Chivalry isn’t dead, it’s just suffering from poor brand management.

January 6, 2010 at 5:54 pm (It's all about me, On dating and mating, plays well with others)

My adorable college roommate emailed a while back to share an article she thought I’d enjoy about 8 so-called ‘chivalrous’ moves that creep us out. Let’s run through these one by one, shall we?

1. Ordering my meal for me.
Based on the men I’ve been out with in my 15 years of dating (I’m going to assume my junior high boyfriend doesn’t count), I can’t imagine this happening. In fact, most (if not all?) of the men I’ve dated look to me to make the reservation, choose the wine, explain certain food terms, show them which fork to use, AND order. I wish men would realize that manners and sophistication are as sexy as a well-cut suit and washboard abs. Also? I really need higher standards.

2. Letting me win.
Avoid this issue entirely by betting sexual favors on the game of Scrabble. Duh. That way we both win.

3. Using a code term for going to the bathroom.
When has a man saying “tinkle” ever been considered chivalrous?

4. Pulling out my chair.
Oh no, feel free. If the maitre’d can do it, so can you.

5. Carrying my purse.
“Can you hold this for a second while I put my hair up?” is a far cry from “Babe, take this (and keep it for the duration of my 5-hour shopping excursion) and oh, by the way, don’t forget that my toy chihuahua is in there and will need to be walked soon.”

6. Asking my dad for my hand in marriage.
I would hope that the man proposing marriage to me would have met my parents. At least a few times. In meeting them, he would have learned that neither of my parents think of me as chattel. (A huge pain in the ass at ages 3 and thirteen? Sure. But not chattel.) Calling and letting my parents (good luck to ya, Mister, if you tell my dad and not my mom!) in on the plan is welcome and encouraged. Particularly since you’ll need my mother’s help in picking out a ring. At least you will if you know me at all by then.

7. If you’re paying for dinner, not letting me put in for tip.
We’ve been over this.

8. Helping me put my coat on.
What?!! I adore it when a man helps me on with me coat. I adore it when a woman helps me on with my coat. I almost always help my mother on with her coat. On the rare occasion my father wears an overcoat, I help him too. It takes a rather high level of ungainliness not to be able to find the sleeve hole when someone else holds the coat for you. Like, I-can’t-tell-my-right-arm-from-my-left-ass-cheek ungainliness.

Chivalrous moves that will make me swoon?

1. Holding the door.
Something I do all the time for others and yet find surprising when they do it for me.

2. Parking on the street even when you have a garage space so that I don’t have to search for a spot when I arrive.
Modern urban romance, in a nutshell.

3. Breaking my fall when the train/bus/subway lurches.
I’d still like to properly thank the kind sir who caught me last week on the MAX train.

4. Placing a hand on the small of my back to guide me through a doorway.

5. Tucking my hand in the crook of your elbow when the street is slippery.
My gracefulness is above-average, but it’s no match for black ice and four-inch stilettos.

What about you? What typically chivalrous things bug you and which ones do you enjoy?



  1. Bridget said,

    I agree with you 100 percent. If some guy said, “I have to tinkle!” to me, I’d excuse myself from the date. I don’t need details and “restroom” works perfectly well.

    • BS said,

      Southern men never say “tinkle,” I’m sure…

  2. Jess said,

    I agree with you on every single one of these.

    • BS said,

      It’s a shame (well, for me) that so many men don’t agree with us!

  3. heisschic said,

    agreed.. mostly. but with the ordering a meal one, the guy i’m with is pretty daring when it comes to food. i like when he’ll select an appetizer (followed by a quick- it’s good! really!) for us to split. thus far, he’s been right.

    and with the current weather- de-icing my car when he’s waiting for his to warm up. not having to freeze and get salt all over my coat is a great way to put a rare smile on my face in the morning.

    • BS said,

      The way you’ve presented it, I’d agree, but it sounds like your *him* is suggesting that you try something new and not full-on ordering on your behalf. It seems like it would be a different situation if the waiter arrived at the table and he busted out your order without talking with you about it first. No?

  4. MJ said,

    Jack and I have been dating for six years and he still opens the car door for me every time I get in his car. He also pumps my gas if he’s with me when I stop to fill up. Makes you want to puke, doesn’t it.

    • BS said,

      Makes me hopeful, not nauseated 🙂

  5. Karen said,

    A man better ask my dad for my hand before asking me to marry him. That is just as much a part of the wedding process as a white dress, throwing the bouquet and smearing cake on each other’s nose.

    I’ll add shoveling out my car. Winter is a real bitch here.

    • BS said,

      As long as your future husband knows how you feel and mine knows how I feel, I think we’re set! (Especially since I have no plans to throw a bouquet and I don’t like cake.)

      Shoveling out your car! Brilliant addition to the list. Makes me wish I had a guy willing to help with those things when I lived in Boston.

  6. SoMi's Nilsa said,

    Nothing mentioned is creepy – CNN really needs to improve its reporting staff. That said, things that DO creep me out …
    1) Boys who call over and over again when I haven’t yet had a chance to return their first call.
    2) Boys who offer to pick you up and tell you they already know where you live when you haven’t even told them yet.
    3) Boys who treat the waitstaff like crap, offer to pay and leave a lousy tip.
    4) Boys who start calling me pet names after the first date.
    5) Boys who still live with their mother (barring unanticipated circumstances)

    Oh, now that list could go on! =)

    • BS said,

      #1) I met a guy who called the night I met him and then again when I didn’t answer. He managed to make it seem charming (there were references to Swingers and I still think of him as the funniest guy I’ve ever met) and get me to call him back sooner than I usually do.
      #2) That would make me cancel the date AND ask a male friend to stay over that night.
      #4) I always assume that means they’re dating multiple women and don’t want to have to keep names straight.
      #5) I dated that guy. It didn’t work out. Are you surprised?

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