I’m pretty sure I was born in the wrong century. And while I fancy myself a fairly progressive female, I use words like “fancy” and I still believe in certain romantic notions (i.e. “chivalry is not dead”) that many people believe are antiquated. Call them nostalgic, call them traditional, call them obsolete, whatever. Like my eight-year old on Christmas who says, “Santa can’t be fake; we saw hoof prints on the roof…”, I still believe.
Why? Because in my heart of hearts I’m a romantic. I feel my way through life. If I didn’t, I’m certain I would probably cease to exist. And the old-fashioned notions of chivalry and loyalty are still ideals I subscribe to because at the root of those cornerstones lies a better life, built on rich emotional connections. When people treat each other with consideration, everyone wins. When friends stand up for and respect each other, relationships grow stronger and more genuine. When people practice forgiveness, love, and kindness, and lead their children by example, families thrive.
As a Cancer woman, I can’t help but nurture those closest to me- the people in my life matter more than anything else ever could. So I hold them close to my heart, support them through their darkest hours, and cheer for them when they need a little extra encouragement. And when times are tough, what do I do? I call for reinforcements…I lean on my truest friends, the loyal ones who are there through all of it- the ones who rejoice in the good times and muddle through the tough ones, sympathizing, listening, suffering along with me. And when I lose someone or feel betrayed, it’s the worst kind of pain. To me, loyalty trumps everything. I am fiercely loyal. Are my standards high? Maybe. Will I lose more friends than I’ll keep? Perhaps. But in the end, having a couple of people in my life I call true friends is infinitely more valuable than having 1000 acquaintances.
Chivalry, much like loyalty, is built on integrity. It’s founded on the principal of doing the right thing because it’s the right thing- not because there’s someone around to witness it. And I still believe in chivalry because I’m lucky enough to know a few men who still subscribe to the notion that there are certain ways to treat a woman. And I still believe in romance due largely to their very existence. The bottom line is simple: It’s nice to be treated with respect. Just a few nights ago, I was sitting on my front porch and I witnessed the high school boy next door get out of his car in the rain, run into his house and emerge a minute later with an umbrella, which he used to escort his girlfriend the 50 feet from the car to the house. It was awesome.
While modern chivalry isn’t necessarily defined as the knight on the white horse (that’s not exactly very practical anymore), it’s the guy who opens doors for his girlfriend and doesn’t let her walk on the side closest to the street. It’s the man who talks about his wife with adoration when she’s not around to hear it, considering himself the luckiest guy in the world to be with her. It’s the man who will guard what’s most precious to him with everything he has. These guys still exist. They are out there. I’m sure of it.
I’m grateful that there are still some people out there who believe in holding their friends and family in the highest regard, and in loving, honoring and respecting the person they choose to share this life with…Times are changing, but I’m still holding fast to my old-fashioned notions…I will be loyal to my inner circle until the day I die, and I will graciously accept doors being held for me, suit jackets being draped around my shoulders on chilly nights, and I won’t argue with anyone who insists on dashing inside to get me an umbrella. Chivalry- thank you, gentlemen of the world- is not in fact, dead.
The photo above is of Todi Castle in Italy, which is owned by a lovely Italian man named Mario and his family.