Is chivalry dead?
After a writing session in a coffee shop, I discovered a very flat tire. The temperature was in the teens, it was starting to spit snow, and dusk was just beginning to think about showing her dark side.
Before roadside service showed up, a young man inside the coffee shop—noticing my dilemma—asked if I had a spare. “I can change it for you,” he said as he closed his laptop and started to gather up his things.
I thanked him profusely and roadside service showed up in short order: An older man of an age when he should have been enjoying retired life instead of changing flat tires in the bitter cold.
Roadside Service Guy was genuinely kind and gentlemanly. He sent me back inside the coffee shop to get warm where I watched him hustle between his truck and my car.
Before the flat-tire incident, I spent five days at my bro- and sis-in-law’s cabin on remote acreage. There had been heavy rains, and a pick-up truck stuck in the mud, and a nephew running the back-hoe to get the truck unstuck.
As a result the gravel road up to the cabin was in rough shape.
A guy named Dan was scheduled to come up later in the week for some large landscaping boulders. Because of the road condition, he high-centered his truck.
Knowing I was at the cabin, Dan the Rock Man took the time to smooth out a few of the worst places in the gravel road with the tractor.
I’m an old-fashioned girl. I like rutted roads smoothed out for me so I don’t get high-centered. I like having flat tires changed for me.
Not because I can’t change a tire myself. Not because I can’t stack firewood by myself. Not because I’m the weaker gender and therefore helpless.
It’s about feeling “covered” in a protective way, which is important to this widow. It’s about thoughtfulness. Consideration. Humankind helping humankind. Because male and female, we need each other.
I have a cousin-in-law who serves as an EMT in the mountains of northern California. Narrow, winding roads with steep drop-offs to a river, he has seen his share of accidents and deaths.
On one occasion, this big, bearded, manly cousin climbed down a steep embankment, assessed the situation, and knew he couldn’t rescue the extremely overweight, injured woman by himself in the dark.
And so, instead, he sacrificially held her in his arms for a long time, keeping her warm, making her as comfortable as possible until more help arrived.
Gentle. Manly. Chivalrous. So very attractive. Thoughtfulness and kindness are so very attractive to me.
I enjoy being a woman. I enjoy being a hard-working, non-helpless woman. There’s a good deal I can do on my own.
But if there’s a nephew, a brother, a male friend, even a stranger who offers to protect me in some way, then I’m going to say, “Thank you,” and let him change my oil, shovel my driveway, or take my arm to guide me across the ice (especially since I’ve not had much success on ice lately).
And I’m going to be so very appreciative.
A girlfriend called not too long ago, lamenting the state of the union and the state of the world. “I need to quit watching the news,” she said.
I had just come from church where the director of a non-profit in Uganda—Otino Waa Children’s Village—talked about their orphanage, and their boarding school, and how, with 2.5 million orphans in Uganda, their goal is to keep families together as much as possible.
When a grandmother, for example, ends up with nine grandchildren because the parents have all died of AIDS, Otino Waa provides funds for the grandmother to feed and clothe her grands, to send them to the school, to keep those cousins together instead of institutionalizing them.
Kindness, compassion, chivalry at its best.
That same week, friends funded airline tickets for three young women they’d never met. The flights allowed these women to be with their high school girlfriend on the anniversary of her loss of husband and son in one horrific accident.
A beautifully chivalrous story on the part of all involved.
I told my girlfriend on the phone about these two incidences and how neither of them would make the news because they’re not newsworthy: “But these kinds of non-newsworthy stories are everywhere,” I said.
There are countless people around the world writing kind, compassionate, chivalrous stories.
This thought from Tim Worstall:
Chivalry is actually nothing at all to do with the way that one treats women. It’s to do with the way that one treats everyone.
Is chivalry dead?
Not from where I sit.
Should chivalry be relegated to the male gender?
Absolutely not, because we women can also be kind and helpful and gentle and protective.
But should we women allow men to show us kindness and assistance and a covering of protection when needed?
Absolutely. And what a gift to have these types of men in our lives.
Do you have a chivalrous story? I’d love to hear about it!