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.