Chivalry vs Manners

Chivalry vs Manners

Fellas, stop trying to be “chivalrous” and just be polite.

If you’re treating men and women in the same kind way, then you’re not being chivalrous. Chivalry is a word historically connected with courting, romance, and the complicated forms of behavior used to show that you were of high class and worthy of a lady. When you say “I’m being chivalrous,” we hear “I want to be nice to you for exactly as long as it takes you to commit to a relationship with me.” If you’re opening doors, stepping to the side to let someone pass, pulling out chairs, etc. for everyone, regardless of their gender? You’re being polite. Keep it up – being polite is great. But you’re not being chivalrous.
If you’re only doing these things for women, what’s your motivation? Why would you only hold open a door for a woman, and not a man? What on earth could cause you to show that kind of decency to only one gender of people? Is it because you just want to date/shag them? Thank you for being honest. But that’s gross. You don’t insert kindness and receive sex. Stop that. Do you have other motivation for only doing nice things for women and not other men? I can’t think of what that motivation might be, so speak up, speak up in the comments.
If your “mother taught [you] to treat women with respect,” and that’s why you hold open doors for women but not men, but you don’t actually want to sleep with those women, just do those nice things for men also. Come on.
I understand that a) some women *want* to be treated differently than men, and expect their male partners to always hold open doors, pull out a chair, open the car door, etc. I don’t know a lot of those women, but I know they exist. Ascertain that is what a specific woman wants before you do it. I also understand that b) some men feel strangely emasculated when another man does something polite like holding open a door. If you worry for your safety because some strangely masculine person takes offense to your polite action, stop holding the door open for that one dude. That’s legit.
But stop calling what you do “chivalry,” because it makes you look like you’re just looking for a date, and not actually being an entirely polite human (and if you are just looking for a date, and that’s the reason you’re only nice to women, stop it.).

One thought on “Chivalry vs Manners

  1. Good.
    As I seem to remember, I was brought up (probably something like twice your age ago) to do these things, specifically for “ladies” (that being the term my elders used in these instructions). Reading your essay, I thought about this, and realized that I have long been in the habit of generally doing so regardless of the other person’s apparent gender. Exceptions:
    1. In a line or at the end of a line-in-formation, such as for getting on or off a trolley, I may yield to a female with no obvious need (such as a large load or a cane) where I would not normally yield to a male, all else being equal.
    2. In an elevator I generally take off my hat if there one or more females are present. I associate this practice with strong memories of the elevator in my maternal grandparents’ apartment building, where I lived from ages 7 to 12. Unlike #1, this is a gesture of politeness with no *practical* effect.
    A-and I’m subscribing to your blog!


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