He is a Gentleman, and I am a Gentleman’s Daughter. So far we are equal.
You might think that we have had a similar discussion before, how I have yet to be confronted by a hardcore feminist that would be so insulted by my chivalrous ways that a confrontation would ensue and my own personal safety would be threatened. I have openly expressed my personal opinion about the obligations a Gentleman should have with the Ladies and with Society in general. I have also discussed how my own ideals about Gender Equality are a direct result of my personal code of Chivalry and Gallantry as a man. From reading some of my articles, you might think I live in a magical world were women curtsy and openly applaud my cavaliering ways, were kissing hands and impromptu Waltz’s happen every day. Nothing is further for the truth.
I live in the same world as you; deal with the same kind of people you would and I do it every day, just like you. And I too have met fierce and strong women who have refused my chivalrous actions because of their own independent nature. Men, you know the kind of woman I mean, the ones with strong tempers, fierce determination, and unyielding character. These are the kind of women that cause sparks to fly of their high heels with every step they take, the kind that break the spirit of lesser men without having to speak a single word as they raise a single eyebrow. We have all met these ladies, the kind of women that as soon as her feet hit the floor in the morning, the devil trembles as he thinks to himself “Oh Crap, She’s up!”
You would probably think a pairing between these two archetypes, the old-school Gentleman and the Modern Independent Woman, would be a recipe for disaster. I would agree with you if I had not seen this first hand, as they work out surprisingly together. The trick here is a respect for each others core ideals as they reinterpreting the traditional views on relationships. It should be clear to bother partners is than neither of them will change to suit the other person way of being. The Gentleman won't give up the integrity and ideals that make him a Gentleman, nor will the Modern Woman change her independent spirit and fierce nature that had allowed her to survive in this world. Thinking that this will happen is a guarantee for the relationship to fail.
Way too many relationships are based around the ideal of finding someone to “complete” you, creating codependency, or settling with someone, just to avoid loneliness. Both of these reasons are a disaster just waiting to happen. We find the first situation with a lot of Gentlemen who willingly seek a Princess to save. They need to be needed, validating a lot of their chivalrous behavior. We find the second situation more common with the Modern Women, settling for men who “accept” their independent nature and strong character. In most of these cases, it’s not that the woman found an equal partner, and after a while realize they settled for less than they deserved.
The irony is just how similar these two kinds of people are and how much they actually complement each other. They just have to overcome the social stigmas and preconception they carry against the other. The Gentleman must stop viewing her as a Princess to save, but rather as a Queen willing to fight at his side. The Modern Woman must stop viewing the Gentleman as someone wanting to steal her identity as a person, and view him as an equal to her in character and confidence. If both are able to get past this stage, they will
Gone must be the ideal of a leader and a follower, of a giver and a taker, and of the Alpha and the Omega. Both of these people tend to have strong “take-charge” personalities, and have successes in life mostly by being inflexible in their integrity and character. They have to view each other as accomplices to each others life. They if they are going to be together, it must not because they “need” one another, but because they “want” each other. Both, the Old-School Gentleman and the Modern Women, are confident enough with whom they are as an individual, that they don’t “need” another person and are not afraid to simply walk away from the relationship.
Gone will be the social blackmail or the economic ties that force so many bad relationships to stay together. Gone are the insecurities or the lack of confidence that drive so many spouses into competing with each other. What is left is a partnership with enough character, integrity, and confidence that they can stand up to almost anything life throws at them.
(Updated version of this article posted on Good Men Project.)