Chivalry Is Way Overrated—Here’s Why I’m Grateful For Modern Men

It’s a pretty commonly held belief these days that dating is BS and guys are just not up to code, but that’s a pretty cynical way of looking at things and certainly not doing any of us any favors. We always look at the past through rose-colored lenses, but don’t get it twisted—a lot of modern, progressive guys are a huge upgrade on Mr. Darcy.

  1. Women Aren’t Delicate Flowers. I know some guys would roll their eyes at this,  but I actually feel weird when a guy pulls out my chair for me or walks on the right side of the road (in a deliberate way, not a happenchance way). We’re all adults here, right? I spend most the day on my own and handling business. What’s more is that I get a sense of fulfillment from doing so. I’d rather have a guy do something thoughtful or considerate (like bringing me ice cream or beer) than have him feel like he needs to protect me from the big scary world. I got this, bro.
  2. I Make My Own Money. Which is why I believing in going dutch on dates or going back and forth on getting each other beers, dinner, Ubers and whatnot. It sets the right tone—you’re there to hang out with him, and not for the free food. It’s also empowering. You’re there because you want to be, not because you fear you’ll end up a spinster.
  3. It’s Always Tit-For-Tat. Gifts, meals, and favors don’t come free. My mom was right when she said there’s no such thing as a free lunch and I refuse to be naïve. With every chivalrous act comes a quiet price tag of expectations. Common subliminal expectation: subordination. The more extravagant the gifting, the bigger the unspoken debt and silent hierarchy. You know what else was common back in the dates where chivalry was prevalent? Women, in the kitchen, with no careers and lonely as hell. We fought like hell to get out of that and I’m not interested in going back.
  4. A Modern Guy Is More Likely To Support Your Goals. Nowadays, a partnership is more even-keeled. Unlike the men of yesteryear, guys these days want their ladies to be ambitious and make money. After all, it lifts a financial burden off of them, and while there’s a lot out there about how men are afraid of ambitious women, most studies agree that men simply want someone on their level, just like most women. The underlying implication of that is that they want someone they can relate to in their experiences rather than have someone they feel they need to take care of. It’s crazy but we’re actually on the same page.
  5. Chivalrous And Traditional Guys Often Adhere To Other Constructs Of Masculinity. It’s not that all aspects of traditional masculinity are bad, but time has proven them to be problematic. For example, a chivalrous guy is more likely to subscribe to the idea that showing emotion is weak and may be more likely to repress emotions as a result. Relationships require open communication and honesty but a lack thereof breeds resentment over time.
  6. A Modern Guy Is Less Likely To Project His Ideas Of How A Women Should Be On You. Just as a traditional guy might feel that he needs to fit the mold of manhood, he’s also will likely hold some ideas about how you should be as a woman. This might percolate into how you should dress, how you should act, and how you should treat him, which for many of us will get old. In the best relationships, people are who they really are, not who their partner thinks they should be.
  7. There are two Sides To Every Coin. That’s a two-way street. If you want the platform to be who you are, you should also give him the platform to be who he is. The upside is, you can cut the BS in deciding if you’re a good fit or not because neither of you will feel like you need to put on a front. We all know that it takes a long time to really get to know someone.
  8. You Have To Break The Brainwash. Yes, we were raised on Disney movies and fairy tales. Yes, we’ve internalized it to some extent. That’s been pretty well covered; we don’t need to be saved. But have you ever noticed that the movie ends with marriage? The reality, that’s only the beginning of the story. What happened to all those princesses after marriage? Were they sitting at home with some Prozac and a bottle of wine, fanaticizing about the good ol’ days which were over before they knew it? Did they feel like they had been duped?
  9. There’s A Difference Between Chivalry And Respect. Look, it’s not to say that you should give some guy who doesn’t treat you right the time of day, but treating you right can also be valuing your input, supporting your goals, and offering enjoyable companionship on an open, even, and honest way. Those things are more important than holding your purse or throwing their coats over a puddle (talk about impractical).
Tanya Fijalkowski works as an editor for Printers Row Publishing Group in San Diego, CA. She believes in the live-and-let-live philosophy, and has been a longtime advocate of shamelessness. Her motto: "It's time to take things too far."