Jan 8, 2010


My cousin was yesterday despairing in her blog about our generation’s lack of gentlemen. She didn’t mean men, but gentlemen. Those who didn’t text to ask you out but left a calling cards at your home with the butler. Those who had to call you by your last name because calling you by your first was taking a liberty. Those who would get up, no matter how many times it needed to be done, every time a lady entered or exited room. Those who opened doors, and got up to offer the seat. Those who dueled for their lady’s honor if her name had been besmirched.

Sigh, those were the days. The thing is she is right. True gentlemen are an extinct species. Nobody bothers to teach their children basic manners, let alone gentlemanly or ladylike ones.

Each time I lose myself in Austen, or simply in a good old Historical Romance (with which I am obsessed at the moment) I feel somewhat cheated that I didn’t get to enjoy being wooed and courted. At the same time I am thankful that I didn’t have to worry about my opinions being considered null simply because I am a woman. I wish not that I was back in Austen’s time when I would have no rights of my own, over myself, my property or even my own children, but I wish instead that gentlemen like then were still alive today.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I like men. I love guys. I like guys more than I like women but men today aren’t what they used to be. Now they wouldn’t go chasing for a fallen star for your hand in marriage, they wouldn’t write letters declaring their intentions and hold your hand with feverish passion and kiss your fingers and make one swoon.

After the movie Sex in the City came out, some brilliant publishing house made the decision to print the book Carrie was reading, “Love Letter’s of Great Men” and of course all were written in a time when men were still gentlemen and even Napoleon was amazingly romantic.

That being said, the state of affairs with us women isn’t any better! Whatever happened to demureness, to modesty? What happened to self-respect? Whatever happened with being a lady and demanding others to treat us like one? Maybe is the fear of appearing high maintenance or the fear of not fitting in with the majority.
I don’t know what it is but I fear that one person’s comment in my cousin's blog was accurate, we demanded to be treated like equals and we got it. We cannot, apparently, expect for men to treat us with deference because we are no longer the “fairer sex”. We wanted to be treated as men, to be treated as their intellectual equals and now we can’t ask (or so I’ve been told) to be treated like a flower. The gentlemanly behavior of yesteryears departed from the idea that women were gentle, delicate, fragile creatures to be protected, sheltered and not to be trusted to make their own decision, since they had neither the mental or emotional capacity, nor the experience to know better.

I guess we can’t have it all. Men behaved like gentlemen before because we needed to be protected and taken care of and now that we don’t the behavior has been deemed unnecessary.
I still hope that we could all act like before. Wish those old fashioned rules of conduct were still applied today so I don’t wonder why my cousin is crying out “Oh Mr. Darcy, Mr. Darcy where art thou Mr. Darcy”

Check her blog out at http://mylifeinasaffronworld.blogspot.com/ and let's conmiserate together.

1 comment:

Adriana said...

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