Old-School Chivalry

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Oh so romantic but completely out of style.

An Always Male character devoted to enforcing the standards and principles regarding how "real men" act and behave, whether it's around women or otherwise. One of his top priorities is maintaining the comfort, safety, and reputation of ladies, thinking that the idea of a woman being One of the Boys is plain old wrong. His ideals go beyond common courtesy. This can lead to serious problems if a woman is willing to take advantage of his beliefs.

Any attempts to resist or otherwise convince said character that his principles are archaic rarely come up or fall flat on their faces. A rare success will result in a wake up call to the man that he might be trapped in the wrong era or the wrong culture.

If he practices what he preaches, especially if it's in terms of romance, then he will probably win over the other characters like a natural Prince Charming. If one of these characters is female, then you have Single Woman Seeks Good Man. If his ladylove is similarly old-fashioned, they become a Lady and Knight couple. Some hand-kissing may be in order and no puddle shall go un-coated.

If he's not just a gentleman but an Officer and a Gentleman, he probably belongs to an order of knighthood and follows the more classic code of chivalry. In that case see Knight in Shining Armor. He might also be a Sharp-Dressed Man.

Contrast Stay in the Kitchen, where the male character may hold such old-fashioned ideals with less than noble intentions, and Would Hit a Girl, where the male character abandons all thought of preferential treatment. Compare Prince Charming Wannabe.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Rurouni Kenshin: A female ninja is escorting a Dutch visitor about and is disconcerted when he wants her to walk through a door ahead of him. When he explains chivalry dictates it as a way of showing respect for women, she just laughs it off.

Film
  • Kate and Leopold: Hugh Jackman's character is a nobleman from 1876. He is accustomed to stand when a lady leaves the table, is often mocked for things like his idea of the culinary arts. He becomes more modern and learns that obligation will trump integrity. He also woos Kate with a moonlight dinner and dancing on the roof, breakfast the next morning, etc.
  • Princess of Thieves
    Gwyn: Now you let me steal your horse?
    Prince Philip: I give it to you freely madam. A woman should not have to walk.
    Gwyn: Has not a woman legs? Do we not walk and run just as you do?
  • The Mask of Zorro
    Alejandro: All that shooting guns, racing around on horses - gives me a frightful headache. Itís hardly the work of a gentleman.
    Elena: What is? Climbing in and out of carriages?
    Alejandro: No, but increasing one's holdings so as to provide comfort to ladies. Such as yourself.
  • In Aussie cinema, truckers are often romanticised as modern day cowboys who stand up for the underdog and are always polite to women. Examples include Stacy Keach in Road Games, and Mory in Savages Crossing.

Literature
  • Dracula: Van Helsing and the rest of the heroes decide it's best if Mina Harker stays safe at home while they go out each night vampire-hunting. They do it because they think it's for her own good, in her best interest, the right/gentlemanly thing to do and they'd be cruel and reckless if they included her. It backfires and they learn their lesson.
  • Journey to Chaos: Nolien's manners and value system are classic gentleman and because of this he fits in better with traditional nobles than the modern mercenaries he works with. Tiza, the usual target of his courtesy, finds it stiffling.

Live-Action TV
  • On an episode of M*A*S*H, major Winchester does not want to talk to Radar's elderly mother, angrily protesting when asked to. However, when he does so, he quickly switches to his polite, gentlemanly, and proper tone as he speaks to her.
  • Firefly: Simon Tam is a well dressed doctor who doesn't swear or have casual sex. Needless to say he doesn't fit in with the thieves he lives with, but he says that he has to be proper because it's all he has.
  • An episode of Highlander discussed this with Duncan reluctant to kill a female Immortal (who had helped him become a gentleman in the first place) and Methos mocking the entire chivalry attitude. Methos took it upon himself to deal with the dangerous woman.
    Woman: Who are you?
    Methos: Someone who was born a long time before the age of chivalry.
  • An episode of Corner Gas has Brent start treating The Lad-ette Wanda more nicely and not making her work as hard when she shows up to work in a skirt one day. Lacey theorizes that seeing the skirt caused his male protector instincts to kick in, and Wanda tries to test this by looking and acting more and more feminine. It seems to work too, except when we switch over to Brent's perspective, we find out that the real reason he's treating Wanda so gently is because her out-of-character behaviour is making him think she's going nuts.

Visual Novel
  • From Katawa Shoujo, Hisao is a subtle example - when he and Lilly first tell Akira that they're going out, he bows to her and tells her that he will take care of her sister. Akira comments on this, mentioning that she always expected Lilly would get together with an old-fashioned sort of guy.
  • Arsenik is the epitome of this trope in War: 13th Day. He's always attentive to the needs of his ladylove, apologizes if he feels he's been too forward, and becomes indignant when she is disrespected. When Ambrosia is propositioned to and consequently blackmailed by a Handsome Lech, he even begins a fight to defend her honor.
    Arsenik: A gentleman doesnít foster a ladyís embarrassment nor is he party to rumormongers.

Western Animation
  • Looney Tunes: The witch doctor Dr. I.C. Spots from the short "Which is Witch" takes off his hat and steps aside, when three lady natives - and Bugs, disguised as one - walk by. (Unfortunately for Bugs, his disguise slips.)


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