Chivalry isn’t dead — but it seems to be hibernating

A few of my dates have had impeccable manners. Most weren’t brought up in a house of privilege. Some were taught how to treat a woman by their mothers. However, if their mother didn’t teach them, at some point they decided it was important to learn and practice chivalry.

What do I mean? Holding doors, holding the chair and seating a woman at a restaurant, opening the car door, helping put on and take off her coat, walking on the outside of the sidewalk, making sure she orders first, walking together instead of ahead. These aren’t big behaviors to learn and practice. However, I’ve noticed few men — even educated, successful, accomplished men — do any of them at all or if they do, it’s happenstance, not consistent.

Am I expecting too much? My women friends don’t think so. Nor do those who practice chivalry regularly. I love a gay friend escorting me to important events when I’m in between beaus, as he is the epitome of chivalrous.

So why don’t more men practice them, even if they are not with a woman they are interested in? Holding a chair for a coworker or standing when a gal pal walks into a meeting is over the top. But opening doors isn’t.

Are these hard behaviors to learn? Hardly. Carolyn Millet teaches classes on manners to 12-year-old boys. And she teaches the girls how to respond graciously.

I know sometimes women respond poorly to well-meaning chivalry. They confuse respectful manners with demeaning behaviors. I don’t. In fact, I think chivalry shows respect for a woman.

So how do we awaken the hibernating manners in a man? I employ the “catch him doing something right” technique. I always thank him when he opens the door, helps with my coat, etc. If I want him to help with my coat and he hasn’t in the past, I’ll gently hand him my coat as we’re leaving. Unless he’s really obtuse, he’ll get it. I tell him “I love it when you do chivalrous things. It makes me feel cherished.” Some get it. Others continue to hibernate. When they do awaken, they’ll find mating season is over.

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3 responses to “Chivalry isn’t dead — but it seems to be hibernating”

  1. Matt Avatar

    Whilst I agree with you whole heartedly on the subject of chivalry, please look at it from another point of view.
    For the last 30 years, men have had it made quite clear by of the more vocal ( and possibly misguided) feminists that women are quite capable of doing these things without male assistance.

    As result, it became (and sadly continues to be) fashionable to be abusive towards any man who opened a door or offered a seat on the bus.
    Would you continue to do something that just gets you an embarrassingly public torrent of abuse ?
    I suspect not.
    This doesn’t mean it is correct, or even that the majority of women agree with this viewpoint, but it certainly is an effective way to curtail that unsolicted goodwill.

    Grace and courtesy are things we see too little of, and I’m heartened to read that you do compliment a gentleman who does open the door, or pays you respect.
    Tell your friends, as that sort of thing makes us feel nice inside, and encourages us that politeness is not outdated ๐Ÿ™‚

    There can be no bad side effects from encouraging chivalry and good manners ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Matt Avatar

    “One of my friends teaches them to 12-year-old boys. And she teaches the girls how to respond graciously.”

    Only *one* of them ? Why aren’t *all* your friends teaching their children manners ? Huh,huh ?? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Matt, I should have been clearer. My friend teaches classes on etiquette to kids — and makes a good living doing so!

    Thanks for your comment. Glad to have a man’s perspective.