My use of the term “white knight” in the last blog resulted in a comment that highlighted a very important fact: the term has now so many meanings that it’s practically meaningless.
We could be talking about:
*. Person who believes in defending those who can’t defend themselves, righting wrongs, etc. This is not without dangers and/or pitfalls (including sticking one’s nose where it firmly doesn’t belong, and finding it smeared all over one’s face), but it’s totally devoid of malice or any views to self-satisfaction. It’s just a certain type of person following his/her moral compass. (I do this shit allllll the time. It’s not clever, it’s not wise, and I couldn’t stop myself for love nor money.)
*. Person who has a weakness for helping people in distress because of an internal need. This white knight often ends up becoming a prey. Many people who are constantly in distress are so not because some sort of tragedy occurred or the world’s against them, but because they’re seriously fucked up. They learn to use their distress a way to get people to enable their fuckedupness. So we could be talking about a compulsion that could result in relationships based on codependency, exploitation, or outright abuse of the knight. (Incidentally, I lost one of my best friends ever to this sort of situation. So I’m not precisely unbiased.)
*. Person who uses being helpful or chivalrous as a way to get into someone’s knickers. This can vary hugely both in the malice/deviousness behind it and in how far the person will push in order to get “what they deserve”. It can range from “I’ll do something necessary and hope she takes an interest” to “I’ll do something nice and guilt her into dropping her panties” to “I’ve done something and now she owes me, so I’m going to get what’s mine”. So we’re varying from merely crossing fingers, to loansharking for sex, to someone who’s gonna flip out on you and feel righteous doing so.
This type is also open to, if not outright abuse, definite exploitation on the part of the person in need. Many friendzonings are actually cases of protracted taking advantage of someone’s not-entirely-devoid-of-sexual-connotations-but-good intentions. The person “in need” continues to string along the white knight, fully aware of the fact that they are preying on their hopes and without any intentions to either satisfy them or clearly state that they’ve got no effing chance.
*. Person who uses being not a complete dickface or an outright criminal as a “reason” why someone should have sex with them, e.g. “you were drunk last night and I didn’t take advantage of you, so now you owe me one”. Incidentally, this is often hailed as some sort of Third Wave Feminist imaginary monster, and it ain’t. I’ve had people say this sort of shit to me – once in front of friends who had been drinking with me the night before, and who don’t take kindly to predation. It was a fun time.
I really regret using the term in the first place. The context of hitchhiking and/or street life, however, do tend to narrow your likely options a lot.