You know what’s cool about new relationships? Absolutely freaking everything. All the chemicals in your brain conspire to make you stupidly happy and you get weird butterflies doing somersaults in your belly and so on and so forth. In those first few weeks, you get to know so much about this other person, and if you’ve ever dated two or more people throughout your life, you’d know that every boyfriend or girlfriend you date has a different approach to making you happy (or I guess unhappy in some cases).
I’ve been seeing the same person for more than a month now, which is a really cool thing to me since I’ve always been something of a serial dater. I like the stability. I like having an all-in-one cuddle buddy, confidante and cheerleader. And with this relationship, I’ve said the words “I’m not used to this” way more than ever before.
I’m not used to being spoiled, but my new boyfriend is the kind of person who goes all-out when it comes to treating his boo. It’s refreshing to have someone open the door for me, give me stuffed animals and flowers and take me out for dinner. It’s enough to make me believe that chivalry is, in fact, not dead.
Modern society seems to have this love-hate relationship with the concept of chivalry. On one hand, women are so often disrespected in the media, we want to feel like we’re appreciated and treasured. On the other hand, we’ve come to a place in society where a woman can be anything and everything she desires to be. Gone are the days of the damsel in distress – today’s Cinderella don’t need no man.
People who bemoan the fall of chivalry often cite feminism as its killer because obviously, being respectful toward women and believing their lady parts don’t make them less of a human being are mutually exclusive concepts.
One of the definitions of the word “chivalrous,” according to all-knowing Merriam-Webster, is “marked by honor, generosity, and courtesy.” The concept originated with the knights of a bygone era, and the idea was for these warriors to fight for their women and treat them with the respect they deserved.
Obviously, times have changed quite a bit and now, women serve alongside men in the military as well as in offices, schools, hospitals and factories. Does this mean we no longer want to be treated like princesses? For the most part, not at all. It just means that, at least in the context of a modern heterosexual relationship, it has become a two-way street. We’re now able to provide for our men just as much as they provide for us.
Wanting to feel special and cared for is a basic human need, both for men and women. Treat your girlfriend or wife the way you’d treat your own mother or sister – it’s only respectable.
Especially in a world that calls our young women “hoes” and views them as little more than a pair of boobs, preserving the idea of chivalry is even more vital. After all, being a feminist doesn’t mean that the prince shouldn’t save the princess. It simply means that now, the princess gets a chance to save the prince too.
Follow Jess J. Salisbury on Twitter @jessjsalisbury.
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