Effraeti's RP

One Woman, Two Timelines, Two Destinies.

Fragging Chivalry

St George and the Dragon

After reading the interesting new Story of O and some thoughts brewing over in the World of Matticusthis morning, I added this to the resent assaults to my senses in regards to the pettiness of our squabbles and perceived insults.  Eventually, my brain started churning with something that hits close to home with me as both a hopeless romantic and a fan of RPGs and fantasy settings – the Death of Chivalry.

One of my great draws to fantasy stems from it coinciding with my romantic nature.  I am taken with the ideas of knights and honor and chivalry as much as I am dragons and elves and other mythical creatures.

So it makes me sad to see the current state of chivalry as we know it.  It has fallen to the wayside, replaced by “common courtesy” (which unfortunately seems far less common) because courtesy is more politically correct.

I could get deeply into my thoughts on hypocritical stands in regards to chivalry, but I will leave that for Mr. Billing, linked above.  I find myself in agreement both with him and many of his commentators on several of his posts.

I am a firm believer in courtesy in both theory and practice.  I say “please” and “thank you.”  I try and express my gratitude in every manner I know how.  I also hold doors – and I am surprised, yet not, to find out that this small courtesy is the source of a good amount of male/female conflict in modern times.

I spent numerous years in customer service, and therefore I have a tendency to extend such courtesies in every situation I can.  This includes holding doors for customers, and in turn, complete strangers.

But apparently I get away with this display because I am a woman.

I have recently heard a number of gentlemen tell me that they are berated and lectured for showing such simple courtesy as holding a door for a woman.  I find this appalling.  It makes me wonder if this same lecture would be extended towards myself in a similar door-holding situation.

I dare say, I doubt it.

So at what point does (pardon the pun) the door swing too far in the other direction?  At what point do we as women go from the “victim” of sexism to the attacker?

I think, like the over-reaction of some to this new Magic card, reprimanding an honest display of common courtesy does just that.

In fact, though I deplore labels, I wish there were a way to somehow carry a sign that says, “I promise not to speak down to you for being courteous to me.”

Where has modern day chivalry gone?  It is currently having the life stomped out of it.  Or much like an enemy in a first person shooter – it is being fragged.

~ Effy

Quake 1

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28 Comments

  1. Avi

    I happen to like chivalry. A lot. I know that I am entirely capable of opening a door by myself, but at the same time – if I go on a date with a guy and he doesn’t open/hold the door for me, the chances that I’ll ever see the guy again go out the window.
    People may call me “old-fashioned”, but… /shrug
    Random strangers holding the door – I can’t imagine talking down to someone for doing it. That’s just ridiculous, IMO. I do it all the time. And I smile and thank those that do it for me.

    I wish we could see more chivalry. And I’m sad that people are being frightened away from such actions.

  2. I think there is a distinct difference between chivalry and good manners.

    Good manners is offering the little old lady with twenty bags a seat on the train, it’s saying thank you when someone takes a second or two of their time to hold a door open for you and it’s not biting someone’s head off when they extend that courtesy to you.

    Chivalry on the other hand is a slightly more weighted topic. It conjures up an image of knights in shining armour and damsels in distress. At it’s heart, it was a warrior code in world where women couldn’t protect themselves, where they were perceived as weak and in need of the protection of the big strong man with his big shiny sword. Whilst it doesn’t always feel like that, times have changed. My boss might be a dragon but I don’t need a man (or woman) to slay her, I’m more than capable of taking her on myself.

    Then there is cultural differences. I used to date an Italian and we “disagreed” about chivalry on more than one occasion. On perhaps our second date, we went to this bar and he went in first, obviously he didn’t shut the door in my face but still.. it wasn’t what I was used to, especially so early on in relationship. So when we were sitting down with a drink I brought it up, and his response was somewhat surprising. In his view he was being a gentleman because he was going first to make sure the place was safe, that there wasn’t anyone who could pose a threat to us in there. I suppose that should have been my first indication that his family business wasn’t as legitimate I had been let to believe (he always sat with his back to a wall too), but that’s another story.

    Bottom-line for me, whilst I quite enjoy playing the damsel in distress in the privacy of my own home, I’m not particularly comfortable with chivalry from strangers (as opposed to good manners). Hold a door open for me and you’ll get a smile and a thank you, tell me I’m a “itty bitty weak and defenceless little thing who needs a man to protect” her and you’re more likely to discover how “itty bitty” my right hook is.

    “Random strangers holding the door – I can’t imagine talking down to someone for doing it. ”

    I actually got to witness it the other day, to call it embarrassing was an understatement. I really felt for the guy, his entire face was the colour of beetroot as she hectored him in the middle of the high street. I suspect that might be the last door he opens for anyone.

    • Avi

      I may not NEED my man to slay the dragon for me… but I’m happy that he does. ;)

      I guess I more expect the chivalry out of a romantic partner – and yeah, manners from complete strangers. I think my intention kinda got lost in my original reply.

    • JD Kenada

      Actually, many Europeans have that rule. You go in first, and you also ensure the woman is seated in such a way that she can see the remainder of the restaurant in a proper view.

    • I read this earlier and I came back to tell you I have had a mental movie running in my head ever since of you ganking your boss emoting /chicken and it won’t stop!!! And you’re a Gnome Rogue in it!

  3. mattticus

    I tell this story over and over again but it’s kinda what altered my behaviour/belief structure.

    I was heading up to University one day and was entering the building. Out of the corner of my eye, I knew there was a female studnet that was right behind me. Got up to the door and held it open for her.

    And then i got yelled at promptly thereafter.

    “I’M A PERFECTLY CAPABLE WOMAN OF OPENING THE DOOR. I DON’T NEED YOU MALE CHAUVINEST PIGS TO DO THIS FOR ME. JUST BECAUSE I’M A WOMAND OESN’T MEAN I’M WEAK.”

    Needless to say, ever since that incident I just wait until there’s a gap in the crowd. Then I’ll zip into a building so I’m never caught in a social position where I should hold the door open for anyone ever again. When I get bitched out for doing something nice, it makes me want to not be nice like that. If it was a dude though, I’dve gotten a high five or a fist bump and a thanks bro.

    But, for fuck’s sake man. :|

    (And yeah, I know not all women are like this).

    • JD Kenada

      “I didn’t hold the door for you because I’m weak or a pig. I did it because my grandmother told me to always hold the door for the elderly.”

      Sorry, I tend to Zorro instances where people fly off the handle unjustly.

    • JD Kenada

      Of course, I can’t write a proper sentence either. That would have been much funnier if it had read “because YOU’RE weak…”

      …I’ll take that as a sign I should be working and not checking blogs.

    • Matticus, sir, please, please tell me this did not really stop you from holding doors from that moment on? *sob* This world is desperate for each of us reaching out and doing the polite gesture. Not all women? Rather it was all women or hardly any of us, do not stop being a gentleman, or let that lunatic (who clearly has other emotional issues) ruin who you are. If she was wearing a tinfoil hat and had cats clinging to her, it would have been more obvious this young lady has some issues (and others of her ilk).

      • I must agree with Matty, Matticus. In fact, were we all closer in proximity I am sure some of us ladies here would assist you with becoming comfortable at opening doors again.

        ~ Effy

    • tsudrats

      Oh it must have been tempting to reply … ‘No, you are not weak however you are rude’. Opening doors and lending a hand are not comments on supremacy, strength or dominance … I know … context …. /mutter, mutter … /hops off soap box… Matt … I agree with you.

  4. R

    Mom is a native of Quebec, Dad is a former farm boy from S. Texas. She thought the greatest thing is that Sir, Ma’am were part of his vocabulary. Opening doors and all the other stuff that goes along with it were things she loved. She made sure even more than he did that we boys did the same as well.

    In large cities, I have been “advised vigorously” that women do not NEED doors held open. I simply reply (with a little extra drawl) “No ma’am, I didn’t NEED to hold the door open for you. But you NEED some lessons in common courtesy and helping make the world a friendlier place one small action at a time” and then continue to hold the door open.

    She then has a choice to continue to be upset or not. Ive had them go so far as to ignore the door I’m holding and open another one to go through if there is an option to do so.

    Either way, I did my part to make the world nicer for a few seconds. Not my fault if they dont want to.

    ps, Sometimes, I really want to tell them they NEED some lube to pull the stick out, but Momma would never approve of that one. :D

  5. My husband is a door holder, car door opener, umbrella holder, and I love him for it. But he’s a door holder, car door opener, umbrella holder for EVERYONE. Man, woman, child, more than likely dogs too.

    I hold doors for everyone of any sex, I’m not casting aspersions on their relative strength, lol, I just think it’s nice to help another human.

    That story of Mattticus’ is awful, come on people, if you keep treating everyone that way there’ll be no men left holding doors but my husband.

  6. JD Kenada

    I’m the same as Tome’s husband. I’m the guy who always holds the door, helps someone carry something awkward, offers to reach an item on the top shelf for people in the grocery store (when you’re six inches or more taller than most people, it only makes sense). Heck, if not for the horrid stereotypes and fears of society, I’d offer people a ride if I thought they needed it.

    I think the line has indeed blurred between common courtesy and chivalry. But it’s gone both ways. Things that should be common are viewed as chivalrous and some things that should be viewed as chivalrous are taken for granted as common courtesy. Is chivalry associated with knights and damsels? For the most part, but a true study indicates that aspect was part of the bigger picture in which chivalry was more of a code of conduct in how the knight carried himself and the proper things he believed in. There’s many of us out there who still hold pretty true to that bigger picture.

    As for please and thank you, those were the first two things I taught my son, who is now two and is starting to do it instinctually. Course, he also holds his cup up to “cheers” you quite often and I can’t tell you where he got that one from…

  7. One thing I loved about living in Newfoundland is that everyone holds doors open for everyone. Sometimes you’ll be super far away and someone will hold the door open you, making you run so you don’t keep them waiting. It’s a habit I’ve picked up and one I really enjoy.

    I think that people who take kind gestures as insults are just really insecure. I got into a discussion with a blogger once who wrote about how she found in-game gifts offensive. It was eventually revealed that ANY gift, even in real life, made her feel worthless. It’s like she felt she had something to prove.

    Me? I love gifts. I love gifts, compliments, favors…. Obviously, I don’t NEED any of those things. I have a shopping list of achievements that I’m proud of and am not shy about rubbing in peoples faces. But if someone wants to do my dirty work for me, or fluff up my already enormous ego, then by all means! I know what I’m capable of and don’t need to prove anything to anyone.

    I’m not sure how I feel about one sided chivalry though. I think people, at least in North America, are generally too cold to each other. I think life would be far more pleasant should we all be warm and helpful to everyone, regardless of gender. Kind of like how everyone in Newfoundland holds doors open for everyone.

  8. @ Avi: Well-stated, ma’am. I do not consider myself entitled, nor incapable, but this one simple thing is just something to make you feel respected. I agree that this is more appreciated from a romantic interest or a friend. I would never fault a stranger (man or woman) for NOT opening a door.

    But long in short – being rude is never an acceptable response to courtesy.

    @Erinys: Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I always find you to have a similar but different point of view that I can agree with and respect.

    I agree there is a difference between chivalry and manners/courtesy. But it seems the line is being blurred. To what effect?

    Yah, “back in the day” there were things men did and things women did. (Honestly, there still is – Mr. Billing touches on it in a profound way in http://www.pellebilling.com/2009/03/reverse-feminism/.) But as JD mentions, chivalry was not just about men conducting themselves to women, but how they conducted themselves in general. I do not see it as a degradation, but a showing of respect.

    I think the combination of recollections like those by both your observation and what happened to Matticus (plain fear to be kind, basically) and the other ways in which humanity is evolving towards a more digital society of anonimity are contributing to the decline of both chivalry and manners/courtesy in general.

    @Matticus: Thanks so much for the reply, and I just wanted to mention the door-holding bit in this post was mostly inspired by our conversation a while back. I appreciate you sharing it, and even reading it a second time, it still infuriates me. That is exactly why I want a lil sign that says, “I promise not to be a bitch because you are a gentleman.” ;)

    @R: Thank you so much for sharing! I am so glad to see a man unafraid to follow through with what he believes is the right thing to do. I truly hope no one ever takes that from you.

    @Ancient: Agreed. I hate to see stories like Matticus’ because this is why not only chivalry, but courtesy in general, are dying. :(

    @JD: I had not doubt that you were the door-holding type. Just from your courtesy in general, I take you for someone who holds his ideals close to the forefront at all times. :) *Cheers! mini-Amateur*

    @Ophelie: Now that is the kind of courtesy I could get behind! In fact, I have done similar (holding a door for what was probably way too long) many times. heh

    When I lived in Missouri, I noticed the strangest trend in driving, one that I found both curious and wonderful… People were so courteous while driving that if you were making a left turn off a side street, you were waved to go ahead by people turning off the main road (those who were sitting in the left-hand turn lane). This was one thing I had never come across in all my years of driving or observing driving, further north.

    I would like to see more of that in everything!

    ~ Effy

  9. R

    Just had a thought that i thought I would add. I recently started dating a girl I met thru WoW. When we go out to restaurants, I stop our conversation to make eye contact with our servers, (male or female) and say thank you, then resume our conversation. She couldn’t get over the fact that someone would be that nice to complete strangers. She didn’t object at all, don’t get me wrong. Her experience to that point simply had not been one where she had been exposed to that particular level of courtesy. It made me a bit sad that those around her couldn’t be bothered with it. When she asked about it, I simply replied, i just treat those around me how I wish to be treated, that it didn’t take any extra effort on my part or cost me anything significant, so why not?

    To quote those great philosophers Bill and Ted, we just need to “Be Excellent to Each Other.”

    • That would be a change from what I am used to as well, but now, I am wondering why. That is quite a beautiful thing. It is kind of like the idea of “paying it forward.” I like discovering new ways of making someone’s day in some small way, and in turn hopefully making their interaction with the next person that much more positive and creating a snowball effect of positivity!

      Ideally, that is how it should be.

      Thanks for sharing. :)

      ~ Effy

  10. “I guess I more expect the chivalry out of a romantic partner – and yeah, manners from complete strangers.”

    Avi’s comment sums it up for me. I thought about chivalry and do I like it? I guess, I do but only in the romantic sense. I don’t want every man doing that for me, just the one I am interested in, or who is trying to show interest in me. I may be a bit of party pooper but I like to slay dragons too and save my friends or loved ones! I want to be a hero! I want to be Spiderman and have great power and great responsibility. But I would like my partner to do those nice things like hold the door, hold my handbag, and in terms of saving, I would like him to “save me from a life of loneliness and emptiness” and bring me into a world full of warmth, love and respect.

    After all, I am a closet romantic. Well, not really. I am an open romantic. But chivalry in the traditional mediaeval sense is not my thing. Modern day chivalry to me is bringing me lunch or a drink, lifting me over a puddle so I don’t wet my beautiful Prada suede shoes, or killing that cockroach and disposing of its dead body. Or have I got my notions wrong?

    • JD Kenada

      No, there’s definitely a chivalrous feeling when your significant other screams like the roof is on fire and you come running into the room to find them on the opposite wall pointing and hollaring “KILL IT! KILL IT! MAKE IT DIE!!!!” Them wee spiders/ants/silverfish…they’re a vile lot. But they’re relieved and you’ve just rescued them. :D

      • Ok well I’m all for Chivalry then! :D

      • Ugh, I hate silverfish/fishflies… and Earwigs. Usually I can smoosh them myself, but ughhhh. *shudder*

        ~ Effy

      • JD Kenada

        Little silverfish are meh, but the grown up versions are UGLY…kinda like Siamese cats actually.

    • No, I think you are right on the money. Especially in the sense of a romantic partner, I do not need them to hold my hand through everything, but it is the little things… unexpected flowers, killing bugs (hey, in the heat of the moment, some of those might as well be dragons!), and just being generally thoughtful.

      I am a random gifts type of person – if I see something that starkly makes me think of my sweetie (or a close friend), I usually pick it up. I like showing that I am thinking of them. :)

      ~ Effy

      • I am the Spider-Slayer in my house. But the dead bird outside? Yes, kind sir, take care of that for me!

      • Aww, poor birdie. *sniffle*

        ~ Effy

  11. Applaud this post, Effy. And have it be known, I am doing my part to save the world, one lady and gentleman at a time.

    http://wowsugar.blogspot.com/2012/04/at-your-side-my-lady.html

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