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During the 16th Century: I gracefully glide through the ballroom, gown sweeping across the cold, marble floor beneath my tread, and carefully make my way for the balcony door. Just as I reach for the golden handle, a man stops me. Taking my hand in his, he gently brings it to his lips and kisses it. Then in his heart-melting voice, he says, “Allow me, Madame,” and opens the door. I smile, thank him and step outside, floating like an angel on a cloud.
Present Day: Exiting my advertising class, I walk through the hall and make my way down the steps to go outside. Just then, I notice a group of guys walking out ahead of me. One of them glances behind and sees me only a few feet away. Expecting him to hold the door open for me, I rush down the final steps and hasten towards him. To my surprise, I look up only to come head-on with a large wooden door. Just like that, every ounce of my dignity has been smacked out of me with one large thud. Once again, I make eye contact with the guy, who is now laughing hysterically. Not feeling so angelic this time around.
As you can see, chivalry just isn’t how it used to be. Gone are the days when men would go out of their way to hold the door open for women, offer us their seat on a crowded bus or call us “Madame” and kiss the back of our hands upon meeting us for the first time. (Now, I realize that last one may be a little far-fetched, but can’t a girl dream?)
For argument’s sake, I don’t want to generalize completely. I know there are some gentlemen left in this world, but it’s becoming clear that this rare population is rapidly dwindling.
According to Madame Noire’s “9 Reasons You Think Chivalry is Dead When It Isn’t,” “chivalrous behavior is no longer the norm because it is not required.” I think I speak for the majority of the female population when I say, “Umm… what?” I don’t remember anyone handing out any get-out-of-chivalry-free cards. I realize it’s a new day and age, and the world around us is constantly changing. But chivalry is something that can and should outlast anything.
An online article, “Is Chivalry Dead?” argues, “When many think of the word chivalry, they think of Knights of the Medieval World of Old. Charging around the countryside on White Steeds and saving damsels in distress.” Now, here we are at college — the Medieval World is now the 21st century, knights are now frat guys or boys in our classes and their white steeds are beat-up cars, long boards or bikes. The only thing that hasn’t changed: we are still the damsels in distress waiting to be saved. And the saving grace we impatiently long for is chivalry.
Chivalry, without its fancy title, is simply respect. Respect for women all around the world, respect to do the right thing and respect to treat women in the courteous manner we deserve.
So, to all you aspiring gentlemen out there, don’t let chivalry die. Grab your noble steed, find that damsel in distress and go out of your way to become her knight in shining armor.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Kristy Gustafson at Kristy.firstname.lastname@example.org.