Chivalry: a thing of the past? No sir, incorrect. Chivalry always.

By on February 26, 2004

It was an extremely arduous task for me to determine something meaningful to share with all of you. The assignment was different from most that I am used to. I am used to determining the calcium content of milk or the number of regenerated planarians, not determining what I feel strongly about. It caused me to think about something important to me, something that I feel very strongly about.

I doubted that I would be able to dig up some thoughts that provoke strong emotions inside me but I found myself in this thought provoking process in a place where a person cannot normally keep their thoughts straight. I found my thoughts on the New York City subway, with babies crying, people talking, tracks screeching and cell phones ringing.

While riding the subway, I was appalled – no, not at the conditions but on the acts of a group of young men.

At the Grand Central terminal station, a group of young men entered the already packed train and decided to take the last available seats on a crowded Saturday evening subway car. After these men entered, an elderly woman, probably in her 60s or so, boarded the train full of bags looking exhausted. The men remained seated for the ride and this woman stood for the entire duration of the trip across midtown Manhattan.

This group of young men, so much like what I feel to be what many men today are like, acted without a quality that would not have been acceptable to my parents’ parents. These young men acted without chivalry.

Webster defines chivalry as the qualifications of a knight, as gallantry toward women, bravery and courtesy. But chivalrous acts are not only for knights.

These young men were rude and that poor elderly woman was the victim of the failure of these young men.

I am not saying that all men lack the quality of being chivalrous. Later in the evening, I was reassured in the hope for men. Outside of the hotel where I was staying for the duration of my stay, a group of young men, very similar to the group on the train, and a group of middle age women were both hailing a cab.

When one cab finally reached the curb closer to the group of men, they stepped aside and allowed the group of women, with which they had no apparent association, to enter the first available taxi cab.

I smiled. That is what should be done. That is an example of an act of chivalry at its utmost. That group, out of courtesy to those women, allowed them to step out of the cold and into a cab minutes before they were able to do the same.

I am not saying that women need to be treated like royalty but common courtesy is a must. There are times when acts of chivalry are certainly necessary with women. When starting a new relationship, fellas, open the door for the lady, pull out her chair, carry any bags (pocketbooks are not necessary but packages yes), and give up a seat to allow a lady to sit down.

Young men today could learn some very important lessons of chivalry from the hotel bellmen. Although this is their job, this is what chivalry is. These acts are what is missing from most of regular society but these chivalrous acts can give you the key to a woman’s heart or at minimum, the key to a woman’s smile.

I leave all of the male society with a task. Be chivalrous. Be noble. Treat a lady like you would like your mother to be treated. Open doors. Be knightly.

And ladies. When men are chivalrous, never ever forget to say thank you.

As I have now shared my strong emotions with all of you, I can get back to the hustle and bustle of the New York City subway system, to a land where I cannot even carry a conversation but I can determine what it is that I feel so strongly about.


About Amy Trapini