I stumbled across an interesting piece of hyperventilated literature this week. It's the typical blog post: someone with a poor grasp of punctuation rambles on, finally getting something off his or her chest, something they just couldn't possibly leave alone. Until the next day, of course, when they're onto something new. (And, yes, that is exactly what this post is.)
I'm guilty of it. All the time. I write and write and write and, by the end, I'm not even sure where I was when I started. Words are tough, especially words without friends.
But a piece posted to Elite Daily, titled "Why Chivalry Is Dead, From a Man's Perspective," tweaked me just enough to put thought to pixels.
I expected something different than what I found written by John Picciuto, who argues that -- I think? -- there's no such thing as classical, American-Catholic chivalry anymore, at least not the kind he grew up with. (He didn't call it 'American-Catholic', but every thing he labelled as chivalrous or anti-chivalrous felt like it was ripped from the first date scene in Scorsese's Goodfellas or soaked up from the bottom of a frat house keg, so I took a swing.)
I, too, struggle with chivalry in 2013. I was born to treat women with respect -- more respect than I'd treat men with -- to lay down the coat with they cross a puddle, and to open the door for them, whether it's the first time you're seeing them, the last, or one of those times in between.
But, if chivalry is really just a fancy, gender-slanted term for courteous, then I guess I'm chivalrous to everybody. Rather, I should be chivalrous to everybody.
And, I think courtesy goes both ways. For as many times as women have leaned on me, I've leaned on them. Our genders are unique to each other but equal in weight, which makes the seesaw not only tough to balance but impossible to define.
Gender equality will throw a dagger into 1950s chivalry. Frankly, it's supposed to. The private should become public and the glass ceiling should be smashed.
But Picciuto doesn't go this route or see its steps. Instead...
"... the more I look around, the less I see men treating women the way that we're raised to. What happened to paying for dinners and drinks? What happened to pulling out chairs and holding doors? What happened to walking on the outside, closest to the street and all that sh*t? Where did we lose the chivalrous touch? When did it become acceptable to just text a girl, inviting her to come bang? Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining about those instances, I'm just saying, why have we strayed away from what has been established as the norm?"
Well, John, the thing about the norm is, it changes. All the time. It evolves.
And, if paying for "sh*t" is your definition of chivalry, then aren't you assuming all women are as shallow as you?
With that, he continues:
"Eventually, I feel that women will wise up and start asking for the things that they deserve, the things used to be automatic and expected of men, like holding a door, pulling out a chair, and paying for dinners."
Wise up? Yes, ladies, go back to the time when chivalry was really alive. You know, when men paid for you but got to treat you like a child and mock your wisdom in return?
Boy, those were the days...
Picciuto also derides what he calls today's "hookup culture," where he says men are basically allowed to sleep with women one night, not call them the next day, and this is the woman's fault because she's not holding him accountable for his actions. (His words.)
There are, of course, women who do this to men. There are women who string men along for years and years and years and never look at them in the way he's waiting for. You've heard of the "friend zone." You've heard of it because it's real.
He concludes with my favourite sentence, the most unintentionally hilarious stamp he could have ended this tableau with:
"It's pretty obvious that women own the cards, and when they start acting like it, they'll finally start getting dinner from places that don't deliver."
Again, the one thing that all women need, above all else, in 2013: a free, sit-down dinner.
Picciuto's picking at low-hanging fruit and relying on the Instagram generation to back him up.
Sure, the women he sees may not be getting free dinners or drinks, but the discussion is changing: chivalry in 2013 means standing up for a female co-worker who's the victim of harassment. It means walking alongside women in their quest for equal pay and equal opportunity. It means holding male politicians -- in Canada and the United States -- accountable for legislating change, for striving to alter our historically sexist culture, and for making sure children know this book is far more offensive and dangerous to women than any airbrushed photo of Melissa McCarthy ever could be.
Personally, ladies of my life, I will continue to hold the door for you, I will continue to bring you soup when you have a cold, and I will always strive to do something nice for you just because it's a Wednesday. And yes, I'd like to treat you to dinner.
But I won't do it for the sake of some outdated ideological battle and I won't do it just because you're a woman.
I don't think equality needs to come at the expense of common courtesy, but I also don't think I need to condescendingly explain that to anyone else.
If you'd like to listen to Picciuto -- if you'd like to cash your chips in on a free steak or a crantini -- then be my guest. But there are more important feminist issues on our docket, and they should be taken up by men and women.
Just know, getting something will always come with losing something.
Free dinner from time-to-time? That shouldn't be a biggie.
But being the first off a sinking ship? That's a tough one to lose.
This post was originally published on White Cover Magazine.
Chivalry is not dead! A woman notices whether a man opens the door for her, walks closer to the traffic or pulls out a chair for her when she sits. This is something that separates any man from the pack.
A quick web search on relationship woes will reveal that being emotionally unavailable is a disease claiming the lives of many men. If you are a man who is afflicted by this disease, you would do well to seek help immediately! Being a man means being able to share how you feel and not worry about how you'll be seen.
Women enjoy a man who pays attention to the small details and can recall them at a much later time. This will win any man huge points! For example, let's say your woman of interest tells an inconsequential story about lunch with a friend and in passing she mentions the name of the restaurant. Two weeks later you ask her, "How was the restaurant XYZ you went with your friend the other day? I was thinking we should go out for dinner tonight." A man will be instantly elevated to a level of superhero status, if at a later time, he can remember the small details and demonstrate he was really listening.
Yes, she may look great when she is dressed up and you should definitely let her know. But, it is also important to let a woman know just how special she is to you in her day-to-day life. See her laugh, smile or dimple in her cheek and compliment her on it.
For any relationship to be successful there must be a sense of trust. Honesty is the glue that holds a relationship together and also an attractive feature. Even when it might not be the most pleasant news to tell a woman, it is better for a man to be open and honest than to tell a lie.
Confidence is the key to being attractive. It will grab any woman's attention. And confidence should not be confused with arrogance, which involves a false sense of self. But, rather being confident involves taking stock in who you are (not what you do).
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