Chivalry, wherefore art thou?

An instance of the lack of gentlemanliness in the workplace:

I swipe my access card to get into the cafeteria and pull the door open. 15 men are on the other side wanting to go through the door that I opened. The 15 men file through the door, one by one, as I hold the door open, stunned and feeling like a  doorman.

I’m not implying that if 15 women did that, it would be less improper. Also, not all men at work are like that. 1 in 100 holds the door open for me, and it makes my day. I’ve heard feminists consider it sexist for a man to hold doors open or pull a chair out for a woman, but I disagree. It makes my day when a man offers me his seat (which I profusely decline, till he quits offering) because I’m glad to see a man respecting a woman. I live in a world where I have to be wary of men I’m alone with in elevators, wary of men standing too close to me in public transport, wary of men who are overly friendly- and it is not nice. It is not nice to be wary of another human being, to distrust him, to be unable to believe in the inherent good in him. The sky-rocketing incidence of crimes against women, create a perception of men that is frightening. So, when a man breaks through that perception with an act of chivalry, it makes my day. I’m not saying you should go home with every man that’s chivalrous.You shouldn’t because even sociopaths have been known to be chivalrous.

So, unlike what some feminists would have you believe- Chivalry isn’t sexist. Calling chivalry sexist, sounds as stupid to me as calling it ageist if I give up my seat for a wrinkly old grandmother on the bus. When really it is just RESPECTING THOSE WHO ARE LESS POWERFUL THAN YOU. ¹

I’ll end my defense of chivalry with the words of  Peter Hitchens:

As for opening doors, giving up seats and all the other things which I try to do as a matter of course , and curse myself when I fail to do so, these are much more about what I regard as the principles of chivalry , which are:

Give way to, and be generous to those who you have the power to hurt, shove aside or belittle. In any contest of equals, in a doorway, in a narrow corridor, on a road, or for any other thing, be the one who gives way, as an acknowledgement that your neighbour is at least as valuable as you.

Stand up to those who have the power or ability to hurt you. This is the corollary of the above, and part of it. The one who holds open the door is, I suspect, more likely to be the person who comes to the aid of the threatened victim. This is not because he (or she) is a better person, but because he or she has trained himself or herself to be concerned with the lives of others.

The giving up of seats the opening of doors, the friendly greeting to strangers, are all constant reminders to yourself that we are all fellow-passengers on the journey to  the grave, none superior to the other.  Anyone can reject these offers if he or she wishes.

 

Advertisements