Posted by: kristabella | January 29, 2007

Long Live Chivalry?

A few side notes before we begin, children. My Dunkin Donuts ladies have been transferred! No more knowing my order when I walk in. (insert sad, pouty face.) I now have to forge new coffee-related friendships with the new people. Who offered me coupons today. Coupons AND coffee? Bestill my heart. MCP Bitches! (It totally isn’t related, but totally makes me laugh now!)

Two, I am not to be selling anything. Anything! I cleared it up with the people in my office. They weren’t sure why I went to the sales training either. (Yet let me go and waste time.) But I will not be selling.

On with the show!

I’ve always been an independent person. To be honest, I think a lot of it stems from having my parents divorced at a very young age. And mom going back to work. And becoming a latch-key kid. With pretty needy siblings. And basically having to learn to essentially fend for myself a lot of the times. It’s a reality that a lot of people face. And as the saying goes, what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger. I really believe that. And I believe that growing up like I did really made me who I am today. Which, if I do say so myself, is that I’m freakin’ awesome! Bitches.

But part of my independence and my growing up a huge tomboy is that I’ve always thought that chivalry is lame. And should be dead. Chivalry, schmivalry.

Let me preface. I thought like this when I was younger. Back before I knew better. Back when my stubbornness ruled over ALL! Like when I was in college. I think this was about the time guys got the whole chivalry thing and how it could totally help them get laid. (Hmmm…maybe that explains my resistance.)

Back in college, my friend Paul (who I heard just became a dad, so a big congrats to him.) (Even though he doesn’t read this. And I haven’t talked to him in years. But I need more readers if this is ever going to support my crack Starburst habit. Whorin’ myself out. For the greater good. Of candy.) He used to get so mad because every time we went somewhere, I wouldn’t let anyone open doors for me. To be honest, most of the time, I didn’t even notice that I was doing it. It was just part of my tough facade that I refused to let anyone do anything for me. I am woman hear me roar and all that blippity blap. (No idea. Blippity blap? Seriously?)

As I got older, I changed my stance. I think it was when I started working in the real world. It might have been around the time I started at the Niners. Right around the time I started hanging out with adults. Like around the time I went to a work event and Jerry Rice (yes, Dancing With the Stars Jerry Rice) kissed me on the cheek when he said hello. I think, think that it was around this time. I can’t really pin it down to a specific moment, or any shit like that. But I realized AT THAT MOMENT that it made me feel like such a lady to have a guy do that. Or open the door for you. It might have been because he was famous, though.

(So for all of you who don’t agree with chivalry, just go out and have Jerry Rice kiss you on the cheek. That’d be a better infomercial than the one he does for Tiger Balm.)

I finally realized, at that point, when I was all growed up (OK, not totally growed up. I still watch cartoons. And like candy. And bunnies.) (Which I didn’t realize until Ben-Henry-Gale-Pick-a-Fucking-Name-Dude pretended to kill one on Lost.) I realized that it’s not losing your independence to let a man, or a woman for that matter, open a door for you. Or any other “chivalrous” act. It’s letting someone do something nice for you. And there ain’t nothing wrong with that. We should all be more nice. There will be fewer murders. And more bunnies. (Take that, Ben Gay-le.) (HA!)

On the flipside of my new-found acceptance to chivalry, I have begun to accept it. And expect it. Especially around people older than me. Because, seriously? I’m almost 30. People older than me should know better.

So last week in Seattle, I was really noticing it. Probably because again, in work, I’m always around dudes. (I swear, I don’t always plan it that way. But it’s not always a bad thing.) There were guys of all ages – older, younger. (Why I felt the need to expand on what I meant by all ages, I have no idea. Apparently I’m not sure you all are smart. And that you would realize that all ages would be older and younger. Jesus, I’m an asshole.) I would have to say that pretty much 99% of the time, all the guys were very nice. I even tried once to open a door for a guy from SF and he got mad. (See, part of me still can’t totally accept it.) But we had car trips, plane rides, doors to go in, elevators to board. So it was easy to notice. And really, it was easy to notice because one person always stood out as to the only non-chivalrous guy in the bunch. (I mean, even the smelly guy who drove the van held his hand out to the ladies when they got out.)

There was this one guy in Seattle. We spent all week around him, including two straight 9-hour days, where we went from room to room, floor to floor, building to building and even in his car. (Anyone else think that could possibly be read as kinda dirty?) He never opened a door for anyone, let alone the only female in the group. When we went to go into elevators, he went in first. Every time. I was with four other men besides him, one four years younger than me, and they all always waited until I got in to then board the elevator. And I have a huge ass. And not in a good way. No one’s letting me board first to glimpse that.

It really doesn’t matter to me that much. (Which is obviously why I’m writing a post about it.) Like I said, I try and open doors for other people, including dudes. It’s just a nice thing to do. But I found his behavior odd. Maybe it was the few times he full-on hip checked me to get into the elevator first. Or maybe he should be a tad more considerate. Especially when the client he’s trying to schmooze may be a woman.

I know this is a topic that people have their own specific feelings on. I think everyone knows where they stand on this whole chivalry thing. So what’s your stance? Give me your opinions. Leave comments. Comments = Starburst. For me. Not you.



  1. The guys in this building carry chivalry/manners a bit too far in my opinion. For the most part, they won’t get off the elevator before a woman, even if the frigging elevator is on fire…and this is at the end of the day when the elevators are full…and they’re at the FRONT. Get off, dudes! Then I can follow. No, they jostle from side to side to let females out first….like I said, just a bit too much, dudes. I want to get OUT of the elevator so I can get OUT of the building & go home.

  2. Yeah, I like chivalry when it’s natural. I don’t expect the door to always be held for me, but if it goes with the flow, it’s really nice.

  3. I agree that it is really annoying when they go overboard with it. I appreciate the thought, but get out of the way!

    Scarlet – same here. As with most things, when it’s forced, it loses its allure. It’s even nicer when you’re not expecting it. Like from some cute stranger or something. But that shit only happens in TV. And in chick lit.

  4. this is great, i lerrrve it. being a male, some gals like it when you’re nice and let them through first, hold the door open, slap them on the ass, walk on the street side so the don’t get taken out by the drunk driver that swipes the sidewalk clean. i’m sure most of them appreciate it. but i’m not going out of my way to be annoying chivalry-wise, i’m just a nice guy. but i’ve learned that nice guys don’t finish first. so whatever.

  5. It’s so tricky because people refer to “chivalry” as being so many different things.

    Is it just me or are the women you most hear that “chivalry is dead” talk from are the ones who treat guys like crap. They’re use of the term often means they want to be bought everything and catered to and basically have the guy lie down and be a doormat. Then they cheat on him. Go figure. What’s the incentive for the guy there? So when women complain that “chivalry is dead,” I usually tell them to suck it.

    As for more realistic “chivalry,” yeah, I unconsciously let women into and off the elevator first and hold doors. Then again, I hold doors for guys too. If there’s someone a few steps behind you, like rich said, it’s just being a good guy.

    I can’t speak for women, but at least in my last relationship, I scored points when it seemed like I was putting thought and effort into it rather than just trying to be smooth. I didn’t know about the walking on the inside of the sidewalk and when she told me about that, I started going out of my way to do that. Which would often include not always being conscious of it at first and then running around her to get on the inside once I realized it. At least in that case, wanting to do the “right thing” was better than instinctively doing it. Christ, I don’t know.

  6. I agree, chivalry can mean many different things, to many different people. I think that’s why there is such a gray area with this topic.

    Rich – I can clarify one gray area into black and white. Ass slapping = not chivalrous.

  7. R.I.P. chivalry. Long live etiquette, common courtesy, and the golden rule! Equal-opportunity good manners beat out the rituals of courtly love. 🙂 I appreciate the sidewalk thing and the revolving door thing, but I’m happy to open the car door myself and step around puddles.

    That said, there are days when I get on a full el car and I want to sit my ass down. But we’re all wage earners and I don’t deserve special treatment. Except if I ever had to ride a full el car pregnant, I would be giving some icy stares to seated passengers.

  8. Yeah! New commenter!

    (And three f’ing comments by me, myself and I today. Maybe wait until the end of the day, dumbass.)

    Miss Jones – Here! Here! We should all be nicer to everyone, boy or girl. And I wouldn’t take the seat on the EL if a dude offered to me just on principle.

    Oh, who the hell am I kidding?

  9. First off…I CAN NOT BELIEVE you said, “Jerry Rice (yes, Dancing With the Stars Jerry Rice)” and not something like “Jerry Rice (yes, best WR of all times who played for SF)”!!! Sorry, had to get that off my chest:)

    Second off…second off, is that a phrase? Sorry, going for consistency:) ANYWAYZ…I went thru the same phase of thinking chivalry was lame and don’t you dare open the door for me I can get it myself. BUT…chivalry is a GREAT thing and when it doesn’t happen it is so noticeable I feel sorry for the damn shmuck that missed that page in the How to Be a Man palybook!

  10. I don’t know about this “How to Be a Man” playbook. Thing is, the rules of courtship are being rewritten as we speak, and no one really knows if they’re doing it right.

    I’ll gladly forgo shows of “chivalry” during the courtship phase in favor of more personal caring gestures later on in the relationship.

  11. So I felt the same way about chivalry as you did, but the past few years have changed my perception. Two guys I work with are chivalrous down to the bone and it used to annoy me that they would open doors for me, and wait for me to precede them on the elevator, but I have gotten used to it. And, now I expect it, but I always make sure to say thank you!

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