The role model

Our nephew, 10, was asked to wash the dishes in his home the other day, the first time ever. He howled and cried.

DoorAfter all, there were three whole dishes. It might have taken 30 entire seconds. Oh, the indignity!

He knew instinctively, one supposes, that macho Mexican men don’t do dishes. Or sweep. Or make the bed. Or cook.

None of that stuff. It’s all woman’s work.

His favorite aunt, my child bride, quickly set him straight. Look at your uncle, she said. (That would be me.) He washes dishes and cooks and cleans. He does all kinds of things around the house.

She went on to say that macho Mexican men (She used that word, macho) are next to useless, and that all they want in a woman is a servant.

The young, spoiled rapscallion pondered that for a few seconds, broke out into a smile and started scrubbing his small supply of dirty dishes. He also learned to make his bed that very same day.

Yes, I am a role model. How about that!

I’ve been opening the car door for my wife for the past decade. I did it for my previous wife, the one who dumped me, for even longer than that.

There’s an old saying: If you see a man opening the car door for his wife, either the car is new or the wife is.

Obviously, there are exceptions.

Maybe my influence will help make a good man out of this kid, but I doubt it. I am just one, and he is surrounded by millions who act otherwise.

Lousy odds.

16 thoughts on “The role model”

  1. I agree with treating a woman with respect, opening doors and such, but with Women’s Liberation pounding at the doors of civility, it’s becoming more difficult. I don’t care, I do it anyway. As for the nephew, I hope he learns. As you say Mexican culture doesn’t lend itself to respecting the fairer sex. I see examples of it all the time, but he has respect for you. That makes a big difference in a child’s life. After you, good sir.

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    1. P.S. Your use of the term Women’s Liberation dates you (and me). Actually, women in the English-speaking world and most of Europe have been “liberated” and plenty more for quite some time now. They are not restricted.

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      1. Yes, you are right. Equal rights or something is the catch phrase nowadays. Yes, we have many women in the Trade Movement, and they are very successful. There are good sides to this and not so good portions also. Depends on what job is. Many times I have opened doors for women and heard the comment, “so chivalry is not dead.” I say nothing. I have done the same in Mexico and had the women look at me in distrust. Could be the biker garb, or just not understanding the politeness factor. I hope your nephew learns the lessons you teach in respect.

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  2. Mexican males would probably say you are setting a bad example. Most Mexican women routinely spoil their sons and the daughters are taught to cook and clean. American men are well indoctrinated in equality. I’m the only guy in my neighborhood who takes the trash out for the municipal garbage truck twice a week at 7:15 AM.

    My first wife was never taught to cook, so I had to learn to cook or starve. My father was a good example. He became a cook in the Danish army in WWI in order to stay warm. He cooked the Sunday dinner every week to give my mother a break.

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    1. Andres: Actually, I was sort of surprised that my sister-in-law, who is hyper-traditional, has him washing dishes and making the bed. Her departed hubby would never have done such things, nor would anybody have expected him to. But he’s dead now, and good riddance.

      I also take the trash out to the garbage truck, and I had never thought about my being the only man doing so, but now that you mention it…

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  3. Role model, kinda scary.

    After several dirty looks and a I-can-do-it-myself, as I held the door open for women years ago, I was slapped into reality that they wanted to be treated like equals. Then so be it.

    I still hold the doors open for anyone of my age or older. I figure they understand manners and be polite. I find it refreshing when someone says excuse me as they walk in front of me at the store, something only from the older generation.

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  4. Positive role models are, well, a positive. If you are, a continuous genuine role, it’s valuable. Nice your nephew has both you and your wife to acquire the good habits.

    Cooking can be a passion, I do enjoy it. Some don’t and that’s okay, just as some don’t like doing dishes or like making the bed, and some love ironing, ick. Funny how different things are important to different people.

    BTW, I also like doors opened for me. Guess I’m old fashioned, or something like that…

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    1. Alas, Andean, we are about the only place he sees positive things. Wish it were otherwise, but it’s not.

      As for opening doors, if you’re ever in my neck of the woods I will open one for you. My pleasure.

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  5. Also an old soul here who appreciates chivalry and certain traditional gender roles, yet, flexible to reversal when circumstances dictate. Balance is wise. Keep teaching your nephew.

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