Until recently, I was a firm believer in the expression “chivalry is dead.” I had seen very little in my 19 years to contradict this bold affirmation, that is, until I found myself navigating through the tunnels of UR.

Chivalry can manifest itself in a variety of ways, but I have always conjured up this instinctual image of a handsome knight on a white horse. I can’t actually see the entire image, but I am very much aware that the knight has just slain a fire breathing dragon and, had the knight not happened to appear right at that moment, the dragon had every intention of making me its next hot meal.

My mind continues to wander, and I imagine us, knight and damsel, riding off into the sunset and living happily ever after.

I digress. Others envision chivalrous behavior in the form of a kind gentleman who takes the time to open doors to permit their date’s ingress or egress, or who takes his date out to a nice dinner – this does not include the sandwich line at the Pit – eating the entire meal without putting his elbows on the table and then paying the entire check. That means swiping something that is not a UR ID at the end of the evening.

Clearly, nothing even close to the foregoing fanatical behaviors can be attributed to the many handsome males at the UR. However, what I have come to realize, and/or rationalize, is that the men at Rochester have simply invented, and perfected, their own version of chivalrous etiquette, which I will illustrate with several common examples.

My first encounter with this courtesy was on a cold late day in November. I was hustling through the tunnels on the way to class with an arm full of books and trailing about 10 feet behind an athletic, and not unattractive, guy who I will refer to as Sir Galahad.

When Sir Galahad reached one of the doors, he put his hand on the handle, pushed it open, and kept on walking. It was clear to me that Sir Galahad knew I was walking right behind him, but he didn’t break his stride. I shifted my books and prepared to tackle the closing door, when, all of a sudden, the door magically flung open.

Sir Galahad, at great personal risk to himself, had extended his arm as if he was preparing to joust and, with incredible skill and accuracy, struck the blue handicap button. I was saved. My enemy, the door, had been conquered. This amused me. The more I thought about it the more I realized how common a gesture this has become here in Rochester.

Once it became apparent that I was in the midst of gentlemen, I couldn’t help but start searching for more of them.

Dressing for knights is hard work around here, and it is not always easy for a young damsel to face the brutal winds on her way out to a Thursday night ball or frat party while maintaining her intended hair style and look. That’s why, on one particular Thursday evening, I was sure to keep an eye on my brand new jacket. It must have been a hit because I spent the evening talking to a very handsome UR prince.

Before I knew it, I had lost track of time, and the alarm on my phone chimed to remind me it was five minutes to midnight. I had to be back at my dorm, as I had a 9:40 a.m. class the following day and my evil professor hates it when I come in late.

I began searching frantically for my jacket. I was ready to give up, when an unexpected arm with my coat draped across it extended itself toward me. It was the arm of my very own Prince Charming. I put the jacket on, which fit as perfectly as a glass slipper, and was out the door on my way to bed just as the clock struck midnight.

Several nights ago a friend of mine was about to embark on that hazardous walk to Phase from the Frat Quad without an escort. She was only alone for 30 seconds when a gallant and attractive male approached her, who I will refer to as Gawain, and offered to transport her back to her dorm. It may not be very practical to ride or even to park your white horse in front of Todd Union, especially in the winter, but I assure you girls, if you were to break a stiletto heel after a night of dancing, there will always be a brave and courageous UR boy ready to drive you back to your dorm.

Perhaps some of our 21st century UR guys need a lesson or two on taking their dates out to dinner or on buying them chocolates and flowers, but overall, I cannot agree that chivalry is dead. I think it has just been reincarnated and behaviors have changed. They are just as different as knight and day.

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