In Defense of Chivalry.. Kinda

As published on Thought Catalog on August 29, 2014.


I’ve spent most of my morning reading the comments on an article explaining why chivalry is dead – from a man’s perspective. And the other half of my morning trying to organize all my contradicting thoughts and figuring out what being chivalrous actually consists of.

Personally, I don’t want the guy the I’m dating to be ‘knight-like’ – it would be really hard to get him out of all that armor. But, common courtesy – yeah, I’d be down for that.

I think there are more than enough reasons to argue that chivalry is in a current state of despair. I’m going to attempt to list 5 that I can get on board with and explain them before my coffee gets too cold. Because after that, I’m useless.

The way that people interact: In a world where emoji’s rule the digital world and a single ‘like’ on an Instagram picture can be misinterpreted as interest – it’s no surprise that days of old fashioned courting are history. Unless, or course, you’re the Duggar’s.

“When did it become acceptable to just text a girl, inviting her to come bang?”

The answer to this question is, simply, when girls started saying, ‘Be right over!’ with little to no hesitation. Is that all it takes? I guess it is. And don’t pretend like you’ve never done it. Women and men can be equally interested in sex – and if either side can get away with the bare minimum effort – they will. Why take a girl out to dinner when a simple text will suffice? I get it.

Female empowerment: When I texted my best friend if he thought chivalry was dead, his response was, “Women make it tough to be chivalrous sometimes.” I told him to shut up. Seriously. But, although he may have a point… Wanting to be independent and treated equally does not mean that women don’t want their guy to open their goddamn door every once in a while. It means they want to be respected – which is on par with how most* women deserve to be treated anyway. I think it is actually more of a compliment if the girl that you are with clearly doesn’t need you, but instead, chooses to be with you not because of her own selfish necessities, but because she actually enjoys your company and wants to spend any of the free time she has with you.

Expectations: Ah, expectations. Ranging from ridiculously high to absolutely none – expectations can be a double ended sword.

I just finished reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Stephen Chbosky was spot on -“We accept the love we think we deserve.”

The expectations you have for someone else are directly related to what you think you deserve.

So when a guy calls you instead of texting you to see how your day went or stops by just to say hi and see if you wanted to grab something to eat or go see a movie – girls lose their shit. They seriously do. And this is part of the problem. Since when has it become so out of the norm to interact with someone without hiding behind a cell phone or a shot of fireball?

I don’t think we live in a time when guys are expected to buy dinner, open doors or walk on the outside of the street. And so when they do, all of a sudden it turns into the biggest deal ever. If chivalry is one of the only standards of dating – we are all in big trouble.

How we were raised: Now – this is in no regards meant to put down anyone’s parenting skills. But, come on. I get that every parent wants their sons to grow up to respect women and their daughters to grow up and receive the respect they deserve. Sometimes it works, a lot of the times it doesn’t.

My brother is the perfect example of this. This weekend he went on a date went with a girl that he admitted to really liking, to the point where he said, “I like her too much to date her.” Whatever the fuck that means.

Last night I asked him how his date went – and he said it went well and then added that he made out with a different girl (to clarify: a friend of the girl that he took to dinner) before making out with the girl he liked. He never ceases to amaze me..

But, ok – resisting the need to high five him and the desire to smack the shit out of him. This is real. This happens. I know my slutty brother isn’t the only one. And I know my mother is going to read this as a sign that she should have done better raising us but, in all honesty, she never had a chance.

The hookup culture: You can’t see my face. But, I’m cringing. The fact is that this is nothing new but, somehow has become a type of  lifestyle is beyond me.  And although I willingly participate in it, I’m not completely sold.  How a culture of young people hooking up (which has been, um, forever) affects a specific generation so much to the point where dating has become almost obsolete is ridiculous.  People may not be looking for much more than a quick lay and a whirlwind affair but, in the long run – I can almost guarantee that it never ends well.

Now, in an effort to try and save the world of dating and defend everything above – I don’t think that chivalry is completely dead. It’s more like in a coma with a 50% chance of survival. Chivalry – in whatever definition you want to give it – has a chance but, like almost everything else in life, there has to be compromise. It’s neither a guy’s fault for not attempting to woo a lady, nor a gal’s fault for giving in without a fight. If it’s equality we’re striving for. I think we’ve found it in the sense that, equally, no one gives a fuck.

I’m not exactly sure if I’ve made a point because – in my head – I haven’t even made up my own mind. Maybe chivalry is dying but, in it’s place I would prefer respect over disregard, interest over boredom, willingness over laziness. Basically – I think what I’m trying to say is that we should all try harder and expect a little more from each other.

Guys, what do you have to lose?

If you ask a girl on a dinner date and she says no– Good for you, you really just wanted to go to Chipotle with your friends anyway.

If you ask a girl on a dinner date and she says yes – Good for you, hopefully she’ll be able to keep up with all the small talk and Workaholics references.

If you ask a girl on a dinner date and she says no but that she’d rather just go back to your place instead – Good for you. Seriously. Good for you.

Now go open a door for someone who isn’t your mom,

– J

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