Tag Archives: Chivalry

Second Thoughts on Chivalry

I think I might have figured out part of the reason Chivalry is dead–because some men, (you can spot them because they’re usually wearing a fedora or a bow tie; the more romantic among them might sport a ruffled shirt or floor-length leather trench coat) use it as an excuse to lash out at women when they don’t bend over on the spot.  These guys (often referring to themselves as “gentlemen” or “nice guys”) believe that if they hold a door for a woman or pay for dinner, she “owes” them sex at the end of the night.  This is bunk, and women are sick of it. No wonder we get weirded out when people don’t hold doors!   There are men out there I wouldn’t let hold a door for me if it was leading into a room filled with bunnies where Walton Goggins and Clive Owen and Ewan McGregor were all there holding plates of tiny finger food to feed to me while I lounged on a soft couch watching 30 Rock.

So how about this, everyone.  How about we ALL hold the door for other people?  How about we pay for dinner if we know a friend is a little short on cash, and we help carry a pal’s luggage if it looks heavy or if the person is clearly burdened with packages.  If we get to the table first, we pull out the chair.

And everyone else, let’s try to say “hey, thanks” when other people perform nice tasks for us, hmm?  It’s 2013–let’s remove the gender politics from politeness.  And quit expecting things from other people.  Do good deeds from the heart, not because you think you might get something out of it.

 

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At Your Service, M’lady

“Women complain that chivalry is dead.  Maybe we have helped kill it.  A little patience on our part can revive it.  If you want to be the woman men rush to pull up a chair for, give them time to get there.” Arlene Dahl, Always Ask a Man.

My friend Ari & I were traveling to NYC over the weekend, meeting my friend Matthew & her husband, Pav.  I’ve known Ari & Pav since college; I attended their wedding last year and they’re both some of my dearest friends.  Ari is an actual genius and scathingly funny; Pav has a sweet face that is almost deceptive about his quick, wicked sense of humor.

When we got off the bus, Pav met us and immediately offered to carry my vintage red suitcase, which was sitting on the ground next to where we were waiting.  “How come you didn’t offer to carry my bags!” Ari joked.

Pav’s answer was priceless.  “I didn’t want to insult you,” he said.  “After that talk we had about gender roles.  I know you’re strong enough to carry your bag.”

It was a perfect example of both chivalry & love.  He respected her enough to know that his offering to carry her bags might be considered an act of disrespect for her strength and position as an independent woman.  But because I am their friend and in her company, it was a show of respect for me for him to offer to carry my bag, the same way a young man in love might offer to buy his girlfriend’s friends a round of drinks when he meets them for the first time.

I thanked him, but carried my own bag out of respect for their marriage.   But I do love it when a man carries my bag; Matthew does it whenever we’re together and Ian, who was raised by a fiercely independent mother who taught him that all parties carry what they packed, picked up my suitcase when I arrived at the train station at the end of the weekend, without me even clearing my throat and awkwardly pointing.