Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"Save me!" she cried.

Domineering man. Damsel in distress. The things that movies and romance novels and fairy tales are made of...

In many cases, the role of the damsel is played by doe-eyed, highly feminine, coy but secretly frisky women in pumps. That's my experience anyway. She receives constant affirmation by getting men to do things for her. Opening a jar, for example, or carrying her bags or telling her that she doesn't look fat in her slutty, little, black dress. This version of the damsel is a tragic injustice to the woman who truly is in need of rescuing.

For the true damsel, femininity is not a weapon. It is merely her nature. Her coyness is genuine and her big doe eyes... well, they are big and weepy for a reason, not just for attention. Vulnerability, on her part, is more than just a hypnotic tool. It is sincere.

I do not have a problem with the true damsel in distress. Every woman, whether she admits it or not, experiences a time in life when her efforts alone seem to get her nowhere. She needs a little help. And for most, that help comes in the form of a man. He swoops in, sweeps her up and when the dust settles, all is well. At least for a while...

Somewhere between the settling and the next dust storm, some women realize that they are stronger and smarter and more capable of doing it alone on the next go 'round. Others are content with being the damsel in distress. For the latter, it becomes a way of life and a cycle of being rescued over and over by one man after another.

Most men are rescuers. When you tell a man a problem, he immediately racks his brain for solutions. Guys fix things. So, a woman in need is appealing to a man. It is easy for him to see where he fits into her life. He knows his role.

That leaves a lot of women, like me, out in the cold. "I can take care of myself" and "I don't need a man" are two completely different statements.

I have never been a damsel in distress. I don't know that I could even fake my way through that role. My parents taught me to be self-sufficient, which I believe is every parent's job. I can cook and change a tire, if I have to. I can open my own jars and, if I have to, I can decided where to eat for dinner. I can take care of myself.

"Want" and "need" are two different words as well. I guess the statement "I don't need a man" is true. I don't need a lot of things outside of water, food, shelter and clothing. I want a man. I just don't want him to open stuff or fix stuff or fix me for that matter. I want him to laugh with me and enjoy life with me. It's really that simple with a girl who doesn't need saving.

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