I was raised with Southern values, and part of that is what used to pass for Chivalry. Chivalry began as a code of conduct for knights when interacting with society, especially ladies. Remember that knights were above all, professional soldiers who lived harshly and killed on a regular basis. Don't believe the hype, medieval knights would just as soon kill you as save you. Chivalry was a formal set of rules to make these hardened warriors tolerable in polite society. Soon it was all the rage and the subject of so many sugar coated books and movies that many people just threw the hell up (it's what later became known as the sexual revolution). When I look around me now I find that a lot of what I considered good manners both costs me opportunities and seems downright chauvinist.
So you can see my handicap, right? If you're too polite you wind up missing a lot in the swinging lifestyle. If you're too sweet people may wonder if you won't become clingy later on. If you're too protective of your friends you can be misread as condescending. What's a gentleman to do?
At a meet and greet a while ago we met a great couple. They were attractive, outgoing and fairly experienced. We all had a lot in common and we all got along fabulously. After a while the husband went for drinks and returned to kiss my wife fiercely, which I didn't know how to respond to. I saw vividly just how much my manners got in my own way. His wife seemed upset about the kis and they went away to chat for a second and when they came back he toned it down. I was still undecided as to how I felt about it, because I wasn't jealous about the kiss. It was more jealous that he'd had the wherewithal to just go for it. After the girls chatted my wife told me that his wife was upset because he was being rude by kissing my wife when I “clearly wasn't into his”…I just stood with my jaw open. Not into her? That had been one tasty woman I had been chatting with, not to mention smart and direct. My manners had kept lewd flirting or overt physical contact off the table. I had missed the opportunity because my body language suggested nothing but casual interaction. Still to this day it costs me, but I am at a loss for how to be more flirty without it coming across as forced or fake. I'll have to learn on the fly, and take my scrapes.
Another problem in which I'm sure other men share without meaning to, is the “big brother” role. A big part of chivalry is chauvinistic, I'll admit. For some odd reason the older version of the code seems to assume that all women are prone to jealousy, emotional instability and are otherwise incapable of managing their own affairs. Well, I don't know where these idiots are at, but I don't know any women who need me to control their lives for them. Not to say it wasn't a lesson I had to learn though.
A great friend and playmate of ours is one of those rare and wonderful unicorns out there in the lifestyle. She's gorgeous, smart and has the kind of sexual magnetism that you wish you could harness as an alternate energy source. Needless to say, she gets a LOT of attention. We chat and exchange stories when we get together and she'll mention one of her boy-toys. Now the old school thought would be that only nice guys should reap the carnal rewards, but we all know that there are guys who are hot…and complete douchebags. So having her relationships of a decidedly singular nature, she doesn't care if their douchebags, and that's her business. It's not my business at all, and she definitely does not need “protecting”. Besides, it's a boy-toy…would I as a guy demand some hotty jump through all the hoops if we only meet to fuck? Of course not. It's one of those double-standards built into the code and ingrained into a lot of guys from an early age.
This lifestyle is liberating and full of great times for men and women, but it only works if everyone is treated as equal. So there are parts of this mode that need to go, and some parts that need to stay. My advice is for each of us nice guys to tailor our manners to our goals. Don't be fake, but take a look at the women you have around you and how close you are to them. Some playmates are close to me and I cherish them in a semi-boyfriend way. Some are strictly carnal and too much affection can ruin it. Then there are women I want to play with that I need to give them the right signals, which is why my time-rusted code needs a revamp.