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We live in a period where social media apps allow you to find the closest horny college student within a matter of minutes. Where, then, does chivalry stand in a world where the most romantic some people get is a late-night text asking to “Netflix and chill?”
Chivalry is a medieval code of conduct referring to the qualities of a notable gentleman or the perfect knight, according to its dictionary definition. Of course, by this definition, chivalry is outdated — it was created during a time when men in armor tried to get the fairest maidens in the land to fall in love with them. It was grounded on principles of heteronormativity.
There’s a fine line between chivalry and being polite. People hold doors open and compliment one another all the time, but does that mean they are trying to court them? Being polite is still a part of our culture, but chivalry is being overtaken by social media.
There’s a general confusion regarding the distinction between politeness and chivalry. Men are doing “chivalrous” acts with the expectation of getting a woman in return, when the acts are really basic human decency and shouldn’t be expected to elicit a sexual advance. Chivalry can be explained as the “chase” to get the girl and all the romantic acts undertaken to win her over. In modern times this, looks different than it did in the age of knights and kinds. It may involve wining and dining with the end goal of a serious relationship, or, more commonly, a college boy asking a girl if she wants a ride home with the hopes of getting lucky. And sometimes, a man is so charming that he doesn’t have to do any chivalrous acts to win over a lady.
Essentially, the courting process has been complicated by the explosion of technology. Chivalrous acts rarely occur in casual physical relationships because technology has made this courting process instantaneous. Within our college hookup culture, it’s still important to be polite and respectful to your significant other; however, with the popularity of casual sexual relationships, there’s no need to court a woman when you’re not looking for depth.
The college environment makes it less likely that men are going to want to sweep a woman off her feet. This environment is characterized by alcohol, parties and hooking up; in it, men seem to only brag about how many women they’ve slept with, and not how many dates they’ve taken their girlfriends on or the adorable way they asked their crush out.
Furthermore, it seems that many women, for whatever reason, far too often allow men to do the bare minimum in order to hook up with them. Women have become victims to their over-sexualized images in the media, and lax when it comes to their standards for men. Perhaps we don’t care about chivalry anymore because it has been used deceitfully on us — it has lost its charm. There’s no rules anymore, and because of that, perhaps women have lowered their expectations.
I’m not saying that there aren’t nice young men out there who want to take girls on dates and buy them flowers, but the dating landscape has changed. We don’t need to return to the dating rules of the past, but we can try to bring back the notions underlying chivalrous acts: kindness and flattery in the name of love, not lust.
Treat the person you’re starting a relationship with or care about like you’re trying to win them over every day, even if you already have.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Carlisle Olsen at email@example.com.