chivalry, by definition, is related to the ideal qualities of a knight – mainly honour. these days, the word is more commonly used to describe courtesy towards women and is a term hated by some because it is deemed patronising to the fairer sex.
i have a problem with chivalry. no, it’s not because i interpret those acts of consideration as an insult to my independence. in fact, i am very thankful that most of my male friends have picked up the habit of letting women walk first, holding doors for them or offering to carry their bags. it’s something every guy should practice and, ulterior motives present or not, it’s just a nice thing to do.
but yeah, i do have a problem with it and the problem is that i don’t feel as if i deserve such nice treatment.
i still get pretty surprised when guys stick their hand out in the general direction of whatever i am carrying and wait for me to hand my bag over to them. i can feel a wave of bashfulness wash over me whenever someone holds the door open or steps aside to let me pass. the “thank you” i mutter is usually directed to the floor, and even then it is an improvement of the uncomfortable smile i would have on my face everytime something like that happens to me.
i just get so…guilty. like it was undeserved and a huge sacrifice on his part to be such a nice fellow. like he really shouldn’t have bothered to take the trouble to be chivalrous towards one as insignificant as me.
not long ago, i had lunch with a friend. he was obviously alot hungrier than i was but as we found a place to sit and surveyed the options available at the food court, he motioned for me to go ahead and order. what ensued was a small tiff about who should get his/her lunch first while the other waited and just as i was about to strongly insist that he serve his grumbling innards before i did, he said, “can you just let me be a gentleman and wait here while you go get your food?!” like he was offended that i didn’t just go.
of course he wasn’t really offended la but it got me thinking – am i actually really dishing out an injustice towards these really nice guys by depriving them of the opportunity to be chivalrous? did my past refusals for anyone to help me or reluctant acceptance of assistance offend them?
the guilt i feel is obviously some warped manifestation of a low self-esteem and perhaps something i should really ditch now that i am 24 and a supposedly more mature person who is going to be a doctor really really soon. i guess i should learn to be confident when saying thank you and offer a big, sincere, grateful smile to every knightly man who gets the door for me.
so here it is – thanks for picking up old-skool manners and being courteous to women. i appreciate it. keep up the good work!