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Prince not-so-charming

By: Meg O’Connell

Seeking: Tall, dark, non-smoker who will open car doors and lend me his coat when it’s cold. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? I didn’t think so. Why?

A woman is hard-pressed to find a man today that will actually go out of his way to make a reservation, open a door, call you on the phone just to talk or walk you to your front door at the end of the night. This leads to the question: is chivalry dead? Where have all the gentlemen gone? Nowhere. They’re still here, kicking around.

Chivalry isn’t dead; it’s just on life support.

“I don’t know, I don’t think about opening the door I guess?” said Abdi Omar, first-year broadcasting student at Algonquin. “And it’s like, kind of…[lame]. Yeah it’s polite but you gotta get out of your car and walk around to the other side.”

Who is really to blame? Is it a guy’s fault for being an ass? If we’re going down this road, an even bigger question can be raised—is this the price women pay for equality? In an effort to gain, do women have to sacrifice?

“If a guy ever opened the car door for me I’d probably die,” said Sarah Milito, second-year business-accounting student at Algonquin . “No one has ever opened a car door for me!”

Bob Dylan once wrote, The times they are a-changin’ and this could not be more true. For years it was expected for a man to open doors, lend coats in the cold and pay for everything. Then Beyonce happened. Ok, maybe not Beyonce specifically, but we’ll call it the “Destiny’s Child” era; the independent women era.

As women, we pride ourselves on our ability to hold our own. We vote, we hold the same jobs as men, we raise families on our own and we hold seats in parliament. Women have proven we are just as strong, just as capable as any man. We strive for independence and admire and look up to our strong, trailblazing female peers. The only issue with this is the double standard it creates.

For years now men are told that women are their equals in absolutely everything. They are told and taught that women are capable of doing everything a man could
and should do for them, for themselves. How can we look at a man, demand his respect as a peer and an equal, and then expect him to lay down his coat if there’s a puddle in the road?

Where do we draw the line? Do women really want the knight riding in on a white horse, sweeping us off our feet? Or do we want the world to know that no, I can do my own damn sweeping with the Swiffer I bought myself, thank you.

The way I see it, we can’t have it both ways. We can’t have these ridiculous, idealistic expectations for men or partners because things are one way today but at the same time we long for the way it used to be.

Growing up, my parents instilled the importance of male chivalry; that any guy I was seeing had better open my doors, had better pick up the cheque and had better respect me enough to walk me to my door. Why? It’s polite and cute and would definitely be appreciated, but I’m not going to write a guy off because he sent me a text saying that he was outside instead of coming to my door directly when he comes to pick me up.

I don’t blame any guy for the way things are today. I’m not saying the fault lies in the female population. I’m just saying I can appreciate the idea that the line of what to do and how to act is blurry. It must be extremely frustrating and confusing for any man to find a successful balance between respecting a woman’s independence and flirting with romanticism.

If society and media have taught us anything, when it comes to this particular topic there is no right or wrong, there is no black or white; in fact, there are about 50 shades of grey.

3 COMMENTS

  • Lucy Morrissey

    Great column

  • Stacey

    Haha, 50 shades of grey reference = floored.
    Nice work Meg!

  • Michael Blair

    If only you lived in the real world, Meg, this story would have meaning…

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