The lost art of courtship

There are differences between men and women. I’m not a biology major but I know that an average male has a penis, while your typical female has a vagina. You have one or the other. To quote Abraham Lincoln, “We hold these truths to be self-evident.” Go ahead, have a look. Honest Abe never told a lie.

The other differences may not be so obvious. The 21st-century man and woman are more similar than ever before. Women are no longer the “fairer sex” that we once believed them to be and the “gentleman” is now a thing of the past. Sometimes it seems all that separates them is anatomy.

There are no gentlemen and there are no ladies. Now, there are guys and there are girls. To have sex is now a “hook-up” and that’s as casual as a well-worn pair of Levi’s. That’s what it’s become. At least at Queen’s and other North American universities And it’s the same culture in high school, too. What happened to boy meets girl? What happened to love?

To be a gentleman once meant more than simply having a penis. I believe many years ago there was something called chivalry. I think it’s in a museum now, next to meaningful sex and the importance of one’s virginity. Once upon a time, a man was someone who held the door for a lady, walked nearer to the street than his companion, and generally practiced the now-lost art of courtship. I think I read that somewhere.

Most university students will tell you that “courtship” is an Old English word for “alcohol” and that it’s more popular than ever, at house parties and nightclubs around the world. That’s how it’s done these days. Chivalry is no more than a novelty. When a man and woman are on a date, and the man holds the door for the woman, it’s almost a surprise. Or it’s “cute” for just being so unusual. That’s not right. It should be expected.

I think that the reason gentlemen are so rare is because a lady is just as hard to find. Many women don’t want a man to hold the door for them, or to pick up the tab at dinner, or to offer their coat on a cold night. That’s because many collegiate men and women aren’t going out for dinner. And it’s not just men who would rather go to the bar or a kegger. Women are just as eager as men to get drunk and make some bad decisions. Some want to be “friends with benefits.” Some want a one-night stand. Women are the new men. And men haven’t changed since being a gentleman went out of style.

I consider myself to be a gentleman. That’s not to say that I consider myself a saint. My university career has involved more alcohol, house parties, and nightclubs (I mean ‘courtship’) than I care to remember. What’s important is that I believe in the old-fashioned ideals of being a gentleman. Come on, Queen’s, let’s bring chivalry back.

All I’m saying is, let’s remember what it means to be a man or a woman, no matter your preference. Male and female are not just the two ends of a hook-up.

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