Thursday, April 3, 2014

Is Chivalry Dead? An Open Letter to Young Men Who Probably Will Never Read This

Dear young men of the world,

   I bet you're wondering what this letter is all about, and I'll get right too it. It seems that some of you are no longer concerned with the concept of being gentlemen, or have never considered the concept. I would like to encourage you to rethink that. Here's why.
     As I was walking my bike back across campus to my dorm yesterday after the chain broke, I was passed by several boys, some who I knew and some who I didn't. Some of them said hello, but none of them asked what would seem to be the obvious question "Why are you walking beside your bike instead of riding it?" which in my mind is followed by "Here let me take it for you." Now let me pause right here for a disclaimer. This is not about me having a disability. I was perfectly capable of getting my bike back to where it needed to be, but that's not the point. The point is that not one guy tried to help me out. I probably wouldn't have noticed this if I wasn't so particular about manners, but that's just how I am. That's not the only recent incident where I noticed the absence of men with manners. On several occasions, guys have walked in the door in front of me and not paused to hold it for me. There are few things more annoying to me than having watching a door shut in my face while some unsuspecting fellow goes on his merry way. The most annoying scenario, which has happened several times in the recent past, is when a guy holds the door for the girl in front of me and then lets it close on me. What's that about. Are you guys thinking "Hmm this one's really pretty, I'll hold the door for her, but that girl behind her isn't all that great looking, so no need to hold it for her." Maybe that's not what you're thinking, I don't know. I just know that it's annoying and slightly insulting. Am I too particular? Maybe, but my father and brother are gentlemen towards me most of the time, so that's probably why I've come to expect it.
     Now some of you are probably thinking that I'm old fashioned, or that I'm being a spoiled brat. But I'd like to point out something. I will hold the door for a guy that is a walking behind me if I get to the door first. I'm not opposed to doing things for guys. When my male friends come over I offer to make them food. I don't think that I should never have to do anything just because I'm a girl, and I think that women should respect men. I think we often complain about you guys more than necessary. I think that women are often guilty of liking guys just for their looks, just as guys are with girls. I'm just tired of being the girl who guys complain to about not being able to find a good girl. I'm also tired of having doors slam shut in my face.
     I guess what I'm saying, Gentlemen, is that I'm tired of hearing so many guys say they can't find a "good woman", and then  a few sentences later say something about physical attributes. Because I feel like what you really want is a good woman who looks like a supermodel, is always in a good mood, and doesn't expect anything in return. It's not completely your fault, you are constantly seeing women in the media who have spent thousands of dollars on their appearance and thinking that that's what girls actually look like. Newsflash boys, it's expensive and time consuming to look like that, and I'm trying not to actually do well in college and not spend money that I don't have, so the whole looking beautiful thing isn't a top priority right now. And in your search for this wonderful woman with superhuman beauty, some of you have forgotten to be polite to the average ones. And if I was a betting person, I'd bet that you are going to end up with an "average girl" eventually because you will realize that you like her personality despite the fact that she doesn't look like a Kardashian. So guys, how about trying those manners you were probably taught as a little boy.  How about you stop complaining about the perfect girl you can't find and treat the ones who are around you respectfully.
     Lastly, to all the boys who have held doors for me, carried things for me,  let me walk out of the elevator first , and had genuinely nice actual conversations with me, I thank you. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed. The world needs more men like you. If I have sons one day, I will do my best to raise them with manners and make sure that they know how to treat women, and people in general, respectfully. I don't think chivalry is dead, it's just a little weak right now.

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