14 Things We Refer To As Chivalry That Are Actually Plain Decency

We’re so used to dealing with rude, selfish guys that it’s easy to think chivalry is the mark of someone amazing. When a guy is polite or does a smidgen of what’s considered to be gentlemanly behavior, we might immediately think he’s some sort of unicorn, but here are 15 things that are common decency and every guy should do without thinking twice:

  1. Holding the door open for you. You’re walking into a restaurant and he holds open the door for you to pass before him. It’s a courteous way to let you enter first, plus it’s practical if the door is heavy and you’re in high heels. Just saying. It’s not like you wouldn’t do the same for him if you made it to the door first.
  2. Giving you his jacket. This doesn’t have to be something that makes you swoon — you should expect it. If a guy’s decent, he’ll want to ensure the woman he’s on a date with doesn’t freeze to death in her short lacy number. Come on!
  3. Checking to see that you got home okay. Maybe you had a long drive to get home or it’s really late, so he pops you a text to check that you got home safe and sound. It shows he cares about people other than himself.
  4. Calling when he says he will. It’s sad how many guys don’t do this basic act of decency. Keeping his word says a lot about him. It’s not chivalrous — it shows that he’s a man whose words match his actions, and that’s a bare minimum for anyone you’d even consider dating.
  5. Asking about your sick loved one. You mentioned that your uncle is really sick, so the next time you see the guy you’re dating, he asks how he’s doing. This is thoughtful. If he can do it with his boss and colleagues, he can certainly do it for a date.
  6. Bringing the car around when it’s raining. A decent guy won’t make you walk all the way across the car park to his car in the middle of a rainstorm. That’s rude! He’ll get his car and bring it around for you the way he would with any other woman because it’s polite.
  7. Bailing you out of an uncomfortable situation. You’re at a club together when a guy starts hitting on you and it makes you feel really uncomfortable. The guy you’re with should see that you’re not happy and step in, like by telling the guy to back off a little. It shows respect for women.
  8. Putting his phone away on a date. It’s sad that so many people keep their phones handy on a date, as if the world will end should they miss a text message. A guy who’s decent will put his phone away or at least not look at it so that you don’t feel like he’s ignoring you.
  9. Calling to make plans. It might seem like a big deal for a guy to call instead of text, but it should be something every guy does, for crying out loud. It shows that he’s making an effort and risking awkwardness to ask you out, instead of cowardly resorting to texts and emojis.
  10. Being punctual. It’s so rude when a guy rocks up for a date late. What a nerve! A guy who’s on time or at the date before you shows that he’s serious, plus he’s got manners. Only a fool rushes in late and arrogant about how busy he is. Get a life, dude.
  11. Getting dressed up properly for a date. Okay, so he might not come to a date in a tux (although that would be sexy AF), but he has to at least make some effort with his appearance. If it looks like he pulled the first dirty tracksuit he could see in his closet that morning or his hair looks like it hasn’t been washed in weeks, he’s got no respect — for others or for himself.
  12. Being nice to the waiter. You can tell a lot about a guy by how he treats the waiter. If he’s polite and reasonable, he has respect and empathy for everyone around you. This is important because a guy who’s nice to you but a jerk to everyone else has an ulterior motive with you.
  13. Eating with manners. A guy who digs into his steak as though it’s still alive and kicking on his plate is an immediate turnoff. It’s not just unattractive but makes him come across like some sort of ogre. Ugh. If he can eat with manners, he’s the type of guy you’ll want to introduce to your folks and friends at a later stage.
  14. Paying for the first date. It’s not about making the guy do everything, but it’s plain decency. A guy who’s worth his salt and has asked the woman out will be the one to take the bill. He won’t be funny about it or act like a baby about splitting the cost. He’s man enough to make the effort to show you he had a great time. Even if there’s no second date, he should at least end things on a good note by picking up the bill. It’s what a decent guy would do.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.