Sunday, 4 March 2012

Chivalry is still breathing and let’s leave it to breathe!

Some people say chivalry is dead and some say it's old-fashioned now but I would like to explore a deeper meaning of the word here. I know many women of my age and those older who say that all men are the same and no gentlemen really exist in our generation, but I would like to differ here.

I've met men who opened doors for me, offered an elbow to walk along, hosted a suitcase in a plane’s overhead compartment or waited for me to enter the lift, or pulled the chair, or paid the bill on our first meeting. I’m not offended when a man offers to carry a heavy shopping bag or recommend walking on the outside of the sidewalk when escorting me down the street. I have come out feeling nice about the experience and the person. I am a lady and would like to be treated like one. And if a man is man enough to do that, I am impressed.

Once I went for an adventure trip with my friends, where while climbing up, at one moment, I almost slipped through a rock. A friend of mine extended his hand to help but I told him to let me try by my own. He backed off and waited for me to join him at the top. I managed it by my own. Of course it’s an adventure trip so in a similar situation I don’t want a man to do the helping a damsel in distress thing for me. I can handle that. But in a social environment, if a man offers to get me a chair or a drink, I find it courteous. I don’t expect a man to do all this but if he does it for any woman, young or old, I would be delighted by the gesture.  Though it’s important to do it naturally, without just trying to make an impression.

I wonder why few feminists make it a frowned gesture by giving it name of gender bias. I feel it’s perfectly fine if some one shows they care.  Holding a door open for a woman is one of the basic chivalrous acts. That doesn’t mean a woman is incapable of opening the door herself. It just means that you are showing common courtesy and respect. I don’t believe their politeness stemmed from the belief women were less. Why should we equate simple courtesy with gender roles? I feel that everyone, male or female, should be willing to assist those who need it, and should also be appreciative of any assistance given.

If a man rings me at home at night it could be because he wants to ensure I reached safely. It’s fine if some one lends a coat to any body struggling with a sleeve. There is no reason for a war of the genders here. Women inclined towards feminist tendencies should understand that there is not always a hidden motive behind this gesture to let you down. Remember you are not so weak that a man can establish your dependence by simply opening a door for you.  Receive such gestures politely with gratitude.

I dislike women who pretend to be delicate darlings all the time and pretend to walk all brittle when draped in a sari and expect a man to hold their purse or mobile. Please don’t try to be like a lady; if you are not. Just be yourself, be whoever but don’t fake being feminine just to extract chivalry from a gentleman and be treated like a VIP at his expense.

Chivalry is simple courtesy. And it should work out both ways: If a man holds the door open for you, you must say ‘thank you’ in return. Such behavior and good manners are expected in BOTH the genders. It’s not a concept that should be limited to the things men do for women or vice versa but extended to include things that people do for ‘others’.

Generally people ask questions – Is chivalry dead? I say No it’s not dead but it is to a point endangered. To the men who still practice it without being tacky, I salute. To those who don’t, get off your lazy ass, put the video game controller down and help your lady open that jar. There is nothing wrong with being chivalrous to a woman you love or are courting.

We should all be kind to each other whenever we can. I would rather risk offending someone than risk leaving them to struggle when they could have used a hand.
So guys! Go get chivalrous to all women not just the pretty ones ;-) and all the ladies out there learn to appreciate the little gestures that make you feel so special :-)