12/16/14
What Men Really Think About Chivalry

Advice from three of our guy friends. This week they answer the following: “What do you think about traditional gestures of chivalry like holding open a door for a woman, holding out her chair at the restaurant, etc? You know, is it just the polite thing to do, are you annoyed you’re expected to do these things as if the woman’s a baby, does it make you feel good to feel like a caretaker, etc?”

Straight Single Guy (Chris): I don’t know how I compare to the rest of the world of single, straight guys, but I still open doors, hold chairs (though less often than the door), and buy dinners. I’m not exactly sure where in the realm of online dating and pornhub.com chivalry died, but it seems to me that all of my girl friends are going dutch or paying for meals on their dates. I’m not a rich guy, but if I can’t afford a nice dinner, I cook one. And if I can afford dinner, I pay for it. I hold doors open because it is the polite thing to do, not because I am stronger than my frail little trophy dates. Sometimes I help old ladies cross the street or out of a taxi. I carry stuff for people, men and women, and I say, “Thank you, sir” and “Can I help you, ma’am?” Maybe that makes me old fashioned, but I think it makes me fucking cool.

Gay Married Guy (Jon Ross): For me, at the heart of chivalry is respect and consideration and therefore it does play a role in gay relationships. However, chivalry does have very specific gender connotations that would be a little bit ridiculous applied to a gay relationship. I would be extremely put off if, for example, a date held out a chair for me at a restaurant. However, small gestures like holding a door for me, offering me a seat on a bus or train, or even offering me his jacket if I’m freezing would all be appreciated. In that respect both gay and hetero relationships are the same. However, guys can easily overdo it. No one should be treated like a frail and helpless object, rather with the respect and consideration everybody (well, most people) deserves.

Straight Married Guy (James Glazebrook): Yes, chivalry is antiquated but just like sonnets, bodices and horse-drawn carriages, it’s also romantic. I’ll always hold the door open for my wife, or carry stuff for her, or give her my coat when it’s cold — not because she’s a woman, but because I love her <sigh>. As for other women, I’ll hold the door open — I afford even men that courtesy — but, apart from that, they’re on their own. Pretty much all of the social conventions we haven’t done away with by now are those designed to get us what we want. Just like a salesman will shake your hand and say “nice to meet you”, the average guy is only going to lend you his coat if he wants to get in your pants.

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Our “guys” are a rotating group of contributors. This week’s Straight Married Guy is James Glazebrook of Manflet, our Straight Single Guy is Chris DiClerico, and our Gay Married Guy is Jon Ross. To ask the guys your own question, click here.

One Comment

  1. I heard a comedian do a pretty funny bit about how the code of chivalry only minimally addresses gender relations – it’s really mostly medieval battle etiquette.

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