Chivalry is Not Dead, You Just Don’t Know What It Is

by Michael on December 10, 2009 · 0 comments

Can't buy you love, except in Vegas. (Photo by AMagill)

Can't buy you love, except in Vegas. (Photo by AMagill)

The argument about whether chivalry is or isn’t “dead” has been raging for, well, about as long as there’s been a definition for the word “chivalry.”

Unfortunately, the biggest problem I see is that no one’s really sure what it is.

Today Steve Santigati (the guy who supposedly inspired The Ugly Truth, to which I say please try not to inspire a sequel) went on a long diatribe about whether women are “killing” chivalry. Unfortunately, the entire post was about money. Should a guy spring for the check, should he buy expensive gifts, money, money, money.

We’ve already discussed whether or not you should pay the tab on a date. There’s not much debate there, although it’s curious that despite Steve’s supposed bad-boy attitude, he believes in paying for all the dates for the first couple months of a relationship. I certainly wouldn’t go that far, but the responsibility at the very beginning is yours.

But that’s not what chivalry is. Not even close.

I don’t blame Steve for thinking that — in fact I’d guess that most guys (and a few women) think it has something to do with buying dinners and expensive gifts. There are men who will pull out their wallet at the drop of a hat to “prove” they’re worthy of the woman they’re with.

But chivalry is actually a code of knighthood from medieval times, and what we normally refer to is its application to relationships. And you can be chivalrous without much money at all, by using a secret ninja trick called common courtesy.

When you’re both getting in your car, open her door and let her in first so she doesn’t have to stand around outside. At a restaurant, if her chair is tucked under the table when you arrive, pull it out for her. If she’s walking behind you through a door, don’t let it close on her. If she’s cold, lend her your coat. If she’s wet, hold the umbrella.

Simple. Easy. Free.

Is it dead? Well, if you believe common courtesy is dead — and some do — then maybe. But that’s not women’s fault, and by not following at least some of this code, guys really mess with their chances of getting that second, third or fourth date. No one likes some goon in front of them blowing through a door without paying attention to whether someone is right behind, but at least when a guy does it in front of me, I can chalk it up to a really stupid attempt at being “alpha.” When it’s your date behind you, she’ll just think you’re socially inept.

In reality, though, I see plenty of guys loosely observing the code of chivalry. It may no longer passed down from father to son, but it’s out there. It’s compatible with “game.” And now that you understand it, you have a leg up on guys who don’t.

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