Courtly Love #2: What Makes Modern Maidens Blush?

17 Apr

We love from afar probably almost universally but the second tenant “acts of chivalry” is a smidgen harder to liken to universal truth.

Preening, cheek puffing, and chest beating continues to dominate the male animal world in terms of courting, but do true displays of valiance? 

Merriam Webster Defines “Chivalry” as the following:

Definition of CHIVALROUS

2: of, relating to, or characteristic of chivalry and knight-errantry
3a : marked by honor, generosity, and courtesyb : marked by gracious courtesy and high-minded consideration especially to women
— chiv·al·rous·ly adverb
— chiv·al·rous·ness noun
Hmm honor, generosity and courtesy; all things that society seems to display a general lack of and increasingly so. I am not sure I have recently met “gracious courtesy” or “high-minded consideration” in unmarried male form in recent years. I continue to believe this is because smart women snap up the good men early in life. It might even lend validity to the Mrs. degree that so many scoff at.
The closest I have gotten to the above in recent years was during the holidays of 2007. That year there was a tragic shortage of cranberries (I like to refer to it as The Great Cranberry Blight of 2007, yea yea I promise I am going somewhere with this). One of the guys in the hospital overheard my nursing station lament that on my first holiday without my family I was unable to make the cranberry salad that I had enjoyed so much for every year that I could remember because every grocery store in town (read that as the 4 that I had gone to), had no cranberries fresh or frozen.
I wasn’t talking to him. I actually wasn’t even aware that he was listening, but on Christmas day as I was leaving the hospital he approached me with a shopping bag. In that bag was Ocean Spray perfection. It turned out he had purchased two of the last bags weeks before and frozen them and he wanted me to have one so I could have my holiday treat. I was sleep deprived which almost always equals overly emotional, so I didn’t think much of it when I teared up upon viewing them, however looking back maybe it was more than just being up all night.
Here was a guy that paid attention and was incredibly chivalrous in the best way that he could be. He had never been on my radar until that moment and since then he hasn’t really left. We went out once and I regrettably let his less than impressive reputation with my peers (he was socially awkward with my guy friends) dictate my behavior. Looking back, I should have made much more of an effort to give this guy a chance. I mean, he brought me cranberries. 
Courting in the form of chivalry can happen in so many ways:
It is the flower on the windshield that I convinced all of my graduate school guy friends to leave for the ladies that they were attempting to woo, it is an opening of a door, an offering of a jacket or an umbrella to shield from the elements, or the unexpected bag of cranberries.
It could even be something as modern as Rufus Wainwright’s “I’m your knight in shining armor. I’m here to save you from Linkin Park.” (I feel sure that few would refuse such an opener as that.)
Complex or simple, traditional or modern; chivalry is the very essence and core of true romance. 
I always think of one of my college acquaintances as she yelled out of a 4 Runner as we left her intended in the literal and proverbial dust “Court Me Dammit!!!
He didn’t, but someone else did. The second guy won her affection and her heart. He didn’t have to be reminded of the tradition of courtly love or chivalry and neither did my Holiday guy. It makes me wonder why chivalry is no longer expected and as seldom as it happens why didn’t I treasure it?
My 4 Runner friend married her chivalrous man; and, Me, I had a really good Christmas salad.

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