chivalry ain’t dead


The tirades about men are endless. I don’t mind rants about legitimate douchebags; in fact, I’ve contributed to that sort of archive in the past. However, those who complain about the absence of genuinely good, good looking men and question the existence of chivalry? Ladies, you’ve had your heart broken one too many times, and you let it get the best of you. (And/or perhaps you’re an adamant feminist, which is fine, whatever floats your boat.)

First I stuck up for good looking men, and now I’m sticking up for chivalry. (…so what if Joseph’s my muse?)

“Throughout its lifetime, Chivalry embraced living a simpler life than its detailed, code-driven childhood and adolescence, shedding innumerable pieces of parchment listing rules and regulations for every interaction, downsizing to a much more manageable definition of courtesy to others, particularly women. The grand gestures of eras past were scaled down slightly, stories of duals and courtly romance retired to an eternity of fairy tales, replaced with coats being placed over puddles (or chilled shoulders), a helping hand out of a carriage or vehicle, and accompanying a female companion while walking on the side of the street closest to the traffic.

Chivalry, sort of like Madonna, reinvented itself at various points during its lifetime, evolving with changing attitudes towards gender roles and sex. It distanced itself when women asserted their equality and adopted a less condescending and more polite focus. As men and women began exploring the constraints of a sexual relationship and it’s relation to marriage, Chivalry heralded this exploration, and allowed itself to extend to a general common decency for all human beings. Men and women held doors open for each other, the Sadie Hawkin’s dance was invented and dates went Dutch, even outside the Netherlands.

Things started looking grim during Chivalry’s last few years, as basic courtesies like leaving the toilet seat down and offering to pay on the first date became rarities and often required a request. While on its deathbed, nothing gave an ailing Chivalry more joy than the few times that retro instances of its imprint were honored, primarily during engagement and marriage ceremonies and the once a year a man opened the car door for a woman.

It lasted through the invention of automatic doors, mobile phones and internet dating. It evolved as bras were burned, birth control was celebrated and friends gained “benefits.” It re-evaluated its core principles era upon era and never backed down from innovation. Even while under siege for seeming chauvinistic, sexist and archaic, Chivalry was always willing to embrace modernization and conform as best as it could.”

– Lauren Mann. “An Obituary for Chivalry.” Thought Catalog.

Heartbreak – or even a mild rejection – may feel like you’ve been catapulted into an infinite abyss of melancholy, with no hope of turning back to happiness. Most of us, including myself, have experienced that feeling – it’s the darkest of dark. But the most important lesson I’ve learned from such unfortunate circumstances is to never let yourself get jaded. A tragic product of being jaded? You could easily pass up a sincerely good guy, with impeccable good looks to boot.

Like Lauren said, chivalry has evolved, and now takes to different forms – it’s only natural. And it’s a good thing! I wouldn’t expect Joseph to gallantly whip out a sword to fend off cat callers. That would mildly freak me out, and I’d worry he was playing too much Zelda.

My sister’s fiancé often picks her up at work when she’s there late. He has also come to pick me up from Port Authority in the wee hours of the morning, before Joseph swooped in to do that. Mike has even treated me out to dinner/brunch quite often might I add. The way to my sister’s heart!

Al never failed to bring my roommate/best friend from Cornell, Molly, a fresh bouquet of flowers whenever he visited her in Ithaca. (And I bet he still does, even though they’re living together now).

Joseph picked me up at 4 AM from Port Authority, after my overnight bus in from Boston last weekend. This week he volunteered to help me out at work until 2 AM, even though he had an early morning meeting the next day. He also cooks occasionally, so I can come home to a hearty, home-cooked dinner after work.

I could continue with examples obnoxiously gloating about how my boyfriend, and all the boyfriends of my friends, are utter Prince Charmings. But I’ll spare you. I’ll just leave you with this: chivalry is not obsolete, no matter what silly damsels in distress proclaim. Chivalry is now what it was back then – putting the ones you love before yourself. And it ain’t dead, ladies.

To be fair, I also have to stick up for the girls. Here’s an excerpt from another interesting Thought Catalog article.

 “If I were a boy, my girlfriend would drive me insane. No matter how committed, generous, kind and loyal I was towards her, she would just assume that I was untrustworthy because I used to fuck a lot. I would try to explain to her that that was then and this is now, and that love is different and that I only want to protect her, never to hurt her—but she wouldn’t listen. She would look at my text messages while I was in the shower and scream at me when there were messages from girls, even if they were just innocent texts from friends or co-workers. I would try to console her but it would be no use—if I were a boy, I would drive my girlfriend away without even trying.”

– Kat George. “If I Were a Boy.” Thought Catalog.

Hey, we’re not all crazies. Sure, stand-over-your-bed-with-a-knife-type girls exist, but most of the ones that I know are all relatively normal. We know what we want, we’re happy with what we have, and most importantly – we’re balanced. I guess the sane ones befriend each other, because all my girlfriends and I have pretty good heads on our shoulders.

So there are my little reflections of the day. After an absolutely hectic week at work, it is FINALLY FRIDAY! And July! It has been so tiring, and my allergies (especially today) are exacerbating the exhaustion. I can’t wait to finally get back to the gym after a two week hiatus… happy, happy Friday.

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Categories: reflections & musings

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One Comment on “chivalry ain’t dead”

  1. July 1, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

    correction: have pretty good-looking* heads on our shoulders

    mwa :*

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