Redefining Chivalry

I’ve never read a Steve Harvey book or listened to his lectures on men and women.  But I’m almost certain he’d disagree with my theory. But it’s my theory… so… here it goes…

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My lactose intolerance restricts my consumption of scrumptious Atlanta desserts and so for the second time in a week I visited a holistic restaurant with banging vegan delights. I had scheduled a lunch with my business colleague and since it was my birthday week, he told the waitress to put it all on one check.  But when she returned with the check, I added my debit card to the payment stack and told her to split it.

That’s right. I politely refused his offer to pay for my meal.

Why? He had just closed on a house so I knew he was pinching pennies.

I was looking out for my boy.

(At this point in the story I know half of you are cringing.)

So, later on that evening, I checked all my birthday Facebook posts.  My colleague noted that I shut him down at the restaurant and that #chivalryisdead. I politely informed him that I just upgraded his life with the introduction of vegan desserts so he should be grateful. Ha!

But that’s when I started thinking about the constitution of chivalry.

Follow me.

Back in the day, men had all the jobs. Some even had good paying jobs; you know, the ones that could support two families and such.  

Stay with me.

Back in the day, these men demonstrated their care for a woman by resourcing meals, clothes, houses, and cars that women could not resource themselves. “I have what you need and am willing to share because I care – about loving you (or sleeping with you).”

Stay with me.

Today, some women don’t need support in that way.  I can secure my own meals, clothes, houses, and cars.  So, I’m not particularly filled up with delight, affection, or lust when someone spends on me.  

(I know that there are a lot of good girlfriends out there who feel differently.  That’s cool. But this is my theory. Stay with me.)

So, today the way to demonstrate your care for me is to tell me to slow down.  That’s right.  I oftentimes fill my life with activities and routines that overwhelm me at critical points.  Someone who cares for me recognizes that I try to do too much and that I need protection from my overachieving self.  My loved ones demonstrate care for me with reminders about self care.

So, yes, that OLD chivalry is dead. The new seed of chivalry requires a man to really sit down and take inventory of a woman’s needs.

(Those needs change over time. That’s why you need to study her, always.)

More than 50 years ago, US culture – derived by people living in particular societal conditions – began shifting and chivalry – that is, demonstration of respect/care/love for a woman – stopped evolving.  What are some ways we can revive it to catch up to modernity?

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