Every Childlike Author needs a Playground.

The Childlike Author Feels… Quixotic

Don Quixote and Sancho Panza

Quixotic [kwik-sot-ik]
- extravagantly chivalrous or romantic; visionary, impractical, or impracticable; resembling or befitting Don Quixote.

Sancho Comes to Don Quixote's Aid

While I’m not riding on a horse or jousting against windmills in La Mancha, sometimes I do feel extravagantly chivalrous or romantic (or both). My wife-to-be knows this is a rare thing, despite having experienced it in various permutations.

Perhaps the most common instance of this occurs after driving her to or from dates. I will, upon arriving at our destination, explicitly tell her not to get out of the car. By now she understands why I tell her this, but the first few times were rife with protests and questions. She has since learned, however, that she is to stay sitting until I have time to walk around the car and open the passenger door, take her by the hand, and assist her out of the vehicle in one graceful movement. (If you know her, then you will also know that the one graceful movement was mine.) But this action is hugely impractical… so why do I do it?

Don Quixote Battles Sheep

As a healthy, grown woman, she’s fully capable of opening the door and getting out of the car herself, which would be both faster and more efficient. And it’s not like I do it because it makes me feel more macho, either. (Every person who has functioning hands and feet can open a car door—it doesn’t take a man.) Nor is it because I want to be an amateur car chauffeur or even a limo driver by participating in the occupation’s driving and door opening duties. I mean, I’ve got to open enough doors for myself without making it my living or doing it as a favor to other people—and that by itself is exhausting.

The Jester Frightens Don Quixote's Steed

Okay, maybe that last part was exaggeration. It’s not exhausting at all, though I still haven’t answered my own question. Why do I open the door for my future wife when it’s plainly not necessary or even difficult to do? As a pragmatist, it doesn’t make any sense.

Don Quixote's Crowded Imagination

And as a pragmatist, it still doesn’t make any sense once you know the reason for it, which is simply that every now and then I like to treat my promised-woman like a flippin’ KING. Well, more like a queen, technically. The point is that royalty live extravagant lifestyles, and opening a car door for someone else is an extravagant display (think modern celebrities in glittering clothes stepping from their sleek limousines to the red carpet). When I tell her to sit still so I can walk around the car and open the door for her, I’m essentially telling her that she’s so important to me, that she’s such a shining star in my life, that I’m going to waste time and energy rolling out the red carpet and acting like the humble doorman to her glittering celebrity.

I’m saying that I will do my utmost to make her happy.

Don Quixote Rescues a Slave

And even though she rolls her eyes when I tell her to sit there for a few more seconds, I can see the pleasure on her face and the smile on her lips. It doesn’t make her dependent on me—she certainly won’t forget how to open doors. It doesn’t make me subservient to her—it was me who told her to stay in her seat, after all. It’s simply me making a statement. A statement that says, “I will go to extreme and ridiculous lengths to make you happy.”

And whether you girls like it or not, everyone wants to be happy. The chivalrous and romantic men out there who open doors aren’t doing it because you’re a woman and you can’t (unless you really can’t). They’re not doing it because it makes them feel better about themselves. They’re not doing it because they aspire to become a doorman or a chauffeur. They’re doing it because they want to please you (especially on a first date), and wish to state implicitly that they will go to extreme and ridiculous lengths to make you happy (because, let’s face it, if they told women this explicitly on a first date it would probably come across as “creepy”).

Don Quixote Receives a Blow

Do women need a man to be happy? No, certainly not. And most men understand this. But you know what? It’s way easier to be happy when  someone besides just yourself is trying to make you happy. So if you’re a woman, don’t scoff at this admittedly foolish and impractical behavior. Don Quixote, as well as his sane sidekick Sancho Panza, were far happier indulging his delusions than suppressing them. So much so that when Alonso Quixano regained his faculties and discarded his chivalrous persona, Sancho Panza tried to convince him to take up his lance and armor for yet more adventure. Chivalry and romanticism, extravagant as it can be, as quixotic as it is, serves a purpose.

Don Quixote Reads a Sonnet

And that purpose is happiness.


Have you ever felt quixotic? Share your quixotic-ism below or by clicking HERE.

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3 responses

  1. Pingback: #AtoZ: K is for Knights-Errant, Kit and Caboodle, and Kitty-cornered | JaniceHeck

  2. I love this post. Thanks for sharing. You may single handedly bring back chivalry…

    Like

    April 20, 2014 at 9:33 am

    • I’m so glad you liked it! If I manage to single-handedly bring back chivalry, however, I will be impressed… by how easily everyone was persuaded. ;)

      Thanks for reading!

      Like

      April 20, 2014 at 9:09 pm

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