in defense of chivalry {part 2} / a discourse on gentlemanliness

i found this old essay on my thumbdrive the other day, which is what inspired me to write “in defense of chivalry {part 1}”, but i thought i’d preface it with some thoughts on chivalry (my post yesterday) before getting to the actual gentleman substance.

i wrote this essay for my ap english class as a junior in high school. we had to write seven essays, each in a specific form, about one topic. i chose to write my seven essays on romance (big surprise there!). it was probably one of the most fun essay-writing projects i’ve had, actually. you can bet my tough, football coach english teacher loved reading those essays!

anyway, i’ve cut little bits and pieces and changed some words here and there, but the gist of the essay is the same. also, this is entirely personal opinion! i am very strongly opinionated when it comes to gentlemen. keep in mind that this is just my definition of what a true gentleman is,  so just bear with me, and i would love to hear your definition too!

without further ado, “a discourse on gentlemen”…..

you read about them in books and see them in movies. they’re the perfect, the ideal, the sought-after. they’re gentlemen.  there are lots of decent guys in the world, but what sets apart the true gentlemen from the rest of the male world?

first and foremost, gentlemen always, always, always hold open doors. proper door-opening is quite specific. it can’t be simply propping the door open with your arm as he walks through ahead of you. oh no! the true gentleman remains outside and stands, holding the door wide open from the side, as the lady walks through. the gentleman does this not just because he’s obligated to, but because he truly wants the lady to be able to walk easily inside.

also in the category of doors would be car doors. a true gentleman opens the car door for his lady so she can easily step into the car. when it comes time for her to exit the car, the truest of gentlemen will not allow a lady to exit without him walking around to her side and opening the door for her. if he fails to do this, but at least opens it for her to enter, he can still be considered a gentleman. again, he opens the car door for her not just due to obligation, but because he truly cares about the lady exiting or entering the car as comfortably as possible.

a gentleman treats every girl like a lady. he can most certainly have one special lady in particular, but he treats every girl he meets with courtesy, kindness, and respect. he offers his coat to any lady that appears to be chilly. it does not matter the appearance of the lady or her relationship with the gentleman. he always offers.

a gentleman doesn’t corrupt his speech with the use of foul words. he speaks with dignity and chooses his words carefully. he speaks of all people, especially ladies, in fair, un-judgmental terms. he isn’t proud or stuck-up in his mannerisms. he will carry on a decent conversation with any decent human being. he dresses with taste and class. he is, of course, allowed to dress casually, but should be accustomed to and comfortable with dressing nicer at times.

when a gentleman is on a date, he treats his date like a princess. he makes sure she doesn’t want for anything; food, water, a chair…anything. he is at her beck and call. on a date, she is his foremost concern. he compliments her. this, in and of itself, is hugely important. too few guys these days pay girls real, heartfelt compliments.

the scarcity of true gentlemen in our world is astonishing. whatever happened to chivalry and knights in shining armor? the image and presence of gentlemen in our world needs to be restored before the young men in our midst become entirely harsh, stuck-up, and selfish. i have the privilege of knowing a select few gentlemen, and i’m grateful for the standard they’ve set in my mind of how guys should act.

long live the gentleman! may he and his kind never, ever die off!

leave a comment of YOUR definition of a gentleman! am I being too strict? or is there more to add? are gentlemen really that important in our world? 

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in defense of chivalry {part 1}

looking around me, the state of the world regarding chivalry is appalling. chivalry seems to be slowly seeping away, leaving behind coarseness and “equality.”

now, just getting this up front, i strongly believe in equality between men and women in society and relationships and communication. i believe that both men and women are equally capable and that there isn’t a superior sex.

but then there’s this whole concept of chivalry that seems to go against the idea of equality. or does it?

CHIVALRY. Definition: 1. the combination of qualities expected of an ideal knight, esp. courage, honor, courtesy, justice, and a readiness to help the weak; 2. courteous behavior, esp. that of a man toward women

can a girl open her own door? heck yes, she can! but when a gentleman opens her door for her, it shows that he values her enough to go out of his way to make her life even just a teeny bit easier.

but then again, there are definitely other ways to show someone you value them than by just opening doors and being courteous, i suppose…

so this is all personal opinion, and i’m kind of just thinking out loud, but to me, demonstrating chivalry shows that you live by a greater moral code, one that respects women and holds them in high esteem. and when a man is chivalrous, he’s doing quite the opposite of putting down women and treating them as lesser people who are unable to do things for themselves. in reality, he’s like treating them as royalty, special and important. think about it! honorable knights slay dragons and sail across oceans and fight for their queen, not because she can’t handle it, but to show respect for her and to outwardly display how important she is in their eyes.

in a world where women’s rights has always been an issue, where women have continually fought to be equal, and feel validated, chivalrous actions build women up and say to them, “you are important, you are wonderful, you are special, and you are worth it.”

in this world, chivalry is exactly what we need.

i say that chivalry is far from old-fashioned. i say that chivalry is necessary and valuable, and any boy that ever wants to try to marry me better chivalrous all the way to the moon and back. chivalry is not dead yet, and you better believe i’m going to fight tooth and nail to keep it alive.

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where do you stand on the concept of chivalry? is it important? or is it holding us back? i’m curious what the general opinion is on this!

stay tuned for part 2 of “in defense of chivalry” on thursday!