How to Be Chivalrous Now That Old Chivalry is Dead

While 21st century etiquette maintains that you should be nice to everyone, there are fuzzy spots that can be difficult to navigate due to past expectations for how men should treat women. The best thing to remember: modern chivalry isn't much more than common sense plus common courtesy.

Chivalry, or at least chivalry as we know it, has received a major facelift over the past few generations. What was once customary in times of courtly love seems antiquated and demeaning today. So how should clueless men who haven't spoken to a woman since Seneca Falls approach the awkward social situations where equality and gallantry seem to butt heads?


According to GQ's Lauren Bans, who has a piece currently being featured at CNN, it's not difficult to be polite to women without offending them or coming off as patronizing. The new chivalry is made up of two parts common courtesy, one part common sense. If you want to be polite, just be nice and pragmatic about it.

For example, Bans explains that you should hold the door open for everyone regardless of what they've got on their chest. Just don't force anybody to run a quick 40-yard dash as you stand there propping it. A pragmatic exception is getting into a cab with a woman:

"I know you think you're being nice by letting us get in first, but you know what? Sliding your butt across three seats of sticky black leather is not fun... If you would be so kind, please clumsily hurl your pants-protected body in first, and we will follow you gracefully, dignity intact."

Again: two parts common courtesy, one part common sense.

Throughout the article, Bans offers additional tips for respectful heterosexual dating. Briefly:

-Paying for dinner: the person who asks should foot the bill.

-Ordering for a female companion on a date: don't do it.

-Starting fights to protect her honor: only if you're eight-years-old.

The common theme here is that old chivalry operated from an idea that women needed men to protect them from the scourges of pretty much everything. And that's just not the case in our progressive 21st century world. While many women like to feel safe with a man, no woman wants to be treated like she's being babysat. 

Read the whole article (linked below) and let us know what you think. Ladies, are there any "chivalrous" behaviors that really grind your gears?

Read more at CNN

Photo credit: Wolfgang Zwanzger / Shutterstock

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