While I pride myself on being a strong, capable woman, I’m certainly not against a little chivalry from the guy I’m dating. Yeah, I can pull out my own chair and pay for my own dinner, but what’s so wrong with letting my date do it once in a while if he really wants to?
Just because a guy’s chivalrous doesn’t mean he’s disrespectful or anti-woman. If I happen to go out with a guy who’s a little more old-school about dating, I don’t automatically assume he’s anti-feminism or that he doesn’t recognize me as a strong, independent woman. Maybe he was raised with good manners or is just trying to be nice! At the same time, I also don’t assume guys who don’t do these things are neanderthals who lack common courtesy—the way we date is changing and while chivalry is always a welcome surprise, it’s not really expected anymore.
The fact that it’s not forced makes it more meaningful. These days, women are demanding a new kind of respect from men. We want them to recognize our self-sufficiency and to treat us as equals. This is a good thing for guys because it means they can actually do nice things for us because they want to rather than because it’s what’s expected. It actually makes romantic gestures even more special because it isn’t something that becomes normalized. We often take things for granted when they’re the status quo, so when a guy surprises me by opening a door or buying my meal occasionally, I’m way more appreciative.
Sometimes I still insist on grabbing the bill. While I don’t have any trouble accepting chivalry, I also have no problem making thoughtful gestures of my own. If I feel especially generous and decide that I want to treat my guy to dinner or something nice, I can and do. It’s an empowering feeling to know that things go both ways and a relationship is based on mutual respect.
It’s nice to feel taken care of. Of course, every once in a while, it is nice to feel like you can just relax and let someone else take care of everything. I certainly enjoy those times but I don’t want to live like that 24/7. A guy treating me to an occasional dinner is totally fine, but sometimes I want to chip in and pay my own way. In other words, I don’t want to be taken care of all the time because I enjoy my strength and independence. I don’t want to be babied.
I don’t blame guys for not being chivalrous. My brother is a perfect example of this. He doesn’t want to end up with a woman who’ll expect things from him simply because he’s a male. He doesn’t like gender role stereotypes at all because he feels like they put us in a box. There are certain things males “have” to do or they’re considered to be douchebags or losers. If a man doesn’t open the door or walk you to your car, they’re total a-holes. How is that fair? Dating isn’t easy for women but I do feel for guys too.
I don’t judge people for wanting things the old-school way. I have some very religious friends who constantly remind me that they believe in “traditional marriage.” While I highly disagree with their relationship and the sexist connotations that come along with it, it still works for them. If there’s a woman who wants the guy to open doors and buy every meal and be the breadwinner while she stays home with the kids and cooks and cleans, that’s fine. As long as they have a loving, healthy relationship, they can create their own normal that works for them.
All I’m really looking for is a happy balance. I don’t want a guy who uses chivalry as a way to control me or to strip me of all the qualities that make me a badass, independent woman—who would? At the same time, I don’t feel bad for admitting that I’d occasionally like a guy to open the door for me, pull out my seat, buy me dinner, and generally just be a gentleman. I’m not expecting him to roll out the red carpet 24/7, but the occasional act of romance would go a long way in my book. I’m not wrong for wanting those things—I just need to find a guy to meet me in the middle.
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