THE BLOG

To My Stepson: Chivalry Is Not Dead

02/13/2015 03:20 pm ET | Updated Apr 15, 2015
Kim Schenkelberg

It is your senior year, and you are so busy that we rarely see you anymore. Every time you do something, I think, "This is the last time you will ____." I keep wondering if we will have enough time to teach you all the things we want you to know before you leave for college. Probably not. Life is an endless opportunity to learn, and there are so many lessons that won't come from your dad, your mom or me, your favorite stepmom.

There is one thing I want to be sure to impart to you before you go. I know that I do not actually need to tell you this, though. You are smart, kind, responsible, and all-around a great person. So really, I'm just saying it to remind you of the chivalry you already possess.

When you go to college, there will be a lot of opportunities. Some will be amazing and life-changing. Others will be lessons learned and times of personal growth. You may find yourself at a party where everyone is getting insanely trashed from God knows what. I know there will be many people making poor choices at this party for that very reason. More importantly, many girls will be drunk and making choices they would not normally make. Her poor choice of getting intoxicated is not an opportunity for you to take advantage of the situation. Be the man who steers her away from the guy who has been carefully watching her all night long for less than admirable purposes. Be the man who makes sure she is walked home safely. Make sure she locks her door after she drunkenly says "good night." She is somebody's daughter, sister or loved one, and they would want to know that she is being looked out for when she has had a little too much to drink. Just as you would want someone to watch out for your little sisters. Just as I would want someone to watch out for you.

Did you know that it is not uncommon for alcohol to be supplied at parties to females for the purpose of getting them drunk? Nice, fruity-tasting alcohol so loaded that a girl is trashed before her third 8-ounce solo cup. I remember going to those parties. I was so naïve. I thought the drinks were there just to make sure people came and had a good time. I am sure that was the intention of quite a few of the people providing the drinks. I have also learned that for others, the intention is to get someone drunk and take advantage of them for sexual reasons. I want to make sure you are aware of this tactic. Others may disagree, but to me, getting someone drunk for the sole purpose of hoping their inhibitions are down enough to consent to sex (or hoping they'll be too drunk to fight someone off) is rape. I can tell you, many people will read this and say that a girl should not have put herself in the situation -- and they will blame her. You need to know where you stand on this.

You will soon be pursuing your own adventures and accomplishing your own goals. You will have many opportunities! And remember, every woman you meet is someone's sister or daughter. Chivalry is not dead, as some believe. It is inside you. You will have the opportunity to prove that wherever you go.

A version of this post originally ran on It's Really 10 Months. You can also find Kim on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.