I can see him like it was yesterday. Sitting on the living room floor, long legs outstretched, with his back against the sofa. Daddy’s after work relaxation always included a cold MGD with his daily diet of the Times Herald AND the Daily News. He would peruse through the news, all the while listening in on the chatter my sisters and I always provided as a backdrop to his reading. Our conversations would flow from the happenings of our day, to work, dates, and whatever else was on our minds. During chats about dating, Dad would listen and drop one of his one-liners, “you gotta let a woman be a woman, and let a man be a man.” I had no clue what the heck he was talking about or what that meant. Daddy was full of sayings which we dubbed Steve-isms. Whether they were clear to us or not, we always nodded in agreement. He gave many lessons, always capped with one of his ‘isms, and one in particular that would start with this ‘ism was on chivalry.
For the record: chivalry is NOT dead.
Daddy opened the doors for his daughters, taught my brothers and later his grandsons to do the same. He pulled out our chairs and made sure we were safely tucked into the cars before he got in. Daddy walked on the outside of the sidewalk to ensure our safety and would always say we looked nice, even if we didn’t.
These days, I have heard it all when talking about chivalry. Negative, positive and the etymologist who wants to spout on about medieval definition. Whatever your position, mine is simple. If he is a gentleman who treats me like I’m a treasure, I will be more than happy to reciprocate the same treatment. I see young men opening doors at the stores, giving up their seats at meetings and on public transportation. I see sons talking to their sisters about how THEY should be treated….you get the gist. Chivalry is not a ding to manhood nor is it a set-back to the women’s independence movement. To the gent who came across someone who didn’t appreciate your chivalry – I say Thank you! Nope, no matter what you say, I refuse to believe that chivalry is dead.
Today I experienced first hand what I know to be true. There it was! BOOM! Confirmation of what I believe and know still exists! An unexpected act of chivalry! It made my day brighter knowing that I was being thought of. I know there are chivalrous gentlemen out there who know how to “let a woman be a woman and let a man be a man,” and today I got another reminder as I looked out at my office window, from Under my Brim.