Most days I still wonder why after a sneeze a complete stranger or a close ally will place a blessing upon you. I mean, seriously, do we require an audible validation for our existence following such a trivial action? I suppose it does aid social cohesion and we all get a little kick out of telling our mate or the mailman to keep up the good work for God is a huge fan of your sniffles, go your hardest my good man. In a similar vein, chivalry is another art that confuses me. In an age where many women strive for equality (justifiably), men still see the need to protect their best interests by pulling their chair out for them, holding a door, removing their hats when they enter a room and shaving their pubic region to assist in encouraging them to perform fellatio. Now, I’m definitely a massive fan of fellatio but is chivalry overrated? Haven’t we past that stage where we have to make a special effort to impress a lady with simple gestures rather than a winning smile and delightfully honest and witty conversation?
As you probably know from reading my blogs, I love dating and meeting new girls with the eye of seduction so chivalry is part of the package. I don’t open the passenger door for a girl or always pay for dinner but I do like to make them feel comfortable and I would never indulge them in my darker ambitions. Some may suggest that holding a door open for a woman and embracing the ideals of the charming male companion is necessary to impress a woman but this opens the door (pun intended) to a whole new folder of fraud. What I am referring to is the fraudulent conduct that is so prevalent in our society. Men who write poetry for girls with the sole intention of getting them into bed, men who couldn’t give two shits about the well being of a woman after sex despite the whole facade of gentlemanly conduct they had indulged her in, men who are closet axe-wielding murderers with the desire to lock their victims up in a… Alright, that’s a little bit drastic but you get my point. The point is that there is a tendency to place emphasis on this image of playing a role, acting the part that is diluting the importance of actual substance. Substance of character, substance of intellect, substantial wit. I am an aspiring/failed actor so I definitely enjoy playing up to a character but there is a line between fantasy and reality that we, as a society, love to ignore.
Other habits include the reference to an older gentleman as Sir as a sign of enduring respect for the years of hard work they have put in to whatever job they have held for the past forty years. Now, I am deeply hurt by instances of disrespectful behaviour that pervades our society but do we need to injure the already strained ties between earlier generations and their younger counterparts by enforcing an archaic notion of contrived hierarchical awareness? Yet again, I am not against the idealistic nature of respect and earning your dues but it again devalues each individual as a separate entity.
Now, I am starting to get bogged down in the whole political correctness of the whole topic but social antiquity is a compelling topic that spreads far wider than a simple holding of the door for a lady or referencing one with a title. In a way we as a society are a walking cliche. What we do, or say, or think has probably occurred in a similar circumstance previously. This is a scary thought for many of our hip city dwelling compatriots who wear tea cosies and enjoy a bit of Mozart with their cup of tea and Vegemite in the morning. However, I don’t necessarily disagree with the concept of respect and chivalry as long as it not used as compensation for moral bankruptcy. We’re not all delinquents who take joy in fooling others via techniques that have been sharpened for centuries. I love the idea that men offer their coat to a lady out of sheer concern for her well being and I certainly have no problem with respecting our elder statesmen. I just don’t want to be living in a society that prides itself on pretending to be something that it isn’t. Genuine respect is more than just a few words and a couple of actions, it is something that is earned over time.
Shaking another’s hand, shouting your mates a round and tipping for good service are all examples of gestures that have become social norms. Passed down from generation to generation they sum up why human nature becomes a pattern and not one that is gratingly repetitious and cliche but one that is built upon cultural traditions. I love that a kid at the age of 2 is taught to look another person in the eye as they greet each other with a firm handshake, it’s a ubiquitous tradition. I just don’t agree that they should be so prominent as to justify falsities and engender an underbelly of ‘The Game’ readers manipulating women (and men…. ‘women are just as dirty as men’) to their own advantage.
Unfortunately after reading all this, my moral compass has pointed toward an utterly clear contradiction but the concept of social antiquity still deserves far more attention. I may even follow up this article with my take on social conventions 101. It is bound to be a socially acceptable merry-go-round of laughs and living.