It seems the destiny of all good men to be met with trials to be overcome, puzzles to be unscrambled, and the machinations of life to be overpowered. Unfortunately, one of man’s never ending mysteries is: women. Now, do not misunderstand me friends this is not a misogynistic rant. I am merely writing out loud to my beloved Jesters and Harlequins’.
What I wanted to write about this fine Sunday night was this: what are the rules of chivalry when it comes to another man’s woman? Of course, I realize there is no justification in desiring another man’s woman, but that is not what we are here to discuss.
The word chivalry, as documented by the Oxford Dictionary, first made its appearance in 1300: “The contemporary name for the ‘men-at-arms’, or mounted and fully armed fighting-men, of the Middle Ages. Obs. (In Old French chevalier translates miles, chevalerie = militia)”. Over the course of time changing its meaning to a more poetic and idealistic fashion by the likes of Gibbon, and the famously known, Shakespeare. From this period we have what is known as Chivalric Code for Knights and the Rules of Courtly Love. There is one particular section in this code that I have been particularly fixated upon: Thou shalt not knowingly strive to break up a correct love affair that someone else is engaged in. Wisdom from the past speaks so truthfully to our present.
In adhering to this seemingly outdated philosophy I want to avoid, what seems to me, the sin of breaking up a happy couple. Now, bear in mind I do not and have not engaged in anything less than wholesome in terms of activities and conversation with her, but there lies in me the specter of my own selfishness. By that I mean wanting her for myself, and clearly the opposite of chivalric. To me it seems it is the temptation of the fruit that is just out of reach, and I fear that if it may be put in my reach that she will be less desirable. I, like many others, can’t help but run down every avenue and chase out every strategy, but one cannot know the mind of god and what he has in store. It is also the fear that in finding someone that seems so compatible to you; how can you just let it go? In response to that thinking: countless friends have slapped me on the back and said “Don’t worry you know how fast the weather can change. They could break up any day”. But, how in good conscious, can you wish that misfortune on two good people? It would be one thing if I considered him to be the other name for a donkey, but alas he is a good man…
The internal struggle that rages within me is: the ideal/perfect match for me VS. what I know is right.
It is a simple enough scenario and I’m sure most of you have similar experiences. Up to this point I had to battle my urges to disinvite her to places and activities, because I was somehow violating that chivalric code. When she did join us at social events I felt guilty about my own feelings, and the secret joy I felt that her boyfriend could not make it. I do not wish to break up both a happy friendship and relationship for my own gratification, but on the other hand it is the lady’s decision and nothing I do can change her mind. She, as a strong independent woman, has that choice to make. So, in some ways I justify my inner desire with that sinful notion.
Speaking of sin… I find her purity and religious fervor a connection I cannot yet explain, but maybe the connection one may have when one prays for another. My deepest fear is that I taint one of God’s purest creatures: a woman. That somehow my sin disqualifies me from being part of her life. The same fear that drives people away from the pulpit in fear of the damnation they are sure awaits them. Purity is such a rare thing in this world. I cannot bear to defile something as holy as that.
In a sense, I suppose, this is just an outward confession of the darker desires within me, but now a days honesty means more to me than I can describe.
Time will tell, as they say. I will, of course, keep my true feelings at bay, and maybe say a little selfish prayer. That god would see fit for her to at least visit me in my sleep. Amen.