Historically, chivalry was the sum of the ideal qualifications of a knight, including courtesy, generosity, valor and dexterity in arms. It was the traditional code of conduct associated with the medieval institution of knighthood that encouraged gentlemanly behavior between knights and a gentlemanly system of courting ladies. So with SEEG pushing all things gentlemen, chivalry must be addressed. At present day, where the pressing issue for equality of sexes has seemingly become more palpable in society, the proper and polite approach when interacting with ladies can be mind baffling. Men, for the most part, are familiar with the anthem for women sung by the powerhouse voice of Aretha Franklin. Most recognize ladies as their equals who deserve R-E-S-P-E-C-T. We ladies appreciate you for recognizing are fully functioning mental capacities, but please do not treat us as equals quite literally. That means don’t treat us like dudes, dude. Yes, we are just as capable as you are but at the end of the day we are ladies who should be treated accordingly.
To illustrate modern day chivalry in the works, the other week, I witnessed a man who gave up his seat on the subway for a lady carrying a plethora of shopping bags. Shopping bags probably filled with all kinds of goodies. Shoes, cute dresses and skirts, funky jewelry and maybe the new Spring line of MAC makeup… Ok that’s really beside the point. Anyways, the lady with the shopping problem didn’t seem the slightest bit gracious when grumbling to her newly bestowed seat which I found irritating. When the chivalrous gentleman headed to where I was standing, I reciprocated with a smile and sent good energy and vibes his way. Believe it or not, chivalry, even in Philly, where the rude and ill-mannered seems to be the majority, is not dead folks.
It’s the little things such as the above scenario that give me faith in humanity, and more specifically, men, on my way to work. Little things matter. More specifically, manners matter.
Every day, I consciously make an effort to observe and make note of gentlemanly gestures. In such a chaotic world where the battle of the sexes still persists, a little old-fashioned chivalry can go a long way to make a lady feel well… like a lady. Small and simple yet sweet gestures make a big difference in my perception of a man’s character. Not only does it set him apart, it really places him in a cut above the rest. Leo F. Buscaglia once said, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” Kindness does not take much time, effort or any money at all but it is powerful, profound and accomplishes much more than one could possibly imagine.
So I’d just like to take a moment and thank you gentlemen on behalf of all ladies. Thank you men for giving up your seats to accommodate our bums (and bags). Thank you for opening the door, offering your coat when it’s cold, your “please” and “thank-you’s,” your cordial smile to acknowledge our presence, your refrain from belching the “ABC’s” at dinner, calling us “beautiful” instead of “hot”, not grabbing our buttocks like we’re some of kind of animal, and not whistling/catcalling when we walk by. Seriously, we can’t thank you enough.
Unlike most women, I don’t think chivalry is dead. It just needs to wake up from a long, overdrawn hibernation. Winter is over, time to wake up!