Chivalry Wherefore Art Thou?
CHIVALRY WHEREFORE ART THOU?
By Romi Natasha Andrews
They say girls usually go for boys who remind them of their dads. So what do you do if you have grown up with a father who only ever shows you chivalry? You know that word that according to society is “old-fashioned”? Outdated. Is it the Social Dinosaur?
I can honestly say I don't ever remember a time when my dad would enter through a door before me. He would always hold the door for me and wait for me to walk through first.
When I was in high school I remember my dad fuming because my date that weekend did not come to the door but stayed in his car and honked for me. I was a teenager and thought nothing of it. While my dad felt that this boy was not showing me respect, I remember rolling my eyes and thinking my dad was being ridiculous.
When I was twenty-something my dad voiced his concern again; this time because the guy I was dating didn’t appear to him to be making much effort in our relationship. My boyfriend would rarely drive to come see me. I was always the one using my gas and energy to visit him. And it was usually late at night when I would drive home – alone. I think I can count two (maybe three) occasions out of two years that he voluntarily came to my house.
Well, the relationship ended after a couple of years. He didn’t want me in his life anymore and it became apparent to me that my dad’s concern was justified. I had even ignored the red flag when my car overheated one day and I was stranded and my boyfriend did nothing but stayed at home and said he was sorry I was in that position. Should he not have at least tried to do something? Chivalry would say “yes!”
I understand the whole “damsel-in-distress” scenario is offensive for some of my female readers. But I think it’s unrealistic to say that when you’re in a relationship, that you’ll never need the other person. Why is this so hard to admit? It’s not showing weakness. You’re sometimes vulnerable. And vulnerability says: I’m capable and strong but I’m going to show you my softer side because I need you. Was I like a damsel in distress on the highway as my car overheated? Possibly. Okay, I don’t know a lot about cars so…yes I was!
Chivalry is synonymous with courage, courtesy and politeness and I don’t feel that it shows that women are "weak" or incapable. I believe it proves that women are important and worth being treasured.
Chivalry is someone wanting to protect you when you face something that is overpowering you, it is someone showing you courtesy by making a continuous, genuine effort. And wanting that chivalry as a woman doesn’t make you pathetic. It says I’m complete without you. But WITH you I am better.
I understand that there are some women out there who don’t want chivalry and don’t like it. And that is fine too. You have a right to feel like that and your feelings should be respected.
I have never felt insulted by my dad showing me chivalry throughout my entire life. His advice and concern about a guy not coming to the door, or a guy not making an effort to visit me or a guy not coming to help me when I needed help, was not meant to irritate me or hinder my relationships but to help me realize when I wasn’t getting the best treatment. He was showing me that there is another side to this thing called love. It’s chivalry.
In my heart, chivalry isn’t a bad thing. My father’s chivalry has never communicated to me: you are less than me, below me. If anything his actions say clearly to me: you are special and I view you as valuable, I would give up my life if it meant you could have yours.
If that’s not chivalry, I don’t know what is.
Romi Natasha Andrews 2013 ©
What Do You Think?
Do you find chivalry offensive to women?
© 2013 Romi Natasha Andrews