My dad never called it chivalry, but we always opened doors for women and stepped to the side of an elevator when ladies were behind us. And he didn’t teach it to me regularly. It was something that blindsided me. I was still in elementary and suddenly my dad was teaching me this foreign concept: “they” were different from “us.”
Most of what I learned about chivalry was inactive. Pops told me once or twice that ladies should enter first, but I never knew why. It was just what a gentleman did. After the selective, brief lectures, I mostly learned by watching.
What is chivalry?
It’s a very old way of thinking. The concept of a man being chivalrous developed from knights in Medieval Times (I never spell that damn word correctly on my first try).
Knights were products of war, and (as many Americans can affirm) war makes men less than favorable. War produces PTSD and soldiers that walk and talk like a shovel was shoved up their rectums. (Not all soldiers, but we know the ones).
Almost as a means to counter the violent nature of men, chivalry was developed as a code of conduct for the knights. They were expected to show grace, gallantry, respect, and honor. In short, they were smooth as hell. In fact, they were even smoother around women because chivalry was like 20% honor and 80% wooing women.
Why did it die?
What died? Chivalry? Pfft. That garbage never really existed.
Chivalry was a concept that knights should have lived by. It was hyperbolized and fantasized by people in the legend of King Arthur. In short, it gave both men and women a reason to touch themselves at night, but it was as real as Donald Trump’s “big hand” claim.
You see, knights only treated certain women with respect. Nobles. To get some love from a knight, you had to be wealthy and fair. Peasants were taken forcefully, if taken at all.
There were rules established for how noblewomen and knights exchanged their romance (which is what people fantasize about). A noblewoman would offer a token to the knight to wear in battle. They would find ways to express their love on and off the battlefield, all while maintaining the woman’s purity. Yet, once they were married, women were viewed as property. They managed the house (labored) and had no rights of their own. (The feminist in you should be ready to castrate some armored men, but wait…there’s more).
This concept was spread worldwide. Because of Courtly Love and the Code of Conduct, the legend of “The Knight in Shining Armor” was born.
Knight in Shining
Ever wonder why gold diggers dig? Hint: it does have to do with finding treasure.
The Knight in Shining armor is a concept that developed through the widespread praise of knights and their courteousness. In short, women were told that they should love a man who could rescue them from danger. (Deadpool anyone?)
What problem does this ultimately produce? Well, if women are expected to want someone who can save them from a life of mediocrity, that means that they will ultimately look less for quality characteristics of a good guy. They will search for surface level enchantments. Baller!
And men, why will you suck? Well, men will likely try wooing a woman based on their fancy armor. Instead of sharing communication and true love, men will do their best to flash inanimate objects at a woman.
Love to Hate Chivalry
Still, I think chivalry is great. It does emerge from an era when women were oppressed. True. It does make women appear to be fragile and weak. True. Being chivalrous is almost a means to take ownership of a woman. Partially true. It is, in summary, discriminatory. Absolutely. Yet, chivalry can still find true light if we stop teaching it to young men and start teaching it to everyone.
After I observed my dad opening doors for women, I noticed that he also did it for men too. He was especially kind to a woman that he wanted to bed (even when he was with mom), but he did not stop with women. My dad simply has a gentle nature (I know it’s difficult to like him after my previous parenthetical).
But there’s a lot to learn from a man that is kind to everyone.
Let’s teach all men and women how to be so kind. Have young ladies hold doors for men, so they can learn the responsibility of waiting for others. Teach women to offer their jackets when it’s cold, so they can place action behind their concern.
I’m not screaming, “Do away with real men,” because I know that’s what the Old Heads hear. I’m not even saying that women shouldn’t expect to have a gentleman do these things for them. I just want these things to be taught. That way, young ladies have more choices in their independence and maturation. This way, guys can learn that women aren’t property. I just have this crazy thought that teaching kindness to everyone might make the world nice for once.