A modern gentleman’s defense: Chivalry is not dead

Much like pay phones, writing letters and physical human interaction, chivalry seems less and less present as a sign of the times.

Regardless of its current state, chivalry is something I, as a 21-year-old male in modern day America, believe to be an important practice, whether it is directed to a possible love interest or any person you come in contact with who you might feel completely platonic to.

Chivalry, in the case of someone that you may have romantic feelings for,  just makes sense to me. While, yes, no one (or almost no one) will put their coat over a puddle to prepare a makeshift bridge for a date, there still are things that should be common practice when on a date, especially a first date.

Opening doors, offering to pay and walking your date home are just a few items on the chivalrous date itinerary. While I am well aware that a woman could do all of these things herself, it was how I was taught (or perhaps learned) to treat a girl and I’m sure most of my fellow males were as well. I believe all these actions to be courteous and acceptable or I at least hope them to be.

If what I had mentioned seems out of line or wrong, maybe it’s not the actions themselves, but the intention behind them that may seem misguided. If a man performs these actions, it could be argued, I suppose, that he is seeking something more than just doing polite things for the girl he is around. That somehow by acting “chivalrous” throughout the date, by its end, he will be inclined to “hook up” with his date is preposterous. If a man acts with these ulterior motives while on a date, he is no man at all.

Call me old fashioned, but while on a date, I try to show the truest form of myself to the other person. I’m not trying to act out a façade that she may like better than the actual me. This applies to acting chivalrous, as well. If I hold a door open for you, walk you home or text you to make sure that you made it home alright (if we had departed earlier), those are genuine actions. I’m not looking for anything in return of these actions. I just did them because I thought they were the right things to do. And if they aren’t, I apologize for any offense you might have taken.

I do realize that I am not perfect, far from it, I know. So if while on a date I or anyone else did something that they thought was polite was not received as such, tell them. The worst thing that can be done is nothing. By not telling someone you felt uncomfortable by their actions, you are more likely to feel the same discomfort again if you oblige in a second date with them.

I understand that my views can be conceived as old fashioned. Especially in the case of paying for things while on a date. It’s something that I have always thought was the right thing to do, but it may be antiquated now. On a first date, there is inherently a back and forth between paying for things. My best solution would be to offer to pay for things on the first date and then sort of figure out a payment schedule, who pays on which date, sort of thing. Not an actual schedule, of course, but something as simple as alternating who pays for each date.

Of course, chivalry between two individuals on a date is what may first come to mind, but chivalry also extends to those you interact with on the date, as well. Everyone should be treated politely and respectfully.

If you hold the door open for a date, why not keep it open for the couple behind her as well? If someone was to hold the door open for you and your date, a thank you is warranted, as I would appreciate it as well when holding the door for someone else.

Random acts of kindness like those just make sense to me as a person. It’s not that someone couldn’t open the door for himself or herself. It’s that you chose to keep the door open for them in an act of compassion for your common man.

To me, these chivalrous actions come out of an idea of respect for everyone. I think it is respectful to open and hold doors for anyone you come across and I also think it is respectful to pay for expenses on a first date. Misguided as this may be, it is what I believe to be the right way of handling oneself in interactions with others, to those you feel romantically attracted to or a random stranger you may come into contact. Chivalry may be on its way out of practice, but I will hold the door for it on its way out.