Chivalry, a term most of us learned in high school from the numerous Shakespearean plays we were forced to read. In case you forgot (which most of us have), chivalry is defined as the “ideals and practice of knightly virtues, honor and courtly love.”
Take Romeo and Juliet for example: a love story that was said to last through the ages — but let’s face it — chivalry probably died when Romeo and Juliet each took their last breath.
Today, especially with younger people, we define chivalry as a text message after 1 a.m., a “poke” on Facebook or a sloppy dance to Taylor Swift at the bar. As Nelly Furtado once sang, “Chivalry is dead … but you’re still kinda cute.”
Has this mentality — settling for what’s in front of us, not going beyond to please anyone — taken over our lifestyles? Better yet, which sex is to blame?
Last week, I was conversing with a male friend about college relationships. He told me it is impossible to date girls in college because “All college girls are inherently crazy.”
Well then, friend, if you are so bold to make that generalization for every single girl on this campus, do you also assume all girls believe all guys are the same? Some girls strive to see the better parts of guys, those rare chivalrous moments that make us smile. Otherwise, if we as females could make a generalization about the opposite sex, one word comes to mind: assholes.
Young society has become more self-absorbed and self-centered, especially when it comes to pleasing and courting the opposite sex. First dates have turned into the drive thru for breakfast at McDonald’s and shopping for groceries together at Kroger.
Wow, real romantic.
The manners have been lost on both sides of the male and female spectrum. So, what’s it all about these days? What are the rules of attraction now?
Men objectify women, or maybe it’s because they’re more open with objectifying women in daily conversation. A recent Princeton University study found “Men were also more likely to associate images of sexualized women with first-person action verbs such as ‘I push, I grasp, I handle.'” I’m shocked.
It’s not like women don’t objectify men either. My friends always say, “I’m so into that guy, he has great biceps.” Um, that’s it? His biceps? Do those biceps talk to you? Do they make you laugh and smile? Are they somehow intelligent biceps?
I’m not sure if we will ever get out of this slump where common courtesy has been overshadowed by cynical and less acceptable behavior. Maybe we’re just all confused. Maybe technology has killed it. Or maybe somewhere out there, the fairy tale lives.
Once you do find that perfect guy or girl, your whole world does a 180. Maybe it happens after college, or maybe it could happen in these four less-than-graceful years. Maybe if we work on it, as men and women we can maybe argue that chivalry’s not dead … just hanging on by life support.