Sunday, January 4, 2009

On A General Lack of Gallantry

There's nothing like a nice, gloomy Thomas Hardy novel to make you wonder about the world. Yes, it's a novel, but every fiction contains, I'm quite certain, a grain of trooth (yes, I said trooth). The following conversation just took place between mom and me:
Me: Men aren't all cads, are they?
Mom: No. There are good men and bad.
Me: This certainly makes you think twice, though.
Mom: It's a novel.

That's as may be, but in a generation of "He's Just Not That Into You" and all that, where is the gallantry? Is it as dead as Latin and the use of good grammar? I want some gallantry, dammit.

4 comments:

Linda Moore said...

Some men are still gallant...my friend's boyfriend gallantly opens doors, pays for meals, and will sweep her up and carry her to bed when she is too tired.

My husband is a little more intermittent, but he does ok. :)

La Duchesse said...

This is in no way intended to be an age-ist statement, but I'm beginning to wonder if it's a generational thing. :p I'm a little paradoxical about my expectations: I prefer to pay my own way, but I do like a mannerly gentleman who opens doors.

Lucky you, though! ;) Would that all men were at least intermittently gallant.

the Lady said...

My boyfriend is tres gallant. He opens doors when I don't (I'm pretty self-suficient in that department) and pays for all sorts of things and is kind and caring and thoughtful. Really, to be gallant is to just be thoughtful and to care about someone else and be nice about it. They're out there, you just have to keep your eyes open! And I too think it's a generational thing. Everything went to hell when people started having new cultural ideas in the 60s and started passing it along to their kids, who in turn raised their own... I think to be gallant and chivalrous is a lot about being polite and to think of other people, not just yourself, and that's not exactly what the culture of America is about these days. It's more like - me, me, me, and get out of my way! - for a lot of people. But it's still there. Don't give up hope! And I think the best way to find one would be to hang out with nice people, the kind that are always thinking of others and doing for them. Because they'll know nice people too.

Rachael said...

I meant to leave a comment on this days ago, and as I was doing so, we lost the internet connection for several days, so I'm going to try this again.

I think it largely depends on how a guy is raised, who his friends are, and how much the women around him will allow him to get away with... Guys who have disinterested parents, in my experience, are more likely to be cads, as are those who hang out with other guys who are cads, and those who aren't checked by the girls/women they associate with, especially during their high school years, I think. If they aren't giving boundaries, they don't expect them and take more liberties even when they aren't offered. Of course, this isn't the case all the time, but when we're talking a non-criminal level of cad-ness, just to the point where the guy is an asshat and I wouldn't want to date them if I were paid, these are some of the things on which I'd blame their lack of right behavior.

But there are nice guys out there, though they are more difficult to find at times. I've known a few. My dad is a nice guy. My half-brother is a nice guy. So is my friend Joe. They're out there. One just has to find them and see them for what they are before some other smart woman snatches them up.

Also, much as I loved that guy's stand up act "Mantastic", I think he shows his age a bit with "He's Just Not That Into You." I think some attitudes are a generational thing.

You've been reading Tess of the D'Ubervilles, right? It's horribly sad and tragic... I caught part one of the mini on PBS last Sunday.