Chivalry Is Not Dead
Alright Gentlemen, let’s talk about chivalry. There is a lot of talk nowadays, and you hear this often, that “chivalry is dead.” While it is surely easy to believe this and follow this idea, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only is chivalry not dead, but now is the time when it is needed the most.
In today’s world, there is a new line that men have to straddle. It used to be expected that men would act in this certain way, the way of a gentleman. There were practices that were done simply because you were a man, and she was a woman, their strength and independence were suppressed for the sake of propriety. Today, women are stronger, more independent, and refreshingly outward with these traits. It is sometimes difficult to know where chivalry ends, and sexism begins with the mindset of gender equality today.
The key to staying on the respectful side of the line, is intentions. When you hold the door open for a woman, it is not because they can’t, it is not because you are now expecting reparations in the form of her phone number. It is simply done for the sake of being polite. The purpose of being chivalrous is not because we believe that women are inferior to us, or superior in any way. The purpose is that we hold them to high level of respect, because we wouldn’t be here without them.
With that in mind, I have put together a list of practices that every man should begin doing as soon as possible. Whether it is a girl you are dating, a girl you are crushing on, a girl you are just friends with, or a random person you meet on the subway, these are behaviors that every woman is entitled to. Not because they demand it, not because they need it, but because they deserve it.
The idea is simple, we know that you are strong enough, and smart enough, and capable enough to open doors, pull out your own seat, and make it to your door on your own. Just because you can do it all on your own, doesn’t mean you should have to.
1- She is always first.
Most of what chivalry is can be defined by this ideal. Whatever facet of life you are living, if you put her first, you will never go wrong. When you go out, open the door to the restaurant and let her go first. When you find your table, let her sit first. When the waiter is taking your order, yeah, you guessed it. The bottom line is, SHE. IS. FIRST.
This doesn’t mean that if you are walking down a dark alleyway that you send her first, or walking down stairs for that matter. In those situations, you lead the way. If you are in a crowded club where getting to your destination will require some pushing through, you lead the way. There is a difference between leading physically, and putting her first. It means you are putting her first in your mind.
No matter how new or how old the relationship is, the key to success is that each of you put the other first. If you put her interests before your own, and she puts your interests before her own, you’re both being selfless . . .and guess what, you both get to come first. Funny how that works, right?
Argument- What if she doesn’t put me first? Easy . . .she isn’t the one. If you put her first all the time, and she takes advantage of that and doesn’t return the sentiment, then she is not the right person for you. Note . . .there is a difference between not putting you first, and not putting you first, yet. You may have to take that leap first, and there is nothing wrong with that. Women are smart, they will notice you putting them before yourself, and they will return the sentiment.
2- Offer your coat
There will, inevitably, be a moment when you are out with a woman and you decide to take a walk. Whether it is along a pier, or down a sidewalk to window shop, or even back to the car after dinner. You will notice that she is leaning in closely to huddle up against your arm, or she is hugging herself. Or, the even more obvious, she is shivering visibly. This is a moment for you to show your knowledge of etiquette and offer your coat.
Most men’s outfit choices have a coat that can go along with it wonderfully (If you have been reading my earlier articles . . .you already know this). We have pretty basic styles that are very easily paired with the perfect coat to keep ourselves warm. Women’s clothing is not so simple. What they wear with a little black dress on a night that is on the brink of being cold or hot is a mystery to me. I won’t pretend to know how women’s fashion works. The only thing I do know, is that they don’t have a ton of options for warmth, and when they dress up for a date, it is for you. If it was up to them, they would be in comfy sweats and fuzzy socks. Sure, there is the feeling they get when they know they look good, same as us. However, no one would wear six inch heels and uncomfortable underwear unless there was a reason. So don’t be a schmuck, and hand over your coat for the short walk.
Argument- What if I get cold? There is no easy way to say this so I will just come right out and say it. Man up. When it comes to comfort, put hers first. Give over your coat and make sure she is one hundred percent comfortable. If you do get cold, she will probably see it. And, if she is the right one (See above) she will do her best to make sure you are comfortable too. Whether that means walking faster, ducking into a shop, or abandoning the walk for a cab.
3- Stand up
There are some questions floating around today regarding the outdated status of certain chivalrous behaviors. While some have been updated, and some have been forgotten, one that will never end, is standing up.
This doesn’t just apply to women. When you are at work and a co-worker comes in, stand up. When your boss walks in, stand up. This doesn’t mean all day, every time someone walks into your office, at some point you have to work. This means that the first time you see someone in the day, you should acknowledge them by standing.
When you think about standing up for someone when they walk into a room, or when they arrive at your table, or when they leave the table, consider what you are saying. What’s more, consider what you are saying when you don’t stand. You are saying that they are not important to at that moment. Imagine seeing an old friend for the first time in years, you always stand. Whether it is to give them a hug, or shake their hand, you always rise to greet them. That is because they are very important to you at that moment. Treat the people in your life the same way all the time.
Argument- Will I make others look bad if I stand and they don’t? Short answer, maybe. When I was in the Army, I was serving in Washington D.C. and there was a large crowd of people downtown. A woman dropped her purse and things went rolling everywhere. No one stopped to help her at first, just walked around her. Treated her like an inconvenience, actually, including myself.
Then one man stopped, took the time to bend down and start helping. Then another, and another. By the time it got to me, everything had been picked up. It was contagious once that man lead the way, and I felt like a complete schmuck. I should have helped, we all should have, but it took someone else to take that first step to cause a chain reaction. Doing the right thing should never not be done due to the possibility that the person not doing anything will feel bad.