Friday, August 25, 2006

Courtly love

Courtly love

“The Evolution of Love”

By Richard E. Noble

Have you ever longed for those days of yesteryear when men were Knights and women were Ladies and Queens? When gallantry and chivalry ruled the code of male conduct? When men were noble and brave and woman were pure and set upon a pedestal? Yeah, right! Let’s have a quick reality check here, okay.
In Donald Day’s, “The Evolution of Love” he explains to us, many of the rules and regulations taught by custom and tradition, and somewhat codified by a guy named Andreas Capellanus, who was a chaplain to the King of France, and wrote down all these rules for Queen Eleanor sometime in the twelfth century.
The first and primary necessity for Courtly love was, of course, adultery. Adultery is made necessary because most Queens are married to some old fart through a financial arrangement or some Machiavellian consolidation of power. And besides, what was a Queen to do when the old fart was off on another of his Crusades. But really, as the Chaplain Andreas points out in his book, true love can not exist between married couples anyway. Because love must be given freely, and since marriage implies obligation and commitment there cannot exist true love in marriage, only the fulfillment of duties. (Boy, there’s one to think about, ain’t there?)
The Queen couldn’t just jump into the sack any night with any Knight. She had to play around, and sometimes for years. First a peck on the hand, then a tweak on the cheek, and then finally and at last the Big Bang (but this is in theory you understand). And the Knight had to win the Queen’s favor by performing noble deeds. This would include such things as pulling out a fingernail, or sitting on his sword for an hour or two. In the mean time though, the Knights were granted a few minor privileges because as we all know, rules be as they may, boys will be boys.
For example, a Knight could legitimately bop any chick who was not a Queen without breaking any code of Knightlihood or fidelity. Maidens of lower rank could be wooed free of charge. And if our Knight in shinning armor happened to be riding by on his white charger, and spotted a farmer’s daughter (or farmer’s wife for that matter) bent over in the field thinning out some pickle patch, look out Honey, because Peter Piper is about to pick a peck of pickles. And if a little force was necessary, this was perfectly Knightly because we all know how obstinate farm girls can be.
You know when you think of Sir Lancelot, that noble Knight, who followed all the rules of Courtly love and was finally granted the privilege of poking the lovely Queen Guinevere - pretty little Queen Guin was married at the time to King Arthur.
It does seem here that the secret to a woman’s fancy is contained, not so much in the imagination, as I have always heard claimed, but, as the Bridges of Madison County so aptly proved, in the excitement of adultery. Obviously we are not so far from those glorious days of old than one might be inclined to think.
You know, I think that I could have been a Knight - any day, man! Obviously it had many more advantages over just being a plain, old, boring - God forbid - husband. Being a farmer don’t look all that great either.
PS - It has recently been estimated that over sixty percent of all married woman have cheated on their husbands. If we then guess-timate that even more married men have cheated on their wives, our American Civilization is now a John Updike novel. And we all thought that he was a fiction writer - it seems he is an historian.

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