Chivalry Is Not Dead, Just Outdated


It was our first date. I don't want to use her real name, so we'll call her Georgia, since that's where she grew up. Now I believe it's possible to hypothesize how a date will go within the first five minutes of interaction; especially if those five minutes take place in a car where conversation is much more intimate. We were on our way to a restaurant, which wasn't close, so I had a mental list of subjects for us to discuss during the journey to dinner. It couldn't have gone better. The ride to the restaurant was full of laughter and we were there in what felt like seconds. I was pumped. This date was going well, until we reached the front door of the restaurant.

I noticed a change after we walked in. Something in her attitude seemed ill toward me. She suppressed it, though, until we arrived back at the car. Again she seemed surprised, even irritated. Then it hit me. Georgia was angry with how I walked in first at the restaurant and how I didn’t open the door for her at the car. The fact I wasn’t opening doors was ironically closing the door on this date. Which raises an important question, are her reasons for being upset at my lack of door awareness justified?

Chivalry is an interesting topic. In general, I believe the expectation of it is relative. Georgia is from Georgia and I haven't lived there, but I'm sure the southern male is more prone to the opening of doors, offering his coat, pulling back a woman's chair, and throwing his coat over a puddle. But even though I grew up in Pittsburgh, I'm usually great about the door thing. Well, at least at restaurants or public places. One time at the mall, I held a door open for 14 people in a row. I even counted in case I ever needed to reference it in a blog. But when it comes to the opening of the car door, I'll be honest, I don't believe it's necessary. I actually think that a girl expecting these examples of chivalry is almost outdated. Instead, I think girls should expect more from us than the simple opening of doors.

Why do I think it’s outdated? Let me use Mad Men as an example. Mad Men is a show that features a lot of its male characters partaking in typical chivalry, but do any of those characters help clean the dishes after dinner? Do the men make dinner (and not just on the grill)? Do the guys share in all the duties of the children? Do you ever seen Don Draper cleaning the house? Do the fellas sit down and make a point to genuinely hear how their wives' days were? Do any push to have the opposite sex’s opinions heard at the dinner table over all the loud male egos? No, none of that ever happens on Mad Men.

Granted, the show takes place in the 1960s, but that only proves my point. The chivalry of that time has transcended to something deeper and I think the girls who expect the old way simply shouldn’t. Contemporary chivalry is men doing everything in their power to make sure women are happy, constantly and consistently. And if me opening that car door for Georgia would make her happy, I absolutely would have opened it for her on our next date, if there had been one.

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