I purchased my Christmas tree last week. We rode a tractor into the hills of a tree farm, and using my bare hands, I tore the tree from the cold earth. I also used a hacksaw, and my wife pushed on the tree a bit as I was cutting, but still, I was the one who extracted that thing from the soil.
The tree was loaded onto the tractor and then we were taken back down to the farm where employees with chainsaws evened off the end of the tree and wrapped it in netting for the car ride home.
I lifted the tree from the table and began walking to my car when a young lady stopped me and asked, “Would you like me to carry that down to your car for you?”
I did. I wasn’t wearing gloves and was sure to be covered in tree sap before I made it halfway down the hill.
Also, my wife and daughter were already eating cider donuts, and I wanted one. I basically wait all year for my celebratory cider donut, and my time had come.
But instead of accepting her offer, I politely declined.
“Are you sure?” she asked. “I’ve got gloves on, and this is what I’m here for.”
“Yes, I want you to take this tree from me,” I wanted to say. “You’re right! You have gloves! And there are cider donuts just waiting to be eaten! But you’re a seventeen year old girl! As much of a supporter of equality and women’s rights as I may be, I still can’t allow a seventeen year old girl to carry my Christmas tree to my car. I’m sorry!”
Instead, I made a joke about how I was trying to impress my wife with my manliness and continued on with my tree, but this situation bothered me.
I am an ardent supporter of women’s rights.
I am the guy who has argued that women are so equal to men that they should be eligible for the draft, and that women do themselves a disservice when they fail to fight for every responsibility of American citizenship in addition to every every right and privilege.
I am the guy who disregards sex completely when casting my Shakespearean plays and bases all decisions on merit. Two years ago I cast a blond girl for the part of Othello.
I’m the guy who hopes his daughter plays Pee Wee football someday.
Yet I can’t allow a seventeen year old girl to take me Christmas tree to my car?
Chivalry is one thing, but this girl was specifically hired to do this job and had no objection to completing the task. She was young, healthy, willing to work and wearing gloves.
There was no reason why I should not have allowed her to carry that tree to my car, and yet doing so would have made me feel like a heel.
I want this girl to have the right to be hired to transport Christmas trees to automobiles. I believe that she is perfectly capable of doing the job, and I am glad that someone was forward thinking enough to hire her.
She just can’t take my Christmas tree to the car.
What is wrong with me?