Chivalry in today’s terms

Barry Evans
Barry Evans

Chivalry is something that we all talk about, but most likely are not sure what it means in today’s terms.  One common definition around is: The tendency of a man to defend a woman from everyone except himself. There could be some truth to this as I know that once I met the Blonde in the house, I made darn certain that she was protected.  The above definition while not without merit may be somewhat limiting as chivalry went beyond the man/woman thing.  There was chivalry in combat as well as other aspects of life – assuming that we believe the old stories.

Much of the credit for promoting chivalry leads back to the dashing knights of old, especially King Arthur and his round table.  Off the mark for a moment, that round table must have been huge as there are an awful lot of knights mentioned who served King Arthur, and that does not even include Prince Valiant who came along later when the comics were invented. In addition, King Arthur did not do a very good job defending Guinevere from Sir Lancelot.  There were, however, some true knights who lived up to historic definitions – just not many of them in the scheme of things.

If you were to look up chivalry today – probably on the Internet you will find some information mostly of a historical nature.  However, if you happen to own an early 1800’s edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, you will find thirty double column pages about the subject written by Sir Walter Scott.  You will have to admit that is a lot of words about a single subject. Perhaps, we need to find those words, read them and something good might rub off.  It would have to be done with the knowledge that the TV networks would not like it as they hate to report good news!

Of course chivalry, even since The Blonde in the house and I arrived on the scene, has changed.  For example, back in the 80’s or so, you opened a door for a woman at your own peril – they were perfectly capable of opening it themselves! That may have changed a little, but I recall a woman department head indicating that she had never heard of the man walking on the side of the sidewalk closest to the street.  When I insisted, she thought that was pretty funny.  I will have to admit that the practice started when people threw their slop and other stuff out of upper windows and it was more apt to hit the person closest to the street. It is true that seldom occurs now.

Villagers are great volunteers.  Perhaps what needs to be done is form a Chivalry club.  Members could then scour The Villages and report back at the monthly meetings of the example of chivalry they found.  A panel composed of the Board (all clubs have Boards shortly after their initial meeting) would listen to the examples given by the volunteers and make a determination which acts best fit a modern definition of chivalry.  I realize the search for chivalrous acts might be difficult, but this being The Villages, I am certain that there will be some out there!  In any case those performing the winning acts would be given a small statue indicating their noble efforts.    

Possibly some chivalry (beside a man defending a woman) would show up, and life as we know it would improve.

In addition we could really use a noble chivalrous knight – or anyone – today!

Villager Barry Evans writes about “Life in The Villages.”