Before I begin in earnest, I feel that it’s essential that I give you some information about me. You should be grateful. I don’t do this often. To find out even a smidgen about me, most people have to read all 200 or so articles on my blog, and glean from that how much is fiction and how much is fact. My name’s Afam. It isn’t my everyday name, but what’s it to you? You say Afam, and I answer. I even made a surname for myself, Odi. It’s quite a nice surname, Odi. At least I like to think so. I’m 23 years old. It’s a lot better than 22 and it’s probably going to be better than 24. What can I say? It’s been a good year. I’ve been single for a while. I don’t mind it too much though. My last relationship didn’t end that well, and now, I’m quite sure that I’m fated to spend the rest of my days scribbling in books, and travelling the world. I sometimes say that I’m not the typical Nigerian, but that’s a lie, because I can’t say what the typical Nigerian is. As far as I know, we’re all incredibly, marvelously different, and because of that none of us could really be said to be the typical anything.
I despise chivalry. The very idea of it makes me cringe. The very idea of it has always made me cringe. You see, when I was a child, I was very little. I was the shortest in my class for more years than I care to remember, and I was the weakest too. I didn’t mind this too much. I didn’t mind that through out secondary school, there were girls in my year that could beat me silly if they put their minds to it. There were girls that could beat me in nearly everything. As a result, I never saw why I should treat them any differently than I treated the average man. I didn’t see why I should slide back their chairs, or hold up their umbrellas when it was raining, or open the door for them when they were passing through or pick up their tabs. Even though much of the previous sentence is in the past sense, all of it still holds. I think it daft that I should be expected to assist members of the “fairer” sex in performing tasks that are so unbelievably mundane, that the offering of help in their regard can only be thought of as condescending.
When I was in secondary school all of that was fine, but the moment I got to university, it became a problem. In my first year, I asked a girl out. She’s a rather lovely girl that I call frog, because she called me princess, once. When I asked her why she called me princess, she said, “I call all my guy friends princess.” And it was true. She did. But I didn’t particularly being called princess, so I called her frog. Anyway, I took her to see Zombieland, a horrible movie for a first date by the way (learn from my mistakes. Please!). When we were paying for our tickets, I walked forward to pay for mine and left her standing in the line. I did not even imagine that I might be expected to pay for hers as well. This counted against me in more ways than one. I went from being Afam, the kind of nerdy, kind of cool, kind of cute guy, to being Afam, the poorly behaved.
The reputation stuck, but I didn’t try to shake it. I didn’t see why I should. My money is important to me. I do not spend it on others freely. It is unlikely that I will ever foot the whole bill on a first date, because if the date were to go horribly, then I would have gained nothing, but lost my money.
While it is true that I find all things chivalrous deplorable, there is something to be said for common decency. The fact that I won’t sprint to your side of the car, so that I can yank your door open in good time, says nothing about my character. If anything, it speaks poorly about me. It says that I, Afam, am a staunch supporter of abject laziness. However, if the person in my passenger’s seat has broken an arm, or a leg or even strained an ankle, then I will assist with the door, because it will be unkind not to. If a person weaker than I am, is struggling with a case that I can lift quite easily, then I will help, and if there is a pregnant woman on the bus, I will give up my seat for her. If someone is walking behind me, and we have to go through a door, I’ll hold it open until they pass. These things are decent, but not at all chivalrous.
In this day and age, when all but the incredibly addled and stupendously daft accept that women are more or less equal to men, I do not see why there is such a thing as chivalry.
If we all accept that women can do everything that men can, then we should let them. And that my friends is the difference between decency and chivalry. The latter is dead, but the former is not.
Tata for now (ttfn)
Photo Credit: bmawufbp.blogspot.com
Afam is the 23 year old man-child behind the blog: The Ramblings of a Madman. He’s also the lifestyle and health editor of Voix Magazine. He is currently getting ready to start his Youth Corp. Long live Batch C! Follow him on Twitter @Afam20