Chivalrous Men and Why Gentlemen are Underrated.


The Millionaire Matchmaker, Patti Stanger, who believes in no sex before monogamy

Chivalry is dead. Manners are free. You’ve heard these lines before with the only exception being that some people use them more than others. So, as I make my way through this awkward and sometimes downright disappointing world of dating, I wonder whatever happened to the gentleman? He is elusive, kind of like Superman. One minute he’s there, the next he’s gone. Well I, for one, want him to stick around ’cause he’s tops. At least at the beginning anyway.

When was the last time a guy opened a car door for you? Mine was Saturday night but I paid for the service. That’s right, I caught a cab into the city and the backdoor didn’t open when I was hopping out and suddenly every horror movie I’ve ever watched was flashing before my eyes (if you’ve ever watched The Bone Collector, you’ll understand what I’m talking about). So the cabbie jumped out and opened the door for me. This is currently the most romantic thing that’s happened to me in weeks. How sad am I?

I don’t know about you but I notice when a guy takes his time to be chivalrous. It’s sexy. Which is why I found it bemusing that The Daily Mail reported:

“Men who open doors for women are guilty of ‘benevolent sexism’ according to a new study by feminist psychologists. The volunteers were asked to keep diaries in which they were asked to note examples from a long list of both sexist and non-sexist incidents – without being told what the study was for”

It went on to say:

“The list included blatant acts of sexism such as referring to women as ‘bitch’ or ‘chick’ or unwanted attention from men. But it also included acts of ‘benevolent sexism’, even romantic statements from men about how they cannot live without a woman or how much they ‘cherish’ women, said the study”

Right. So being polite and respectful towards women is now wrong? Or sexist? Gosh, no wonder men are so bloody confused. Damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Opening a car door, heck any door, makes me feel like a lady. Perhaps this isn’t the politically correct feminist attitude but it’s how I feel. It’s about respect. It makes me feel good about myself. And usually I wonder ‘is this guy single?’ Swoon.

A few months ago I read Sam de Brito’s Building a Better Bloke. Perhaps I’m not his target audience but I was interested to see what kind of advice men give to their mates (and readers, obviously). De Brito encourages men to lift their game and “become a man women want”. It’s the obvious strategy but how many women follow this principle? Is it sexist for a woman to question and “become a woman men want?”

When we’re asked what is it we look for in a partner it rolls off the tongue but I encourage you to study that list, how much of that is actually us? If you expect a bloke to have a job, you should have one too. If you expect ambition, you should be daring as well. You can’t expect something that you don’t do yourself. This is what I’m learning after being newly single, anyway. Perhaps it’s cliche but you have to step up your game and be that sex muffin that you’d like to date. Muffins are sexy – yeah they are.

With all that said perhaps I should be opening doors for men since I like them opened for me? I do try to hold the door open for anyone who is close enough to me, many don’t. But I think gender roles sometimes come naturally. Or perhaps it’s just the romantic in me.

Do you believe it’s sexist for a man to open the door for a woman? Is chivalry dead or do these men still exist? What’s the most romantic thing someone’s ever done for you?

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  • John James

    I hold doors open for men and women alike…all I’m doing is being polite…gender doesn’t even come into it…

  • Whippersnapper

    OH MY GOD Rose, whenever I get into a cab, I check the lock because of that bloody movie! Haha, I watched it as a teenager I think and it shared the living shit out of me when getting into cabs!

    As for chivalry, I’m not fussed on it really. To be honest, I don’t see it as sexist, I find men who open car doors for you (men who you are seeing in a romantic capacity) to be a bit try hard in my opinion. Mr W is not very chivalrous, but he is an intelligent, free thinking and caring and loving partner, in the truest sense of the word, we are equals.

    I find at work, if I am entering a lift or going to a meeting with men, they hold open the door and let me go first, but I wouldn’t give two shits if they didn’t, I just see it as a little bit old fashioned and yes, I suppose, chivalrous.

  • fender4eva

    Rose, I agree with John. It’s all about manners. Like giving way when you’re driving, or saying ” Excuse me ” when you sneeze. I guess I was just brought up, to consider others. :-)

  • Karen

    When it comes to things like opening doors and giving up seats and helping with heavy boxes etc, I welcome “chivalrous” acts because, quite frankly, they just make life easier and nicer and generally lovely!

    BUT… I’m left cold when some men (and some women) make assumptions about my personality, intellect, emotions, likes and dislikes based on my gender. I was in Bunnings a little while ago and was about to steer a heavily-laden trolley around a blind corner when an approaching male staff member called out “look out, lady driver!” to a person around the corner who I couldn’t yet see.

    This male staffer (a) knew that I couldn’t see the other customer and (b) knew that the other customer could clearly see my trolley jutting out so he (c) loudly announced to all and sundry that I was obviously responsible for any adverse outcome because of my gender.

    I am pretty sure he was joking, but I still felt humiliated. Don’t worry, I gave him the hairy eyeball.

    So while I can see how the authors of the study you cited think women are victims of ‘benevolent sexism’, I think it’s important to realise that not every situation is the same. Holding a door or picking up a dropped item is just common courtesy and should be extended to anyone that needs a hand, regardless of who they are. Other than that, you’re on shaky ground when you belittle someone OR venerate someone based solely on their gender. {I’m looking at YOU, Mr Bunnings Staffer.}

  • Tamsin Howse

    I like chivalry. I don’t think it’s sexist, because in my opinion men and women aren’t the same and they don’t need to be treated the same. We need to be treated equally, of the same value as if we are worth the same, but that doesn’t mean exactly the same.

  • Bek M

    I like chivalry too. It’s just good manners! It shows respect, that the guy bothered to think about you, and be considerate towards you. My Dad still opens car doors for my Mum and I, and then opens them for us when we arrive somewhere. I think it’s lovely, and I feel special. :-) Nothing wrong with encouraging men to think of others and be considerate and respectful, I say.

  • Kate

    I feel like opening car doors is kind of forced chivalry, because it only really works if you sit there waiting for the guy to open the door or just stand ta the door and don’t reach for the handle. Even if a guy had no intention of opening the door, he’s going to feel he has to if you just sit or stand there expectantly.

    I’m perfectly happy if a guy opens a door for me or helps me carry something or pays for dinner. What I don’t like is that a lot of women just expect men to do these things, and think it’s rude when they don’t. It’s nice when either gender does something nice for someone else, but why do we expect men to do these things but not expect similar acts of helpfulness from women in return?

  • Mark

    ” If you expect a bloke to have a job, you should have one too. If you expect ambition, you should be daring as well. You can’t expect something that you don’t do yourself.”

    But that’s not going to work for one reason: Men don’t have that criteria when they date women. Men don’t expect to be met financially, academically, or even in terms of ambition. Women –even stauch feminists– are generally hypergamous. Women like that are always looking up. I can’t tell you how many women I have met who expect potential mates to match or exceed their level of income, i.e. – If she earns 40k, he must earn at least 40k. I have never, in my life, met a man who expected this from women. So women will continue to seek men laterally (at the very least), and men will continue to keep their standards open to women from all socioeconomic backgrounds.