From the Eyes of a Gentleman

Chivalry has been on my mind this week.

First off, because of this comedian, Brett Druck

That brings up a good point. If you ask someone, either gender, what in the world chivalry means, I’m fairly confident the social definition would be something along the lines of “how men should treat women.”
Let’s explore some actual definitions. Wikipedia says it’s a code of conduct associated with the medieval institution of knighthood. I think there’s our first problem. We don’t care about knights anymore, or anyone who follows a code of conduct, for that matter. Media praises the rebel. We herald the scruple back-biter.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the guy who stands up for what’s right. It’s just that standing up for what’s right in an era of moral relativity means that a person is standing up for his/her version of what’s right. Which comes with equal backlash as praise. I think we can all pretty much agree that someone like Tank Man is a hero, and that kind of standing up for what’s right will always be the kind that should be met with honor.
Often considered the most iconic photograph in history, ‘tank man’ or ‘the unknown rebel’ shows an act of courage and defiance and earned the anonymous man widespread fame. It took place during the protests at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989, and has subsequently become a symbol of the end of the Cold War era, and one of the most famous photographs of the 20th century. Jeff Widener.
But try and defend one’s own faith and the ridicule will begin. Which is funny, since the code of chivalry has numerous references to defending the faith and acting in accordance with the will of God.
The second reason the chivalry soapbox has been erected is because of this post. There was a lot that I agreed with and some that I couldn’t. What struck me on this article is that there’s so much of it that says that chivalry is something that happens to women, hence their reason they can lament and hope and plead that it isn’t dead instead of creating the circumstances that would allow what they understand as chivalry to exist.
Going back to the roots of chivalry, ladies of the time had a code of conduct as well, with expectations of how they would walk, dress, eat, communicate and act. If chivalry was completely dependent on there being women of equal caliber, then yes, chivalry is dead. Probably has been for awhile. There is so much of social media that is becoming dedicated to people being justified in doing and being whatever they want.

So do non-bitches, only they're nicer about it and more people like them. Not a bitch =/= doormat."Well-behaved women seldom make history." - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ use for display/bulletin board for October - Women's History Month

And this is the group demanding chivalry?
Let’s compound the problem further by going through all of our movies, books, and TV shows and looking for actual love stories and true romances.
Before you say it’s easy, let’s set those parameters and get our definitions right.
Love stories and true romances produce an outcome that lasts. Can we agree on that? Love endears, produces a relationship that lasts beyond a lifetime, and persists.
Lust likes the throes of passion. Lust is all about scratching an itch, overloading on the sensual, and glorifying the wants and whims. Lust backs out when it gets difficult, lust always has an escape hatch and a couple of back-up plans.
Now it becomes difficult, doesn’t it? The media wants it that way. That’s what makes the money, regardless of any scope of reality to those relationships.
Then throw in Time Magazine’s article on “the hook-up generation“. All of our twenty-somethings in first world countries aren’t dating, aren’t courting. I grew up hearing that all men thought “why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” in the context of why women should be seeking someone who would date, who would court, and who would be looking for something more than a fling. In an arena where marriage is down and divorce is still rising, there is nothing of permanence. Nothing that would last beyond the good times.
Then all of those good times are likely to become bad times.
Now, I could go further, but the picture’s getting clear. There’s not much that would sustain social chivalry even though there are plenty of people wanting it.
So, let’s talk about what we can do as humans to start seeing that again. It’s going to take both men and women to make this happen, because I believe in equality.
Men: Live dangerously and do those nice things. Yes, you may encounter the girl who doesn’t show any appreciation for what you’re doing, the girl who gets mad and tells you what for because you did something nice, but you’ll also encounter a woman who’ll thank you. I still like to believe the last one happens more often.

Rape is NEVER the victim's fault -- get it through your minds.

Also, don’t rape women. Not only do you need consent to anything sexual in nature, but also don’t rape their self-esteem, their confidence, their faith (in humanity and in religion), or what they believe a woman should be. Date a woman, court a woman. If you do not believe in relationships that last, don’t try and be with a woman who does. Don’t promote the hook-up culture. If there’s something you want, you pay for it, make the sacrifice for it. Don’t ever believe you can steal.

Ask questions. “Do you mean…?” “Are you saying you want…?” “How can I show affection?” It doesn’t look macho, but macho and chivalry never crossed paths. If you’re serious about love and happiness, don’t be afraid to ask how you can show honor, trust, and affection to the woman you want to be with.
Have integrity. If you say you will or won’t do something, stick by it. Integrity is probably the last thing we have in common with the old chivalric code.


Not a mind reader...

Women: Don’t ask us to read minds. I’d love to see the day when that stereotype died. I’d print out invitations to the funeral. If there is something you want, say it. Especially if it’s from a guy asking what he can do for you. Men aren’t mind-readers, we don’t do hints, and we aren’t going to be constantly studying you to see if there’s something we can do. Just tell us. There’s nothing wrong with that.

If you’re proud of acting like a rebel, or biting your thumb at convention, then that’s what you’ll find. You can’t find a knight if you hang out with pigs.
Don’t show off your goods. This has nothing to do with the aforementioned rape subject. If you want the attention on you and your personality and who you are as a person, don’t put attention on your breasts, butt, or anywhere else on your body. Granted, men won’t stare and guys shouldn’t, but let’s face it, it’s a a pretty weak girl who only has her body to attract a mate. I’m not saying wear a sack forever, but if you want him to see you, don’t put attention anywhere else. Us manfolk have a hard enough time focusing as it is. Science even says so.
Don’t ‘test’ the guy you’re with. The whole dating and courtship is supposed to be a testing period. Pushing that into the realm of creating scenarios in real life rather than talking about it means you don’t want a mate. It means you’re holding auditions for someone to be your life accessory.
Both: TALK! I know it isn’t sexy, or sensual, but it is intimate. Knights understood intimacy and could establish a beautiful romance based on words alone. No touching, kissing, or snogging was ever required to pull a woman to him. It’s the same thing the other way around.
It’s okay to be single. Don’t feel you need to be with someone. There are 7 billion people in the world. Trim that down to the basics of who you are interested in, and there’s still millions to choose from. BE PATIENT. There’s no sense in being with someone who won’t respect you or your code of conduct.
Loosen up. If you’ve got a list of what your spouse has to be, then you probably won’t find that person. I know a girl who had such a list. It included things like between 6’5 and 6’7, chestnut colored hair with no genetic predisposition of balding, wants to have specifically six children, and has a dream vacation of going to Paris.
She’s still single.
Please have standards, but don’t get caught up in having too many specifics. The best advice I was given in my time dating was from my older brother. He told me to make a complete list of everything I wanted in a wife. Everything. Then read through them again. Pray about it. Then go through it again. Anything that doesn’t sound right, feel right, or is plain selfish, cross it out. Repeat until there are five things remaining. This, he told me, was the way to know exactly what God and I know I need in a wife.
I found her.
In the end, social chivalry will be nurtured and kept alive like a happy garden when men and women both make the effort to make it happen. Women help establish an area where it can bloom, and men make the choices that let women see it in action.

2 thoughts on “From the Eyes of a Gentleman

  1. Tony, this article is amazing. It could be a brother article to mine. As I mentioned before, I agree with your sentiments and opinions on the matter. I understand that “chivalry” is an old notion and the definition was slightly different than we treat it now, however, the core values of “chivalry” have remained. Movies and literature are to blame for a lot of the problems of today’s generation. There are a lot of movies out there the woman is being treated right by one man, respected and cared for, but she doesn’t want that, she wants the man who is mistreating her and being a jerk. I think there is a preconceived notion today that gentlemen are boring and un-adventurous. I don’t know where this belief is coming from, but I have talked to a lot of women who feel that way. Let’s hope with time most of the women will wise up, so that this rare quality in men does not completely vanish as a result of my gender’s treatment of it.

    • I don’t know where the sentiment came from either.
      I think the easiest thing to help nurture social chivalry as a positive quality is to make it easy on ourselves. If a man wants to do something nice for a woman, but doesn’t know how or what, then he should simply ask then follow through. If a woman wants certain kindnesses, then she needs to express them specifically and accept the efforts made in that regard.

      It’s what’s worked for Megan and I for the past two years. I don’t have to try and figure out hints because my better half gives me clear opportunities for me to succeed in the niceties I’m more than willing to do. She doesn’t have to be frustrated that I don’t do something because she can trust that all she has to do is ask.

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