Beauties & Beaties

Monday, July 31, 2006

Chivalry...A Thing of the Past?

Chivalry is dead. We hear that all of the time. But what does that mean? Is it used as an excuse for poor manners, or do women actually lament the traditions and standards of days gone by? Are men less chivalrous these days or women more callous? The question was posed to fellow bloggers extraordinaire Curare_Z and The Phoenix: Is chivalry really dead and is it even welcome in today's society?

Ladies first...

She Says: The cliché is that every little girl dreams about a knight in shining armor arriving to take her away from the evils of her life to live in harmony and peace until the end of her days. From personal experience, I think most women would be perfectly happy if a man would arrive at her front door that bathed regularly and could hold a conversation beyond the phrase, “you fer shure do smell perty.”

But does that mean that chivalry is dead? Does this seemingly cavalier and callous woman even want a chivalrous man? Chivalry is alive and well – it’s just, well, evolved. It’s not dead, it just doesn’t mean what it used to mean.

The term “chivalry” is truly a reference to the medieval institution of knighthood. In the Middle Ages, chivalry meant a lot more than opening doors for women and throwing your coat over a puddle of water so her dainty feet wouldn’t get dirty. It has evolved over the centuries from a code for how an idealized man should act in all situations, to merely courteous behavior. I can honestly say that on a daily basis the men in my office open doors for me and allow me to enter and exit the elevator first. This is all courteous behavior. And I love it.

That being said, the evolution of chivalry, at least in my own life, has meant that I should not consider myself above it. If I am walking ahead of a man, I don’t wait for him to pull the door open for me. I open the door and hold it open for him. This usually results in a number of looks ranging from “thanks” to “you sure don’t look butch” to (my personal favorite) “f^$%ing bi&$# is trying to emasculate me.” Whatever.

There is a certain subset of women, let’s call them “crazies,” who interpret a man’s courteous behavior to mean he is demeaning her in some way. These “crazies” see a man opening a door for her to mean he thinks she’s too weak to do so herself. These “crazies” see a man gesturing for a woman to enter the elevator first to mean that he MUST want to stare at her ass.

My response to these “crazies” is: GROW UP. If someone is being nice to you, consider *GASP* being nice back. A simple thank you doesn’t make you weak; it makes you not so much of a bitch. And for you men that encounter these women: please don’t give up being friendly. People (both men and women) will appreciate your good manners. For you women that are considering or living the chivalrous, I say: Edmund Burke was full of shit when he said, “…chivalry is gone…”
Chivalry has just evolved, as we all should.

He Says: Is chivalry dead? My answer is a resounding "yup." It's dead.

Dead as a doornail.

Sure, you catch glances of chivalry here and there. But in modern Western Society, it's pretty much about as in style as argyle socks. The question is, why?

Easy. Women are to blame.

The new woman wants to not only bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, but do it without the assistance from men. It has seeped from the workforce, to the homestead, and down to even the everyday things like opening a door for a lady.

Not all women feel this way. In fact, it seems most women do like to be treated like a lady most often. The problem is that we men have received mixed signals. And we're therefore confused as hell. So guess what. We quit. I'm not playing the big guessing game anymore. Should I now open the door for you? Should I now pay for dinner? Do I offer you my coat?

Too often, women have told us "no." They remind us they are quite able to open their own damn doors. They have jobs and don't need us to pay for dinner anymore. And finally, we need to stop treating them like the "fairer sex" by thinking we're protecting them from the cold January wind by offering our coats. And then two days later, like a homicidal viking, you let slip the dogs of war on us for not offering to open the door for you.

Chivalry is dead, and you women out there have no one to blame but yourselves. The liberated woman has liberated herself from depending on men financially and emotionally. And unfortunately, your contradictory messages have left us simply confused and letting you get your own door.

If you ladies are still waiting for Prince Charming, you'd either better make do with a frog or hope your Fairy Godmother comes along real soon.


Blogger Siren said...

Ladies, please send your hate mail directly to:


4:08 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Well I think it's somewhere in the middle, more of a mutual respect. I want my wife to be sucessful in whatever she does; professionally and personally. I do open doors for her occasionally. I think it means more to them when it's an occasional thing. When we used to date, I almost never let her pay. It's just how I am. There are plenty of things that she does for me and that I do for her. I feel that nowadays the door swings both ways.

5:33 AM  
Blogger Curare_Z said...

Way to go with the honesty Phoenix. I see you have encountered many of the "crazies." I mourn the death of your chivalry. ;-)

6:10 AM  
Blogger Crazy Dan said...

Good Job guys and I have to go with my man Phoenix women need to make up there mind alright and decided what they want. That being said you might as well call me Sir Dan for I am the knight of the future.

6:20 AM  
Blogger Big D said...

Curare: You fer shure do talk perty! lol. I really don't think most of what you mention as chivalry. I think it's called respect. Great Job on the post.

Phoenix: I totally disagree, but then perhaps I'm a hick and grew up old school. I don't care if a woman really likes it or not. Those are habits. Opening a door, paying for ALL meals, pulling the chair out and waiting to seat until she does. I've never met a woman you is totally against it. Sure they may complain that they will help you with dinner, but in my opinion this isn't simply chilvary. It's just the way thinks are done, so give me the check.

Mike: I think once your married there are seperate rules. I mean it's not just your money anymore is it? It's ya'lls money. So what does it matter you pays.

6:20 AM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

Maybe it is more of a geographical thing. Here in Texas and across the South. We still mind our p's and q's, and open the door and give up our seat for the ladies.

6:39 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

I am married with a kid. I meant I paid before I was married. Now yes, it's a pool of money. I agree that women are more independent and liberated, so yes, they did it to themselves, but I still show her the respect she deserves.

7:27 AM  
Blogger KC said...

Yes, it's all about respect. It works both ways, guys. If I get to the door before you, I'll certainly hold it open for you and I think you would do the same for me if you were first. Why not be polite in social situations? It makes life easier and makes everyone (except the crazies) happier. Good manners always win out.

7:50 AM  
Blogger Green Eyes said...

Great job both of you!

Curare Z, I am with you! I am always thankful when a guy opens a door for me, and never take that for granted. And, if I'm at the door, holding it open for a gentleman behind me, it's usually a look of shocked pleasure that greets me! lol

Phoenix, you can offer me your coat, especially in a movie theater, and I'll take you up on it and be thankful to you! But, I will help pay for dinner. That's not liberation, that's just fair, but you can pay for the movie, ok? *wink

8:18 AM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

Well done!

Here's a case of heinous anti-chivalry that I had the ill fortune to witness recently. There I was on the Metro--Washington, D.C.-area's generally very clean, very safe, annd very polite mass-transit train system. A uniformed officer of our very own United States Army was seated comfortably on a packed train, reading his newspaper.

A rather pregnant woman boards and looks for a seat, ending up standing right in front of him after noticing no seats are to be had. He raises his head to look at her. He obviously recognizes that she is (a) a woman, and (b) with child.

And he returns to his newspaper.

That's a disgrace to the uniform ... and grounds for a dishonorable discharge, in my book.


9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't even think about it, really. If I'm out, I don't wait for someone to open the door for me, etc. If it happens, then I consider that a nice gesture :)

9:26 AM  
Blogger phred said...

I agree with Phoenix.

1:01 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

I think manners and respect are becomming extinct. Just drive down any busy freeway, or go shopping at Wal-Mart. Rude people are breeding at such a high rate.

Curare, I think all those "crazies" you talk about should go found their own city far away and call it "Crazyville."

2:06 PM  
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Anonymous Jennifer said...

I's a girl and I like me those nice guys who hold open the door thank ya very much. AND I consider myself a feminist.

I do think that a lot of women don't know what they want. They want that white knight, but at the same time, they don't want to be beholden to a man. Cause like, we've fought for independance and just don't know where the line should stop.

For me, when the husband vacuums, changes a diaper, lets me sleep in, pinches my ass....thats chivalrous. Although, I did get a giggle when, while going to an all night pharmacy in a bad part of town while 9 months pregnant, he opened the car door for me, and put himself between me and the weirdos hanging around. He was very protective.

I admit it, I love it.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Vic said...

Good job guys. I for one will let you open the door and buy dinner. I'm strong and independent, but still want to be treated like a lady...whether I am or not. ;-)

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not dead, Phoenix. It's in a coma. On life support. Unless hearing guys talk to their girlfriends like this "Yo Biatch, get yer ass over here..." then future generations are in trouble. But it's the girls who respond to this that are slowly pulling the plug. It's not the feminists. It's the brainless twits who answer to put up with crap like that. Anyone talks to me like that and I'll chivalry slap their ass back to the middle ages.

I don't care how the bacon gets there, who slaughtered the pig as long as someone is feeding me. I've never yanked the door out of a man's hands with a snotty "I can do that". I grew up with "Please" and "Thank you" you get both from me. I still remember the *thwack* of the wooden spoon too well to forget.

Heck even I leave my seat if someone needs it more than I do. I'll even hold doors. That is heinous, David.

Oh and this is one of the coolest templates I've ever snapped eyes on. *pout* I want it. Sigh. Please?

2:58 PM  
Blogger O Ceallaigh said...

Phoenix, this is too cool. And I'm supposed to be packing for the drive to Maine. Argh.

I read that even the most "independent" heterosexual women still use submissive body language in the presence of a potential mate. And that women, on average, quickly come to disdain partners who are less accomplished in the work sphere than they themselves are.

Thus, as so often is the case for Homo ignoram... er, sorry, sapiens, our technological evolution has raced ahead of our biological evolution. Hence the conflict.

Technology means that both genders are free to chase their dreams, but our behaviors are still stuck in the time when (as with other social mammals) nursing mothers needed protection from various threats, and "chivalrous" conduct was a measure of the promise of such protection.

Indeed, in a "rich" society, the drivers of politeness in any form are less. You and I both have the money to survive our dissing each other. Which works until we all have to get together to address a common problem, or defeat a common enemy. Having had no training, or practice, in the skills that will keep us from killing each other long enough to defeat the enemy.


6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jenna - the template was created by Big D. He does fabulous work, doesn't he?

6:48 PM  
Blogger Pixie said...

I agree with everything Curare Z said.
I don't expect a guy to hold open a door for me but its nice when they do. likewise if I reach the door first I will hold it open for them!

10:10 PM  
Blogger OnMyWatch said...

I don't mind when someone opens the door for me, and of course I say thank you, but some people behave as though I'm supposed to give them a tip or something for their trouble. what is that all about?

5:15 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

With good 'ol plain respect down the toilet, I guess a person exhibiting any act of kindness expects a trophy or something.

6:43 AM  
Anonymous Bruce said...

OK, my turn...
being a member of the "older" American crowd, I was raised to treat women with nothing but respect. That includes opening and holding doors, giving her my coat if she's cold, everything. If I'm a member of a dying breed, so be it; I'll gladly go out in a blaze of glory.

9:49 AM  
Blogger Matt TheHat said...

I guess I grew up with the more adrogynous form of chivalry. I hold the door open for anyone who is approaching the door at the same time as me. Most people around here (St. Louis) do as well.
I also grew up with a father who always opened the car door for my mother when we were going somewhere, therefore I got in the habit of doing that as well. That is, before I had keyless entry. Now the door is already unlocked and it's kinda pointless to walk around to the other side.

I always hand over my coat, though. If they'll accept it, that is.

1:10 PM  
Anonymous heidi said...

I am the happy recipient of chivalry ever day. Maybe it's because my love is can take the boy outta Texas.

It's not dead, it's just being lost in all the "yo bitch" talk. I agree with Jenna, if our young women learn that this is what's to be expected, will be.

9:46 PM  
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the beast, on this one. Women--at least here in the Deep South--want to have their cakes and eat them too. You women need to make up your minds!

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