What do you call it when a man opens a door for another man? What about when a woman opens a door for a man? When a man opens a door for a woman, it’s called chivalry. I read an article recently that said chivalry must die for equality to exist. I don’t necessarily agree with that.
There is a lot of confusion surrounding what chivalry actually is. According to this definition, it is simply “courtesy towards women.” Personally, I believe that everyone should be courteous and polite to everyone regardless of gender. There is nothing wrong with being polite to women. There is nothing wrong with paying for your date’s meal. There is nothing wrong with opening a door for a woman.
The act of chivalry is not wrong. But some people are doing chivalry wrong. How? This has to do with the motivations behind the acts. Men who pay for their date’s meal because it’s what you’re “supposed” to do- stop. Men who hold doors open for women but not for men because women are somehow inherently fragile, delicate little flowers who shouldn’t have to lift a finger or do things for themselves- stop. Men who feel that women owe them something because they took them out to the movies and paid for their ticket- stop. If you’re being chivalrous because it’s what you have to do or because you want something out of it, you’re doing it wrong. If you treat women respectfully and do things that are considered chivalrous because you are a good, courteous person and would do the same for your male friends, you’re doing it right.
I went to the movies twice with my ex over the course of our relationship, and both times I paid for both of our tickets. He felt awful any time that I paid for something, and I think that it’s wrong for society to make men feel that way. They often feel that if they don’t pay, they’re doing something wrong. Many women, myself included, feel this same kind of guilt every time a man pays for them. The pressure that the idea of chivalry puts on men and women is problematic. I went on a date with a guy once who actually said “I guess I have to pay for your movie ticket.” I was mortified and refused to let him buy my ticket. But looking back, I know that he was just being honest. He didn’t want to buy my ticket and he made that known in a slightly rude way.
If you don’t want to pay for your date’s meal, suggest that you each pay for your own. If she is offended and no longer wants to go out with you, then she was probably in it for the wrong reasons to begin with.
If you really like the girl you’re dating and you want to do something nice for her because you care about her and enjoy making her happy, by all means, pay for her meal. But if she one day offers to pick up the check, let her, because chances are, she’s doing it for the same reasons as you.
Ladies, allow men to do nice things for you if they have the right intentions. And don’t be afraid to do nice things for them like offer to pay or hold a door open for them. Being kind and courteous toward a person regardless of gender is a good thing. Chivalry doesn’t have to die.