That day that’s coming up, the Saturday one, with the hearts and whatnot—it’s not about cards or candy or Fifty Shades of Grey teddy bears. It’s about chivalry. From pulling chairs out for someone to avenging... something for them.
It’s easy to forget that in a more genteel era, the pocket square wasn’t just a piece of sartorial flair—it served as a man’s first line of defense against a damp brow or a teary companion.
Which is why a little upstart pocket square maker out of Dallas named Quixotic has begun issuing a challenge: should any of their pocket squares get lost or ruined in the line of gentlemanly duty, they’ll send you a new one, free of charge. You’ll need to supply them with a good story or evidence of valor-related fraying or staining (which probably does not include mustard), and your chivalry will be rewarded. But first you’ll need one of their pocket squares...
In these tumultuous times, we’ve decided to revisit the rules of the past—to see if they’re really dead, and if so, if any are worth reviving. To kick it off, Kempt etiquette-tician and really polite soup-eater Gabby Kruschewsky looks at the rules of chivalry.
To start the assignment, I headed to the public library (libraries: also still real), where I came across a dusty tome, Esquire’s Guide to Modern Etiquette, published in 1969.
You’ve probably already noticed a few of them: the smarmy advertising, the kitsch, the awkward chivalry, the endless parade of overbooked prix fixes, the all-pervading sense of enforced sentiment, without sensitivity or regard for individual circumstance...
Sorry. We got carried away there.
But it’s important, because Valentine’s is letting down romance and it’s letting down the men and women of America. So we’ve come up with a single fix that will restore the day to what it should be, a single cure-all to restore it to the spontaneous, romantic expression February needs so much.
We’re not entirely sure how a Google search on pewter cufflinks and a series of errant mouse clicks led us to a transcript of the first (and possibly best) “self-help” book ever written for men reeling over matters of the heart. But it did.
Penned in 1184 by French poet Andreas Capellanus, The Rules of Courtly Love is simple, sound, and remains eerily relevant 900 years later. It turns out we have a lot more in common with medieval knights than we thought.