If some almighty ‘love doctor’ has declared chivalry dead, then the burial occurred at the tail of the twentieth century. The term sprouted in medieval times, conceived to define the decorum of Knighthood); no wonder both the word and the concept seem archaic today. Chivalry has, of course, long since evolved to note the “ladies first” deeds of more the contemporary gentleman. Unfortunately in the haughts (aka the first decade of the new century), the “C” word is rarely seen or heard in continuum.
Forty years ago, the Reverend Al Green paid his lady’s face so much attention that he could see their future in her eyes. In 2012 the sole reason Young Jeezy links with his “Supa Freak” is to “smoke and f*ck.” Now relegated to groundhog status, chivalry only blooms love foliage on the 14th of February. Maybe the good doctor didn’t sign that death certificate after all. Maybe the gentleman’s code is merely endangered. Whether the prognosis calls for resuscitation or restoration, the labor of both genders are needed. That’s right sisters, I’m talking about “reverse chivalry.”
Warning: this is only for the highly evolved female; the one as secure in her femininity as she is on the road to success. It’s not for the chick still searching for an alpha meal ticket or whose happiness is contingent on a “two-table” wedding ring. No, the women who have mastered this new age phenomenon have done so by adopting the prime principle of its roots: reciprocity. Their happiness is not merely gained but returned after initially creating their man’s (and vice versa). Brothers, I’m talking about the woman who asks out to your favorite 4 star, dials for reservations and then snatches the bill. Just closed that new account? Don’t be surprised if she has an XO bottle of your favorite cognac delivered to your desk.
Bad news first: while this new breed of beauty soars at a higher altitude than her counterparts, she is very much the minority. You can (and should) guide your women to this standard but be aware that you’ll possibly decrease your volume and increase your disappointment. Good news: their population numbers are crawling north. To prove reverse chivalry is not a myth or only exercised by “Black Panthers” (African-American cougars), I found four successful Black men to share their best encounter with a few highly skilled practitioners.
Name: Damien Lemon. Age: 34. Occupation: Comedian
A few years back, I was seeing a woman who worked in publishing. She put together a birthday date for me and all I had to do was show up. We started with dinner at a magnificent Chinese restaurant in Chinatown (Chinese food is my thing, don’t judge). After dinner we hit Manhattan’s Iridium Jazz club for drinks and to hear the Ravi Coltrane Quartet play. The vibe was real sexy, but in a ‘90’s era black film sort of way (think Boomerang or Strictly Business). After the set, it was damn near 1am, and we still weren’t done with the night; she took me to an after-hours spa, where we hit the sauna, steam room and a pool with fruit in it. In retrospect, that may not have been the most sanitary look. Overall the date was dope, and I’m still with her today.
Name: Guy Routte. Age: 40. Occupation: CEO of W.A.R Media. LLC
I had an ex girlfriend who, during a great time in our interaction, decided that she wanted to do something nice for me just because. I’m pretty unorganized and messy–not dirty, but things are usually out of order. She had the keys to my apartment, so she went there while I was out, organized my place, then proceeded to cook dinner. When I arrived the place was clean and the lights were low with lit candles all over. She ran a bath for me and handed me a glass of red wine. While I relaxed in the bath she made an incredible dinner. As I emerged from the bath, I was greeted by an appetizer of shrimp dumplings with mango chutney. Dinner was served with a goat cheese, beet and walnut salad, followed by a pasta dish with garlic and olive oil. Homemade brownies with ice cream was the dessert. Great music in the background (a mix of Marvin Gaye, A Tribe Called Quest and everything in between) and we had a wonderful conversation about politics and art and dreams and fears. This was the closest I’d felt to her up to that point in our relationship. It felt like she really listened and cared about what I liked to do and how I liked to enjoy an evening.
Name: Ernest Estime. Age: 24. Occupation: Photographer
So before my girl became “my girl,” she surprised me with a date to see the legendary Stevie Wonder at The Apollo Theater last year. Anybody that knows me well knows how much of a Stevie Wonder fan, I am. We met up at the theater and she took the bill for all of our drinks (I had at least four Bombay Sapphire and pineapples). We also didn’t have to worry about food since the after-party was catered. It was the Apollo’s Spring Gala event so they had a special tent with D-Nice as the DJ. I must say that it was a bit awkward to be on the receiving end of such chivalry, but that night was amazing!
Name: Amadeus. Age: 31. Occupation: Multi-platinum Producer and Drummer for Trey Songz
My beautiful wife of 12 years has always wanted to please me and show her appreciation for the man that I am. She once took me on a date to TAO’S in NYC and insisted that I relax and let her handle everything. So she chauffeured me to the restaurant in our BMW, dropped me in front and parked the car. Before being seated, she offered me a glass of Riesling and a glimpse of the menu in the waiting area. Once we were seated she instructed me to order whatever I wanted and that, I did! …After we ate she presented me with a gift at the dinner table: a Louis Vuitton wallet. She then requested the dinner bill and closed it with a tip! I’m not gonna front, it made me feel both wanted and appreciated.
Name: Will Perkins. Age: 30. Occupation: Brand Marketing
One time I was dating this chick we had gone out a couple times, nothing crazy- but I wanted to make a play so I invited her out to dinner. She said, “Cool, pick me up at 8pm.” So I show up to her spot to pick her up. She opens the door and lets me in. I walk in I turn the corner and peep shorty has the ill arrangement laid out- candles, the whole nine. She says to me, “We’re gonna keep it here tonight.” I said, “No problem.” She cooked dinner, which was (surprisingly) some of my favorite foods: pan-seared Salmon, salad with dried cranberries, walnuts and blue cheese, rice and beans. Dessert was strawberries, blueberries, whipped cream…and her.
Name: Damien Lemon. Age: 34. Occupation: Comedian
A few years back, I was seeing a woman who worked in publishing. She put together a birthday date for me and all I had to do was show up. We started with dinner at a magnificent Chinese restaurant in Chinatown (Chinese food is my thing, don’t judge). After dinner we hit Iridium Jazz club (midtown Manhattan) for drinks and to hear the Ravi Coltrane Quartet play. The vibe was real sexy, but in a ‘90’s era black film sort of way (think Boomerang or Strictly Business). After the set, it was damn near 1am, and we still weren’t done with the night; she took me to an after-hours spa, where we hit the sauna, steam room and a pool with fruit in it. In retrospect, that may not have been the most sanitary look. Overall the date was dope, and I’m still with her today.
Is chivalry dead or simply changing? Can women be chivalrous to the men in their lives? Should they be? Speak on it!
Follow Bonsu Thompson, cultural engineer, on Twitter: @DreamzRreal