Definition: (noun) valor, gallantry
Synonyms: courage; courtesy; courtliness; fairness; politeness; valiance
Antonyms: cowardice; fear; humbleness; humility
Chivalry is still alive, but fighting to survive.
In their valiant – and extremely necessary – effort to bolster women’s rights in the 1960s, feminists fought hard to equalize the genders. Chivalry became insulting…a threat to women’s equality. And, men became confused…and scared.
Hold the door open…or, let it swing shut behind them? Pull the chair out…or, sit down and get down to business?
Different does not mean unequal. So why is it that equality has to be threatened when comparing anything? Are a banana and an orange different? Obviously. Does this difference make them unequal? Of course not. Potassium is as necessary for our health as Vitamin C…and, sweet is just as pleasing as tangy.
Do we really want chivalry to go the way of rotary telephones and record players? Have we really replaced it with something better?
Most of today’s women are fascinating enigmas: strong and nurturing, tough and sensitive, capable and emotional. Most are secure enough to be the recipient of a man’s respectful chivalrous efforts without feeling threatened or insulted.
Guys…don’t be afraid. Just use common sense and respect. If you’re a bit rusty, here are several ideas:
- Open doors and pull out chairs for her
- If you’re newly dating, don’t rush the physical
- Kiss her softly on the cheek…or on the hand the proper way (by lowering yourself to her)
- Help her put on her jacket…if she doesn’t have one, offer yours
- Hand her a dryer-warmed towel after her shower
- Be on time
- Walk slightly ahead of her when going down stairs
- Defend her in public [and discuss it in private later]
- Compliment her in front of others…not just her looks, but her accomplishments
- Turn down her sheets at night
- Walk on the street side of the sidewalk
- Don’t swear in front of her
- If she knows you well enough to feel safe, pick her up for your date
- Don’t text her too much…let her hear your voice.
- Occasionally text her quickie ‘I’m thinking about you’ or ‘I love you’ messages
- Walk her up to the door when you drop her off
- Carry the bags when shopping
- Call her when you say you will
- …and, of course, take her on lots of unique dates!
Now…back to equal rights. Chivalry goes both ways. Here are some chivalrous ideas for the women…
- Slow down and walk beside him
- Massage his shoulders after a long day of work
- Tell him you believe in him
- Request…don’t command
- Say please and thank you often
- Compliment him in front of others
- When out together, don’t talk about him to others as if he’s not there
- Don’t overdo the public displays of affection
- Be on time
- Give him your full attention when you’re with him
- Don’t treat him like your girlfriend
- …and, of course, spoil him with a date you’ll know he’ll enjoy!
The good news? There are very few expectations any more when it comes to chivalrous behavior so it takes very little effort to shine.
The bad news? There is none when it comes to two people going out of their way to honor each other…whether you’re on your first or 101st date.
You know what else is chivalrous? Knowing what to do and not do on a date.