Chivalry is not dead!

After coming across this article, written by the husband of one of my favorite bloggers, Joanna Goddard, it got me thinking, Is chivalry really dead?   After evaluating my own relationship and interviewing four amazing 20 something women, I’ve come to the conclusion that NO! Chivalry is not dead!  At least not yet…

When my boyfriend, Bryan, and I first met, we briefly chatted in a bar and sort of “hit it off” (as they say).  As I was leaving, he asked me for my number politely (vs. creepily – there is a difference) and I thought, Wow, I think this might be a first!  We then parted ways, and shortly after I received a TEXT (ok, so some of the article is 100% accurate), seeing if I wanted to get dinner that week.  So while the overall concept was somewhat traditional (face to face interaction!), the act (texting) was exactly the untraditional “norm” that we’re now used to, being part of the so-called “hook-up generation”.  Gone are the days of walking up to someone and asking them out or picking up the phone and calling.  No, that would take way too much courage and texting is “more like dropping a line in the water and hoping for a nibble”, without the potential humiliation of face to face rejection, as the article states.  Now don’t get the wrong idea here, I did not think Bry was a coward for asking me out via text message, I actually thought the way everything played out was charming and “old-school” in a way.  Which is exactly the point the article is getting at – times-are-a-changing!  As time went on though, I realized regardless of the text message “courtship”, Bry was in fact very traditional in other ways: he surprises me with flowers, he holds my hand when we cross the street, he always opens the door for me and takes the outside of the sidewalk (just in case)…and he actually does call me 9 times out of 10.  So while the days of love letters and courting periods, may be behind us, the new generation are more of a hybrid-gentleman breed.  Sure you can find both extremes (beware of the latter), but as you can see from my own experience and the four women interviewed below…the hybrids ain’t half bad!

Girl  #1 – 26 years old, Publishing, NYC

Do you feel as though you were courted? OR were YOU the courter? (feel free to explain)

I’d say it was mutual.

Give an example of how your man is chivalrous?

It’s in the little things: he’s continuously polite. He pays for my booze (most times). He gives me rides on his back when it’s late at night and I’m tired of walking in high heels.

How did your significant other first ask you out?

He got my number from our mutual friend. But then he didn’t call for a week! So I finally mentioned to my friend that he hadn’t called yet and when word got back to him, he claimed he thought the agreement was that I was going to call him…then he called. And I did a little dance.

What “old-fashioned” ways do you wish were still the norm? (i.e. love letters, etc.)

Instead of seeing more physical gestures, like writing love letters, tending to a woman’s needs like hanging up her coat or pulling out her chair (which are all nice and wonderful), I’d like to see more chivalry infused in men’s attitudes towards women (more courtesy, patience, selflessness, etc.) You hear more and more stories about young men on college campuses taking advantage of women, exploiting their sexuality and treating them like it’s all just a big joke and it’s disturbing.

Do you typically prefer a call or a text from your man?

Phone call.

Do you believe chivalry is dead?

I don’t! But I’m an optimist. I think it’s definitely not as prevalent as it was when our generation’s parents were young adults. And technology is certainly partially to blame, as is the shifting dynamic between men and women. When I hear about dates my parents went on, they sound quite different from what my contemporaries are experiencing. And when I hear my grandmother talk about how my grandfather “courted” her—by making visits to her house and enduring what sounds like tough formalities with her father—it makes me laugh. But it’s also very sweet. What I love about the concept of chivalry is that it’s romantic and by nature prompted by kindness and good manners. But I also think in some examples it can be patronizing, outdated, or sexist. Chivalry should really be gender neutral if you think about it, right? But there’s certainly nothing wrong with a man opening a door for you, that’s for sure.

Girl  #2 – 27 years old, Technical Sales Specialist, NYC

Do you feel as though you were courted? OR were YOU the courter? (feel free to explain)

I was definitely courted, he put in all of the effort and organized
all the plans originally.

Give an example of how your man is chivalrous?

He is a Southern gentleman. Opens doors, makes dinner reservations, random
flowers, gets angry if I try to “split the check” (sometimes I get
breakfast though), always checks in to make sure I’m okay, takes care
of my sister and friends, offers his jacket, always introduces me.

How did your significant other first ask you out?

At a mutual friends holiday party.  He walked across the dance floor,
introduced himself and asked me to dinner. I said no initially but
eventually caved.

What “old-fashioned” ways do you wish were still the norm? (i.e. love letters, etc.)

Formal dates/dances

Do you typically prefer a call or a text from your man?

Text (I’m not a phone person and am typically running around all day),
texts act as a nice reminder he’s thinking of me

Do you believe chivalry is dead?

In my case, no.  But for the majority of New York, yes.

Girl  #3– 27 years old, Education, NYC

Do you feel as though you were courted? OR were YOU the courter? (feel free to explain)

We started off as friends, so instead of “courting” it was more that we just started to realize that we wanted to be around each other a lot. We became really good friends and then realized there was something more there.

Give an example of how your man is chivalrous?

I am a really restless sleeper, so I think its chivalrous that he is usually trying to help me fall asleep rather than asking me to be quiet when I say for the 3rd time… “I swear I just have one more thing to say, then I will go to sleep”.

How did your significant other first ask you out?

Again, we started as friends and began dating in college so instead of “asking me out”, our first one-on-one hangouts were studying for Spanish class together.

What “old-fashioned” ways do you wish were still the norm? (i.e. love letters, etc.)

Can’t really think of any on the spot.

Do you typically prefer a call or a text from your man?

We still check in via phone call just to say hi and hear about each other’s day, but I think a short text once and a while throughout the day is always good.

Do you believe chivalry is dead?

I don’t think chivalry is dead, but since the article you are responding to is connecting it to social media, I do think that social media websites are becoming a bit too much. Do I need to be updated on a couple’s every kiss together?

Girl  #4– 26 years old, Healthcare, Boston

Do you feel as though you were courted? OR were YOU the courter? (feel free to explain)

This is difficult to answer because we were very close friends before dating, but I would say the attraction and courtship was mutual (virtually the same pull from both directions).

Give an example of how your man is chivalrous?

I’ve had a boyfriend for the majority of the past 10 years. I would say all of them were kind, helpful, doting, etc; however, my current boyfriend best defines the term chivalrous. He is generous, courteous, protective, respectful and loyal.  It can actually be a bit old fashion at times.

Some specific ways in which he treats me as a lady include opening doors, dropping me at the entrance of apartment/restaurants, carrying my bags (not purses – that drives me nuts and is unattractive). I also still receive notes on the counter or random emails. Most importantly, he treats my friends with the same respect and courtesy. I think the way your significant other treats your friends and family is the best sign of their true nature.  My mom always told me to pay particularly close attention to how they treat their own mother ….and if they return the shopping cart at the super market J

How did your significant other first ask you out?

It was almost 5.5 years ago and I’m embarrassed to say I can’t remember. As mentioned previously, we were very close friends first and our relationship evolved naturally with very little effort. I do recall our first really nice date though because going out to an expensive dinner was uncommon in college. I actually remember everything we ordered.

What “old-fashioned” ways do you wish were still the norm? (i.e. love letters, etc.)

Maybe staying at home as a homemaker and cooking elaborate dinners every night? Just kidding- that has nothing to do with chivalry and I would be crawling up the kitchen walls. I am actually very pleased with my current situation. I think there is a good balance of “old fashioned” and modern ways. I wouldn’t change anything. With that said, my boyfriend is a bit of an old soul and probably would have thrived in the sock hop/poodle skirt era.

Do you typically prefer a call or a text from your man?

It totally depends on the situation. I prefer a call when I want to catch up, make plans, get to the point, etc. A spontaneous text is preferred on certain occasions as a reminder they are thinking about me.

Do you believe chivalry is dead?

I think that chivalry has been redefined. The term originated in the Middle Ages, so naturally it must evolve over time. The NYT opinion piece touches on some very important points- namely the economic status, the role of social media and a shift in women’s perception of themselves.

While the economy plays a strong role, fancy or expensive courtships aren’t necessary. I think women appreciate any thoughtful and well planned date- even if that means a home cooked, candlelight dinner with a hand-written menu. I have always volunteered to share the dinner bill or reciprocate past expenses. I don’t think it’s fair for one person to bear the financial burden.

Also, the time it takes people to establish their careers and gain financial comfort has lengthened. I think this results in men settling down later in life. I definitely see this with my boyfriend’s friends. I also see girls to be on the prowl more as a result, looking for immediate serious relationship and often pushing the guys away during the process.

I definitely agree that technology and social media leaves less to be uncovered. There is an automatic porthole into someone’s past – maybe something that should be left untouched until it’s time to discuss the topic (i.e. physical appearances, exes). Texting is at the center of the problem. When I was single, I definitely would text more than necessary with guys. This constant stream of communication lessens the desire to see the person sooner because you already know everything they’re doing that week. People also feel like they can say things through texts that would never have been said otherwise. Booze mixed with texting can definitely lead to quicker demise of a potential relationship. The flame is put out before it can actually grow.

Lastly and most importantly, women’s perception of themselves has changed over the years. We now view ourselves as independent, hard workers who are capable of conquering anything. This has put both genders on a more even playing field. I appreciate my independence and take pride in my ability to change car oil, use power tools or lead an all-male business meeting. There are times when I find myself throwing fits because my boyfriend is trying to treat me like a lady. I know his intentions are benign, but perhaps I second guess how my dependence will portray my capabilities as a woman. I reflect on these moments and think- was it really necessary to lock myself in the car until he agreed to let me carry the groceries form our parking spot???

In summary, the times have changed and expectations need to change with it. This does not mean that morals need to change. Everyone should treat each other with kindness, respect and courtesy. Let’s all do our society a favor and instill these characteristics in our children.

I love to hear how each relationship and viewpoint differs.  It has actually opened my eyes in many ways from interviewing these ladies.  We all have different ideals and images of “how it’s supposed to be”, which is what makes every relationship unique.  With that said, while everyone’s “courting” experiences varied, we were still able to identify acts of chivalry, no matter modern or old-school.  Personally, I love a little old-fashioned in my man, but I also accept the fact that things are not the same as they used to be.  Even after talking to some of my single girlfriends, their preference to “grab a drink” when they’re first meeting someone rather than go on a dinner date, just shows another shift in modern dating culture.  (I can’t imagine the number of awkward dinner conversations had back in the day…)

But the bottom line here is: Ladies, don’t settle or let this article bring you down!  There are still true MEN out there who won’t text you at 11pm on a Saturday seeing “What’s good?”

Happy Thursday! And a big THANK YOU to all of you ladies who participated!  :  )



(photo via)

4 thoughts on “Chivalry is not dead!

  1. Pingback: Has Anyone Seen My Lance? | joeccombs2nd

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  3. Pingback: I Found My Lance — Chivalry Part 3 | joeccombs2nd

  4. Pingback: Just Cause He Trickin Don’t Make Him a Gentleman | From Ashy to Classy

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