To Galahad – Noun

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Going through the draft folder and trying to clean it up, I came across a saved quote from a conversation from months ago.  Recalling that conversation it was about how men randomly and rapidly appear in the timeline of a female and particularly in DMs to offer support, outrage, comfort and a number of other seemingly non-threatening things.

It’s a well known pattern for females.  The problem is that how are they to know these expressions are genuine ?

On the Internet it’s all too easy to read someone’s tweets, funny, sad, poignant and distressing and create a mental picture of a whole personality.  Of course that mental picture is nothing like the real person and yet there’s a peculiar instinct to believe that this real person would benefit from your involvement.

A lot of men have a self image of decency, honour and protecting women to some sort of mythic standard.  I call it the White Knight Syndrome; my friend suggested :-

How about we just use :

To Galahad – noun

The care and concern of a decent person to offer a hand in support to a person in distress.

How the White Knight sees himself

It’s a very perceptive way of describing the behaviour.  The White Knight longs to come riding to the rescue on his charger and save the damsel – whether the damsel actually wants to be saved or not.  Invariably, she doesn’t.

The first question she asks is “who is this creepy guy ?”.  Next up, “what is he after ?”

This next bit is a disservice to the small minority of Galahads who actually are their self-image.  They are hard to spot because the essential element is constancy and gaining trust and that takes time.  Their reward is to find a friend, someone to converse with.

Most of the Galahads would be appalled to think that they don’t come over according to their self image as a saviour.  They’ve heard of male feminists, #MeToo and are invariably adherents of #NotAllMen.  They want to show their support and empathy for the damsel in distress.  The vision often goes beyond that, in saving her, or waking the princess with a kiss where they then ride off into the sunset with her on the back of the charger.  In the vernacular, he sees a possibility of getting his end away with an idealised princess.

by Noel Paton
1884 — by Noel Paton — Image by © Fine Art Photographic Library/Corbis

It has to be said that those are the relatively harmless ones.  Providing they’re not encouraged they will slip away.  To the credit of some it will be because they recognise that their attentions are not wanted.  Others simply because they don’t get attention in return.

Yes, I know that many men spout the hashtags and assume they now get a free pass.  For many it is a way of pretending they don’t have male privilege and entitlement.  For some it is a means of hiding male privilege and entitlement in the broad glare of daylight – no one will call them out because they are so woke.

What he visualises as the reward from his grateful damsel

Then, of course, there’s the Galahads that give them all a bad name.  Often we don’t know who they are until after they’ve done evil.  As a community we’re very bad at policing them.

In the days of Informed Consent, one in particular would even call himself a white knight in the forums, where he posted poetry and tales of his good deeds.  Yet, a very close friend of mine had a restraining order against him and a panic button direct to the Police Station.  Forum rules and the site’s fear of legal action meant that none of this could be made public.  We’re still stuck in that rut, be it FetLife or Facebook or Twitter or any of the myriad of social media platforms.  They do evil and they’re free to do it again because it’s everyone’s dirty secret except the next poor victim.

We all agree that we need better systems in place, but have no real idea of how to do it legally to avoid defamation and libel suits.  I continue to rack my brain.

That Sir Galahad so often turns out to be The Black Knight it is, therefore, no surprise that those few who are genuine feel aggrieved that they are treated with suspicion.  However, a Galahad that does not understand, is indeed resentful, of that suspicion is no genuine Galahad.