I had always been baffled by white knights – men who saw it as their purpose in life to save every woman from the consequences of her own ineptitude. Like many others, I thought men want sex, and white knighting is a strategy some men use to get it. The baffling part was that I had never seen this strategy actually work – I never saw a man get to sleep with the woman he so passionately tried to save. Why would masses and masses of men try to get sex with a method that never actually gets them laid? Don’t they realize their sexual strategy is not working?I find this idea more persuasive than the oft-heard one that the white knight is performing in search of sex. Too many times, I've seen men go into white knight mode on behalf of a woman they don't even know, don't intend to approach, and clearly have no expectation of ever meeting, let alone having sex with.
In truth, the white knight is not after sex.... On a deep level, he feels that it is women and women only who can grant him the honor he desires. When men condemn him, it is invariably the ‘wrong kind’ of men – their attacks don’t lead the white knight to doubt himself. If anything, when men oppose the white knight, the white knight takes this as a sign that he is doing something right, because he has upset an opposing tribe – that of lotharios and misogynists. What he prizes is female endorsement, for it is only women who can say with authority that he is a man of honor, as he has been told all his life.
And one thing I've noticed is that the white knight's behavior is always about him and how he sees himself, not about the woman he is defending. So, the idea that white-knighting is just a warped and misplaced sense of honor does make sense, if one accepts the idea that honor is a man's gift to himself.