I believe, like many people, that women and men are equal and therefore should be treated as such. The gender pay gap has to be closed, the sexism displayed by our government has to be burned to the ground, and the patriarchy has to be destroyed. You know, basic stuff. But I’m also a feminist who still wants some chivalry in my dating life. I don’t need to be treated like a princess and spoiled, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with chivalrous men. Here’s why:
I’m old-fashioned. I long for the days when men wore suits, acted like gentlemen, and respected women. Do you remember those days? If you do, then you’re well over 60. I’ve never experienced those days and I’d really like that. We live in a society where it’s practically chivalrous to respect women because common decency has gone out the window.
I like to be taken out to dinner. Although I have many times and will many times again in my life pay for dinner on a date, I prefer if dinner is bought for me. Am I cheap? Hell no. Do I want a free meal? Well, who doesn’t? But more than anything, if I’m making less than my male counterpart, shouldn’t he pay? Also, if I’m willing to pick up the tab sometimes, shouldn’t he? I don’t expect it, but I sure as hell appreciate it.
I like having the door held open for me. Getting back to how decency has gone out the window, holding a door open for a woman is considered chivalrous because we live in a society where letting the door slam on anyone, female or male, is almost acceptable. I want the door held open for me, not specifically because I’m a woman but because I have a pulse.
I like my seat being pulled out for me. If a man pulled out a chair for me at dinner, there’s no way in hell I’d take this as him suggesting I can’t do it myself. Of course I can do it myself, but to find a guy who would do such a thing is such a novelty that it would be near-impossible not to fall in love with him on the spot.
I enjoy being given flowers. The times in my life that I’ve been given flowers by my male partners, I all but fell over. What had they done that they felt they needed to give me flowers? What an awful thought to have! Sure, I can buy my own flowers, but to be given flowers is proof that someone was thinking about you and not, as I used to think, some sort of apology.
I want that seat on the train. Whether it’s the man I’m dating or a random man on the train, if a guy gets up to offer me his seat, I don’t see this as patronizing to me because I’m a woman. Do I deserve special treatment because I’m a woman? No, but if I’m looking tired and clearly at the end of my rope, it’s the polite thing to do. I, in turn, would do it for someone else.
I like to be defended. I don’t need a knight in shining armor to save me, but if I’m out with my partner and someone gives me crap for whatever reason, I want my partner to come to my side and defend me. I don’t want someone who’s going to sheepishly sit there quietly expecting me to fight my own battle when they’ve decided to be my partner. A partnership is just another word for team.
I want to feel protected. Recently I was on a date with someone, who, as we walked, moved himself to the outside of the sidewalk so he was the one closer to the street. It wasn’t that he was suggesting that he, as a man, could fight off any barreling truck in a way that I couldn’t (because no one can beat a truck), but it was an act of protection. I don’t see the problem in wanting to be protected and kept safe. I can do it on my own, but that doesn’t mean I don’t need help sometimes.
I want to be acknowledged. Ever since I can remember whenever our family went to fancy restaurants my father has always gotten up whenever my mother or I went to the bathroom. This, of course, is an act of chivalry. It’s acknowledging that my presence is going away then coming back. While I don’t know how this gallant tradition ever got started, I do appreciate the old fashioned etiquette of it and am likely to marry the first man who actually does this.
I believe in the grand gesture. I’ve experienced the grand gesture twice in my life. The grand gesture is that moment where your partner has this realization that they can’t live without you so they either stand outside your window playing a song (a la Say Anything) or organize a flash mob in Grand Central Station (a la Friends with Benefits). I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this and strongly believe that while I may be a feminist, I’m still entitled to some romanticism in my life. Since chivalry and romance often go hand-in-hand, I’ll take the chivalry, please, if it means getting some romance for a change.
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