New Poll Says Good Manners Are Still Sexier than Washboard Abs

Manners, dating
Yeah, yeah, yeah, but what are your manners like?
I could never date a guy with bad manners. Never, ever, never, ever, never. Ever. I’m a stickler for good home training from everyone — little kids, pregnant women, beat cops, biker dudes on Harleys. Manners make the world a prettier place to wake up to. But certainly, if I can’t control the minutiae of day-to-day living and expect the big burly guy on the subway not to trample me at the door or chastise the little girl walking to school for tossing her empty Doritos bag on the street, I can demand gentility from a love interest.

I’m not alone in that expectation — in a recent poll of 1,500 single Canadian women between the ages of 18-40, more than half still want men to hold the door open and pay for the first date. Even with all the accouterments of modern womanhood, good ol’ fashioned gentlemanliness is the sexiest quality a man can have. That and swagger will suck me in every. single. time.


In fact, that’s how I ended up falling for The Man when he started courting me two years ago. (Oh yes, dear reader, we courted. I had been through too much to not make him put in a little work to get me.) He is the first and only guy to ever open my car door and actually gets a little put out if I don’t wait for him to get over to my side. We could be going to the theater for date night or the 7-Eleven for a 4 a.m. snack run, doesn’t matter. That took a little adjusting on my end, partly because I’m used to doing that myself and partly because I’ve usually got my heel on the ground before he’s even got his seatbelt off. (I’m hyperactive so you gotta move pretty quick to keep up.)

It was an adjustment I was more than happy to make, though, because it reminded me of the way my Granddaddy treated my Nana. And they were happily married for more than 40 years, so I’ll borrow as much from that relationship as I can.

I think a lot of us Generation X-ers have stopped expecting guys to be mannerly because 1) some parents failed to express the importance (not mine, but some did), 2) in some circles, there’s a so-called man shortage that leaves us with this “take what you get” attitude, and 3) there are so many other seemingly important factors to be worried about — how much money he makes, what kind of job he has, whether he’ll be faithful or not, and how tight his sex game is.

And those things are all important, true, and a set of stellar manners can only accentuate, not override them. Means nothing if a dude graciously pulls out your chair at dinner and escorts you to your front door if he’s going to backstab you with low down cheatin’ or inconsiderate ways as soon as you’re out of earshot. Manners are an awesome accessory to an already great outfit. And being on the receiving end of them is a woman’s birthright. Yep, I said it.

They’re a physical show of valuation, an outward expression of appreciation, even if they are flashed in the context of a relationship. If I was still out in the dating world (allow me to pause and yodel a resounding “hallelujah, thank God I’m not!” because I don’t do very well on the singles scene), I would still expect a guy I was out with to dig up the good behavior. It has nothing to do with trying to score and everything to do with honoring a woman through small but significant gestures. That’s what manners are. And I need ‘em.

I know this sounds far-fetched but Idris Elba himself would disappoint me if he turned out not to be a gentleman (please say it ain’t so, please say it ain’t so ...). Not saying I would rebuff his advances — I’m a stickler for manners, not a foamy-mouthed fool — but manners do make the man.

Do you agree with the responses from the poll? Are manners still a must-have in the dating world?


Image via victoriapeckham/Flickr

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