Remember that scene in Gone with the Wind where a young Scarlett is gossiping about the rakish Rhett Butler? He scandalized Charleston by taking a belle on a private carriage ride only to later refuse to marry her. No harm came to the young lady “but she was ruined just the same”. The utter unfairness of that situation has stuck with me through the years as both an example of double standards and as a cautionary tale. Maybe it’s ingrained in Southern culture, or maybe it’s the result of having a decidedly overprotective Daddy. Even in this postmodern era, I can’t help but think “it just ain’t fittin’” to travel without a chaperone.
This notion, of course, is absolutely antithetical to my thoroughly liberated “I can do anything I set my mind to” sensibility. Part of the blessing of being born in the South is being perfectly at peace with this contradiction. Do I need a chaperone? Certainly not. Do I want a chaperone? Dang straight.
I don’t view being conducted through the byways of life as either a weakness or as spitting in the eye of feminism. How fortunate I am to have a husband who is both my chaperone and my champion! Nothing makes me appreciate this more than when I must travel solo. I still get that little girl thrill weaving my way through airports and checking into hotels all by myself. It’s ever so much more fun, though, with a companion, concierge, and conversationalist. I’ll take his chivalry over my cheek any day of the week. Yes, I’m a grown woman who’s fairly savvy and a darn good shot, but I prefer to gallivant with my favorite chaperone at my elbow.
I believe the Bible calls this a kinsman-redeemer. What a great way to outline that general idea of, well, husbandry! There is sweet freedom to be found here. When traveling with him, I have the freedom to sightsee without having to employ my Spidey stalker sensors. I have the freedom to carry on without having to lug my carry-on. I have the freedom to boldly go without worrying about “getting got” as Daddy used to put it. I have the freedom to be at home no matter the location. That’s worth something to me, and if that’s an old-fashioned notion, well fiddle-dee-dee.