Thursday, December 11, 2008

On Knights and Princes

"I remember the time when I liked a red coat myself very well -- and indeed, so I do still at my heart..." - Mrs. Bennet of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Women have always had a thing for men in uniform, whether it was the shining armor that bespoke defense against dragons and pagan armies, or the clean, gloved dress blues of the United States Navy today.

On the radio this week I heard an interview by Dennis Prager of Allison Armstrong. This woman has a book and website about “understanding men,” and being a woman, she is obviously comparing them to females so that women, knowing themselves, may appreciate the men in their lives. One thing she said about women is that what they need from a man is security. While few professions are more dangerous and truly insecure than defense, I argue that a woman feels more secure when she is with a man in uniform.

So it might seem strange that nearly every girl dreams of being a princess. She wants to be beautiful and important, and to have that prince at her side who will dance her into the sweet sunset. Nevertheless, a man is created to lead. Prince, being part of the hierarchy in a system of monarchy, is the romantic personification of authority. He has a kingdom at his fingertips. His people look up to and respect him. What woman would not want to be at the side of such a man? For women crave that figure in their lives that gives them direction.

In the old chivalric code, a knight seldom wed with the lady to whom he dedicated his conquests. The woman might be of a social position out of reach, or she may demonstrate the good sense that so few women are able to carry out: not joining her life with that of a man whose every day is violent risk of life. In other places I have addressed this romantic moral.

So here is my principle of Knights and Princes. When a girl or woman is rescued by a gallant man, be it from certain death, the humiliation of carrying something too heavy for her, or the common courtesy of having doors opened on her behalf, if that man is a stranger, or a brother, or a mere friend, he is a Knight, honored by all, a man who stands ready to serve and defend wherever the need is presented. (Though less relevant to my thesis, I will here add that her father, should he so deliver the maiden, is doing is high and worthy job as Guardian, Defender of the Realm.) And if he is husband or fiancĂ© performing the deed, I name him Prince. A true lady would never call a mere knight her prince, or think of him as such, lest she be claiming another princess’ Prince.

Knights have arisen in my life this week, blessing me and coming to my aid: a neighbor of a friend relieving me from shoveling snow in 20-degree weather, a friend carrying a sign too heavy for me, a boy from church holding a door, and my brother working in my place voluntarily on this my birthday. I hereby dub them Knights.

To God be all glory.

1 comment:

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Spencer