"It's odd that men feel they must protect women, since for the most part, they must be protected from men."
- Abigail Duniway
One of the true but uncomfortable facts of life is that men and women treat each other the same way they treat other resources -- food, money, shelter, possessions. "You are mine," goes the thinking, much of the time. Or, alternatively, "You should be mine."
You'll see this in women to some degree, both with guys they want as providers and with guys they want as friends (curiously, women don't seem as fixated on "keeping" men in the lover category), but where you'll really see it a lot is with men -- particularly, the kind of man who doesn't get the kind of success with women he needs to feel that women are an abundant resource.
That kind of man is what you might call a "white knight." And he sees it as his mission in life to "save" women he views as "damsels in distress" -- only to make them his, of course.
If you ask me, this "pretend heroism" is a particularly sleazy way to try and get girls.
I'll share a personal anecdote: while I was out of town a few months back, my girlfriend, in a stressful position then, took to confiding in people about, well, everything that could possibly bother her. And, of course, as often happens in relationships, one of the primary things she confided about was me.
As it were, one of the folks she confided to turned out to be a real white knight. He was a photographer on a shoot she did; while she modeled, she also talked. And she vented about me. And this noble, heroic man, he decided that my girlfriend needed to be "saved" from me.
"I have to be honest, while we were shooting photographs today, I felt something for you," he told her in an email message afterward. "I want to take care of you," he continued. "This guy, your boyfriend, he doesn't realize what he's got. Maybe because he's too young -- he doesn't know how to value a woman as amazing as you are. I would treat you so well," he told her. "I want to take care of you after you break up with your boyfriend."
Sigh... I go away for a few weeks, and this is what I get, huh? Here he comes to save the day.