Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ladies…and gentlemen: Chivalry is not Dead


Back in the early to mid 90s it seems that acts of chivalry such as holding the door open for women, lending a hand when needed, or otherwise being at their service were frowned upon by young girls and women. For some reason women felt disempowered, unequal; declaring themselves able to do things without the need of men. So, in the same way it seems boys learned that their gestures were not only unwanted, but sometimes taken as an insult. Now almost 20 years later, I find myself surrounded by women who not only miss chivalry, but some don’t even know what it is.

It is no secret that women are one of the most beautiful creations on earth. They’ve been painted, sculpted, photographed, and compared to the mystique and beauty of nature in literature. Women have been the objects of admiration for many years, and chivalry has been there as an act of kindness; a sign of appreciation to one of the most beautiful things the Universe has created.

I’m baffled as to why women would ever take acts of kindness as insults. Chivalry shouldn’t be seen as selfish or degrading acts from a man. But instead as selfless ones; gestures that put someone else before them. There should be nothing threatening about being conscious of the world around you. Chivalry is a sign that men are conscious of a woman’s needs. Of course holding the door open for a woman, lighting their cigarette, or letting them in a door first are small acts of kindness, but they speak to the fact that the man behind those simple chivalrous acts has the sensitivity and sensibility that many women seek.

It’s true that women have had to fight many injustices thrust upon them by the male dominated world. The workplace is a prime example where it took many years and many battles for women to not only reach the boardroom, but be viewed and treated at the same level while sitting around the table. But what women forgot along the way were that the small acts from a man were not meant to disempower them, instead they are innate acts that more men should adopt. Chivalry is not only part of the mating ritual between man and woman, but a sign of humility, compassion and understanding.

For many men chivalry comes naturally, but it still needs practice. With the hustle and the bustle that occurs each and every day from dusk ‘til dawn, it’s easy to lose oneself to selfishness. Men who take to acts of chivalry display a consciousness of the world, and appreciation of the carnal that stands before them. As well as a deep rooted desire to do good around them.

And so, I give you ten acts of kindness that should be practiced on an almost daily basis by men:

1) Hold the door open for women. Don’t be annoying about it by running to every door like a paid doorman. But be sensible, and when the moment dictates hold that door open for the lady.

2) Offer your seat while on public transportation. Everyone hates to stand while on the bus or metro. Give her a break from those high-heeled shoes that accentuate her legs oh so well.

3) Allow them to enter a door before you. Not only is this common courtesy, but it allows them to light up a room before you enter.

4) Open and close the car door for them. There’s nothing more displeasing than watching a woman shivering while her idiot of a man is inside, fumbling with the keys and reaching over to unlock her door.

5) While on dates pay for the meal. Regardless of what the lady says, pay for the first few meals, it shows you’re not cheap.

6) Lighten her load. If the relationship dictates, hold her purse, books or anything else that impedes her from showing off her beauty.

7) Compliment her on whatever the moment dictates. Tell her (in a non creepy way) about her choice of clothing, hair, make-up, the small things that will not only brighten up her day, but put a smile on that darling face.

8) Walk to the left of her alongside sidewalks. This avoids the unease and embarrassment of her bumping into those coming from the opposite side. It also gives her a better view of storefronts.

9) Offer her your arm. This is one of those practices that has severely dwindled over the years. Under icy conditions her holding onto your arm offers her support, and not to mention your chance to “flex your muscle”.

10) Don’t be a douchebag. Listen attentively to what women have to say, and show her that you have some class and consciousness.

Ladies and gentlemen, Chivalry is not dead; it was just put to sleep for a bit. While women were out there getting their very well deserved share of the pie, men were told to treat women like men. But this is far from realistic. Man and woman are the essence of what difference is, and this is what makes a union between the two of them so beautiful. Let’s show each other some common courtesy. Let’s treat each other in a thoughtful and pleasant way. Let man feel good about elevating and accentuating the beauty in women…if only through a small chivalrous act.
- authored by guest poster Samuel Ramos

1 comment:

ah, fuck it said...

it seems as though we may be entering a fourth wave of feminism, where women, who now, although i wouldnt say completely, are experiencing equality and are now willing to accept acts of kindness without regarding them as an insult.