I’m not talking about types of tiger or parrot; I’m talking about the age old act of chivalry.
A long time ago chivalry was known to be “an aristocratic military origin of individual training and service to others” connected to the knightly virtues of Courage, Justice, Mercy, Generosity, Faith, Nobility, Hope, Strength, Truth, Humility and Determination. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chivalry)
In modern times we associate chivalry as being an act of men sweeping women off their feet and treating them right; picking them up for the date, opening doors, ensuring they gets home safely. They’re all acts we consider to be the nicest way a woman can be treated by a man. But some say such acts are old fashioned and some believe that men who exhibit them are a dying breed.
Others are likely to believe that such acts are actually quite sexist. Why can’t a woman open her own doors? Does a woman really need a man to pick her up or is she perfectly capable of finding her own way to a restaurant or other location?
These old fashioned values, which actually tie in quite nicely with the knightly virtues, are lovely in an ideal world where people treat each other kindly. Except that why should men do all the work? We no longer live in a world where men are the most powerful sex. They don’t take home all of the bacon; in fact some women will earn more than their date. I find the whole thing quite old fashioned. I happen to believe that there’s nothing wrong in the woman picking the man up for a date, or paying for lunch, or opening the doors. Why shouldn’t we? It’s the twenty-first century and women are more than capable of being independent people who do not need men doing things for them in order to live.
Besides, it’s not about being chivalrous; it’s about being respectful of the person you’re with. If leaving/entering a shop I’m likely to hold the door open for the next person, because it feels like the right thing to do. Alternatively, there are more and more people out there performing random acts of kindness where they’re paying for a random person’s coffee in a queue at Starbucks, or something similar. It doesn’t take a man to be kind, nor does it take a knight.
There’s also the more recently accepted world of homosexuality.
If you have two men on a date, who should hold open the doors? Alternatively, if lesbians were on a date are they both going to be stood waiting for a door to be opened for hours? Probably not. They’re clever enough to just open it themselves.
Regardless of gender and sexuality, whoever opens the door first should hold it open for their partner. Each person is perfectly capable of opening their own car door. If one person asked the other on the date then they can pay (“it’s on me”) though the other person should probably pay for a later date, or they can go dutch, or a bit of half and half where one person pays for the main course and the other for drinks and dessert; all options work.
I do believe that men can and should exhibit some of the age old knightly virtues; it would be rather wonderful to see a man’s generosity, or humility. It’s a far cry from the idiots you find in clubs who feel they have the right to touch someone they don’t even know or try to chat them up with cheesy pick-up lines. But I also believe that women, too, should show their generosity and humility. Knightly virtues may have originated in a man-ruled world where sexism was “the way it is” but it’s not the way it is anymore and women are more than capable of being as virtuous as the knights of medieval times.
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