What, Chivalry Again?!
I look seriously askance at the concept of chivalry. I’ve made that no secret in my blog and my tweets. When Bring Chivalry Back surface on the web some months ago, I made my polite critique and moved on. My tweets on the subject aren’t so polite. The Chivalry Guy(TM) recently posted on his blog about how women need to step up their graciousness regarding the chivalrous gesture. Kudos, Chivalry Guy, kudos. I completely agree. The whole blog post is here but I’ll pull out some key paragraphs with my comments in bold.
“The very element of demanding it creates a dynamic that demeans the whole meaning behind it. Chivalry brings with it a statement of a man considering women special and worthy of caring. If all women want is the grunt work of having someone open the door for them or carry their bags or give up the seat on the subway, they are robbing it of the graciousness behind chivalry.”
Two things going on here, one I agree with, the other less so. A chivalrous gesture towards a woman who is important to a man is cool. Such a gesture towards an unknown woman is not cool. But Chivalry Guy is 100 percent correct about how graciousness is lost when women expect random men to be pack mules because chivalry. No, ladies, you don’t automatically receive a man’s sacrifice – no matter how small – unless you are willing to have some gratitude and delivered with graciousness.
“If chivalry comes just from demand and every guy would do it, how would one separate the wheat from the chaff? Rather than demand it, women would be better served to seek it, to hope for it, to attract it, to appreciate and cherish it. By making it something to attract, they are energetically letting the universe know the kind of man they want to attract.”
It’s fairly clear what Chivalry Guy is getting to. He wants men to stand out from the crowd. That’s a fundamental element of masculine confidence and I agree with Herr Chiv. However, being chivalrous is not the way for a man to be distinctive. The current cultural landscape simply does not reward a man for being chivalrous because chivalry does not spark attraction in women. This is where Chivalry Guy and I part ways tactically. We agree on the strategy – a man must stand out – but disagree on how a man should go about doing that.
“There’s also a great difference between demanding and appreciating it. When it’s expected as a requirement, it often becomes easy to diminish it or even forget to acknowledge the graciousness behind it. I’ve seen numerous posts from men who will bemoan the fact that they held the door for several women and heard nary a “thank you.” Those men begin to develop an attitude questioning whether they should even continue.”
As well they should question why continue with such gestures. Men have every right to expect at least a pleasant “thank you”. Men respond extremely well to incentives. Men also go the other way with enough disincentives. If there’s no incentive for being chivalrous, there won’t be any more chivalry. This puts the ball (hehe) squarely in the ladies’ court. It’s good that Chivalry Guy recognizes this. It would be very good if dating coaches started to encourage their clients to show some feminine graciousness when faced with an act of classic chivalry. Given the general state of cultural affairs where most men are completely invisible to women
Traditional chivalry is not coming back. In its place, an odd mix of pick-up artistry (PUA) and technology such as texting and online dating has evolved. Swipe right! Get laid tonight! The gallant gentleman is like a good buggy whip, well-crafted but totally outdated and unnecessary. But if Chivalry Guy wants to pitch chivalry as a masculine attraction point, good luck to him. I’d rather advise men on what actually works.