There are many things that make me mad: getting woken up before my alarm the day I am supposed to be awake at 8 am on a Sunday (who else would ever want to wake up that early anyways?), missing the bus because it got there early, when someone tells me I eat too much (to which I would respond, I could eat so much more!), and the list goes on. Yesterday, gendered chivalry climbed to the top of my list after several instances of “chivalry” throughout the day.
Yesterday was also one of those rare days in which I had stand apart clarity. You know, when you are a participant of a situation, but can also stand apart and see it for what it is with unusual clarity. And yesterday, such clarity came to me as I stood behind the bar of my restaurant job, thinking how I would write this article about chivalry. I knew what my personal thoughts were on the matter; that chivalry in the traditional medieval sense was outdated and a modern approach to chivalry transcended gender. Chivalry was simply being a human being. Yet, the events of the day made me question if my personal definition of chivalry was as prevalent as I hoped. It also made me question whether accepting help was a way of propagating the traditional concept of chivalry.
It all started (as you guessed it), yesterday at 3pm. I was attempting to procrastinate setting up and stocking the bar – there was one beer in the main cooler; one out of 50 that should be in the freezer. But I was immediately reminded of my duties by the manager and went downstairs into the basement to start bringing up boxes. The other bartender, who is of a the male persuasion, insisted that he helped me. I wasn’t going to say no; I had a lot of boxes of beer, wine and liquor to bring up a steep flight of stairs. But then, as I made the second trip upstairs, I thought, well, would he have offered to help if I had been a dude? Most definitely not. That made me wonder, was I a damsel in distress?
– I bet she is thinking “I hope he doesn’t poke himself with that sword”
A distressed damsel is a terribly antiquated way of putting it, but I would imagine that is how people (and in this case, guys) would see it. A chance to be a shining knight and help the poor weak damsel in dismay. Chivalry in a modern setting.