Being a Gentleman in the Modern Age

Daniella Cressman

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The days when all women stayed home baking apple pies for their husbands and sweeping the floors have passed, thankfully: The 1950s were inordinately oppressive for minorities and women alike, and human beings deserve to be treated with respect.

WHAT IS CHIVALRY?

Chivalry is honestly a bit dated, at least if you’re looking at its original definition: It refers to the system of honor followed by medieval knights. The claim is that these folks put a high amount of value on kindness, courage, and honesty, and that is partially true. However, this term came to be during a time when people’s rights were at stake, and it’s important to keep in mind that the knights actually engaged in a great deal of violence, which was unnecessary, at least part of the time. Furthermore, the political system of the time ensured that women could not be knights, and that was an extremely oppressive way to view the fairer gender, which limited their rights when it came to even having the option to fight.

Here’s the thing with chivalry: The term stemmed from an oppressive society in which women were viewed as inherently weaker than men in every sense of the word. While there are elements of the philosophy, for lack of a better word, that could be considered romantic, it’s essential to treat whoever you are wooing as your equal.

Here is how you can be chivalrous in the best way and actually attract the woman you want into your life.

1. CONSIDER WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A GENTLEMAN

The vast majority of women do not have an issue with a man opening the door for them or pulling out their chair before dinner. In fact, it usually gives them butterflies if they see their lover opening up the door for them to get into the car or performing similarly romantic acts.

The problem is not these gestures alone; the problem is that there are some male chauvinists out there who genuinely believe that women are inherently weaker, and, therefore, they are incapable of opening a door for themselves or pulling out their own chair. This, obviously, is despicable behavior that will almost always turn off any lady whom you are trying to attract.

In short, there’s nothing wrong with romantic, gentlemanly gestures, as long as you see your lover as an equal.

2. COMPLIMENT YOUR PARTNER

Part of the code of chivalry is being kind, and almost every woman will appreciate compliments, but here’s something to keep in mind: There are some praises that simply mean more than others. For instance, telling a lady that her dress is cute is way different from saying she looks beautiful in it, and letting your lover know that you genuinely admire her intelligence is different from simply saying she looks pretty all the time, without giving her credit for her other qualities. As long as you see your woman as a complete human being, there is nothing wrong with dishing out one or two compliments over dinner, especially if she’s made a bit of extra effort putting her outfit together!

3. PRACTICE RESPECT TOWARDS YOUR PARTNER

The problematic aspects of the original form of chivalry are that it’s extremely dated and horribly sexist because it ultimately views women as inferior creatures. In today’s world, chances are that your lady will likely find certain actions extremely despicable. Here’s what you should do:

  • Treat her as your intellectual equal.
  • Respect her views on political matters (even if they’re different from yours).
  • Steer clear of extremely sexist humor.
  • Be honest about your preferences when it comes to bearing children and getting married, but always give her the choice to bow out if these are not on her bucket list, even if they’re on yours.
  • Don’t be afraid to apologize if you make mistakes.
  • Always celebrate your woman’s accomplishments!
  • Always treat your lady as an equal on every level.

While chivalry has a lot of romantic aspects, the modern version of it requires providing your woman with a little bit more respect than the knights of the medieval times gave to their lovers!

4. DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT HOW A WOMAN IS “SUPPOSED TO BE”

Believe it or not, there are many men out there who will have an issue with it if their partner does not decide to go on a date donning a full face of makeup.

Unfortunately, this can do major damage to a woman’s self-esteem, because she should be the only one who decides how she is going to represent herself: Never tell a woman that she should be wearing makeup or get dressed up in a particular outfit because that’s what you want — The decision is ultimately hers to make, not yours.

If you want to be a gentleman, you will respect your woman’s freedoms: Chances are, she’ll love you for it, and she won’t find the relationship oppressive in any way, shape, or form.

After all, if you really love someone, you want them to be happy, right?

5. HONOR YOUR WOMAN’S STRENGTH AND POWER

The problem with the medieval form of chivalry is that it doesn’t allow for women to be ambitious, strong, and powerful.

These days, we can be CEOs if we want to be, even though, unfortunately, many women still face sexual harassment on a regular basis when they enter the boardroom.

It’s time to understand that you can love a strong, powerful, ambitious woman: You can still open the door for her and pull out her chair before dinner. You can still tell her she looks beautiful and open the car door for her. What you can’t do is try to extinguish her fire, tell her that she can’t wear her favorite bold red lipstick because it would catch the eyes of too many men when you’re at the bar, or try to force her into being a housewife and bearing children when that’s not what she wants.

Chivalry, in its original form, is definitely dead, but maybe that’s a good thing. After all, our actions can adapt with the times we are in, and it might be really nice to have a wealthy, powerful, ambitious woman by your side!

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