Chivalry is not in fact dead. What is very much alive is our own perception that we’re being treated right, when realistically we’re being treated so far from it.
First off, it’s important to know that the very definition of chivalry seems to have changed from past generations. When my parents used to say something along the lines of, “find yourself a chivalrous man!” they were referring to the traditional “gentlemanly” type things that women should most certainly expect. To name a few: opening my door, paying for my dinner, walking me to the door after our date, walking on the edge of the sidewalk closest to the street…
And these are all things I appreciate and still do appreciate in a relationship. However, I can’t help but notice that the idea of chivalry itself has seemed to change over the years. What I’ll refer to for the rest of this post is “modern day chivalry.”
The very sad but realistic truth is that much of what is considered “chivalrous” should actually happen without any expectations.
For example, I shouldn’t feel shocked when I receive a text saying how great of a date we had (if it actually was great). This is such a small and easy gesture- literally takes 30 seconds to do! Not to mention, if you truthfully did have a great time, it shouldn’t feel hard at all to say so. It makes a girl feel valued and appreciated. It confirms her own thoughts about the date; and simply put, it just feels good.
Modern day chivalry includes: receiving a text back, keeping the date you planned (aka not ditching), calling you at a decent hour and for a decent reason (not 2 am just for sex), giving your face as much attention as they give their phone during a conversation, contacting you first on a dating app (which doesn’t include a dick pic or sexual innuendo), and not getting ghosted.
So a couple girlfriends inspired a few of these, and I’ve got to admit… I felt pretty damn ridiculous typing them out. They are frustrating, upsetting, and frankly, quite bullshit. We’ve seemed to have lowered our standards of what we should expect from our dates, which means that we inevitably value ourselves less. We shouldn’t be getting so excited over getting a text back! A reply should happen automatically just for the sake of respect for another person.
Times I was shocked and feel like maybe I shouldn’t have been:
Phone call confirmation for a date
Still getting a kiss in the morning
Walking me downstairs after I slept over as I wait for my Lyft
Getting picked up in your car for the date versus meeting you separately
Sleepover for the sake of sleeping, not just sex
Such simple things, and yet if they’re things that you’re not familiar with, then you naturally question the motive each time they happen. My first thought: if I feel like I’m being respected, then there must be a hidden agenda or ulterior intentions. And the thing is, you don’t realize just how shitty your previous relationships were until you’re in the right one. This is not supposed to be a pessmistic post, despite sounding like it. There are REALLY REALLY great guys out there! Trust me. When you feel guenunitely cared about, and when it continues month after month, don't question it. Just because you've dated a ton of assholes, doesn't mean every single guy out there is one.
Funny side story inspired by this weekend: chivalry is also not winning a girl over with your money. I was at a bar with my girlfriend this past Sunday. A guy comes back to the table we were sitting at with a tray of 2 glasses of champagne, 2 glasses of wine, 2 cocktails, 2 beers, and potentially one more drink I’m forgetting about at this point. Easily $150 spent. And for what? This wasn’t an act of chivalry. I didn’t feel respected by having a tray of 8+ drinks brought to ONE other girl and I. We are both petite and our bodies will start rejecting any more than 5 drinks each. It’s clear that for guys just as much as for girls, the very definition of what is chivalrous has become distorted and altered over the years if he truthfully believed that this was the “right” thing to do at a bar. That being said, the margarita was delicious. So was my girlfriend’s very orange cocktail.
Another realization: it’s not that chivalry is dead, it’s that we keep resorting to dating assholes. I cannot tell you the amount of times I’ve heard something along the lines of, “he’s not that great. But if he asks for another date, I’ll go.” I’m wondering when we started to set our standards so low, and to start to expect less and less out of dates. And I can think of a few reasons why it’s easy to do.
Like I said, it’s easy to become familiar to being treated a certain way. When we keep dating the same type of guy over and over again, it feels comfortable. And then when something feels good, relationship self-sabotaging can happen very easily (separate blog post on this later).
It creates a challenge. I can personally admit I used to thrive off of dating the wrong guy for the sake of truly believing that maybe things would change. They didn’t, and there really was no chance they ever would.
If we keep accepting his phone calls at 1:00 am, and going to his apartment by 1:15 am… I’m not saying it’s right for him to be an asshole, but at the same time, we’re completely reinforcing the acceptability of a booty call (when we don’t actually want to be booty called).
And these two ideas go hand in hand: the more we keep dating assholes, the more we’re allowing the modern day definition of chivalry to exist.
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