Chivalry is dead.
It’s one of those phrases we ladies like to use often. I have to say it peaked during my college years.
In high school, we don’t really think much about chivalry. We just go through life with the assumption that most of the
men boys around us are immature and need to grow up a bit. College is when we think they will grow up, and when that doesn’t happen, we bemoan the death of chivalry and give up on the entirety of the male species.
I posted an article to the Facebook page a couple weeks ago that was well-received by many of you. That piece by Anne Marie Miller, was a beautiful call to stop acting like all men are boys, and instead encourage them to be men. Her closing statement:
“May we all take on that countenance with the men in our lives: our fathers, our brothers, our husbands, our friends. May our thoughts, words and actions only build them up so they have one less voice telling them they’ll never be man enough.”
I want take that one step further and speak up for our brothers in Christ.
Ladies, we really have to stop acting like men are all just rapists-in-waiting who haven’t had a chance to strike. We’ve spent far too long listening to the message that says, “Men only want one thing.”
Men want sex, that’s what we hear. So every time a man does anything we interpret it through that lens.
One area of our lives that has suffered is the ability to take a compliment.
When we struggle with sexual sins, it can be easy for us to take compliments offensively. We read into things based on past experience or desire.
“Nice job on that report,” turns into, “I think I want to marry you” and we become obsessive.
“That dress looks nice on you,” says, “Hot body!” and we get offended.
“You’re beautiful,” translates to, “I want to have sex with you” and we label him a creep.
This is an area I am personally growing in. I don’t mind when people compliment what I do but when they start complimenting who I am, I don’t know if I can describe how I feel. Confused might be a good word. I start this mental line of questioning:
“What did he mean by that? What did I do to elicit that? How do I respond? If I respond this way, will he take it wrong? If I respond this way, will that look bad?”
My life is complicated for the most part because I make it that way. So, recently, I’ve been learning to implement one rule when dealing with men:
They mean what they say, so take it as a compliment.
Think about how exhausting it is for you when a friend of yours just can’t take a compliment.
“Good job at the recital today.” Not really. I screwed up in the fourth measure.
“Oh, you look so nice in that outfit.” I don’t like it. I think I look fat.
“Your hair is gorgeous today!” I liked it better yesterday. It’s a little frizzy today.
Can you say frustrating? There just comes a point when you stop even trying.
What fixes it all? Just a simple “thank you.”
That’s how you receive a compliment gracefully. You don’t have to ask him to repeat (Oh, you really think so?). You don’t have to ask him to justify (Why do you say that?). Just say, “Thank you.” Appreciate his appreciation!
WE CAN’T WALK THROUGH LIFE TAKING EVERYTHING SEXUALLY.
We can’t lower our expectations of men, get mad when they try to exceed them, and then get mad when they don’t. It’s no wonder many men are content to hide in mom’s basement living off microwave popcorn and Ramen.
Chivalry is a two-way street. For every knight willing to charge into battle, there is a fair maiden cheering him on. For every man who holds open a door, there is a woman who walks through.
For every woman willing to walk through that door there seems to be about five who will ream him out for treating them like they’re incapable or will stand ready with pepper spray in case he’s going to try something.
Please, don’t be one of those women. Walk through the door and thank him on your way through. When he sticks his neck out there to compliment you, say thank you! A thank you does not equal an invitation to your bedroom just like holding the door open wasn’t an invitation to his.3