Chivalry should be dead–and it should stay that way

I see “chivalry” pop up time and again in posts in the personal and relationship blogs. A lot women think that chivalry is dead. Over and over again I see posts about dating and relationships wherein women are lamenting the disappearance of chivalry. And in response to this, I’ve decided to call a big, huge “bullshit!” on behalf of all men.

Chivalry is dead and it should stay that way. I’m sorry if that offends you, ladies, but it’s time to get over it. And I think that there are some very compelling reasons why it should be dead. Let’s start, shall we?

1. “Be chivalrous..but not too chivalrous.” No. Just, no. Stop it, women. This sentiment and others similar to it are just ridiculous. Apparently women want to be simultaneously treated like princesses and fiercely independent amazons. We can’t read your goddamned minds. So stop holding us to personalized standards that exist only in your head, and then being disappointed when–surprise!–we fail to clairvoyantly determine what exactly “the right amount of chivalry” is for you. Which leads me to my next point…

2. There is nothing genuine about chivalry. It’s a social convention. Like asking someone how they’re doing. Most of the time you don’t actually want to know what’s new with a person or how they’re doing–but asking is the socially polite and acceptable thing to do, so you do it. The same goes for chivalry. If men feel like they’re expected to open doors and pull out chairs, then it’s really an empty gesture; they’re just going through the motions. It doesn’t show attention or emotion, it’s just something men feel socially obligated to do. And speaking of…

3. Most men are probably only chivalrous to get into your pants. Not only are all of those chivalrous gestures empty and hollow, but they’re probably only being used to get sex. Does the guy you’re with hold doors open for men? For other women? Oh, just you? Really, you don’t say. I wonder why he would only pay you special attention…hmm…I wonder, could it be because he wants access to your vagina? Vaginas are a nice segue into my last point…

4. Why don’t I deserve to have doors opened and chairs pulled out for me? Because I don’t have a vagina? I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that having tits and a vag gave you special privileges. Here I am, stupidly going through life thinking that everyone deserves to be treated equally and fairly, when all along women are really more special than men. Golly gee whiz. I guess it’s just my lot in life as a man to perpetually be in servitude of women. Oh wait, that’s sexist bullshit. I almost forgot.

All chivalry does is reinforce bullshit gender stereotypes that shouldn’t exist in the 21st century. Women are the weaker sex. Men have to protect women because they’re helpless creatures. Blah blah blah. Women fought long and hard to gain equal rights, and chivalry seems to fly in the face of that. But I have a theory about what this chivalry nonsense is really about.

Women want to feel special.

They want to feel loved, they want to feel like they have your attention. And I totally get that. Because everyone feels that way, even men. So why is there no male equivalent of chivalry? Probably because it’s an outdated, sexist idea. But more to the point, chivalry is not the best way to show someone that you’re interested in them or care about them.

Try listening. And not just nodding and whatever, but actively listening. Having a real conversation, showing a real interest in someone’s thoughts, ideas, and feelings; confiding in another human being is incredibly intimate. Try a small, thoughtful, gesture. And no, not a gesture like holding a door open. Try remembering a little detail and using it create a small gift. Take a surprise trip somewhere. Leave them a cute little note. Or, you could always try physical contact. Holding someone’s hand goes a long way. And you know what the great thing about all of these ideas is?

They work for everyone.

Women, if you want a quality guy, you want to find the man who treats everyone with respect. The guy who isn’t chivalrous, but polite to all. Someone who doesn’t just blindly follow social conventions and “dating rules.” Instead, try and find a guy who seems interested in you and actually shows it by not being a tool, but by doing genuine, meaningful things. Yes, chivalry is dead. But you deserve better than chivalry. Long live respect and authenticity.

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4 thoughts on “Chivalry should be dead–and it should stay that way

  1. All your points are pretty right on. I think the problem comes from people wanting catchphrases to express the complexities and subtleties of life. Sure, we can talk about how you need to listen to someone and that individual’s personality should shape how you feel and act. And we can try to take time to figure out why a relationship didn’t work and why it’s hard to find the right person, or blame it on something simple and broad like chivalry.

    I will add, I hold doors open for everyone. I just think it’s an easy and polite thing to do and never thought of it as chivalrous (unless you were talking about opening car doors, an act I find awkward and ridiculous).

  2. You know what? I hold doors open for both men and women equally. I just call it being polite. But here in Japan, no one does this! Chivalry really is dead in Japan. Or I should say that it never existed. It’s a completely western concept.

  3. Love your rants Ryan! lol This was a good one. I have had arguments before with those that are of a more old-fashioned mindset and some younger people too, but I think that the desire for chivalry is less now than it was even 20 years ago. I do think chivalry can also often be a mask for someone not doing nice things for them. I think most people if they feel loved, safe, and fulfilled emotionally they aren’t going to complain too much about the chivalry. The problematic ones, are those who use a lack of chivalry on a first date as a sign that someone isn’t nice and I disagree with that judgment of course. I think the key is to demonstrate thoughtfulness and there are plenty of ways to demonstrate that…from both sides of a relationship. Those niceties are important, but I think laundry list of what constitutes thoughtfulness is less rigid today and as a man we should certainly not feel wrong for expecting an equal amount of thoughtfulness in return from a woman.

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