May 28, 2013

The Wimpy Man's Guide To Chivalry

What Mandy Thinks: "Words of Advice" post
Let's face it: men are turning into wimps.  I'll define "wimp" here as selfish, entitled, and disrespectful in their gender role.  Am I the only one who thinks this is bad?

Blame it on what you will - more single moms, high divorce rates, dead-beat parents, the "you can do anything" entitlement syndrome, our addiction to technology, the Internet, not being taught respect, video games, movies/TV, etc - but there's a movement growing to equalize men and women that I would argue is ending up harming the positive side of gender roles.  Girls are getting tougher but guys are getting softer and softer.  I'm all for equalization but where have all the men gone?  What happened to the guy who takes charge with his demeanor and attitude?  What happened to the guy who sees all women as special and lets them know whenever possible?

I'll admit I'm at the Ground Zero of Wimpyness - the Bay Area or even California in general - since my ideal man probably lives in Middle America.  Most of my childhood happened in Wyoming, what can I say?  Men wore cowboy hats and boots, everyone replied with "ma'am" and "sir" no matter what age you were, and the gender role ideals were strictly enforced for the next generation.  Since my move to California (and the move to Nevada in between which was a great CA-WY cocktail) men my age have changed and I think they need some help.

Here are some examples of chivalrous things for these wimpy men who need some help.  (These are more towards guys who are trying to do right for their lady friends, but take what you will no matter who you are.)

1.  Open a door for ANYBODY.  It doesn't just have to be a pretty girl or someone in distress.  How about you notice somebody's behind you and extending your arm to keep the door open a second or two longer?  It's not that hard.  Eye contact isn't even needed but appreciated.  Adding a nod and slight smile like you feel good for helping is even better.

2.  Open a CAR door for someone.  Let's face it: you're probably driving and your lady is in the passenger or back seat.  What's wrong with getting out before them and opening their door for them?  I only see stuff like that in cutesy car commercials or movies set in a different time, but seeing it happen in real life is just as cute.  Just as the girl reaches for her handle, stop her and run around the car to get to the door.  Try even reaching for her hand to help her out.  If she finds it a "dainty" move (the "I can do it myself!" kind of attitude), I don't see anything wrong with asking her first.

3. Pull out a chair.  It's a presenting thing, that's all.  It's not like girls can move their own chairs, but this is just a way to present them with the table and meal you're about to enjoy.  Some waiters will try and do this for you guys, but try and beat 'em to it.

4. Pay for the meal.  Let her do "the check dance" if she wants to pay or help pay, but chivalrous guys always pay for a date including the meal.  I used to insist on "going dutch," but the only guys I kept dating after that first meal were the ones who insisted in paying.  I get that you may be broke, but know your means when going out because you don't HAVE to go out to a fancy place in order to have a good time.  There's plenty of free things to do with your lady, just give it some thought if your wallet is controlling you.

5. COMPLIMENTS!  I've heard from too many people that giving compliments just does the exact opposite affect they were meant for so why bother.  UH!  That's not your problem, that's theirs!  If they can take a compliment then they are worth that compliment.  There's plenty of people not just women out there who enjoy getting compliments every once in a while.  The right compliment can make someone's day!  Go for superficial ones when you can ("I like your blouse."), but personalized ones are rarely heard and unexpected (like "I appreciate your _____" or "I'm so proud of you for _____."

BONUS: Extra-fancy chivalrous-ness that will work with the right girl:

1.  Pumping gas for your woman.  I grew up with a dad who always pumped the gas if he was driving, but if it was in my mom's car while she was driving he'd snooze in the passenger seat while she took care of her car.  This male-gas-pumping thing is something I haven't heard of until a middle-aged guy from Texas brought up that his dad ALWAYS filled up the gas no matter who was driving.  The wife always stayed in the car.  I'm not sure if that was because "it was messy / smelly / icky" to women that were considered more "fragile" back then, but if a woman nowadays pulls into a gas station with her husband, how would she react if the husband says "Let me, honey.  I'll get it, you wait here."  It depends on your woman and how she specifically would react of course, but if I end up with a guy who wants to pump my gas for me while I'm around I'd be happy to let him do it.

2. Standing up when a lady gets up and/or walks into the room if you're seated.  I watch Pride and Prejudice all the time, and one thing I love about a man's behavior in this movie is standing at the presence of a women.  Elizabeth gets some unsettling news and keeps pacing around in and out of a room.  Darcy keeps standing up when she walks in and sits back down when she leaves, and this happens several times.  It makes the girl feel important when a guy does this!

With all this "new" knowledge for the wimpy people out there, I wanna mention that not all women are gonna take these things lightly.  There's the "strong women" who want to be able to do everything themselves and won't let their men be chivalrous in these ways.  If you're trying to impress these kind of women with chivalry, they're not worth the impressing this way.

This is all about RESPECT no matter who you are.  Chivalry is only one part of respecting others, so to those who think chivalry is dead: it's on its death bed for sure, but with more people practicing respect and valuing the positives of gender roles it will get better.

Do you have any chivalry tips?  Ladies, how do you react to chivalry?  Let me know in the comments.

(Disclaimer: This blog post is based on opinion through personal experience, so take what I say with a grain of salt.  I respect those with different opinions when they are not based in hate, so do not take this post as an absolute on human behavior.)

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