Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Is Chivalry Really Dead?

I read an article this week that said men are no longer approaching women in bars/cafe's (wherever else one would meet a potential date - I still never quite figured that one out). This is thanks to the rise (and soon, hopeful fall) of Tinder. Yep, it's all down to swiping. So technically, swiping a virtual date is stealing an actual, real life, human one... There's something creepily AI about all of this...

Basically, Tinder is stealing men's...interest, confidence, brain cells? So, the tool put out there to help singletons worldwide, is actually proving to be detrimental to hook ups.

This got me thinking about men approaching women in bars/cafe's etc. Then my thought train pulled into Relationship Station, via a long pit stop at Chivalry Lane. Is chivalry really so far gone nowadays  that something as teeny as Tinder can put it's final nail in the coffin? (Oh Lord, i just said 'nowadays'...sometimes I open my mouth and Grandmother comes out)

Is chivalry really so far gone that when I speak to my Nan about her courting days, it actually sounds like a whole other planet, not just another decade? My Grandad would bring her flowers all the time, he would be gracious and polite to her parents, he would pick her up, pay for dinner and dancing, and would then return her home without any ulterior motive other than hoping she had a truly spectacular time. He wanted to please her, to make her happy. He would hold doors open for her, hold her hand, tell her she was the most beautiful woman to walk the earth... It sounds very 'The Notebook' doesn't it? Don't get me wrong, my Grandad was a drummer, he liked a beer (well, a lot more than one!) and he was hopeless with an iron. But chivalry, and gentlemanly behaviour? He had that one nailed down.

In this day and age chivalry is like a panda...a dying species. Everyone loves it, everyone coo's over it, there are millions of meme's gracing the internet about it - and still it's dying out. For the love of all things good - someone save the panda's...and chivalry while you're at it!

Now I won't generalise too much. There are still some proper gentleman out there (well done to their mothers for raising them right) who hold doors open, bring flowers, make reservations etc. But in reality it's like trying to find a needle in a haystack. I also think that with the rise of independent women (thanks Beyonce) it's been overlooked as a HUGE, MAHOOSIVE problem. As women, we now live (thankfully and happily) in an era where if we want something, we can get it for ourselves. We can pay our own bills, have our own fun and make ourselves happy. So in that wonderful independence an attitude has arisen, an attitude that says 'I don't need a man'. And yes, it's absolutely true - we don't! We CAN do everything we want, need, dream about - without them. But it's also birthed a new attitude towards chivalry - one that almost excuses a mans lack of it. If he's not going to pay for dinner - that's fine, because I can afford it - I don't need him. If he's not going to arrange the date, I will - because I can. If he's not going to hold the door open, I will walk through it with my head held high and not look back - because I'm confident enough to not care... None of these are bad at all. In fact, I think the only reason you meet 'the one' is because you're content and confident on your own - happy doing your own thing. It was only when I didn't need a man to complete my life, but to be an addition to it, that I found someone who made me happy. (This is just my story, not saying it's the same for everyone)

But anyway, I don't expect men to pay for dinner every time. I don't expect them to pick me up and drop me home after a meal. Why? Because I have the attitude that 'I can do that myself'.

I realised that somewhere along Miss Independent Road (busts out Kelly Clarkson), I had become so self sufficient that I excused a lack of chivalry. I excused it so much that when I found it again, I realised how important it truly is. And, how much I wanted it in a man.

I know lots of guys who are pro's at chivalry in the first few weeks. After that, it disappears never to be seen or heard from again. I also know lots of guys who don't know the meaning of the word at all. It IS a stereotype that men do and say certain things. And yes I know, women have spent generations trying to remove stereotypes altogether. But I DO believe that there is a difference between men and women. My personal opinion (and I know it's not everyone's) is that men should be gentleman and women should be ladies. The Suffragettes would be spinning in their graves...

I'm happy to iron a mans shirt, to look after him. And in return I would like him to take the bins out and cut the grass. I am more than capable of driving to dinner on my own, but I love it when he picks me up and drops me home. I am happy to pay for my half of dinner every time, but sometimes it's nice when they pay... All of these, and every other example, aren't things I can't do for myself, but they are things that I like a man - a gentleman - to do for me. And that's what chivalry means to me.

Chivalry is an expression of an attitude that many have forgotten, or only use to their advantage when it suits them. True gentleman never forget chivalry. They treat women the same four years down the line, as they did four weeks into their dating. They know that if they treat their woman the same as they did in the beginning, then she's never going to go anywhere. And you're also likely to be very well loved and looked after as her response to your chivalry.

True gentlemen are great. They highlight more douchebag attributes in my exes than I care to think about. No-one's perfect, but gentlemen have read and memorised the Chivalry Manual. Mine sends me good morning messages, he's complimentary and affectionate. He holds doors open for me, books restaurants for dinner, he brings wine to dinner with my parents. He even know how to hold polite conversation with my family - and that's an actual miracle.

I realised how much I missed a man taking the initiative when I met him. I realised that although I used to think it was great that men would let me pick where we went for dinner - every time - actually, in reality I love it a lot more when he picks. Even if the restaurant isn't my first choice, I love that he picks and I try something different. I love that he cut my grass when it was practically a forest, that he walks first and holds my hand and leads me through a crowd.

I realised how alien this can be to so many, when I would mention things to friends and they would say that their husbands or partners wouldn't ever do things like that. A mummy-friend of mine (okay, an aquaintance) is now dating a new guy. She's got the look of someone who would get stereotyped a lot - in negative way, but she's got the sweetest, kindest heart. Her man adores her. I don't know if I've seen anything like it for...well, a VERY long time. Only this weekend he arranged for her children to go to their grandparents, turned up on her doorstep and whisked her off to London and had a whole weekend of things she would love lined up. At the same time I also realised that I had dated more men than I care to admit, who had been aliens to the term chivalry. Let us not forget about the guy I went on a date with who dropped me at a random train station at midnight, on my own in the dark and just drove off and left me there. Yup, chivalry is pretty much dead my friends - except for the odd exception.

It's dead. But lets hope it can be resurrected.

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