After dating for almost ten years of my life I have to ask myself is chivalry dead? Are my expectations of a man opening a door and helping me with my coat, old school? I wonder about this as I date in the new millennium, where women want to be treated as equal to men and not be looked as inferior. I have friends who say that chivalry is not expected but is also not desired, that if a man tried to open a door for them they would be offended because they can open their own door.
During this discussion, I thought it was important to define chivalry because it is easy to have a disagreement when things are not clearly defined. For the purposes of this story, chivalry is defined as, a man being courteous towards a woman; this includes demonstrating bravery in the defense of a woman. This explanation is by no means exclusive of what defines a man as chivalrous but hopes to hit the primary characteristics of a chivalrous man.
I went on a first date with a guy who we will call Dan. Dan was a nice looking, tall man who could hold a decent conversation. Our first date proceeded without any major incidents. As we approached the door I could tell that we were both staring at the doorknob to see who would open the door. I immediately noticed that he did not reach for the doorknob and since I preferred not to stand somewhere and look absolutely ridiculous, I opened the door. I thought this was weird particularly because my hands were full carrying leftovers. Dan walked me to my car and I agreed to give him a ride home. He invited me in and I accepted. After talking for a while he stood up and poured himself a glass of water. He sat back down next to me and drank his water. I thought to myself “WTF? I want water too?” So I asked, “Can I have a glass of water too?” He replied, “Oh, yeah”, got up and poured me a glass of water. I drank a little bit of my water but I was simply annoyed. One, he did not open the door, two, he did not offer me a glass of water, and three, he did not meet me at the door of the bar but instead sat in the most hidden area of the bar, so I had to look for him. Needless to say I was displeased, so I knew it was time for me to leave. I grabbed my coat and said, “It is getting late, I think it is time for me to go home.” He said, “Okay”, opened the door and then leaned in to get a kiss. I turned my head so he could only kiss my cheek.
I was so pissed. I gave this ass whole a ride home and now I did not know how to get home because he was not man enough to walk me out to my car or even show me to the beltway. I knew at the moment that a second date was not needed. He was not the man for me. Who lets a single female, and might I add a pretty single female, walk alone to her car late at night? A coward and an ass hole?
The next day I called my friend to tell her about my awful date. She proclaimed that he was probably nervous because many men get confused about how to treat a woman. In her opinion, chivalry is dead and not needed. She feels I am high maintenance and I will loose good opportunities with good men because I am worried about the small stuff.
So I thought about it, was I being high maintenance and worried about the little things? After great deliberation I decided that no, I was not. I want what I want and I did not need to be ashamed about it. I want to feel safe with a man. I am a ride or die type of chick. Meaning if my man gets into something I would have his back through the thick of the storm. However, with Dan, I felt if a mugger approached us he would throw my purse to them, lift up my dress, and run the other way.
I found it extremely interesting that my friend would have this reaction, especially since she made it clear that her husband had to pay all the bills in the house. I felt like that was a double edge sword. She feels comfortable with her husband paying all of her bills and giving her an allowance; which in my opinion was more controlling and domineering than a man opening a door or defending her from a mugger. I do not feel comfortable with a man paying all my bills or having complete financial control over me. In fact, I find that prospective to be more old school than a man being chivalrous to me.
I wonder if this difference between she and I the reason for the poor manners in so many of the men I meet. I do not need a man to open a door or defend me but it feels nice to have a man attentive to my needs. In fact, it turns me on when a man can determine my needs before I tell him. This attentiveness is such a rarity that when it happens, the man automatically moves up on my list from friend to potential boyfriend.
So is chivalry dead? No, definitely not. While I know a few friends who think it is overrated, I know more friends who find it as a complete turn on. These friends, like me, have found it rare for a man to show chivalry, respect and some slight since of decency toward them. As a woman dating in the new millennium, I meet all types of men. Men who lie, cheat, and are unsure of what they want in a woman or even out of life. So I find it refreshing to meet a man who does not try to determine how to treat a woman based upon the woman, but instead has set his own standards for how to treat a woman; even if some consider it old school. Changing one’s style based upon another causes people to forever redefine themselves and could possibly cause that person to loose themselves in the other person. So my opinion, be yourself and stay true to what makes you happy. The right one will come along.
With this said, I have decided not to go out with Dan again. Although, he continues to show interest with phone calls and text, which is also a nice feeling and rarity for a man to show complete interest when a woman is not returning it, I prefer not to waste his time. Thus far, I have been polite but if he asks me out on another date I will have to decline. I just do not want to be forced to touch a germy doorknob and I do not have the time to teach manners. I still cannot comprehend why he did not offer me a glass of water. It was just a glass of water. It was not as if I was asking for the 200-year-old bottle of wine in the cellar.