Recently, predictably around Valentine’s Day, there was a flurry of pundits who wanted to discuss the death of chivalry.

From Dictionary.com:

chiv·al·ry [shiv-uhl-ree]

noun, plural chiv·al·ries for 6.

1.the sum of the ideal qualifications of a knight, including courtesy, generosity, valor, and dexterity in arms.
2.the rules and customs of medieval knighthood.
3.the medieval system or institution of knighthood.
4.a group of knights.
5.gallant warriors or gentlemen: fair ladies and noble chivalry
The main thrust of the articles is that apparently “Chivalry is dead!” How we should assume it is a foregone conclusion that the ‘changes and dissolution of the American Family mean that boys are not schooled to respect their elders and especially women.”
I beg to differ. While it all sounds bodice heavingly endearing if you look at the era of chivalry as defined above, women were chattel, marriable deeds to property and titles and brood mares to continue the family line. Granted, they were kept from doing any ‘hard word’ as defined by the times but were expected to be able to manage households, servants, social engagements and a diverse litany of other things, all the while supposedly, having the vapors and throwing handkerchiefs to the dust in tourney arena’s to be tied to the lance of some lug in a metal suit whose sole purpose is to whack the life out of some other lug in a metal suit.
I know I can open my own door and frequently will make the first move to do so for strangers, male or female and especially anyone pegged to be an ‘elder’ or unaccompanied. It’s simply my way of passing on the karmic smile of feeling like for a moment in time someone else SEE’s you as a person among the hustle and bustle of daily life. I am not so self involved that I can’t grab a door handle and hand off a smile in passing. That being said it’s a cost-free way of making me feel all girly and fuzzy towards Poppa Bear when he does hold the door for me. This is another case where feminism got it wrong. We CAN expect to be treated as a general equal in business and professional arenas and it should NOT erode basic good manners. It doesn’t matter how ‘conventional’ your family unit is or isn’t it should not affect the basic tenants of good manners unless they’re just not taught.
But it doesn’t stop there! So you had a misogynistic father who treated your mum like a work horse. So maybe your granddad was one of those filthy old men who seem to think it’s funny to be crude. Maybe your mum was a feminist who felt that any show of deference was a show of disregard based on your gender. As you grow up you realize that there are many different social graces from the people around you and if you are too self absorbed to recognize that certain actions and reactions gain favorable response then you deserve to be thought of as a disrespectful brat.
That being said, if you ladies want to go out in public in slouchy pajama pants that say ‘cute’ on your jiggling arse and slouch along in bedroom slippers like a cow chewing her cud I wouldn’t want to hold a door open for you either….
Just saying.