If you couldn’t tell from the title alone, I am going to be frank on the subject of chivalry. Let me first define chivalry; a male moral or social code of courteous behavior to the female counterpart. Chivalry is best described by such actions as men opening and holding doors for women, a man giving up his seat to a woman when necessary, or a man pulling out a woman’s chair as they prepare to dine. Chivalry are the niceties that men do to show women respect. So often I hear “chivalry is dead” or “chivalry is a dying trend.” I disagree with the first complaint because chivalry is definitely not dead, however the latter statement is true because women (and men) are responsible for the decline of chivalry. I am not putting much emphasis on the responsibility of men, particularly because women we are leaders and as of late we have become too passive in this area. Ladies before you judge and berate me for my opinion, let’s think about this for a second. How many times have you been out with a man and stepped aside to allow him to open the door for you? How many times have you waited at the car door (doesn’t matter what door) to have the man open the door for you? How many times have you played a role in being passive to chivalry?
See I can ask these questions because I was the independent woman opening my own doors or pulling out my own chairs. I was the woman who was with a man who didn’t attempt to open doors for me, but I didn’t call him on it and I allowed it to become the norm. I was passive to chivalry. It’s not that I didn’t know what chivalry was; my father taught me this a long time ago! I had gotten so comfortable with being independent that the chivalrous behavior of men was an after thought. I got to the car door, I naturally opened it and got in the car. I got to the door first, I naturally opened the door and walked in. If we went grocery shopping, I naturally grabbed some bags before going in the house. All these things were so natural to me, but they were taking away the responsibilities of the man. I was not setting high expectations of how I wanted and ought to be treated. I didn’t think chivalry was a big deal. However it is a big deal, and it is especially important to establish this in the initial dating phase. Ladies, men will only do what you allow them to do. It takes a caring and respectful man to address things you allow him to get away with, otherwise, some men won’t say a word and have the mentality “if she doesn’t care, then why should I?” As leaders it is our responsibility to be assertive about what we want and expect, and what we will not settle for!
Now the other side of the argument is that the lines of what is chivalrous has become distorted by the ‘hollering’ and ‘game-spitting.’ (Damn I sound old) The previous argument was mainly about chivalry in dating and relationships; it’s about setting expectations. Here I am talking about strangers who’ve made it hard for women to judge if a man is just being chivalrous or being a pervert. Some men are just chivalrous by nature regardless if they know you or not, but then you have those men who have a motive. I’ve experienced a man who happens to being walking ahead of me purposefully slow down so that he can open the door for me to look at my butt. I can imagine fellas playing devils advocate and saying “well how do you know he was trying to cop a peek?” Fellas if you don’t know anything about women, know that women know when a man is being sneaky, when he’s trying to catch a peek, and when he’s about to say something sleazy, “damn you look good” or “hey sexy.” Women can tell that stuff from a mile away and men do not know how to be discreet! So yes I understand why some women are leery of men and do not allow them to be chivalrous. I’ve had to tell a creepy man to “go ahead” and I take the door myself and walk in behind him to avoid feeling like an object as I walk past. So fellas, if you are trying to be chivalrous and get an annoyed look from a woman, don’t take it personal, just understand she is not sure what your motive is and she encounters a lot of bullshit from men on a daily basis. There are a lot of men who spend time talking game and being disrespectful, which makes it a little difficult to discern when a man is just being a gentleman.
The moral of the story is, allowing a man to be chivalrous is not a weakness for women. It is not about emasculating women, and rather it is a sign of respect. Ladies we have to take ownership of our actions and we deserve to be treated with respect. Forget about this new modern way of thinking, which we sometimes over-analyze the simplest things. For god-sake when did opening a door become sexist? I am not telling you to teach a man to be chivalrous, but I am suggesting to set your expectations high and sometimes show him what you deserve. Don’t be so quick to walk in front of him to get to the door first. Walk by his side and allow him to open the door, and politely stand there if he does not. He’ll get the point, but if it takes him too long to get it, then that’s not your job to teach him. I only know this because I had to be reminded of this in my relationship. Anytime I dare reach for a door or car door handle to let myself in, my boyfriend says “Oh so you’re feeling independent today huh” and immediately I move my hand and step aside. I remember one particular time when an older man watched my boyfriend open my car door, and the man said to him “It’s nice to see a young man opening the door for his lady.” It’s not that young men are not chivalrous and do not know how to act, it’s that women have allowed them to get away with being less than chivalrous. Oh yeah and ladies stop complaining about the lack of chivalry if you contribute to the decline. Instead, join me in reviving this dying trend and making a conscious effort to expect more and not settle for less! #DatingDo