Do I think chivalry is dead? No. At times I wonder if it’s just at an infinite downward spiral, or that it has turned into a zombie apocalypse. Chivalry just needs the antidote to bring it back to life again.
Now, I could go all in and say that men are becoming lazy in terms of the dating world, but that they are also lazy in having respect for others in general. But, honestly, what came first – the chicken, or the egg?
As a woman, I can’t simply change a man into believing and applying chivalry. Plus, that isn’t my job. I could try and try and try, and fail every single time, when I have all the change I need.
I’ll forever choose to be a holder of the more traditional, old fashioned ways. Sometimes I feel like I am surrounded by those who simply look at me and go, “Where are you from? Do you know what year it is? Get with the times…” All because I believe in the traditional, genuine, kind gestures of a man. And I would make the necessary changes for myself to find it.
While I do agree, from other sources, that chivalry has evolved. What one person might see as chivalrous behavior could be an insult to the next. From the traditional opening of doors, pulling out chairs, walking on the sidewalk closest to the street, the kissing of hands, and rising from one’s seat when a woman enters the room, to modern chivalry – nice dinners, affection, allowing the woman to lead, and simply attentive investment in the relationship.
But many today don’t even practice it at all. From the sounds of it, people are evolving so rapidly and branching out in all chaotic avenues – chivalry in dating may be tiresome, having a hard time keeping up, or defined as useless when people are just too difficult to please.
I’m speaking to those who still do – the teeny, tiny slim margin that still believe in chivalry. The women who still want it present in their love life, and are having the most difficult time finding it. While I do know acts of chivalry are still out there, I do believe the practice of it is endangered – here are my key reasons why and what we can do about it.
Key Reasons Chivalry Is Endangered & How To Change It
We live in a hooked-up society
Because, hey, well – it isn’t fairly frowned upon anymore. So what gives? Why establish all the effort relationships entail when you can simply have all the benefits of saving money, your sanity and getting action regularly all at the same time?
After reading plenty of male perspectives on chivalry – for them, dating isn’t a necessity. And for “modern chivalry“, dating is everything. People are stingy nowadays – which isn’t the problem. The problem is that spending the money isn’t worth getting to know someone – when you don’t have to.
Communication is now lost. We go from love letters of 1,000 words to texts up to 140 characters – most of which only consists of late night invites.
Is it complacency, for both men and women? Are both being wrongfully conditioned to adhering to this kind of behavior – thinking they will eventually “get lucky” in finding someone to sweep them or their feet, or give them a challenge?
I won’t lie when I say I’ve been there – that stage in my life where I didn’t want anything serious. But I did realize in time, when I finally woke from my coma of flings, that my world of real dating had changed. It was difficult to find someone with what I thought were honest morals and values of courtship – yet I remained more accepting of it, because I was once conditioned to. In dating, I consistently attracted those who I have been conditioned to. Some may call it the, “Type of guy I initially go for, even though they have usually been wrong for me.”
Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.
And it all had proved what little self worth I had lowered myself to, as I was tossed from one bad relationship to the next. I literally had to detox my impression on Love, change the way I viewed myself and others, and how I wanted others to pursue me. It took me years to know what I truly deserved, regaining my own self worth, and understanding why instilling my worth allowed me to have more successful relationships.
We have lowered our standards & expectations
In dating, relationships, marriage and beyond! The lowering of our standards and expectations seem to come naturally to those who are convinced they have the “single, and forever alone” syndrome. Those may find themselves shedding off a few vulnerable layers in order to help their chances for the next relationship (which is a major no-no). And you’ll do it without even realizing it.
If your last relationship ended on bad terms, or that acts of chivalry came to a halt early on in the relationship – that might feed into your belief that there are no more guys out there who are willing to comply to your needs. Especially if this ending happens repeatedly. And that is far from the truth.
In turn, you decide that it’s less important expecting to be with a man who willingly shows you continuous respect, as a woman – whether that’s opening doors for you, sending you sweet texts good-night and good-morning, or making a genuine, consistent effort in simply keeping you happy.
We must not do that to ourselves in order to be in a relationship. Because, in the end, what will be the result? Eventually being unhappy and dissatisfied all over again. Learn to understand why women need to have high standards in relationships, and how it can benefit you in having more successful relationships.
I, too, toyed with the altering of my standards and expectations of dating in my early 20’s. And it didn’t take long for me to realize that I had set my bar far too low into a pool of narcissistic, disingenuous, manipulative, heartless and selfish human beings.
Don’t ever go there.
We confuse the meaning of chivalry with “overrated tactics” & “helplessness”
If you asked 100 people on the street, each person would have a different definition for chivalry. Some of the words in the definition are those such as nobility, generosity, courtesy, piety or devotion, and kind, honest behavior – originally directed that of men to women.
I don’t know if chivalry is learned in upbringing, or by natural cause in our young lives. I do know in my earlier teen years, chivalrous gestures were more prominent. That was some odd 10 years ago now, and once I entered into college chivalry had quickly fizzled out. Whether “growing up” causes us to be more realistic and logical, somewhere in there our perceptions change. That chivalry is nothing short of a “fairy-tale”, which is deemed as being unrealistic.
Since college, I have heard men say that “chivalry is just an exaggerated form of high maintenance, superficial duties, or overrated tactics just to prove a woman’s worth.” Since when has it become that women are now “high maintenance” for wanting chivalry in relationships?
And there are women who believe “the use of chivalry by men is merely to belittle a woman’s strength, degrade her independence or simply to ‘win them over’ in the dating game.” Why have we let a few bad eggs change our perception?
I guess it’s like the saying goes, “You get cheated on once – then all men/women become cheaters.” We must stop living with that perception of humanity, otherwise we will never allow ourselves to be truly happy.
I refuse to believe that every man out there is against my empowerment, equality, strength and abilities as a woman. In fact, I choose to see it as a way of making me feel stronger, and honored. Chivalry wasn’t meant to make me feel weak, powerless or controlled, and it surely wasn’t intended as a tactic to have men prove our worth.
We refrain from talking about it & acknowledging it
I am convinced chivalry is instilled upon upbringing – whether it be simple, respectable mannerisms or full on efforts in being raised on how to properly treat a lady. Guess what ladies – he’s either going to know right off the bat how to treat a woman, or he won’t.
In modern dating, chivalry has become one of these forbidden mentions – for both men and women. And it’s sad that we walk on egg shells about it – you know, because we don’t want to offend anyone. [Knock on wood!]
“So what’re you looking for in a guy/relationship?” – the most common dating question EVER.
“I really want a guy who’s up to par on his chivalry game…” – said no one ever.
Today we probably use the word “gentlemen” – yet we still tend to beat around the bush about it. We’re either discouraged that we are too demanding, or that he may think we’re too high maintenance. We need to open up about our standards and expectations.
In any genuine, decent relationship – we need to understand that in order to meet one another’s needs, we must be able to acknowledge and embrace change, and compromise. If it spoke volumes to be respected as a woman by having your doors opened in the relationship, there’s an appropriate and fair way to ask for it.
In return, when acts of chivalry are made – for the love of God, acknowledge it. In some form or way – a smile and eye contact, or a simple thank you. It might be the most obvious to let it slide, and internally process it as a “norm”, but many times we fail to realize that men want to be appreciated, and acknowledge of their efforts when it is made.
My husband may not pull out my chair at dinner, or open my car door when it’s inconvenient – but you know what he does do? He holds doors open for me, places my order at restaurants, walks along side closest to the street, picks me up curb-side when it rains and holds the umbrella over my head. Is he perfect? Absolutely not, but he is perfection in my eyes. And it’s my job, as his wife, to encourage his chivalrous behavior. Because, all in all, it’s the least I can do – right?