We all know Justin Timberlake ‘brought sexy back,’ but I want to know who is going to bring chivalry back. The word chivalry comes from the chivalric code, the traditional code of conduct used by the knights of medieval times. Over the years, it has come to represent virtues associated with knighthood such as honor, courtesy, loyalty and gallantry toward women. Being chivalrous goes hand-in-hand with being a gentlemen. In a day and age when gentlemen are scarce, how can we bring chivalry back?
For a gentleman to be chivalrous, what does he need? A lady.
A gallant man wants to take care of his female companions, be they his wife, girlfriend, mom, sister, cousin or friend. However, these days more and more women want to prove they can take care of themselves. This spells trouble for many a chivalric gentleman. I hear too many women complaining about men who don’t treat them like ladies, while at the same time acting so far from ladylike it’s mind boggling. If you want to be treated like a lady, then you have to act like one.
That being said, the lack of chivalrous men in the world doesn’t fall squarely on female shoulders alone – many men today lack the training and simple know-how of treating a woman like a gentleman should. Here to help are a few basic guidelines taken from Esquire’s Guide to Modern Etiquette published in 1969.
• “It’s the man who pays, but not necessarily for expenses which come up during a chance encounter with a woman.”
• “Give your hand to a woman, palm up, as a kind of rest or ledge for her hand when you help her down from buses, out of cabs, down into boats, and so on.”
• “It’s ‘ladies first,’ except when your going first is in form of service to her.”
• “Hold all doors for her, just as she hadn’t a muscle in her body.”
• “Hold all chairs for her, when she sits and when she rises.”
• “Help her in and out of her coat.”
• “Walk on the street side of the sidewalk when you can do it gracefully.
The basic principle for bringing back chivalry is this: gentlemen – do things like the ones listed above, and ladies – let them. Always remember: a proper lady attracts a chivalrous gentleman and a chivalrous gentleman will be sought after by a proper lady.
The presentation of the hand to assist a lady exiting a vehicle is not an exercise to be taken lightly. I once was providing said assistance while off-balance and trying to also hold open the vehicle door. It backfired severely–she caught her heel, and tumbled out. All I could do is pull her hand enough upward to prevent her from hitting her head. I felt very foolish. Now, I offer the hand, but ensure I’m discretely ready to be of REAL assistance should it become necessary!
LOL…thanks for sharing, Rob! You make a very good point!
“and ladies – let them.”
Thank you for that. After having been burnt so many times by “ladies” chewing me out for disrespecting them by acts so simple as holding doors open, it’s nice to see that half of the equation mentioned.
Hear, hear! To both the article and this above reply!
Chivalry is a code that was meant for both sexes to follow. Accurately summed by “a proper lady attracts a chivalrous gentleman and a chivalrous gentleman will be sought after by a proper lady.”
You bring up a very important point that can be a major factor in the death of chivalry. You stated that men are not being trained on how to treat women. I hypothesize that the large amount of the issue is unwed mothers divorced fathers and good male mentors in primary schools deprived boys of this training. Some women will deny and say-women can teach these thing to boys. No, they can’t. The teenage boy just entering puberty does not need a stern talking to to teach him, he needs to hear from a man he respects, not likes, respects. The super hormone level teenage boys go through is unique to men. A women teaching a boy chivalry and respect to women is like a gofer teaching a fish to swim. The rebellious stage of teenage boys also needs to be given boundary’s that involves a healthy fear of dad. There’s a reason we men would look terrified when the mother said “just wait until you father gets Home”. Scared shitless, but it bypassed the cocky teenagers screw you shields. There are terrible statistics on the probability of bad behaviour by boys without fathers, and chivalry is not even close to the run away bad behaviour likely from fatherless boys. So ladies I think your probably SOL the western society is not going to regress to more traditional values needed, I would say your only hope is to sign your kid up for a sport, the experience taught to boys in those environment is invaluable
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