“Is chivalry dead?” A question for the ages, that one. It’s also a question that no man would ever ask. Still, guys, you need to understand: Women want to be wooed, even by men who are not their suitors. Yes, modern women. What’s the state of chivalry in 2012 (and, why should you care)? Like it or not, chivalry is still alive, quietly alive. I recommend that you become a “silent knight” and participate for the very best of reasons: It will make your life easier. Here are five defining characteristics of contemporary gentlemen.
Gentlemen Prefer Phones
When it comes to modern communication, we’ve become so accustomed to emailing, iMessaging and BBMing everyone and their moms — in case it needs to be said: don’t email her mother — that you will no doubt do the same with the woman in your life. Still, never underestimate the power of the phone call. Short and simple is fine, sweet is optional. It need take only a minute or two; feel free to tell her you have to run, even if the truth is that you don’t — how’s she going to find out? Phone calls score way more cred than emails and texts, in any relationship (including business).
Gentlemen Start Engines
Pick her up (in a vehicle, that is; in dating parlance, you already “picked her up,” right?). Regardless of whether she is a significant distance away from you or from your ultimate destination, or both, it’s an inconvenience that pays in dividends. Yes, of course she can get there on her own; that’s not the point. The point is that the pick-up is a relatively facile gesture that makes her feel special, reflects very well on you and scores you big points with her and her crowd (as with anything on this list: she might not tell people about it right away, but she will tell people).
Gentlemen Open Doors
Open doors in buildings, whether it’s work or home or out and about: all of them, always. Just do it. Cars, it depends. During pick up, you don’t need to get out of the car and run around to open her door, Royals-style. You should reach across to push the door open when she’s approaching the vehicle; you should not reach across to push it open when the two of you have arrived at the destination (though you can, at that point, get out, walk around and open hers; she might protest, but she won’t mean it). Call this a “door prize”: It’s an action that never comes off as cheesy and overbearing, and is always well-receieved.
Gentlemen Provide Cover
No, not alibis. (Well, those, too.) Always offer her your coat when she’s shivering, even if she passive-aggressively says she’s “chilly.” This includes scenarios where, despite your wearing a coat (pre-gentleman gesture), you are nonetheless cold. You will give her your coat and you will get colder; deal with it. Be ridiculously considerate, make her feel like she is a priority, and then — and this is the important part — get yourselves somewhere warm.
Gentlemen Grab Tabs
You don’t have to pay for the meal, but you do have to reach for the bill. She may do the reach-for-the-purse thing, but you will notice that her speeds are either ‘slow’ or ‘slower.’ She may quarrel and insist on chipping in; but if you’re in a relationship that you enjoy and want to maintain, foot a few bills. There’s a good chance she will try to grab the next one, and you should let her. At that point, you may slowly reach for your wallet, and let her dissuade from paying.
Image courtesy of Nordiska museet.