About three weeks ago, I joined a coworker for dinner at a popular downtown restaurant. It was here that I would experience one of the simplest yet effective acts of chivalry I have ever had the chance to witness. My colleague, let’s call him Kurt, is from the South and was raised to show the utmost respect to women, no matter if it was towards his mother or a stranger on the street. This ideology would come alive tonight to the pleasant shock of those involved.
As we approached the front entrance, two attractive young ladies followed us up the steps and into the lobby in order to put their name on the list for a table. The crowded Friday night dining room could yield a wait anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour for a two-top. Without hesitation, Kurt turned around and offered our place in line to the girls, insisting they take the earlier reservation.
I quickly agreed and the flattered guests nudged ahead of us. To make a long story short, we joined them at the bar for drinks and eventually brought the tables together for cordials and continued conversation. To top it off, we told the waiter that the tab would be taken care of without their knowledge. They appreciated the gestures and likely began to wonder why we insisted on being so generous.
Now, I know what you’re all thinking - these guys were driven by more than just…generosity. While that urge was (and seemingly always is) in effect, this particular interaction was different. The exchange was genuine and the chemistry created was organic. We’d never seen these two lovely ladies in our lives and yet were able to make a connection almost immediately simply thanks to a few well-timed chivalrous acts.
I want to challenge all of the men reading this article to step up in a way that would make our fathers and grandfathers proud. Women have lowered their expectations of us as gentlemen and we quickly followed suit. If chivalry is assumed dead, we have the ability to bring it back to life and present ourselves in a proper fashion. We are wired to be the dominant sex, but that does not include demeaning or belittling behavior.
These acts could be something as small as sending flowers to her work, sewing a blouse button or candlelight dinner on a random Wednesday night. It requires thoughtfulness, caring gestures and creativity – all ideal qualities that women seek anyway.
Many women today quickly establish careers and exert their independence the same way men do. There is no denying that the times have changed for our generation; this is not the age of convertibles and malt shops with a Friday night steady gal. Often though, we use this as an excuse to bury the notion of chivalry in hoping the girl will make the first move or build interest by some stroke of luck.
We hope to keep a relationship’s passion alive based on what we have already done instead of adding fuel to the fire. It is time to change that mindset in order to not only become better men, but also to show that certain someone that they are (or could be) lucky to have us in their lives. The origin of the word chivalry dates back to a medieval code of conduct that knights were to follow unconditionally, stating that they should protect all those who cannot protect themselves.
It was based on honor, courtesy, loyalty and reverence while encouraging perseverance in all endeavors. Centuries later, it has taken on many different forms and adapted to the customs of cultures all over the world. Let’s make a conscious effort to give the concept new life and encourage our peers to do the same.
I’ll never forget that meal not only because it was my first night in a new town, but also because it laid the foundation for how I hope to act from here forward.
Creating my own chivalrous code of conduct, and understanding what it stands to achieve will help me to become a better man – and eventually a successful boyfriend, fiancé, husband and father. This level of commitment is not for everyone but those who take it seriously may just find themselves in happier relationships, rewarded tenfold by the extra effort.
Brendan Marshall | Elite.
Follow Brendan on Twitter: @bemarsh
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