As I was walking down the street just a moment ago, I came across a puddle where the sidewalk dipped down at the intersection. Making a hop-skip over it, I noticed that coming the other direction was a soon to be damsel in distress. …Distressed in that there would be no chivalrous male (i.e. me) to throw down his jacket over the puddle so that she may tread upon it without fear of damage or dirt coming to dainty feet.
Well, for one thing I had no jacket. But more importantly is just–buh? I AIN’T GONNA DROP MY COAT ON A PUDDLE SO YOU CAN WALK ON IT!
So I had to wonder where exactly this traditional act of honor came from. It doesn’t seem likely to me that men’s jackets were more waterproofed on a general basis than they are these days–and the self-drying jacket that Michael J Fox wore in Back to the Future (3?) has yet to be invented. So, treading on a cloth jacket lying on a puddle would have little effect except to make the jacket get wetter–while still getting a good bit of liquid on the feet of the treader. Mud, however, might be a good target as even if the water gets through, at least the dirt won’t. …But that would be even worse for the jacket.
In short, is there any historical accuracy to men actually going to such lengths? Or if not, where in the heck did such a story come from?