I hate to be the one to ruin the image, but I feel like I can safely state that, contrary to my storybook notions, European men are no more gallant and chivalrous than Americans. (Well, maybe a little more.) Like Americans, you can’t count on them to hold doors open. And although they’re more likely to give up a seat for a woman or an elderly person, they’re also more likely to cut in line or to walk you right off the sidewalk — and into the street — rather than move over an inch. (The thing about the doors and the sidewalk aren’t true when I have the stroller, though — people will give me the smallest bit of sidewalk space to accommodate the stroller, and they will go out of their way to hold a door.)
The reality is a little disappointing.
Tonight, though, getting ready for bed, B asked me, “Mom, if a monster comes, will you fight it?”
I assured him that I would. He wanted me to know that he would fight it too. I said “No, it’s my job to protect you.” And he responded, “Aw, I’m not so little any more, I’m big now. I can help. I want a turn!”
My protector (or at least a comrade in arms). 4 years old and all grown up. All is not lost, then, in terms of gallantry.