“Chivalry isn’t dead. It just followed wherever ‘being lady-like’ went.”
Once upon a time, I thought this expression was the coolest thing since trench coats and sunglasses. Now I’m not so sure. Now part of me laughs and nods in agreement; another part has flashbacks to the Garden of Eden.
What was it our great grandaddy Adam said as he and his wife cowered in the bushes, naked and afraid? Book one, chapter three, verse twelve: “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.”
In a way, I like to think of this as Chivalry Fail Numero Uno.
This is no owning up, no acceptance of responsibility, no repentance. This is a blame game. Translation: “It’s the lady’s fault. And Yours, too, since You made her to begin with. Stop looking at me. She’s the one You want.”
Quizzed on his disobedience, Adam jumps the ship of responsibility with self-righteous aplomb. He blames his failure on his bride – bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh. Maybe you see where I’m going with this.
When someone explains the positive dearth of chivalric manners among men by pointing to the fact that many women “just aren’t lady-like” anymore, have they really explained it? Or have they merely offered an excuse in the tradition of their ancestor? Is not their assertion predicated on the Adamish lie that my obedience is dependent upon someone else’s?
Last time I checked, that’s not how things worked.
Forget this childish stuff. Such faintness (to borrow a Caponian phrase) “is unworthy of true men.” Hold the door, give up your seat, tip your hat, surrender your coat, act like a gentleman. Be counter-cultural. You may get a million odd stares and even glares and maybe even outright rebuffs from women who “just can’t stand sexism.”
Smile. You’re doing it right.