Le Morte d’chivalry

In Uncategorized on October 12, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Definition of chivalry: (According to Wikipedia)

” is a term related to the medieval (Middle Ages) institution of knighthood which has an aristocratic military origin of individual training and service to others.”

I’ve been having an on-going discussion with friends about the idea that chivalry is slowly dying. When I was a kid, one of the books on the list of required reading was, Le Morte d’Arthur. I remember the entire class going into a mass panic. The book was about 500 pages long…and it was no Harry Potter. The language was tricky. You had to truly focus…and I was the only one excited to read the damn thing. I felt like I was transported back in time. Back to a time when men fought for the honor of the woman they cared about.

In my eyes..this is the face of chivalry…

Fast forward to present day, and things are a little different. I cry on the shoulders of my girlfriends when life gets complicated. More women hold the door open for me than men. In fact, the last person to offer a jacket to me because I looked cold, was NOT a man…it was a woman. I can’t even count the number of times I start walking toward a door, and a man will see me coming behind him…and he barrels right through the door as if I wasn’t even there. Now, I don’t believe that chivalry is a one-way road. Sometimes the dudes need to be saved as well. I’ve held doors open for men more times than I care to admit. I once pulled a John Cusack move from Say Anything and cried my face off in a public place to win over the love of a dude who was trying to dump me…it still didn’t work out too well and my dignity went down the crapper, but there you go. I’m willing to step it up if need be.

I believe that 2 different things have happened to allow chivalry to die.

#1 Women have become incredibly independent.Go us. We’re able to open our own doors, and have the life of our dreams whether we’re married or not. We’ve come a long way since the days of Mad Men. Somewhere along the way, we’ve realized that we want men to hold the door open for us…even though we’ve insisted that we can take care of ourselves. We’ve allowed our new-found pride to get in the way. Let me tell you something ladies. A man opening the door for you once in awhile, will not diminish your independence. Don’t get ready to light your bra on fire quite yet. We’re not allowed to bitch about something that is missing in society when we’ve made it so clear that we’re ok. Its perfectly alright to admit that you need a man around once in awhile. Let him open the damn door. It doesn’t mean that we’re gonna make you wear a string of pearls while you vacuum.

#2  There isn’t enough exposure to chivalry for anyone to be expected to know what it is….

My brother was raised on chivalry. He was taught to open the door. To respect a woman’s opinions. To have her best interest at heart. I’ve watched my brother hold the door open for a line of 20 people racing through…men and women…not one of these people ever said a simple ‘thank you.’ We’re not raised with manners anymore. There are very few gentleman coming up in this next generation. There are very few ladies either. Growing up, my grandma would have daily etiquette lessons that my cousin and I had to endure. She always made it fun. She taught us good posture by walking around with a book on our head, and we would have place-mat competitions. Place-mat competitions consisted of eating extremely messy food, and seeing who could walk away with the cleanest place-mat. We were taught to treat people with respect, and we worshipped the church of “Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.” Everything was simple. The way it should be….

I will always be an optimist at heart, so lets say that chivalry isn’t dead…lets say that it just got redefined.

Here are some encounters I’ve had from different guys recently…proof that chivalry still exists…

**Sharing your outlet in the middle of a busy Starbucks

**Not honking at me when I’m too busy putting on mascara to realize that the traffic signal has turned to GO.

**Patching up my tires for free because you just overheard me whining on the phone to a friend that I am broke.

**Telling me I look like a model even when I have zero makeup on and you know I just had a rough day.

**Running back to me after we’ve already said our farewells just to make sure I know that you are proud of me.

**Building a bed-frame for my apartment in the middle of the night because you believe that I should not go without one.

The world is a beautiful and mysterious place. It is easy for me to say that chivalry is dead. It often feels that way. But if you take a closer look around, chivalry is still very much alive…it is simply wearing a different suit.

  1. Chivalry is such a complicated term. I don’t know why everyone focuses on the whole ‘holding-the-door’ thing as this is so small as to be meaningless. It’s not chivalry; it’s common courtesy (another medieval term that meant the gentle — as in noble — manners of courtly life) and a man should do it for everyone, including other men. I’d like to know when common courtesy died.

    No, chivalry has been long dead, so far as I can see, and buried since the advent of the automobile. See, the word ‘chivalry’ actually comes the French word for ‘horse’ and was the defining characteristic of the knight as a mounted warrior, so yes Angel on horseback with sword and shield is exactly chivalric in the original sense, particularly since he’s a vampire. Remember that the sole purpose of knighthood was to fight, so you can claim it was chivalry when a trained killer next uses his sharpened crowbar to open the door for you.

  2. I am glad to see your belief in the existence of chivalry and honor is intact. The unfortunate truth (as I am sure your brother will attest) is that humility and chivalry (courtesy) go hand in hand. So the truly honorable man often goes unnoticed (holding the door for a couple dozen thankless self-servers). And, worse, when he is noticed, people think him to be a door mat. It takes a much stronger man to do what is right for right’s sake than to do what is popular for kudos.
    Keep the faith.
    Sincerely, john

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: