Monday, November 06, 2006

Chivalry

I am mighty pissed, not because I worked till past midnight tonight, but because the world today has forgotten what chivalry is all about. I for one believe in equality of the sexes, I oppose separate queues for women at a ticket reservation counter, I am against gender bias of any form except probably in a Mumbai local train (and everyone knows why).

I am pissed because it was late and this particular colleague of mine didn’t offer to drop me home. I stormed out of office thinking, “what an insensitive being, how un-chivalrous of him”. After all the cussing (in my head of course), I began to think. My house is just five minutes away from office, why was I throwing such a fit and getting all agitated over nothing. That colleague of mine has been anything but un-chivalrous.

Most women have some distorted meaning of the word chivalry, for them it’s this preferential treatment that they have been subjected too.

I don’t need men opening doors or pulling up chairs for me, neither do I want them to drop me home after working till late, but just like every other woman in India I am a hypocrite and I admit I love it when they do all that. I am a big sucker for this preferential treatment that I have been subjected to – tax benefits, shorter queues, lesser crowds, opening doors, holding my chair and millions of other small benefits that I have taken for granted, so much so that I think it’s my birth right.

It has been ingrained so deeply into us that, any accidents on the road we seek to attribute it to the women-are-bad-drivers phenomenon. It allows any woman to walk away scot-free, after having run over any animal / person / thing, without bearing damages (that’s why I am so kicked about driving).

The world has witnessed many waves of feminism that has not just empowered women but has spoilt them as well. How am I ever going to grow up if the men folk flatter me by feeling me up in a public train or if a financial institution honors me with a free credit card? When can I tell myself the world is truly unbiased towards both sexes, for wherever I go there are special fast track queues for women or the woman’s double-discount-dhamaka plasters on every store?

Holding doors or bags etc. are such archaic definitions of chivalry. For me chivalry is in the heart. It’s in the manner of speech. You just know the man is chivalrous when he treats you with respect, he never addresses you condescendingly and his remarks are not derogatory.

When I turn around at my doorway after a long dinner to catch that final smile and wave before he drives off, I know he is truly chivalrous.
Sometimes I think I will make an effort to be this spoilt brat, its totally worth it.

12 comments:

Viva said...

Nice blog..and I really liked your take on this antiquated ( is it?) theory about chivalry....On a different level, when we talk about gender sensitization, isn't it about treating everyone nicely, being kind to them and just being Humane..it does take a little effort but it makes everyone feel good, irrespective of their gender..

xeonX said...

I dont know about you but the incident you're refering to probably has nothing to do with chivalry..It's basic courtesy to give someone a lift esp your fellow employee after you've stayed up pretty late at work.. My boss drops me home when I stay past midnight.. Im not a woman.. nor am I wussy..(fear of dogs apart)..having said that I like your take on the subject though..very nice to see you admit tht you like the special treatment..

Dhivya said...

het Xenox aka Sripathy (sorry was that ur super mysterious identity)

see your right when you say its basic courtsey...but when is directed to a woman..its un-chivalrous ever woman expects this..not every man expects this and not many men get dropped home...

Neo said...

jus stumbled to ur blog.
i really liked the layout.really good.

sanjay jha said...

nameste dhivya
loved the post
keep up the fire
happy blogging
cheers
jhaji.

mAvster said...

Thtz the un-womanlike post i have ever read :-)). good one. cheers

mAvster said...

Thtz the un-womanlike post i have ever read :-)). good one. cheers

Sandhya said...

ammmazin layout...hmmmm....in 2days world its tru...u dont c much of chivalry... but its always appreciated!
btw; how is it tht ppl just 'stumble' on 2 ur blog? i wud lov 2 hav more readers!! lol... jokes aside.... nice stuff here.... wen did u start bloggin?

viggy said...

As srips says, nice to see you admit that u like special treatment..A rather special admission from u :)

Maybe it was meant for the unchivalrous like me ;) I'll take special notice henceforth :)

viggy said...

As srips says, quite a frank admission from you..Me quite surprised u did admit ;)

On a serious note, maybe this was meant for the unchivalrous like moi? I shall take note and act wisely henceforth :)

viggy said...

As srips says, quite a frank admission from you..Me quite surprised u did admit ;)

On a serious note, maybe this was meant for the unchivalrous like moi? I shall take note and act wisely henceforth :)

Mercury said...

Hey I really liked the post.. It's a realization that took me a while to fully be at peace with and not feel pangs of oh-my-god-he-could-have-atleast-offered..

Chivalry is amazing..isn'it it? It's an expression of thoughtfulness and consideration. And who doesn't like that.. I think however, sometimes , we forget that 'chivalry' began as an expression of a guy wanting to impress the woman he loves and protect her.. (a knight's pursuits to prove his worthiness to the fair lady etc.etc.)

But the fact is, now, we hardly need protection or anything really, anymore..

But traditions are so ingrained that we EXPECT men to behave in a certain manner

If chivalry is a sign of respect I guess men can crib that we don't reciprocate with the same gestures..

But, if the purpose of chivalry is to let a girl know she is special.. then we shouldn't want every man to reflexively offer us those courtesies!

And in the meanwhile, like you said..It's unfair to even want anything except complete equality.. We can't scream women's lib and equality of sexes on the one hand and then expect the guy to do certain things that someone decided that they are socially mandatory.