You’ve heard it a thousand times, chivalry is dead. But, I’m sure you’ve experienced it at least once in your life time. A stranger who opens the door, a man who lets you in front of him in line. This means it is still alive, barely, but it exists.
In the animal kingdom, this is known as critically endangered. It’s the list animals are put on before they go extinct. This list serves as a warning and a wake up call to the rest of the world that we are doing something wrong and we need save them. The same thing is happening to gentlemen. The question is, if most believe chivalry is dead, who is killing it?
I was about to deplane my flight last week and as I was waiting to get to the aisle to grab my carry-on from the overhead compartment I noticed a man a few rows in front of me attempting to help a perfectly healthy and capable woman by taking down her bag for her. He casually said, “Hey is this blue one yours?” as he reached to take down the bag. The woman said extremely nervously, “Yes, but you don’t have to. I can get it. No, I feel bad, don’t worry about it.” The man replied, “It’s no problem at all.” He was smiling. He swiftly took the bag down and set it on the floor and let her walk in front of him so she could get off the airplane easily. She looked down at the floor a bit embarrassed, thanked the man and left.
After I struggled to get my own bag down, with no help, I made it off the plane and it hit me, it’s our fault. Women are killing off chivalry one kind deed at a time. We don’t even know how to accept a nicety (which is rare nowadays) when it is being offered to us by a man or a stranger.
Instead, we fumble, say we can do it ourselves and don’t give them the chance to be polite. Then, we go out on dates and complain to our girlfriends that the man didn’t try to open the door. That same man may have just been rejected to take down a woman’s suitcase from his flight and figured that him being a gentleman only made women feel awkward. Now, you may think I am jumping to conclusions, BUT I have spoken to many men about this.
When my fiance and I first started dating, he told me a woman yelled at him once for opening her door and said that she could clearly do it herself, that she didn’t need his “help.” Guess what he stopped doing? Opening doors. Guess who paid for that? Me! I had to tell him I was quite the opposite and LOVED it when men opened my door and just because one woman thinks that, doesn’t mean we all do. A friend of mine who is very traditional told me that when he was on a dinner date he used to stand up when the woman excused herself to go to the restroom. Key words, used to. Women called him “weird” and said they felt uncomfortable, so he stopped. I could go on and on and sadly, have dozens of examples of men trying to be chivalrous and women basically freaking out on them.
Each time we freak out, we slowly but surely kill off the few gentleman that are left in the world.
Why are we so uncomfortable with men being polite to us? I think it’s different for everyone. Sadly, I think most women simply aren’t used to it anymore. Times have changed. Others want to maintain their independence and believe maybe that chivalrous men means we are going backward. The saddest of all, many women don’t believe they deserve it. All of these thoughts are negative beliefs.
We can run for president (in most countries) and we can create life. Nothing will ever change that. And while we continue to progress and continue to work for things like equal pay and more seats in the boardroom, does that mean we have to throw manners out the window? Do you want the future generations living in a world where men and women no longer have basic manners? Do you want a man who isn’t willing to open your door or help another woman who may actually need it? Probably not.
So, next time a man offers to do something nice say thank you. Say that you appreciate it, say that was very kind. Don’t tell him you can do it, he doesn’t have to. Believe me, he knows you can do it and he knows he doesn’t have to. But if he wants to, you should let him. And one by one, maybe our gender can bring chivalry back to life and take it off the critically endangered list.