Wherefore Art Thou Chivalry?

Romeo and Juliet probably would not have been the famous star-crossed lovers had they met at a bar instead of a balcony. We all remember the duo that defined infatuation, Juliet up on her pedestal and Romeo down on one knee. Though I hate to be the bearer of bad news, the times have changed since the days of poetic love letters and walking a girl to the front door.

Despite what Taylor Swift might sing.

Let’s not be blinded by St. Valentine himself. A few secret admirers are sprouting up these days and chocolates may end up in my mailbox on the 14th of February, but I want to focus on the other 364 calendar days. Where did dinner at a nice restaurant go? Why are guys no longer lending a sweater when my arms get chilly? How come the term “first date” is becoming just as out-of-date as the Spice Girls’ famous “girl power” slogan?

Let’s face it: Chivalry is dead on college campuses. Feel free to send flowers because a guy is not about to.  The love letters that used to bear hearts and souls have been replaced by 140 character text messages. That first date is more likely to involve a grungy couch at 2a.m., not a romantically lit table for two. Gone are the days of sweaty palms and Cupid’s arrows. These days college courtship revolves around Facebook “pokes” and the highly anticipated changing of the status from “single” to “in a relationship”.

I hear tales all the time from my parents and extended family that involve sweet little love stories laced with flowers left on the doorstep and first dates where a guy actually met the parents. And he picked the girl up. And he actually took her somewhere that didn’t include Solo cups and a $5 cover charge.

Crazy, I know.

Guys are the first to be blamed and we girls are pretty merciless when it comes to pointing fingers on this topic. They are the ones who are “supposed” to ask the girls out on dates, pick up the tab and call for a second date. But speaking as a female, I know I am guilty of delivering a disgusted sigh at the thought of being put on a pedestal and treated like a damsel in distress. We are in an age of independence and the defenseless Rapunzel role doesn’t really help us out anymore.

Let’s face it: Both sexes are at fault here. And because of this look at what we are left with.

Scenes from “The Notebook” and “Titanic” are inching away from the category of classic romance and becoming more like mythology with each interaction. We have handed over the first few steps of courting to our T9 texting and Facebook accounts. We have settled for expressing those first few feelings over a screen rather than ever having the “relationship talk” face-to-face. We have smacked a smile on our faces over invites to theme parties and to free drinks at the bar. Some may call this a modernized form of chivalry but I just see it as ridiculous.

I want those old days back. I want to believe there is someone out there who will walk me back to my dorm room instead of inviting me back to his for the night. I would love the chance to actually talk to someone in a quiet setting instead of amidst the chugging of cheap beer.

Guys, would it ruin your reputation to take us out on one dinner date and learn our favorite color?
Girls, will our independence be critically bruised if we accept a pedestal for once and simply allow a guy to flatter us?

We need to meet somewhere in the middle. Until that crossroad comes, I will hold tightly to a thin strand of hope; maybe, just maybe, chivalry is not dead.

But it’s definitely in a deep coma.

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