and excited to dedicate myself to one person, for the rest of my life, someone I think is incredibly special and worthy of my utmost efforts in every category of life. This, unfortunately, includes the toilet seat.

I always have believed that if a woman has to go to the bathroom so badly that she runs backwards into the bathroom and sits down without looking on a consistent basis that there are other issues in her life she should be concerned about besides whether or not the males in the household put the seat down when they’re done. Say, for instance, if her bladder is going to rupture in the foreseeable future from such abuse.

The common response to my point is that “it’s just polite.” Possibly. It’s certainly thoughtful, but is it truly necessary?

Why even worry about the status of the toilet seat or its position? Is it that big of a deal? It must be, seeing as you’re reading this right now and wondering when I realized there was nothing else I wanted to write about this week.

There’s a thin line between chivalry and special privileges. The modern, independent woman balks at not being handed the bill at a restaurant as much as a man, upset over the assumption of financial strength in the relationship. She seems flustered at Ann Coulter’s insistence that another partner be required to properly raise a child she carried in her body for nine months. And unequal-pay status continues to show its ugly countenance year after year, evidencing continued discrimination in the work force.

But dammit, those things are so trivial, so lacking in importance, if she comes home at the end of the day and has to take 0.4 seconds to lower that toilet seat. That’s just a waste of her time. Why can’t her boyfriend/husband/significant other just spend his precious 0.4 seconds and put the thing back down “where it belongs”?

I had many family members tell me (after the fact) that they believed Amber *was* high maintenance. And after reflecting on it for a bit, I agreed, as I had cleared the cobwebs from my view. One thing Amber never got me to do for her was, in fact, put the seat back down in the loo. She couldn’t break me. She couldn’t assert her beliefs onto me, even though I always opened that car door and held her umbrella in the rain. You pick your fights in life, and that was one I refused to budge on.

Well, men, listen up. I was wrong. Dogs, cats, children; have any of them in the house and you may have problems with that toilet water. It’s hygienic and, yes, I suppose it’s “chivalrous.”

But the bottom line is that when your soon-to-be wife tells you she wants that seat down, you respond with two words.

“Yes, dear.”


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