Sunday, April 21, 2013

Is Chivalry in Love Dead?

Lady and Knight

Some people say chivalry is dead today.   After all, it is a tradition of honor born in the middle ages when knights road into battle with heavy armor.  Knights were to protect the weak and respect the honor of women.  So it is easy to see how it should be long dead in our time.    The indication is that if we all wore capes, we would certainly no longer throw them down across a mud puddle for our fair ladies to walk gracefully across.   It is a time when men and women, more attuned to being equals, race toward car doors intent on opening them for themselves rather than others.  It is a not time when a woman would wait for someone to open the door for her.  Instead she has either grown to expect to open the door on her own or never gave it much thought.  Chivalry certainly appears to be dead and gone.   In most cases I would agree.  However today I witnessed something unique, but never fear as there were no knights, swords or capes involved.

Sitting at a local McDonald’s drinking tea, I looked around the room to see countless families, individuals, and groups at various tables.  Sadly I saw several groups of people looking individually with intense concentration into their phone or tablet screens.  They were oblivious to the world while hopefully reading something that I wrote.  Then, one couple caught my attention.

They looked to be in their late teens, maybe early twenties.  He carried a backpack, a possible sign of a student, and she carried a purse.  He appeared to be Caucasian and she appeared to be of Indian decent.  What was attention grabbing was the positioning of the two.  She was on one side of the booth and he was on the other side.  They were both leaned in as if they were having a private conversation.  Between the two of them was a phone.  They laughed, pointed to the screen and managed to have their heads only inches apart at the table.   It was as if they could, while sharing the mutual laugh, easily turn and kiss each other in a moment.   I thought this was extremely nice and unusual.  Rather than have their own phones out surfing the net, they shared one phone which allowed them to stay close even across the table.

After a short time the two gathered their things and walked out side-by-side into the parking lot.  I watched them as they made their way across the parking lot passing by one car.  I was sure they were headed to the next car when they both turned and walked to the passenger door.  The young man unlocked the door, opened it and the young lady got in while he closed the door behind her.  He then returned to the driver’s side and they drove away.  The young man did all this without the shield and horse of a knight, but instead with the key and car of our time. 

As they left, I wondered if it was young love for the two.  They did, after all to me, seem very young.  Maybe it was the honeymoon period, but whatever it was, it was nice to see chivalry alive in a generation so far removed from the middle ages.    It was good to see a young man acting as a knight with honor.  Maybe someday as he opens the door for her at McDonald's, these two will hold wrinkled hands as they walk in still reeling from a love that brings out acts of chivalry.  It will serve as a gentle reminder of when they were young, and that chivalry does still live in love regardless of the time period.