“OPINION” A helping hand

Six months ago, I was flying from London to Rome with my three children: my two-year-old and my soon-to-be six-year-old twins. When we landed in Rome, we made our way off the plane and boarded an airport bus to take us to the main airport terminal.

So, I walked from the plane to the bus with my over-excited and hyper-active toddler on one hip and carrying a ridiculously heavy ‘Mum-of-3’ oversized bag overflowing with snacks, crayons and sleeping tablets for the little angels (joking!). At the same time, I’m trying to get the twins, Luca and Josh, to stop drawing space rockets on my new handbag in permanent marker!

I finally make it onto the bus. These airport buses are pretty spacious yet they seem to only have between seven and twelve seats. I get on the bus and of course, all the seats are taken! I am starting to feel my tiredness and stress levels slowly rising!

I spot a friendly-looking man, about thirty-five or so, dressed in a sharp suit, sitting in the corner of the bus. The man looked at me and smiled an understanding smile.

“Ha!” I think to myself. “I know what’s about to happen here. He can tell that I am overwhelmed and like the gentleman that he is, he is about to get up and offer me his seat.”

Sure enough, he looks my way again and starts to get up and make his way towards me. Now please do not underestimate how excited I am about this, because as I look back in his direction and notice him walking towards me, my excitement at the possibility of a seat that will help to get my overly plump toddler off my hip rises, and my brain actually starts to play tricks on me. I swear the nice businessman now looks like Mel Gibson in ‘Braveheart’ and the song ‘Rescue me’ is blasting out of the airport sound system.

I can feel it, he is going to save me. Sure enough, he comes up to me and says “You look like you’ve got your hands full. Why don’t you take my seat?” And I answer: “No, I’m fine, thanks”. Wait. What? What did my mouth just do? Now, why oh why, would I say that?

Well, let me tell you why.

Women today feel they have to permanently prove that they can cope by themselves and that if they don’t, they are somehow failing. It’s become a deep-rooted habit for the majority of women of our generation to send out this message that we don’t need men to do anything for us. We don’t need them to look after us, we can look after ourselves, thank you very much. We don’t need men to provide for us, we are perfectly capable of doing so by ourselves.

We believe we can have it all (do it all more like!) and we are now exhausted and unhappy.

If a man stops to help us change a tyre, we take it as an direct insult on our mechanical abilities. Now, don’t get me wrong, women can in fact change tyres, put up shelves, put the bins out and defenestrate spiders, not to mention be successful business women, astronauts, rocket scientists and football referees (and this includes understanding the off-side rule). Of course we can.

But when did being able to do something mean that we have to act as if men’s instinctive acts of kindness towards us are nothing short of outrageous? If a man offers to carry your suitcase when you are struggling to get on the train in your brand new Jimmy Choos, he is not trying to say that you are weak. He just wants to help.

Real men understand that their real purpose and role on this planet is to love, serve and protect women. Last century, they would have literally thrown us onto the lifeboat and risked their own life just to ensure our safety. Why? Not because we were too heavy but simply because they have a very strong instinct to protect us. Like it or not.

Nowadays, they are doing it less and less, because we keep rejecting this loving support on a regular basis. Our job as women is to let them support us, because only when we let them, can they really get in touch with their masculine energy and their divine purpose.

In the words of my wonderful husband Matt Santoro-Emmerson: “Men are here to love, protect and serve women. There is no other reason for us to be on this planet. If you take that away from us, we become unnecessary. So, please stop buying into this insane notion that you are equal to us. You are not our equal, you are more beautiful than anything we could imagine, you are soft, you are love, you are light, you are mothers, you are goddesses in our eyes, so please let us worship you”.

Don’t underestimate what even the smallest thing will do for your man’s ego. Just ask the quiet guy sitting opposite me on the train whilst I write this — the trolley woman came by and I bought a bottle of water but couldn’t open it. So I asked him if he could open it for me. And he did. He now looks like he’s wearing a cape.

Alex Santoro Emmerson

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