Chivalry Is Dead Except When It’s Done Right

man and woman in rainA few weeks ago I was at a coffee shop on a date. I got up to get a straw for my meal-in-a-cup-coffee-drink when my date scolded me for acting of my own accord. "My lady doesn't get a straw," he told me. "I get it for her." Being ever so capable, I was turned off.

Two weeks ago, I was on a different date. As we approached the Italian restaurant, I mentioned how much I loved eggplant parmigiana. I even said I hoped it was on the menu. It wasn't on the menu, but my date was persistent and persuaded the chef to make me my own special dish. He said that "the lady deserves what she wants." I was slightly embarrassed, but felt like a queen. I ate my eggplant and enjoyed every bite.  

I know, it doesn't compute. I found the latter situation sweet, while the former left me sour. It all depends on the guy, his attitude, and my emotions. The sad truth is, chivalry is a mixed bag baby


When gender studies professor Hugo Schwyzer wrote about the contradictions around chivalry, I got to thinking about how tough it really is to be a guy. I brought this up last night to my friend, and sex therapist, Hernando Chaves. He agreed and said he assesses his chivalry on a date-by-date basis. 

When it comes to chivalry, it's like choosing between an Almond Joy and a Mounds. Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't. Back in the day, I was a do-it-myself kind of girl. Split the bill or pay if I asked a man out. Walk him to his car. Now I like when he pays the check at a restaurant, or at least when he offers. And I'm less inclined to give him a second chance if he doesn't walk me to the car or hold the door for me. 

Maybe it's an age thing, but there's something about being treated like a lady that I like, and that something is being treated like a lady. For example, I'm more attracted to a man who knows that men walk closer to the street and women walk on the inside. It doesn't matter the reason (back in the day, a horse and buggy could really make a mess), what matters most is that he does it. There's something honorable about him knowing and doing. Enough said. 

Sometimes a guy doesn't want to act like a guy because then he's perceived to be too much man, but sometimes too much of a man is exactly what I want. I don't think there's anything wrong with giving in to the roles we feel comfortable in. It feels like a relief to let men be men, when men want to be men. And I enjoy being a woman when I want to be a woman. But not when it comes to getting my own straw. 

Do you like when a man acts like "a man"?

Image via duncanh1/Flickr

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