Courtesy, manners, etiquette, maybe… But Chivalry is an internalized code of conduct. Not a manifestation of a soft cover, soft pornographic, soft representation of the idealized portrait of the hard but soft, outside rough, inside gentle, conception of the fictitious abomination of perfect masculinity in a romance novel. Chivalry is not romantic nor is it an act of pedestalization. Chivalry is a no need to be spoken of outward projection of a man’s default character and understanding of his place in his own existence.
Hold the door for a lady? Of course. Hold the door for a man, no difference. In essence the outward expression of a mans self-worth as well as his respect and acknowledgment of the worth of others. A soldier sparing the life of a defenseless enemy combatant, a man volunteering to mentor young boys who are without male guidance or a man who does not exact revenge in violence or gossip. It is the rules of engagement for life a man adheres to who has given contemplation and effort towards the state of his mental paradigm. It is not what you say to your lover but what you say publicly about your ex, being charitable in secret, admitting fault, and mostly your reflexive actions when in a position of control.
The verbal and written codes of conduct of our forefathers, the warrior ethos of our heroes and ethics of our past great spiritual leaders are tangible relics of a time when respect was earned and chivalry was a show of reciprocation. In our day to day lives far from battlefields or any real danger of our villages being pillaged chivalry is more of a way of being than an actually ceremonial act.
An act portraying chivalry does not necessarily justify the act as being chivalrous. It is the intention behind the act; was the act a gesture of respect for another being without the need for validation from the receiving or a third party? Does a soldier provide a POW with food and shelter because his superiors order it or because he is capable of being civil and restrained when placed in a position of absolute power over another person. Even one he hates…
Chivalry is alive and well on battlefields, business dealings, sporting competitions…. It’s not about a car door or a proposal or really any form of making someone feel special or loved. In modern times our understanding of once acutely defined ideals such as bravery, chivalry and respect are turned generic and diluted by the need for inclusion in everything by everyone to the extent that such ideals or embodiment of the meaning in any type of honorable or authentic way has become almost impossible due to the placation of those who would actually believe that chivalry is dead.
Photo credit dmytroZinkevych@123rf.com