A Shift In Chivalry

Scott Farrell comments:

When someone says “chivalry is dead,” they are usually lamenting the demise of things that were once thought of as “gentlemanly” behavior, like:

  • Always paying for dinner;
  • Holding the door for a lady, or;
  • Walking on the street side of the sidewalk.

While it’s true that those (and other) points of etiquette were once ingrained into a gentleman’s sense of chivalry, expecting that sort of behavior from young men today under the guise of chivalry is a recipe for disappointment. After all, this is an age of chat rooms, not sitting parlors; of text messages, not hand-written greeting cards. Expecting today’s youth to abide by the conventions of yesterday’s chivalry is as unrealistic as expecting boys to wear top hats and girls to wear lace gloves and corsets. Yesterday’s chivalry just does not fit today’s culture.

But that does not mean the need for, or the intention behind chivalry is dead. Chivalry is nothing but the desire to be helpful, to express respect through deference, and to break out of the “it’s all about me” mode and see what you can do to help other people. As this survey of 3,000 women (originally reported by Britain’s Gulf News website) shows, there’s plenty of room for chivalry on the road of life — if you’re willing to shift gears and keep up with the times.

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old fashioned chivalry
Old fashioned chivalry went out with corsets and button shoes, but a new survey shows there are still plenty of ways to be chivalrous today.

If you’re trying to impress a woman, don’t bother paying for dinner or holding open her car door. These days, it seems the mark of a gentleman is texting regularly and putting the rubbish out. A combination of hectic lifestyles and advancing technology have dramatically changed women’s perceptions of what constitutes a true gent, a study has found. Gone is the desire for a suitor who lays his coat over a puddle and pulls out his date’s chair.

In its place is a longing for a modern man who brings his lady a cup of tea in bed, nurses her through her hangovers and fills her car with petrol. Other gallant traditions which are falling by the wayside include walking on the side of the pavement closest to the road and carrying a woman’s bag for her.

Instead, an ability to cook and a sympathetic manner when it comes to PMT are now gentlemanly prerequisites. The survey of 3,000 women, carried out by clothing retailer Austin Reed, also found that a third attach no importance to traditional gestures of chivalry, such as men asking them to dance or requesting their hand in marriage.

A spokesman said: “The concept of being a gentleman isn’t dead, nor is it old fashioned. Being a gentleman is as applicable for our society today as it was in history and is about having respect for yourself and other members of your society.

“Charm, sensitivity, attentiveness, style and being well-groomed are key aspects that are seen as important and that we hope will continue in the future.”

4 thoughts on “A Shift In Chivalry

  1. In your article, “The Shift In Chivalry”, your assumptions of what young ladies want would prove to be severely misplaced with the large group of young ladies enamored over the Jane Austin movies. Many young ladies have crossed my path asking the questions why do young men no longer: open doors for ladies, stand up when a lady enters a room, give up his seat for a lady, lay his coat over a puddle, pull out a chair for ladies, walking on the side of pavement closest to the road, carry a lady’s packages, being asked to dance, paying for the meal, fill up her vehicle with gas, the man pursue the woman, request to speak to their father’s for their hand in marriage, etc. Many of the young ladies I meet tell me they are tired of waiting for such a man so they settle for what is out there. After marriage they are miserable because they do not feel cherished, protected or any of the other things their mothers and grandmothers talked about. They feel the constant pressure to become what they do not want to be. There seems to be a communication gap somewhere.
    Mrs. J.

  2. I’m trying to get my boyfriend to read these articles. I’ve read all of them, and I tell him how to treat me. He says that he already does. He does a few things but he needs a lot of help. I can tell that accepts the modern way of guys being for themselves.

  3. I personally think the reason men these days do not possess any of these qualities because our media does not encourage it. More oftenly you are seeing men who do not have father’s in their lives so there is no one to show them how things are done. Media seems to be taking over our society so what can you expect from our generation when we are paying more attention to television than to the lectures our teachers are giving. Not to say that we can not blame ourselves because we need to but its just one of the factors.

  4. I happen to know a number of girls who like the old-fashioned chivalry. Yes, a lot of the old isn’t seen or expected anymore, it is not expected by any means– but it is still sweet and gentlemanly!

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