Dear John Picciuto,
Thank you. Your post on chivalry, er its absence nowadays, was beyond validating. Especially coming from one of the male variety. Not that it’s less than true coming from the female perspective, it just gives the message more clout when it’s no longer one-sided.
I’m pretty sure the universe was drawing me to your post on chivalry because I recently had an unfortunate realization. I met a very nice, respectful guy. We hung out a few times and it was very easy and comfortable, no pressure, just taking our time getting to know each other.
Or so I thought.
Two days ago we hung out and he said that he couldn’t quite figure me out. Which, apparently, in guy speak meant that he wasn’t sure if I was interested in him as more than a friend or not. I told him I certainly had that inclination. He was further confused because I’ve only been acting as a friend towards him.
Yes, that is correct, I told him.
I explained that in getting to know someone, whether my intentions are for an acquaintance or a life partner, I always get to know them as a friend first. It doesn’t matter how physically or initially attracted to a person you are, if they annoy the shit out of you or can’t hold a conversation it just won’t work.
After I let him know that I could possibly see him as more than a friend, it was like a switch was flipped. Suddenly his hands began to encroach on my bubble. I vocalized and physically demonstrated that I wasn’t ok with that.
This really confused him.
I realized I went from one category in his mind (a friend) to another (more than a friend) and in doing so, I had become something he felt he had license to paw at. Despite telling him I wasn’t comfortable with that, physically distancing myself, and explaining why I didn’t want him doing that, he just didn’t hear it.
My nice guy was a fraud.
He was content on being a nice and respectful friend since that’s all he’d get out of me. Once he saw the line was just a bit further ahead, he suddenly felt able to cross it and go beyond the line. I started to wonder if this description of a guy I’d been formulating over the years was just a lie I was telling myself because he can’t possibly exist.
It went something like this:
- Is Male
- Has enough depth to contemplate spiritual questions about life and beyond
- Has enough emotional intelligence to vocalize how he is feeling about something
- Has enough worldly intelligence to pursue a career he is passionate about
- Likes the idea of children
- Can see me as a whole person and not possibly forever arm candy
I’m not going to go into more personal specifics but you get the general idea. However, I started to think I was asking way too much. I was starting to think this person will never and has never existed. Until I read your article. It was a shining beacon of hope for my possibly-impossible man. However, I think I found one thing that I disagree with you on:
Chivalry isn’t dead. It’s just changed.
It used to be, due to societal norms, that chivalry was opening doors, paying for dinners, and pulling out chairs. And once that was achieved the woman became a housewife and lived with her bread-winning husband happily ever after (stereotypically, of course). But society has since changed, and as such, so has the female outlook on life. Don’t get me wrong, I like some of the old chivalrous ways. But I’ll split dinner with you and if I’m first to the door, I’ll open it for both of us.
Women have taken a more substantial role in contributing to society today compared to when the ideals of chivalry were first formed. But instead of also changing the ways men and women interact on personal levels, the old ways were simply ditched. So you’re right, dating is now a lost art and you have to, like, try…
Who does that nowadays? Instant gratification! Ammirite?!
Instead of catering to (again, stereotypically) a weak woman, you now can be attentive to an outspoken woman with ideas and dreams of her own. This can be best done over a dinner or walk in the park or really ANYWHERE that allows for conversation. This is how it starts. Talking. Seeing each other as people first. Becoming friends.
So I don’t think it’s simply a matter of women demanding what they’re worth. We’re doing that already and all we’re getting in return is silence from the other end. It’s not a one-way street. Along with women gaining a louder, more confident voice, men too need to realize that we’re human beings who deserve basic respect. As mentioned before, an idea gains clout when it’s no longer one-sided.
So thank you, John Picciuto. You are, so far, the one male voice who gives me hope that the idea of getting to know someone as a person first just might no longer be one-sided.