IS chivalry dead? By all accounts in Uganda, it is, argues Fred Musoke, who is still single and searching â€” but not for a lifetime partner just yet. What he is looking for is his next â€˜notchâ€™ who will hang on to his arm for the next six months or so before moving on.
â€œChivalry only works during courtship, but once the â€˜cement is dryâ€™ out it goes because after all, I have already gotten what it is that I wanted.â€ When pressed to explain what he meant by the cement being dry and getting what he wanted, he was rather hesitant but eventually let the cat out of the bag under duress.
â€œChivalry works during courtship because it is the tool that men employ to win over a girlâ€™s heart.â€
â€œGirls want to be wined and dined. They want us to make them feel special, therefore, we will go out of our way to make sure we are polite; that we have impeccable manners and that we would go to the depths of the world just for them.
â€œObviously the girlâ€™s background would determine what level of chivalry would be applied. There are girls for whom a trip to Steak Out or Club Silk would suffice.
Then, there are others who are well-schooled and travelled and who you would have to impress that much more. And for all girls, if we do not display competence that we can care for them, then it is very unlikely that the relationship will take off,â€ he adds.
Paul Kalinda, a lawyer who has been married for â€˜many yearsâ€™ (he is elderly and most likely cannot remember), however, says things have not always been this grim and that Musokeâ€™s thinking is new.
â€œIn our parentsâ€™ era, before independence, they had a strong Western influence and because of that, they were taught manners.
â€œMen knew how to respect women and they did not just think about sex as is the norm today. We were looking for a good lady to bring up the home.
And, of course, women in those days demanded sublime respect which we gave them. But you kids, how do you expect to be given respect by women when you call them names like â€˜bitchesâ€™?â€
Samson Badebye concurs with Kalinda.
He also has a dim opinion of Musokeâ€™s comments. Chivalry is for life and does not end simply because you got the girl into bed.
You see many people of my age celebrating their golden wedding jubilees and that they are doing because the same things we did during our courtship like buying her flowers or going for a picnic is what we are still doing today in our advanced age.
Look at public figures like Dr. Martin Aliker and his wife Camille. They are old but he still treats her the way he did when they first met.
â€œHe is always around to make sure that she has a glass of wine and that she is comfortable.
Today, you hardly see men with their wives. If she is around, she is in one corner of the room and you in the other. And when men leave, they will not even tell their wives that they have left.
They just hop and vanish,â€ Badebye says. He adds that in his days of courtship, the lady always had a chaperone around to see if the guy was up to the mark.
By being up to the mark, Badebye said: â€œThere was a need to make sure that young men had the right manners. Did they say â€˜pleaseâ€™, â€˜thank-youâ€™ and so on?â€
On the flip side, Moses Serumaga who describes himself as being in between having a blast, says chivalry is definitely dead. â€œWhy would I want to open a car door for my woman?
That is for the movies. Women today do not know what they want. One day they think they are feminists, the next day they are something else.
A lady I tried to date once told me that just because she was a woman, did not mean she could not open a bottle of wine. With that in mind, whenever she came over to my place, I would serve her a Coke but not open it.
I would give her the opener so that she could do it herself. Then she started going on at me about why I could not be a gentleman and open it for her. What was I supposed to do?
â€œThese days I just do the bare minimum. A card on her birthday and Christmas and that is it. If she wants to get into the car, she knows where the door handle is. If she thinks I am going to go out of my way to please her, then she has another think coming. We are now in 2008.
The world order has changed and in that order, there is no room for chivalry.â€
Linda Nandawula, a lawyer in Kampala, definitely thinks chivalry is no more.
â€œMy husband did all the right things when we were dating. When we went out, he made sure that everything was right for me. He would order my dinner and I was happy to let him do it. If I was not happy with the food when it arrived, he would scold the waiter and make another order.
Today when I complain about my food, he just looks at me as says â€˜well mine is okayâ€™ and carries on eating.
â€œAll the things he used to do then, he no longer does. My advice to young ladies about to start dating is, enjoy all the fuss and attention that he gives you while it lasts and milk it to the hilt, because once he gets comfortable with you, it all stops.â€
While some people may think that chivalry is dead, it could be the case that it is because it is not thrown in our faces on a daily basis?
Could it be that we all have a different interpretation of it? Chivalry does exits and continues to exist if all but in spurts. Spurts of St. Valentineâ€™s Day, wedding anniversaries and even the odd romantic gesture during the week.
What men prefer
That she is enthusiastic and stays indoors to watch the four editions of the movie, Rambo, while gulping beer.
That she goes to Rugby Club to hang out with the boys.
That there is more to life than just flowers.
That she can drive for a change.
That she will not ask for his jacket when the weather is nasty.
What Women like
To cuddle up and watch a romantic movie like Wedding Planner or Runaway Bride while eating popcorn.
A huge bouquet of flowers delivered to her office.
To be picked up.
To be dazzled over a candle-lit dinner.
To show his feminine side by crying at the end of a romantic movie.
Be a gentleman and offer her his jacket when the weather turns nasty
What happens to the special treats after dating?