Is chivalry dead?
“Fear not, fair maiden, for here I come to rescue ye!”
Yep, for me, chivalry, is an entirely defunct concept. Long gone are the days when women dreamed of being rescued by a knight in shining armour. Or maybe they still do? Dream of it? I don’t know? It’s not what they want, though, because long gone are the days when women were seen as damsels to be rescued. Women now work, some bring home the entire portion of the bacon for the family, and a lot have to cope on their own with their own little family, woman at the helm, telling her family what’s what in a Captain Picard-style “make it so”
Yeah, it’s safe to say that women no longer need saving. This is perhaps where I went wrong in my younger years. I grew up thinking for most of my early twenties that women needed help. It’s why I went around picking up a lot of women that I thought needed help, when in actual fact they really didn’t. It’s where I, personally, went wrong. I often wonder if it was the influence from growing up as an only child in a single parent family with a mother that spent her life being abandoned by men. My Mum, she totally needed saving, but mostly from herself, because she’s went out and wrecked her life a few times that I’m aware of. I bet there are more. Growing up seeing my Mum, in constant battle with herself and the people around her, perhaps it gave me the idea that most women need a saviour. A superman of sorts.
I was no superman of course, but alas, the imagined omnipotence of youth kind of had me thinking that way. That I was an indestructible force coming in to swoop up swathes of distressed damsels from their captors. My Mum also made it her life’s work to instil an ideology in my mind that was completely different from my Dad. My Dad being a womaniser and someone that literally had a woman at each place that he was living, sometimes more. She desperately didn’t want me to turn out like that, and good on her. So, she set about teaching me the core values of what it is to respect women, and of course, being that I was my mother’s only saviour in most of her life, the man that she always fell back to for comfort and company, her young boy, it was sort of implanted in my mind subconsciously that I was the saviours of saviours.
Imagine my shock in the world when I trudged into it and learned that no-one needed saving? None. Nada. Everyone was happy being as they were. I was like a lost knight wandering soullessly around the world forever trying to find his distressed damsel. It happened upon me though later on in my life that perhaps instead of eternally searching for something that wasn’t there, or hadn’t existed for hundreds of years, to change what I was looking for. Simple thinking really but very hard to break. It’s all I had known. I had trained myself from very young to find a damsel. How the hell could I do anything else?
Patience and effort was the key. Firstly, I had to make an effort to stop seeking that damn non-existent damsel and broaden my horizons. No-one needed saving so I had to look at other options. I had to hang up my steel armour and sell my horse. I had to look at a new ambition, I had to look at other options. It was damn hard at first.
Firstly, I read what happened to all the Damsels and where they went. Why are there none anymore? Turns out there were two great wars over the last century which required the women left at home to pick up the slack that was left from the absence of men. We still needed an economy at the very least to survive. Women took to the farms, and the mills, and the armouries. Turns out when men came back all the women had started working and there were little places left for the men. Hard to stop a wrecking ball when it was already in motion. Women began to enjoy work, and began to shed their previously frail reputation. Not that they were ever frail anyway. This is why women are respected in the workplace now.
Once I realised what had happened I wondered what do women want from a man now, what excites them? I began to tentatively ask women that were my friends, observe others, sit in the shadows and watch. Surprisingly it turns out that women still like being the damsel from time to time, being led into places by a strong man. Confidence is super sexy so it seems, but also women like a man that is soft too, that has a caring, nurturing side, and that is happy to feed baby whilst she sleeps, or take baby for a walk in the pram. Turns out women want a strong balance between the two. Balanced. To give her hugs when needed from your warmth and to tell her “NO” when she’s pushing me too far.
Turns out women just want someone that is comfortable and happy with themselves. Confident, happy, and cares not what other people think.
Armed with this knowledge I set about exploring what makes me happy. What did I want from life? Where was I going? What are my boundaries? What do I like versus what do I not like? All of this. I’m actually documenting this in my podcast if you’d care to have a listen. I find that I like photography. This was the first avenue I explored. Well before writing. It was a way to express myself in a way that I hadn’t before. Then I found writing, and wow, writing is my love. I like helping people too. Love it in fact. Nothing gives me greater feeling inside than watching people grow. I found out that I really liked myself also, perhaps loved myself.
Then life fell into place really. I was no longer seeking the eternal damsel. I already had a lady that I loved and a Son that is my world that I picked up along the way. Through my journey I had made peace with myself at last, and let go of the damsel. Put her to bed for ever.