My experience with White Knights is that you can never find one when you need one. I have to admit, though, that my experience is extremely limited. I'm usually the one to run to the rescue or defense of someone in need, rarely asking for a hand or shoulder when I've had the wind knocked out of me.
And then, of course, the raging sexism inherent in the whole Distressed Damsel/White Knight concept has always made me wretch just ever so slightly. First we have the fragile damsel, unable to cope, stranded and teary-eyed, calling out weakly for her only hope of salvation, which is, of course, embodied in a man. Enter the White Knight. He's clad in cold, hard armor, heroically available but conveniently untouchable. He's here in a moment, and gone just as swiftly, strong and silent, and as readily available to absolutely any other woman who bats a dewy eyelash at him.
Of late, however, I hate to admit that I've come to understand the inclination to turn to the occasional White Knight. A White Knight might be handy when things hit overload. What's unique about a White Knight is that you don't have to wait for the ax to actually fall for him to heed your call. No, he's there before the ax is even lifted above your pretty little head. Before it's picked up. He's there when the ax is still in the box. His role is to save the Damsel in Distress before her delicate whimper finds full voice. Shit, all a damsel has to do is break a sweat and nibble her nicely painted pinky nail, and he's on the scene. That's how valuable a White Knight can be. Should be. Is.
I've seen White Knights in action. They hold dainty hands, cradle crumpled bodies, comfort frazzled minds. They are the strongest and most solid, they're fearless and, best of all, they love being White Knights.
I have a dear friend who's a self proclaimed White Knight. He's wonderful. I've seen him in costume, as it were. He jumps into cars and planes at a moment's notice. He cancels his world and puts his relationships in jeopardy just to help the damsel d'jour.
Interestingly, the damsel doesn't have to be a would-be lover or current girlfriend, though I've seen those included. Nay, mostly she's an old girlfriend, a family member, a friend, a casual acquaintance or the neighbor of a casual acquaintance, but--and here's the clincher--she's always someone who would never return the favor were he in need. Of course, it's possible that an inherent part of being a White Knight is serving best those who value him least. Maybe the lack of returned consideration makes it all more heroic, more dramatic, more seemingly vital. It could be also that competent, healthy women don't summon White Knights. They merely ask friends for assistance.
I once watched my friend stop his world mid-spin to run to the aid of a most annoying woman he once dated. She called from the other end of the country to say that bees were in her bus. (No, it's not a euphemism. She actually summoned him because bees had gotten into the school bus she lives as she follows carnivals around the country. Don't ask.)
And the bees weren't actually in her bus, they were in the engine compartment of her bus. Now, starting the bus would have made those bees do something else, bringing about a solution of sorts, I've no doubt. Those bees might have left or dispersed or evacuated, for example. But, no, any such solution would have negated the need for a White Knight altogether. Her tiny brain clearly unable to come up with anything else, having thought and strained until little wisps of smoke emanated from her oddly large ears, she confidently settled on, "Oh, please, be my White Knight just once more. There are bees in my bus. Engine. Compartment...”
And, being a White Knight, my dearest friend called out from work, put his relationship with his current girlfriend in a treacherously precarious state and headed for the airport, saying, "She needs my help. No one else can do it.” And then, muttering through his fingers (because no man has balls that big), "I have to start her bus. There are bees in her bus. Engine...compartment...." And he was gone.
You can imagine the stunned and dejected look on Current Girlfriend's face. "There are bees in her what?" she called after him. "But why can't she just turn on the engine herself?”
He didn't break stride. He was, after all, a White Knight and he could not falter.
In keeping with the whole White Knight framework, this woman, this old girlfriend of his, had proven herself time and again to be someone who didn't worry about him. She'd never wasted a thought on his happiness or his sorrows. When they spoke on the telephone in the days, weeks, months following their break up, he told her, in response to her queries about his life, about his ever mounting troubles at a job he'd once loved. Of course, she asked only because she wanted to hear that he'd fallen apart since asking her to leave, and she wasn't at all pleased that, other than in his work life, he was happier, calmer, saner.
Okay, maybe not saner, the whole White Knight thing pretty much defying the concept of sanity, but you see where I'm going.
As I said, he's a wonderful man. He's been a true friend since we were children, and I've no doubt that he's one hell of a White Knight. I've not, however, had the pleasure of his rescue. Until recently, I didn't want the benefit of this particular talent of his. To the contrary, upon discovering his penchant for rescuing Damsels in Distress, I noted, with great vigor and, no doubt, volume, that I would never, ever, under any circumstances, play the part of the damsel d'jour.
“You just keep your Knighthood tucked away, there, my friend," I announced. "I can defend myself.”
Well, let me just say that I misunderstood the value of a White Knight. He's not merely someone who starts the engines of the push-up bra-ed, whiny voiced, addle brained faux-ettes you find flopping around unrestrained out there in the world. No. He's there for regular people, too. The best part is that (and this is really significant, so pay attention), in addition to holding dainty hands, cradling crumpled bodies and comforting frazzled minds, your average White Knight will defend one's honor. That, I have to say, is amazing. Who does such things?
Well, while I can't tell you who does do such things, I can tell you who doesn't. My very own, personal, ever ready, merely-a-phone-call-away White Knight. That's who.
As it turns out, no long ago, I slid into my maladjusted persona and decided that I needed some defending. Some pretty major defending, as I saw it, so I said to my friend, "You know all of that White Knighting you like to do so much? Well, I'm needing some defending--my honor having been put in great peril and all--and I was wondering if you'd take care of that for me."
And I followed this with my best faux, damseleque smile and, though I could be mistaken, I believe I simulated a bat or two of the eyelash.
My “situation” involved The Triplets, people my friend and I've both known for some time. It seemed to me that, my friend's reputation for valor being what it is, The Triplets might hear reason regarding my most recent faux pas were it to came from his lovely lips.
“All you have to do when The Triplets start to talk shit about me, and they will, is just whip out your trusty knife and...
“Sword. It's a sword.”
“Or it could be a lance, but it's not a knife. You said 'knife,' but a knight carries a sword. Or a lance.”
“Oh. Yeah. Whatever. So, just...”
“Well, I know it's only a metaphor, since I'm not really a knight or anything, but a knife doesn't make sense. I hate when you say things that make no sense.”
“Sword. Okay. Whip out your--so, do you whip out a sword? You draw a sword, right? Okay. Whatever. Just don't let me down. When they start to talk shit about me, please stick by me, philosophically, I mean. Stick up for me. When they talk shit, refuse to listen. Say, 'I won't listen. This is wrong.' Okay? They'll want you to listen, and maybe even to talk shit about me, too, but don't. Take any other path, but Do Not Listen to Shit.”
Now, he's aware that I've never been the Dial-a-White Knight type and, as such, haven't a a reserve of White Knights tucked away in a safe place. But, just as a reminder that he was It for me, I said, "I don't have any other White Knights, you know. You're It for me.”
I should have known that something was amiss when I looked into his beautiful blue, and frantically darting, eyes, just before hearing, I could swear, a faint gagging sound.
“Sure, he said, "No, it's good. Really. Right up my alley.”
And off he went, into the lion's den, for me, one of his dearest friends. And a damsel, to boot.
And back he came, having completely sold me down the river. I'll not bore you with the details, but trust me when I say that he did not start my bus for me. When The Triplets started talking shit about me, he went entirely into Every Man for Himself mode, and sold me right down the bloody river. Not only did he listen to the shit, he did it without hesitation, and, from his own rendition of the events, with true gusto.
In all fairness, he came back with absolutely no understanding that he had sold me out. He was shocked that I was less than thrilled with the results.
“But you don't understand, I did the best I could. The situation was very difficult. They were really pissed at you, really pissed. I did the only thing I could. I'm not sure I could have gotten out of there without them being, well, really pissed at me, too, if I hadn't listened. It's not like I agreed or anything. And the good news is that The Triplets seemed much happier now. I think they're going to be fine." He actually had the bad sense to smile, albeit weakly, at me.
“They're going to be fine? We wanted me to be fine! Of course they're going to be fine! They wanted to talk shit. You listened while they talked shit. YOU WHERE SUPPOSED TO DEFEND MY FUCKING HONOR!”
“But you don't understand. Even you would have listened! It was horrible! They were mad!”
And so it went, back and forth, to and fro, until, finally, he had to go home and I had to throw up. He didn't see that he'd failed as my White Knight--still doesn't to this day--and I don't see that he succeeded.
Of course, it could be that I asked him to exceed his authority as a White Knight. Maybe White Knights aren't in the business of defending honor any more. Maybe they never were. Would I know?
This much I can tell you. Even if I find that I do have another White Knight tucked safely away somewhere, unbeknownst to me, I can't imagine ever calling on one again. When it comes to things like fucked-with honor and bees in places that don't effect anything anyway, I'll pull my own knife and start my own engine from now on, thank you very much. It's easier to keep friends that way.
In celebration of the demise of my fleeting fantasy that White Knights might have a place in the more dysfunctional sections of my world, and the happy realization that, if I refrain from playing a helpless twit, I can avoid an opportunity to be disappointed by a friend, I made Chocolate Tassies. And, in keeping with the mood of the day, they were inedible.
I exaggerate. They were edible, I just don't know why anyone would bother. The crust was rather tasteless and bore a texture akin to wet paper, and the filling was chalky, at best. I can see how they would be a delicious dessert, but this recipe wasn't the one to make that happen. If you have a recipe that's good, I'd love to hear about it.
In the meantime, don't try this one without making some major changes.
(Recipe by Creative Chef on www.ifood.tv)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese, cold, cut into chunks
1 cup butter, cold, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons butter
2 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened chocolate
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (I omitted these)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
Place flour in large bowl. Cut in cream cheese and butter. Continue to mix until dough can be shaped into a ball. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Shape chilled dough into 1-inch balls. Press each ball into ungreased miniature (1 3/4-inch) muffin pan cup, covering bottom and side of cup with dough. Set aside.
Melt butter and chocolate in medium-sized heavy saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat.
Blend in sugar, vanilla, eggs and salt; beat until thick. Stir in pecans.
Spoon about 1 teaspoon filling into each unbaked pastry shell.
Even more appetizing when the cups are overfilled.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly browned and filling is set. Cool in pans on wire racks. Remove from pans; store in airtight containers.
I should have known that something was wrong when I read the final direction. In a recipe, “store in airtight containers” should never be the replacement direction for “eat with vigor,” don't you think?
Further proof that these babies were gross is that our chickens wouldn't go near them. Chickens, please note, will eat absolutely anything, including, but certainly not limited to, the remnants of a murder scene. These Chocolate Tassies, however, were shunned.