Thursday, March 22, 2012

How Chivalrous of You!

Chivalry [ˈʃɪvəlrɪ]

1. (Historical Terms) the combination of qualities expected of an ideal knight, esp courage, honor, justice, and a readiness to help the weak
2. courteous behaviour, esp towards women

With modern technology, lack of fathers in the home, and the emergence of the I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T woman do you think it has become common place for men not to complete the acts of kindness that were once considered gentlemanly norms or chivalrous? 

I occasionally spend time with a man who is the ultimate gentleman. He actually gets upset if I open my own door. His kindness and courtesy got me to thinking about the 21st century social norms in my life and those of other single women. It has become a habit for me to open my own doors, pull back chairs and find ways to carry heavy items. I’m used to doing my own chores…my house, my mess, my responsibility, right? However, when I told my friend I was going to cut my grass he looked at me like I had suddenly grown antlers and said, “I’ll take care of it this Saturday.” Other men I’ve told I’m planning to cut my own grass this weed growing season pretty much laughed at me and told me to call them if I need any pointers. Who's right? Who's wrong? It was no biggie to me because I didn’t expect them to offer to do it for me. I bought the lawn mower so I could cut my own grass.

From my experience, the average man has no problem opening the car door for a woman if he is already outside the car too but how often do you see one get out of the car, walk around to your side and let you in. Especially, if he was already in the car. It seems so much easier just to reach over and let you in or if you’re both already in just to let you get out, right? Heck, some men don’t open car doors. They hit the automatic lock and let you let yourself in. I’m guilty of not expecting a man to do those things. I'm not even insulted when they don't open the car door. Now doors to buildings I have a problem with, but I don’t sit around waiting for a man to pull out chairs or help me carry heavy things, either. I simply break them down into smaller bundles I can carry or I start looking for a dolly. I generally don’t wait for a man to help me with my coat nor do I expect him to lay his coat over a puddle so I can walk over it to keep me from messing up my shoes.

I've encountered men who don’t even think to help a woman. I’ve had men stand there and watch me struggle with a door because my hands were full. Fortunately, that hasn't happened often. Most times I had no problem getting someone to at least open the door. Whether a helping hand was extended or not, I shifted packages and contorted my body to get a hand around that knob. I don't get mad if a man doesn't offer to assist...I JUST HANDLE MY BUSINESS!

But I can't be too hard on the men. Anytime I've even looked like I'm having car issues a man has stopped to ask me if I'm alright. I still get offers to pump my gas. Albeit, it is to strike up a convo in order to get my number but it's still a kind gesture. 

Such gentlemanly gestures like opening doors, pulling out chairs, helping you take on or off your coat and lighting your cigarette may be considered luxuries now a days (as the old folks say) but they sure do feel nice. They make a woman feel like a lady. Do you think chivalry is dead or is it just on life support?

To all the men who still do all of those things, you are appreciated. I wonder if paying for the date qualifies as chivalry. LOL That's a whole 'nother discussion.

My Side of the Single Life is by book author Jae Henderson. Her books, Someday and Someday, Too are now available on Kindle and Nook.

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