Is chivalry dead? Maybe not, but it’s certainly on its deathbed. I’m a cynic and my sarcastic sense of humor has often been cited as rude, but it does make life a bit easier when we live by the “do unto others…” rule.
Chivalry is defined as a code of conduct associated with the medieval institution of knighthood. Well, I’m no knight of the round table, but growing up in a family dominated by females, I have learned a thing or two about chivalry, and just manners in general.
It has been my observation in my years at SF State as a college student that this concept has skipped the latter of my generation. The act of holding doors open, pulling out chairs or buying one of those adorable vodka cranberries that girls love doesn’t seem to be important anymore.
Now, I don’t know if this is due to our interpersonal communication skills being jaded by advancements in technology where we can’t communicate without an “OMG,” or if it is just how we grew up.
This is not a gendered problem. While us guys should always be gentlemen to the opposite sex, I’ve seen a lack of decency in our better halves. It’s 2012, by golly! We should ALL show decency as human beings.
One particular incident occurred while I was with one of my editors. We both experienced a lack of chivalry, or a helping hand, from our fellow college students while pushing numerous shopping carts (ones that you would find at a grocery store) from the third floor of the Humanities Building. I don’t expect too much, but being allowed to use the elevators before two girls, (God forbid they walk down three flights of stairs), would have been helpful. But alas, we were left in the dust and seen off with a “Uh, I don’t think there’s room.”
It seems like a petty complaint, but it’s the little things that seem to stick out the most.
I can also recall an incident earlier this semester. In between making myself deaf with my iPod, I held a door open for a professor. “Finally, a gentleman,” she said.
It’s such an instinct that I don’t think too much of it. Plus, it’s “hella” easy and it makes mama proud. I was very fortunate and blessed to have a good relationship with my dad who showed me the ropes of chivalry — while telling me to pull his finger — so I intend to pass on the skills of the Wilson clan. He put an emphasis on holding car doors open, offering to pay for meals and pulling out chairs. At a young age, he gave one specific reason as to why I should follow this agenda: Chicks dig it.
I’ve been in a steady relationship for about three years and I’m hoping this and my personal decisions come across as a positive reflection of my father’s teachings. But even all parents aside, our culture is supposed to ingrain these same values. They just seem to have been ignored.
Chivalry is not limited to the acts aforementioned. As I said earlier, it could be simple manners. Working in a customer service environment my whole life from a barback to a barista, I’ve interacted with various types of people — people and acts of rudeness have ranged from no please or thank you, throwing money on the counter instead of simply handing it over, talking on the phone while placing orders, or always my favorite, having too much superiority over others to acknowledge someone else’s existence.
It’s a fairly easy action to engage in and together we can prevent chivalry from meeting its hole in the ground.