« Words vs. Deeds | Main | When Grievance Politics Trumps Civilization »

January 16, 2012

"Women and Children Last"

This may well be the most fascinating story I've seen in ages:

It was every man – and crew member – for himself. Survivors from the Costa Concordia spoke angrily yesterday of the nightmare evacuation from the stricken ship as women and children were left behind.

In the terrifying moments after the giant vessel began to list, fights even broke out to get into the lifeboats.

Men refused to prioritise women, expectant mothers and children as they pushed themselves forward to escape. Crew ignored their passengers – leaving ‘chefs and waiters’ to help out.

In heart-rending footage, recorded on mobile phones, British children could be heard shouting ‘Daddy’ and ‘Mummy’ in the melee.

As she waited for a flight home from Rome, grandmother Sandra Rogers, 62, told the Daily Mail: ‘There was no “women and children first” policy. There were big men, crew members, pushing their way past us to get into the lifeboats. It was disgusting.’

Mrs Rogers, a widow originally from Chester who has retired to Minorca, was sailing with her daughter Karen, 39, and seven-year-old twin granddaughters Emma and Chloe.

She said: ‘I want everyone to know how badly some people behaved. It was a nightmare. I lost my daughter and my grandchildren in the chaos.
‘I was standing by the lifeboats and men, big men, were banging into me and knocking the girls. It was awful. There was a total lack of organisation. There was no one telling people where to go.

‘And when we finally got into a lifeboat, people, grown men, were trying to jump into the boat. I thought, if they land in here we are going to capsize.

A few observations:

1. It's very tempting to turn this kind of story into some sort of uber metaphor for all the ills that modern society is heir to, but some temptations ought to be vigorously resisted.

2. The unwillingness of some subset of the men on this ship to adhere to the traditional "women and children first" will be blamed on Feminism in 10...9...8...7...

Never mind that these men also pushed ahead of children, some of whom were little boys. Those durned feminists are reaping the whirlwind now !!!11!!!.

3. If the purpose of women and children first is to ensure the continuation of the human race, it seems relevant to point out that the entire human race wasn't on this particular ship. Also, any woman past childbearing age isn't going to be much help when it comes time repopulate the planet.

If the purpose of women and children first is to give the physically weakest passengers the added advantage of a boat (on the presumption that men are physically stronger and hence more likely to be able to fend for themselves), it would seem that the progressive ideal of a level playing field is something of a hothouse flower.

4. The entire account reeks more of individualism eroding the sacrifice ethic than of anything having to do with gender....but I'm pretty sure both sides of the gender debate will see it what they want to see in it.

What say you?

Posted by Cassandra at January 16, 2012 04:00 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.villainouscompany.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/4006

Comments

The fellow to ask is Brad Miner, who opened his book The Compleat Gentleman with an account of the behavior of the gentlemen on the Titanic. (There is some chance that the author's choice to do so was influenced in some degree by the popularity of the movie of the same name, at the time when he was trying to market the book.)

He writes:

"The 'women and children first' rule had one great virtue: it was efficient. It provided a design and a method on Titanic, as it would in a similar emergency today. The circumstances on Titanic were too chaotic, and her crew too poorly trained, to use the rule to full effect.... Still, the precept did provide such order as there was that night.

"Would judicious people today decide that these classes of individuals, the female and the juvenile, should ipso facto be the ones to enter the boats? In the case of children, certainly: we instinctively protect them. In the case of women, possibly: they may reproduce, to which capacity instinct also dictates an allegiance. In 1912, of course, there was also the assumption and the probability that, regardless of age, most women were less likely than most men to survive the extreme conditions... But in the year 2003 women are as fit as men: they neither feel helpless nor are helpless. We would expect some women to decide to give up their places in the boats, and perhaps there are more men today who would be only too happy to fill them."

Posted by: Grim at January 16, 2012 04:40 PM

I doubt it has anything to do with gender or chivalry and everything to do with "Holy sh!t, this boat is sinking and I'm gonna DIE!"

Posted by: HomefrontSix at January 16, 2012 04:45 PM

Yes, just so, HF6: but once it was otherwise.

Miner's account proves to be entirely over-optimistic. It was not the case that "children, certainly." It was not the case that some women chose to give up their places, for no one thought to ask them.

We have lost something, and we shall miss it.

Posted by: Grim at January 16, 2012 05:00 PM

It was not the case that some women chose to give up their places, for no one thought to ask them.

Do we know that? Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence and people's memories of traumatic events are notoriously unreliable and inconsistent. As you pointed out wrt the writing of nuns, if you're not looking for women who wrote during the Middle Ages, you certainly will not find them.

Interpreting this to mean that no women wrote anything of note would be the wrong conclusion, and yet if I had a dime for every time I've seen guys saying, "Women have never done anything worth noticing since the dawn of creation", I would be wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice :p

Posted by: Cassandra at January 16, 2012 05:11 PM

FWIW, "Were there women who acted the same selfish way as the men?" was also the very first thing that I thought on reading this story.

I would not be at all shocked to find this was the case, only people didn't notice it. Selective attention operates both ways!

Posted by: Cassandra at January 16, 2012 05:13 PM

I base the claim only on the article you cite. If we should later learn that the other side of the ship was filled with an orderly policy in which men were trying to give women seats on lifeboats, only to have the women conscientiously refuse, I'll be more than happy to have been wrongly informed on the subject.

Posted by: Grim at January 16, 2012 05:35 PM

...tempting to turn this kind of story into some sort of uber metaphor for all the ills that modern society is heir to....

Not a metaphor, but I think symptomatic. This struck me as a case of a too-soft life leaving everyone, including the crew, ill-equipped to deal with a no s*t emergency. I have to wonder about the number of drills the Captain ran, for his crew or for the passengers. This sort of negligence (if my speculation that the number approximates zero) is part of the laziness of that softness.

The panic that seems to have infected everyone on board flows from both that lack of nearby practice on this cruise and from the general softness of the lives led by crew and passenger alike.

I can't think of any other reason than panic for shoving the children aside in the mad rush for the exits by the adults. At least they could have scooped one up as they ran after their own scrawny necks.

The Captain seems to have been among the very first to have abandoned ship. With that mindset, what kind of discipline and training could he possibly have impressed on his crew? But I don't think he's alone, other than being the sole MFWIC. I have to ask after his Exec, or whatever a cruise ship uses for one. As the second in command, where was his initiative? What was he doing for training and drill?

I also wonder about the luck of the Captain to have abandoned ship so close to shore in such fine weather. Suppose he had pulled this stunt on what the Med uses for high seas, in dark of night, in a storm. What would his survival chances have been then? And does he have the grace to appreciate how unlucky he is to have abandoned ship under the actual conditions he did?

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at January 16, 2012 06:04 PM

It's quite simple: women and children first is spurious and unnecessary. The state takes care of them now.

Posted by: Sonic Charmer at January 16, 2012 10:59 PM

If we should later learn that the other side of the ship was filled with an orderly policy in which men were trying to give women seats on lifeboats, only to have the women conscientiously refuse, I'll be more than happy to have been wrongly informed on the subject.

You know, I wasn't thinking of the scenario quite that way. The question in my mind was, did any women *spontaneously* offer to give their seats up to a child/pregnant woman? Now it may well be (usually is) that adults far outnumbered children on this ship so that may not make any sense at all.

I think it's interesting because it is my sense that even the old "women and children first" isn't the sort of thing men would naturally volunteer to do in a life threatening situation. It seems more likely that they would be inspired to do so by a leader (as Eric notes, when the Captain bolts at the first sign of trouble, the leadership message that gets sent is, "Every man for himself").

Posted by: Cassandra at January 17, 2012 06:46 AM

I want to be diffident about this, because I'm by no means sure how I would behave in the grip of panic on a sinking cruise ship.

So I'm going now by what I've read about panic situations. I've been reading this week about "the jockey on the horse." The jockey is the forebrain, so to speak, exerting his precarious control on the very powerful horse. We need the horse; it's the source of all motivation and joy. But if it stampedes, it can kill itself and us. So the small, relatively weak jockey learns how to keep it from killing both of them while learning to encourage it to use its strength and beauty.

In a panic, the horse isn't very bright about a lot of things and will fall back on powerful instinct. If the jockey is going to help out at all with higher-level information like "you can't breathe underwater," it's going to need a lot of help from training and practice and, often, from deep-seated social mores. "Women and children first" is the kind of simple, clear code of behavior that can persist when you're close to losing your mind. It's an old-fashioned short-hand for "Civilization and self-respect and our duty to God require us to consider self-sacrifice in the form of putting first the needs of the more helpless among us in an emergency." It may also have to do with saving the sex who can repopulate the tribe. It's painted with broad brushes and doesn't stop to calculate how many childbearing years are left to the old bag you're helping into the lifeboat. It does sometimes lead the old to sacrifice themselves for the young, the able-bodied for the handicapped. Maybe I'd like to see it evolve so that we wouldn't have to inquire, as Karen Blixen was said to have responded to the phrase "women and children first," "Is that one category, or two?"

But regardless of what code we believe ought to be drilled into civilized people, they're going to need something when the boat starts sinking, or they're just a mob, each panicked member of which is almost as dangerous to himself as to the others. That ship was full of unprepared passengers and what looks to have been a thoroughly negligent, clueless set of officers and crew. They were sitting on a powderkeg.

Posted by: Texan99 at January 17, 2012 09:26 AM

3. If the purpose of women and children first is to ensure the continuation of the human race, it seems relevant to point out that the entire human race wasn't on this particular ship. Also, any woman past childbearing age isn't going to be much help when it comes time repopulate the planet.

Short of Noah's Ark, I cannot think of a single ship where that would have ever been true.

As for root causes, I think it's the general degradation of manners more than anything else. I'd no sooner blame Feminism for this than I would the rise of Asatru worship.

I doubt it has anything to do with gender or chivalry and everything to do with "Holy sh!t, this boat is sinking and I'm gonna DIE!"

For that to be the true cause of the poor behavior here, we must assume that this accident was somehow worse than all other foundering boats in history. And I cannot accept that premise. There have been orderly evacuations previous to this one, where the "women and children first" rule was adhered to. So what was the real difference?

It seems more likely that they would be inspired to do so by a leader (as Eric notes, when the Captain bolts at the first sign of trouble, the leadership message that gets sent is, "Every man for himself").

More than anything else, this is what I would point to as one of the root causes. Lack of leadership. The behavior of the Captain (and subsequently the crew) enhanced the chaos and fear in the situation. They failed to act professionally, and it cost lives.

Posted by: MikeD at January 17, 2012 09:28 AM

Texan99, I think you nailed it.

I had a lot of problems with the scenario as presented, not the least of which you summed up well here:

"Women and children first" is the kind of simple, clear code of behavior that can persist when you're close to losing your mind. It's an old-fashioned short-hand for "Civilization and self-respect and our duty to God require us to consider self-sacrifice in the form of putting first the needs of the more helpless among us in an emergency." It may also have to do with saving the sex who can repopulate the tribe. It's painted with broad brushes and doesn't stop to calculate how many childbearing years are left to the old bag you're helping into the lifeboat. It does sometimes lead the old to sacrifice themselves for the young, the able-bodied for the handicapped. Maybe I'd like to see it evolve so that we wouldn't have to inquire, as Karen Blixen was said to have responded to the phrase "women and children first," "Is that one category, or two?"

I couldn't agree more with that last question.

I would not automatically expect preferential treatment in such a situation because I'm a woman.

If I were a mother of small children, I can see an argument for saving the adult who is most likely to protect her children but I would like to think most fathers would do that (and they would be stronger).

Here's the irony: I was amused to note that my "this will be blamed on Feminism in 10...9...8..." observation was quickly validated.

If you believe that women are naturally better suited to child rearing (or that there is - in general - a closer bond between mothers and children than exists between fathers and children), then on what possible basis can you argue that the family court system is "unfair" and biased against men if more women than men get custody?

It doesn't follow logically.

Radical feminists have a similar problem, though I'm not sure they are making the arguments some folks claim they are.

If you truly believe that men and women are EQUALLY able to care for children (and further, that men ought to assume equal parenting duties), then why wouldn't you want men and women to get custody in roughly equal proportions.

Note that I have not actually seen feminists arguing that they think women should always get custody. I would think that they would WANT men to get custody more because that would result in a more equitable sharing of parental duties and more freedom for women.

This is what happens when men and women engage in identity/victimhood politics: they end up defending things they don't really believe because in the end, they'll do/argue anything just to "win".

Too bad society loses in both cases.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 17, 2012 09:55 AM

I would not automatically expect preferential treatment in such a situation because I'm a woman.

I suggest a thought experiment. I've long held that there are no important differences in obligation or right between men and women who are not fat with child. But life threatening emergencies reduce everything to the personal and away from the principle.

Say you and your spousal unit are in an emergency situation such that ordered departure is mandatory for survival, but there may not be time for both of you. What are you going to do when your husband says, "You first."? My wife has learned that when (not if) I make such an imposition on her, her best hope for my survival is to not waste time remonstrating with me over my rank sexism, but to go ahead and go first, so that my going second has a chance of succeeding.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at January 17, 2012 11:56 AM

Say you and your spousal unit are in an emergency situation such that ordered departure is mandatory for survival, but there may not be time for both of you. What are you going to do when your husband says, "You first."? My wife has learned that when (not if) I make such an imposition on her, her best hope for my survival is to not waste time remonstrating with me over my rank sexism, but to go ahead and go first, so that my going second has a chance of succeeding.

Your wife is very wise. Over the years, though I've never quite gotten used to my husband's predilection for protecting me, I have grown increasingly grateful for - and humbled by - his strength and selflessness.

One of the hardest things I've had to learn as a wife is that my husband needs to protect me. I don't always understand this and sometimes don't agree with it, but it's part of who he is and I'm not going to change it any time soon.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 17, 2012 12:00 PM

One of the hardest things I've had to learn as a wife is that my husband needs to protect me. I don't always understand this and sometimes don't agree with it, but it's part of who he is and I'm not going to change it any time soon.

YOU DISGUSTING MAN-HATING FEMINAZI!!!!!
WARGGGLBLLLARGLLLL!!!!

Seriously, it always cracked me up to see clueless sods stumble on your blog and make that kind of accusation. I mean, it's not quite as ridiculous as calling the Pope a Catholic-hating Protestant. But it's close.

Posted by: MikeD at January 17, 2012 12:08 PM

Positions staked out at the fringes of the gender grievance political spectrum pretty much depend on painting The Enemy with the same broad brush... and "the enemy" ends up being anyone who disagrees with them.

So men who defend traditional masculine values are namecalled (White Knights, chumps, beta males, etc.). And women who dare to disagree are feminists, man haters, etc... regardless of whether they've actually defended feminism or man hating. These is nothing more than ad hominem attacks - they're not reasoned arguments but if you're only interested in preaching to the choir, they work.

Unfortunately, those tactics do little to build support for your position in anyone who doesn't already agree with you. It's very similar to the OWS mentality - either you're one of the 99% or you're one of the evil 1%. People don't really break down into those broad brush categories, but since they're not making a serious argument, the appeal to emotion works.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 17, 2012 12:14 PM

I know in a panic, reason sometimes goes out the window, but was it just me that noticed that shore was within a very short swimming distance.

My response would have been, "Women and children to the lifeboats! Let's wade to shore guys."

It's great to have you back.

Posted by: Allen at January 17, 2012 12:24 PM

"My wife has learned that when (not if) I make such an imposition on her, her best hope for my survival is to not waste time remonstrating with me over my rank sexism, but to go ahead and go first, so that my going second has a chance of succeeding."

This reminds me of a scene that always irritated me in "Titanic." Our heroine, to prove she's emancipated and enlightened beyond her era, refuses to go into the lifeboat under the protection of her appalling fiancee, and instead impulsively gets back on the sinking boat with her lover, who respects her too much to patronize her. Fine, but then when they're both in the freezing water, she's not strong enough to get herself up on the flotsam, and he has to stay in the water to make room for her up there and keep her from falling off. So he dies. If she'd gone on the lifeboat, he might have survived while unencumbered by her. She makes up a fantasy about being as physically strong as him, and he dies for it.

Part of courage and self-responsibility is the willingness to face an unflattering truth, not distort reality to protect your precious self-image. That goes for women who want to be adults, too. (By the same token, a man should let a woman help if necessary, even though it embarrasses him.)

Posted by: Texan99 at January 17, 2012 12:30 PM

Allen, it is great to be able to discuss things with you all again.

I can't tell you how many times I've puzzled over some issue in the news and thought, "I wonder what the assembled villainry would say about this?"

You all never fail to ensmarten me.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 17, 2012 12:35 PM

This reminds me of a scene that always irritated me in "Titanic." Our heroine, to prove she's emancipated and enlightened beyond her era, refuses to go into the lifeboat under the protection of her appalling fiancee, and instead impulsively gets back on the sinking boat with her lover, who respects her too much to patronize her. Fine, but then when they're both in the freezing water, she's not strong enough to get herself up on the flotsam, and he has to stay in the water to make room for her up there and keep her from falling off. So he dies. If she'd gone on the lifeboat, he might have survived while unencumbered by her. She makes up a fantasy about being as physically strong as him, and he dies for it.

Bingo.

Is Titanic the most annoying movie ever, or what?

Posted by: Cassandra at January 17, 2012 12:38 PM

I don't want to wank about this (Titanic is in many ways a deeply stupid movie IMO) so I will just say that I read the ending scene entirely differently. Nowhere did I see Rose asserting that she was "as strong as Jack" (although given that Jack was played by Leo diCaprio who looked all of perhaps fifteen years old at the time, perhaps that isn't such a stretch ;) ). In fact, in at least one situation where physical strength was required, Rose did not insist on joining in but limited herself to a support role. And from what I recall, the problem with the wreckage at the end was simply that it wouldn't bear their combined weight, not that she wasn't strong enough to get up there and stay on it. (In fact, Jack does attempt to climb up there after her, but the wreckage starts to tip and sink, so he desists).

Perhaps it's just that my husband and I have been apart for too long (we were in a long-distance relationship for eleven years, by far the majority of our relationship, and since ending that time have agreed that we'll never be separated again under any circumstances). But I would hope that if the time ever came when I had to choose between saving my own life and remaining with my husband and sharing his fate, that I would have the courage to say, "Together or not at all." (The only exception being if we had small children, of course and even then, given that my husband is the breadwinner for our family, to be bluntly honest I would be the more expendable parent.)

Posted by: colagirl at January 17, 2012 01:33 PM

I would hope that if the time ever came when I had to choose between saving my own life and remaining with my husband and sharing his fate, that I would have the courage to say, "Together or not at all."

I love that, colagirl. Given that choice, I agree.

Given Eric's scenario (both may survive but one must go first if anyone is to survive) I might well defer to my husband, though to do so would break my heart.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 17, 2012 01:37 PM

Interesting sidebar that has been buzzing in the back of my mind for a few days now:
Friday before last, a flourescent bulb in the classroom next to the VES' exploded. Small shards of extremely hot glass flew everywhere. There was immediate pandamonium -- so much so that one girl was shoved into a window with such force that her hand went through it. The cuts on her hand and wrist included a nicked artery. Now, these are kids who have been drilled regularly over the course of the seven years that they have been in school for not only fire, but also emergencies such as earthquake (last duty station) and tornado (current duty station) as well as lock down drills for maniacs with guns . Yet they still panicked.
I am not saying it excuses the paid professional crew for their apparent cowardice. I just makes me wonder if the instances aren't more indicative of something *more*. What? I have no idea. Like I said, it just stuck in my head and I thought I'd throw it out to be "chewed on".

Posted by: DL Sly at January 17, 2012 01:51 PM

Given Eric's scenario (both may survive but one must go first if anyone is to survive) I might well defer to my husband, though to do so would break my heart.

Which made me think of something related. It may break yours to risk losing your husband. It would KILL ours to lose our wives. Statistics bear this out, widowers die sooner than widows. It's not that we CAN'T live without you. It's that we don't want to.

Posted by: MikeD at January 17, 2012 01:53 PM

"Together or not at all."

Colagirl's scenario isn't far different from an alternative to my scenario. Were it the case that only one of us could survive if one acted promptly, but only one could survive in any event, we would argue with each other over who had to go first. My wife and I both are loath to see the other die on our account--but we're also both loath to be the left left behind to live without the other.

The remonstrations then would be mutual and...enthusiastic.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at January 17, 2012 02:07 PM

I am not saying it excuses the paid professional crew for their apparent cowardice. I just makes me wonder if the instances aren't more indicative of something *more*. What?

It's the difference between the practice that your students got and that, on a responsibly captained ship, the passengers get, and the drill that a ship's crew should get, and that properly run military organizations get.

I had a training NCO ask me once why I worked my section as hard as I did--I drilled them, and we took missions, at every opportunity throughout 10-hour days.

My self defense instructor demanded lots of drill (not practice), also. The reason for both is this: in an no s*t emergency, where lives are in the wind, and everyone is feeling the terror of the situation--as everyone will--rational minds tend to shut down, lizard brains take over, and folks fall back to doing what they know. If what they know isn't their jobs, people die. Even if what they know is their jobs, the terror--felt by all of us, understand, no shame there--their performance is reduced substantially by that terror, by fully 30% if my instructor can be believed. Hence the premium on extensive drill and through that, raising the quality of the baseline performance.

And hence my disdain for the imitation captain of the Costa Concordia. I'm reading accounts of the utter lack--as in zero--practice runs at all on that cruise, including for the crew. That all falls on the captain. Here's to keelhauling.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at January 17, 2012 02:25 PM

1. When ya gonna fix the banner Cassie? (You know I had to ask...)

2. I admit I haven't looked to far, and, in the main, I find the discussion and criticism emanating from the cheap seats who are relying *mostly* on hearsay, and little tunnels of visuals... and I have no doubt there was cowardly and churlish behavior (the Captain comes to mind) but one wonders if any of the "burly crewmen pushing to the lifeboats" were... the cox'ns of the lifeboats? Just another possibility.

I return you to your original thead (and apologize if the point got raised earlier and I missed it in the skim of things)

Posted by: John of Argghhh! at January 17, 2012 02:37 PM

Hey - I only had time to post because I had a 3 day weekend and, after two full weeks of being sick - finally decided to spend the weekend resting instead of working! :)

Seriously, I'll get to it at some point.

I think you make a good point wrt to what we know - that was what I was getting at when I wondered whether any *women* had volunteered to give up their places on the lifeboats? That older bimbo who was complaining about her jewelry (really? she went there?) needed to be slapped into the next century or perhaps prodded with the world's largest clue bat.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 17, 2012 03:23 PM

these are kids who have been drilled regularly over the course of the seven years that they have been in school for not only fire, but also emergencies such as earthquake (last duty station) and tornado (current duty station) as well as lock down drills for maniacs with guns . Yet they still panicked.

Yep. And I think this is probably normal. That's just another reason I think this had more to do with the lack of leadership and example than with gender politics or feminism or global warming.

But then I don't have any particular ax to grind either :p

Posted by: Cassandra at January 17, 2012 03:25 PM

People have been thinking and writing about demoralized panic and dishonorable behavior as long as we've had stories and history. We know some things about how and why it happens, but if there's anything clear, it's that there's no single talisman against it. There's training, morale, human ties, esprit de corps, piety, a workable code of honor, strong mental health, the ability to face facts, and lots of practice moving forward even in the grip of fear -- all kinds of things, no one of which will be enough alone. But we do know that if you're missing many of these things at once, you and everyone around you are in trouble.

Posted by: Texan99 at January 17, 2012 07:56 PM

When I read the story, I thought 'Well, why are people complaining? We have systematically set out to (no offense to the Oink Cadre) bring women down to the level of beasts. I truly hated that movie, 'Titanic.' I think the reason I despised it was because they showed the crew locking the third class and steerage passengers in to die. Then the Kate Winslett character goes off with her lover only to see him die, when she might have shown her emancipation by running off with him once they were rescued. Oh well. At least she has closure and her heart went on, much like the Energizer Bunny. That movie also creeped me out to the point where taking showers was an ordeal.

Posted by: Carolyn at January 18, 2012 12:12 PM

For years I refused to watch Titanic on principle. I finally saw it years later whilst the spouse was deployed to Iraq.

Watching the movie, I was reminded of a fellow student who had recommended the movie to me when it came out. Apparently he found it quite useful for dates - as he said, "Chicks like it".

I remember thinking to myself, "Dear God. I hope they don't breed." :p

Posted by: Cassandra at January 18, 2012 12:37 PM

Apparently he found it quite useful for dates - as he said, "Chicks like it".

Glad I married a woman. And that she was foolish enough to agree. I'm not into be-- never mind.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at January 18, 2012 01:33 PM

Weeellll...chicks may like it, but, as a chick who is married, and watched it, I found myself to be annoyed at the vapidity of Rose. Even James Bond would not be so callous. 'For Your Eyes Only'...even when he and Carole Bouquet were tied together and being dragged all over the Aegean sea, he took the brunt of the punishment. A subtle thing, but very powerful. Just my two cents. One other thing, and I ask this of the gentle men who post here: As men, do you think you are wired to protect women? My sons, one and all, would never allow a woman to suffer. I found it to be mildly surprising and very touching. What say y'all?

Posted by: Carolyn at January 18, 2012 03:48 PM

I was raised to protect my family and those whom I love--my friends, for instance--and then those who need help. Pretty much in that order, since I must, umm, husband my resources. All of those categories include women, and women tend to come to the head of whatever line that represents, sexist hypocrite that I am.

I've been known to react badly (in the eyes of those who would blame the victim for the criminal's action) to those who've threatened my family.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at January 18, 2012 04:40 PM

Prodded with a giant clue bat, or Mitt Romney's Ginormous Codpiece...

@ Eric: Fair enough to say you were raised that way, but what I am getting at is something beyond example and precept. Instinct, perhaps?

Posted by: Carolyn at January 18, 2012 04:54 PM

That's an interesting question, Carolyn. Not sure why but I didn't raise my sons to protect women/girls any more than they would their male friends.

That said, both my sons are protective of their wives and were very considerate of their girlfriends when they were still dating.

I attribute the "considerate" part to how I raised them (good manners) and the protective part to either nature or the example set by their father in his dealings with me.

Posted by: Sacre Bleu! the Phrench Speaking Pullet at January 18, 2012 05:13 PM

I can recall walking on a road in rural Georgia when I was young, with a girl I was just old enough to like taking walks with. A big Rottweiler came out of nowhere and charged us, and I stepped in front of her to face down the dog.

I didn't think about it, and didn't really think anything of it until she mentioned it later. I do remember thinking it was odd that she thought it was worth mentioning. Of course I had put myself in front of her; what else might I have done? Nothing else occurred to me at the time, and in retrospect, I still can't think of anything else that would have come naturally.

Posted by: Grim at January 18, 2012 05:44 PM

When my husband and I walk along a road with no sidewalk (and even sometimes on a road *with* a sidewalk) he will almost always place himself between me and the traffic.

It surprised me too, the first time I noticed what he was doing :) He does a lot of little things like that.

When we first dated, he called most women "Ma'am" and was very old fashioned in his manners. Now, though he is never rude, he does not automatically treat strange women in a courtly fashion either. I'm sure a large part of that is that he has gotten a negative reaction from strangers in return for his courtesy.

That seems very sad to me. I have noticed that most of the men in my office building do still hold doors and most are still somewhat courtly in their behavior. I was breaking down empty boxes in a store room a few weeks back and started lugging a big pile of boxes down the hall.

One of my male co-workers rushed to help me. I was a little surprised, but also very grateful for the assistance.

As a woman I know why some women (especially young, pretty ones) become uncomfortable when a strange man seems too nice or too attentive. Men often attribute this to feminism but in many cases, it is simply natural (and wise) caution. I'm past the age when I have to worry about young men pestering me, but they can be extremely persistent to the point where you find yourself struggling to think of a way to indicate that you're not interested without being abrupt or rude or hateful.

This may be a case where a small minority of men make it worse for the majority who don't act that way.

When I was younger, I never made eye contact with strange men because I found that it encouraged unwelcome advances. I have seen men interpret this as "they think we're all rapists", but that's not quite accurate.

People don't come with labels on their foreheads and if you're neither big nor strong it's wise not to put yourself in positions you can't extricate yourself from. It's more a general policy of, "If I avoid certain situations life is easier" than, "Oooh that guy will probably attack me because all men are rapists."

You pick up on it when natural caution is wrongly interpreted and it feels bad, but miscues between the sexes have been around for centuries. Not sure there's a remedy, except perhaps not giving up on each other?

Posted by: Sacre Bleu! the Phrench Speaking Pullet at January 18, 2012 06:07 PM

Prodded with a giant clue bat, or Mitt Romney's Ginormous Codpiece.

You know, I find myself the subject of so many conversations these days...

DAGNABBIT - MY EYES ARE UP HERE, LADIES!!!!
Show some class, peoples.

Posted by: Mitt Romney's Ginormous Codpiece at January 18, 2012 06:12 PM

@Carolyn,

You're asking us to distinguish how we were raised from our instinct. I say from the vasty limits of my 40-yr-old MS in Experimental Psych that the distinction is unclear among professionals, too. Certainly the, now three, examples presented all could be instinctive--but nurturing--raising--and to address Cassandra's sons, the examples set by their friends, as well--all are powerful factors in what we'll do.

Self preservation and preservation of our mates are powerful drives, and they appear instinctive. Where the two conflict (vis., Grim's example), it may well be that it's nurturing--how we're raised, and the community that takes part in that raising--that settles the tie.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at January 18, 2012 06:16 PM

I'm not sure how much of a conflict there was. I intended to fight the dog anyway -- I wouldn't have tried to run from it even if I'd been alone.

If I'd been out walking with one of my male friends, however, the dog might have had to wait his turn while the two of us fought to determine who would have the honor of fighting the dog.

Dogs being kind of smart about this, it proved not to be necessary in any case. He decided to go elsewhere at the last.

Posted by: Grim at January 18, 2012 08:45 PM

If I'd been out walking with one of my male friends, however, the dog might have had to wait his turn while the two of us fought to determine who would have the honor of fighting the dog.

Grim darlin', this only confirms my longstanding feminine opinion that boys are weird :p

Seriously, when I was a girl dogs roamed more freely than they do today and we always walked to school so encounters with aggressive dogs were quite common. I read everything I could get my hands on about canine signals and aggression.

Supposedly if you run, a dog thinks you're prey and chases you.

If you pick up a stick and gesture with it, he will interpret that as, "Let's rumble" and attack.

What I always did was to stand as tall as I could (imitation of threat response in many animals - they puff up or strut to make themselves appear bigger) and try (!) to speak in a calm, commanding voice with no emotion.

This worked pretty well with bullies too. I was lucky enough that they always backed down, but then being a girl helps. I have seen girls beaten up - literally - so it's hardly an absolute protection. But in general I've seen a group of boy threaten girls but have never seen one beat them up (and when they're older, rape is more likely than a beating).

I've seen packs of girls do both. One of the scariest things I have ever seen was a group of girls beating up some poor girl right in front of the school bus. I was about half a football field away when it started and by the time I got there, teachers were trying to break it up.

I don't know if I would have had the courage to wade into the fray to protect her. I want to think I would have, but I certainly would not have enjoyed it!

Posted by: Cassandra at January 19, 2012 08:50 AM

Well, we had a lot of wandering dogs when I was a boy too -- still do, in fact. I hear a pack of them killed my German Shepherd, which I'd left with my father some years ago because the dog loved him more than anyone. She was getting old, though.

I've generally always gotten along well with dogs, and have usually been able to befriend all but the very meanest or most skittish. The latter are no threat, really; the former must be dealt with so that they don't endanger others.

Posted by: Grim at January 19, 2012 10:53 AM

This worked pretty well with bullies too. I was lucky enough that they always backed down, but then being a girl helps. I have seen girls beaten up....

This is simply an argument for girls to take self defense classes, too.

...threat response in many animals - they puff up or strut to make themselves appear bigger....

Another recognition key is when the dog does not lower its head and cover its teeth. Head level or up with teeth bared and lots of ugly noise-making is (almost always) all bluff. I was walking with my wife in a residential neighborhood when a large (not a pit, but another of the breeds that occasionally goes insane, although not as often as pits--I'd recognize the breed from a list two times out of three) loped up to us, circled us, and hit me. Idiotically, I'd misread the leisurely approach as an interest in looking us over and playing. After the hit, he took up a position a few feet away and growled. I lowered my head, growled back with my teeth covered, and approached blatantly aggressively. The dog ran.

Actually, I had nearly all the advantages: as a human, I'm smarter, better armed, faster, more agile, and with the single exception of his jaws, I'm stronger. Had the dog accepted battle, I would have been marked, but that's the case in any fight. And I would have won. It's also why house cats usually win fights against dogs. They have all the same advantages a human has, with the possible exception of intelligence, and a higher tolerance for pain, given the stakes of losing.

And yet most dogs are fine friends. In Small Town Iowa, when I was a toddler, I literally ran with a pack of dogs, for which my parents caught no end of grief from the neighbors. They couldn't understand what my parents did: I was the safest kid in town, with my own army of body guards.

Bullies generally are cowards, too. At a grade school to which I'd just moved from a different state, I was set upon by a "gang" of three, and I kicked their a*. This, too, wasn't as big a deal as it seems; I was just more aggressive than they.

Oh, and I skipped over the usual playground pushing, shoving, rolling on the ground stage of the fight and went right into punching and kicking.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at January 19, 2012 03:23 PM

I think the instinct to protect the smaller, and weaker vessel is strong in men. My sons protect their sister, and if she gets a tetch irritated, they just go off and leave her alone until she realizes she doesn't have them around. Then she decides that it is not worth it to be unpleasant. But never once, ever, have they raised a hand to her.

I asked the question because it isn't something we taught them per se, but my husband's example in how he has treated me has gone a long way with them.

Posted by: Carolyn at January 22, 2012 12:34 AM

My name is Jennifer I am from u.s.a, I was in a relationship with samuel and we loved and cherished ourselves for 3 good years and every thing was going on smoothly but August 29, 2011 a day I can call a lovers day we both had misunderstanding because I answered a call from a guy that is asking me out for a date but I refused, and he told me that the relationship is over and that he is fed up with me and I begged him because I love him so much but he refused me I was so down cast and I felt the world has come to an end for me but my friend told me about a spell caster that helped her sister out in getting her relationship back, a good job and favor in any of her endeavor but at first I was scared but I have to give this man a trial because I love samuel very much and I am not willing to loose him to any woman, so I ordered returning my love spell from this great spell caster that made me a happy woman again to say it all my ex came back to me with much love and a caring heart...i am testifying to this great spell caster sango spell temple. if you need his help you can contact him on sangospelltemple@gmail.com

Posted by: Jennifer at February 2, 2013 09:56 AM

You know, I could use a quality spell caster. You never see good reviews of them. Thanks so much!

Posted by: Grim at February 2, 2013 11:20 AM

Well, you can tell that the spell caster earned his money. The grammar and punctuation caster, not so much.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at February 4, 2013 09:04 AM

Post a comment

To reduce comment spam, comments on older posts are put into moderation 5 days after the last activity. Comments with more than one link also go into moderation. If you don't see your comment after posting it, try refreshing the screen. If you still don't see it, your comment is probably in the moderation queue.




Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)