The Chivalry of Ducks: Can Men Learn a Lesson? Can Women?

I live on the north side of Dallas, Texas. Those of you who are familiar with that part of the city know there’s a lake called Bachman Lake by Love Field airport. It’s awesome. It’s three miles in circumference and a lot of fun to walk, run, or bike around. Well, this evening I walked around the lake watching the ducks. I love watching the ducks. I’m a little obsessed with the ducks. But, hey, they make the journey more exciting. There are a ton of them. Well, a ton of birds, really. I’m not a bird expert or a duck expert so I can’t really tell you what types live there, you’ll just have to trust me that there are ducks at Bachman Lake…that much I do know.

This evening as I strolled, I noticed the cutest thing. It’s been raining a lot here lately and there were plenty of places around the lake where water stood in the middle of the track. One flooded place in particular covered quite a stretch of track. I refused to go to higher ground (that wet track wasn’t gonna lick me, by golly), so I chose instead to walk on the narrow concrete ledge flanking the track. Not the smartest thing, but it felt like being back in grade school again when the teacher made you walk a straight line on something that looked like a beam in the ground so she could test your balance. Anyway, so I was walking on the beam, minding my own business, when I happened upon a group of ducks. School? Herd? Flock? Whatever, there were more than two of them. In fact, there were two males, two females, and five babies. And, yes, I might not know what type of ducks they were, but I could tell by their markings which ones were male and which were female. (No, sicko, I looked at the markings on their heads and backs! Geez, what do you think I do at that lake?) As I watched, they came upon a place where they wanted to cross the track to the other side. (Why did the ducks cross the track?) To my amazement, the male ducks stood on top of the concrete and watched as the female ducks and the babies crossed in front of them. Out of deference for their chivalry, I stopped some feet back and waited until the females and babies crossed and, finally, the males followed.

Wow, I couldn’t help but think about this as I continued along my journey. And then, because I’m an observer of behavior – animal and human – I couldn’t help but compare the duck way of life to what I saw from the humans at the lake. I can tell you, I didn’t see much chivalry. In fact, my favorite human male move is the let-your-girlfriend/wife/lover/wanna-have-her-as-your-lover/whatever-walk-in-front-of-you-while-you-check-out-every-other-woman move. Love it! Talk about disrespectful. Or the have-your-arm-around-your-whatever-and-while-she’s-looking-down/away/at your chest-check-out-every-other-woman-over-her-head move. That’s right, ladies, I figured out why men like to date shorter women. It has nothing to do with dancing or doing the hibidy-bibidy, it’s so they can incorporate move number two.

So, I continued on my own silent rant about men and how there are no good ones left and where did all the cowboys go, when it hit me. One thing I didn’t see the female ducks do was turn around and yell at their mates. I didn’t hear them say, “What makes you think I need you to stand there while I walk across this track. I walked across tracks long before you came into my life and I’ll walk across tracks long after you’re out of my life. I am a DUCK, a FEMALE DUCK, hear me QUACK. I don’t need you to watch my back or be my guardian. I had one father in my life (God rest his soul) – I certainly don’t need another one. Besides, you really think you’re duck enough to watch over me? Puhleaze… What have you done in your life anyway? You’re certainly not the BIGGEST duck, you’re not even as big as the last duck I was with. Now that was a DUCK. That duck was fine, he treated me so good. He wouldn’t have disrespected me by pretending to watch my back when he really just wanted to watch my ass. You think you’re so tough, you should try being female. I didn’t see you squeeze out any eggs…quack, quack, quack.” Nope, I didn’t hear any of that – maybe because it wasn’t said or maybe because I don’t understand duckese. I don’t know.

So, I continued my jaunt around Bachman Lake, pondering my little conundrum. I came to the conclusion that this was much like the duck-egg theory. Which came first? Did men stop being chivalrous before or after women started emasculating them for it? I’m sure a duck’s life isn’t perfect (that whole laying eggs thing seems kind of like a drag), but I wonder if we can’t learn a small lesson from Duckville…all of us.

TonyaDawn.com