The Brotherhood of the Second Cross was established on Father’s Day 2005 where 160 men stood before their wives and children to pledge themselves to purity, self-sacrifice, loyalty, and excellence. Today, hundreds more have joined the commitment.
Is chivalry dead?
Okay, in fairness to those of you who’ve yet to reach 30, how can you keep something alive if you don’t know what it is. But chivalry is an old word to describe the extra effort a man will go to in order to help a woman–holding the door for her, allowing her ahead of you in line, carrying her books, etc. It’s the stuff that many of our dads taught us.
As a general rule, I manage to live my life with a reasonable awareness of opportunities to show this kindness to the fairer sex, and I’m generally oblivious to whether or not others do the same. But this weekend I was stunned at what occurred when the wheels touched down on my last flight of the evening.
We were waiting for the airplane door to be dislodged so we could all head home. It was late and there are few more tired moments to be experienced than when you crawl off an evening flight after hours in the air travel industry. Still, the behavior of a man in the row ahead of me managed to stun me enough to wake me out of my near snooze.
As the rows began to file out, the man pushed past the young woman that had been his seat mate, grabbed his overhead luggage (grazing her forehead with his bag) and then proceeded to tromp down the center aisle toward the door. Had he treated a man that way, he could have expected a hard elbow or a few words one shouldn’t repeat, but instead his rude behavior was exacted on a quiet young woman who meekly let him pass before reaching for her own carry-on.
“Really?” I couldn’t stifle the exclamation and noticed other passengers equally appalled at his behavior. Words like “jerk” were mumbled by others, but the young woman smiled one of those “It’s okay, I’m alright” smiles and we all headed toward the exit.
As I walked up the jet bridge, I began hoping the man had some sort of crisis that might explain his behavior. Maybe his wife was being rushed to the hospital that very moment or some other circumstance was occurring that could justify his inconsiderate conduct. It seemed odd to hope that he had a crisis, but I didn’t want to think someone could be that brusque.
After retrieving my bag from the “too big for the overhead compartment” group, I made my way through the airport, ready to find my car in a distant parking lot and drive home. And there he was! Sitting at the airport bar/counter, already coddling a drink and playing with his iPad. No emergency in sight…the word “jerk” returned to my thoughts.
Now I don’t know how you live, but my dad would smack the bag of my head if I didn’t make the effort to show the simple kindnesses of chivalry. And I’m a dad to two boys and would likely respond the same way. My mind says there’s just no excuse for being so self-absorbed that I disregard others.
Of course, some will say it’s all the fault of women’s lib stuff. “Hey Mike, women don’t want you to hold the door” or so the excuses say. Well, that may be the case for some, but my wife appreciates it when I show her such kindnesses, and I’m guessing that most women feel the same way. If by acting nice, I inadvertently offend a woman, well…I guess there’s no better way to offend her.
The point? If you’re the kind of guy that some folks would call a “gentleman” keep it up! If you’re not, you should talk to my dad…or somebody’s dad, ’cause people may be muttering “jerk” as you rush by.