What is your definition of gentleman? Of chivalry? I must admit I had to look up the word chivalry. Apparently the roots of this policy of how men should treat ladies came from our knights in shining armor.
Knights were expected to be strong and courageous in battle and to kill and defend against the enemy or bad guys. But off the battlefield they were to show kindness to those weaker than them, such as the elderly, widows, orphans and ladies in general. Can we compare this to men of today? So they go off to work to beat up that paperwork, to negotiate and win battles at the office? On their route? Is it really so different today?
I left the house to get “hot and ready” pizza the other day. I thought it would be a cinch to tote all my groceries into the pizza joint, pick up the pizza boxes and take it all back to my car..quicker. As I neared the door balancing everything I was focused on not dropping anything and thinking about how to hold it all so I could take the cash out of my pocket. There is a “male” standing there inside the warm store, hands at his sides. No, he is not on his phone and he is not blind and he is not doing anything but watching me try to get inside the door. Was I dumb to try to be superwoman today? Should I have put all this junk in my car? Do the answers relieve him of his responsibility to open the door for me? Am I undeserving of his assistance? Is any of that relevant? I don’t know. What I do know is that the longer I thought about it the more angry I got. What if he had not only opened the door but warmly acknowledged my plight, smiled at me and offered to hold my bags, perhaps even helped me to the car? I considered asking for his “man card” but no, that would not be ladylike 🙂 If I were in his spot though I would have acted differently. Women can be chivalrous too.
Maybe part of the problem is the state of our families today. Many women are raising sons and daughters on their own. Some men who take an active role in their children’s lives are doing the best they can to provide and survive and these issues are just not important enough to discuss. So do we become a people who do not help one another out? If we decline this discussion are we then teaching entitlement out of default? Have we taught our children to simply watch others struggle as we march onward in our self – absorption?
I remember a conversation with a man I consider a gentleman. He told me as a lad of 10 or so he got on an elevator with his uncle. He made the mistake of stepping in front of a lady…When she exited Uncle smacked him upside the back of his head. He said “What’d you do that for?” He said “You don’t ever step in front of a lady. You open her door, you step aside, you give up your seat. For any woman, anywhere, anytime.” He said he will never ever forget that moment, it made an impression on him (and his head, literally). So men, let this be a lesson to you. It could make a huge difference in your son’s or daughter’s outlook on life. Daughters will learn to value themselves and not spend so much time in ungentlemanly company. Sons will learn what a lady is and how he should treat her. Moms, I know dad may not be around. Well that is indeed sad, so you have an opportunity to teach your sons how to behave. He best be helping you with the groceries, opening your door and never think of stepping in front of you. If you walk down the sidewalk he should be on the side the cars are on. He should practice giving up his seat to you, he should never be seated while a woman has to stand. Boys/ men have been given more physical strength and were designed in part to defend us and no it does NOT matter if we deserve it or not. Do not even start with some weak wimpy excuse. If anyone is hurting or bullying a girl or woman in a man’s presence and he does not step in to defend and help her then in my opinion he is not a man.
The inspiration to actually write this came after I read Matt Walsh’s blog this morning. I was motivated to write about chivalry from a female perspective. To all the real men out there, the valiant, respectful, gallant brave warriors of modern day chivalry, I tip my imaginary hat and say thank you. Thank you for treating us like ladies. For extending your hand, for teaching our sons and daughters how to behave like we should in a barbaric, unkind, unappreciative world.