Meet/Eat/Love (MEL) #13
“I can’t remember the last time I opened a door for a girl.”
“Why do the guys always have to initiate? If the girl wants to hangout, she can ask too.”
“I don’t know if I should pay for a girl on a first date because I don’t want to offend her.”
“But in my country, the guys will always pay for the first date and the girl will pay for drinks if we continue on the date.”
“Women have been asking for equal rights for centuries, so dating should be equal too right?”
What is chivalry in 2018? This was THE hot topic of a recent dinner conversation (or should I say debate) I had with a group of friends from England, Denmark, France, Holland and the USA. None of us could agree on if chivalry existed now and, if not, should it? If yes, in what form?
If we hopped into a time machine and head back to the Middle Ages, we will see that ‘chivalry’ was a term used to describe a moral and social code of conduct between knights. The term ‘chivalry’ has since evolved throughout history as our societal behaviours and values have developed.
(I will use generalizations below to get the point across).
Now let’s head to anytime pre-60s, men were seen as the protectors who needed to protect women who were seen as “fragile.” It was chivalrous for a man to “protect” his lady with certain actions; aka. opening the door because she was “helpless” and needed a “man” to help her. Now, fast forward to the 60s and 70s when women were fighting for equal rights in the work place, as well as at home (… and still continuing to fight for equal rights in 2018).
With the changes in our societal behaviours and believes, where do we land in 2018 with chivalry? You can imagine that by the end of our dinner, there was no definite answer to whether or not chivalry exists now. We’ve been called the Tinder era / the instant gratification era /the digital nomad era. How do you fit chivalry into this era?
Even with no definite answer, what did sink in for me during our healthy dinner debate was that instilling gender roles is an outdated practice and what matters is how we treat one another, with respect and kindness. That said, I do think chivalry can exist in 2018 AND should evolve along with our current societal behaviours and culture.
So, what would happen if we took 5 cliché chivalrous acts and got rid of gender roles and added the mantra to treat one another with respect and kindness? Keep reading and find out…
Five Cliché Chivalrous Acts Transformed For 2018:
Opening the door
The way I see it is if you have two hands and you see someone else’s hands full, you should offer to open the door for that person. Likewise, when you open a door to exit and there’s someone behind you, the common courtesy thing to do is hold the door open vs. slamming it in someone’s face. It’s about being a nice human being.
Paying for meals
In some cultures, paying for someone else’s meal is often a first step towards building a closer connection and greater levels of trust. For example, in most East Asian cultures, this transcends beyond dating to business lunches/dinners. Going “Dutch” can be perceived as being insincere. As far as dating goes, paying for meals is definitely a nice gesture. Just remember to reciprocate.
Watches where he walks
Going back to the notion of “men as protectors,” an ex-boyfriend used to make it a point to ALWAYS have me walk on the inside of the sidewalk while he walked on the outside of sidewalk (closest to traffic). TBH, I always felt claustrophobic and I preferred walking on the outside instead! The only sidewalk rule is to not to stop in the middle of the sidewalk and block other pedestrians.
Offering his seat
You managed to snag a seat on a crowded metro but you noticed someone else that could use the seat more (… like someone with crutches, or who’s pregnant, or elderly). Similar to having two hands, if you have two feet and you are not in crutches/pregnant/ an elderly, you should be a good human and offer your seat to those in need.
Ah yes, the cliché act of sending flowers (some people love it, while others think it’s a waste). Regardless, if it’s flowers or a handwritten note, it’s always nice to receive a surprise. BUT wouldn’t it be even nicer to make someone else’s day? AND doing something nice doesn’t always have to come from the guy. The point is that you are showing the other person you are making an effort and that you care.
Yes, we are living in the “I-want-it-now” era and are very much far removed from the days of knights and old school gender roles. But there’s also something at the core of human interactions that has not changed. That’s treating people with kindness and respect. In summary, I do believe that chivalry CAN AND SHOULD exists in 2018. Chivalry to me should not be defined by gender roles and should be defined by treating ALL humans with kindness and respect.
Here’s to all being modern day knights!