Times change, and along with them – social norms change. Technology changes. Acceptable behavior changes (sometimes for better, sometimes for worse), and basically, well, everything changes.
For this reason, we cannot always simply ‘bring back’ certain concepts that were once widely accepted or appreciated, and for good reason. But what we can do is glance back at the past and pull the frosting off the top, so to speak. Particularly when it comes to dating and relationships, there have been noticeable changes in the way we approach and treat each other.
The origins of chivalry may be ancient, and not all considered appropriate for modern society. But, we can take the parts we want that we feel will make the dating process better, and leave the rest to lay where it is. Here are a few practices that I feel are the ‘frosting off the top’ of the way things were, but often are no longer. We can learn, adjust, and mold them to fit current trends.
Actually take the time to plan a date.
One of the most common complaints I hear from women is that men expect a casual text invitation to ‘hang out’ to pass as a date, and to send the same message. It most definitely does not – the effort you put into planning a date sends a woman the message of how much you are [or aren’t] truly interested in her.
In the age of technology, you are likely texting or chatting for awhile before you actually see each other. Use this time to discover some of her interests and plan something accordingly. In an age of apathy, your efforts will be well received.
Open doors for her.
I have countless articles with this point already in them, but it’s one of the staples of chivalrous respect and probably the easiest to perform, as we all walk through doors every day. I don’t want to make any assumptions, but something tells me the extra few seconds it takes to open a door or let someone walk through first won’t ruin your day.
The same goes for car doors, a woman will appreciate you getting out of the car to open the door for her, or walking around to her side first, when you’re picking her up. It’s amazing to me how many men don’t do this.
No cell phones.
This point is a bit cringe-worthy because it certainly should be the stuff of common sense – not of perceived chivalry or exceptional courtesy. Unfortunately, though, it is necessary.
Do not touch your cell phone during your date. Leave it in your pocket. Glance at it when you use the restroom if you must. If you are expecting an emergency call or text, inform your date at the beginning of the evening.
If you are constantly tempted to use your cell phone, perhaps you should take it as a sign that you are not out with someone who is a great match for you, anyway. But regardless – keep it away as a sign of respect. She will notice.
Walking her to her door.
At the end of your date, especially early on in the relationship, walk her safely to her door. This is especially important if she lives in a city. It shows you’re willing to put effort into protecting her and makes her feel safe – two important aspects of building her trust and comfort.
Walking on the street side of the sidewalk.
The purpose of this lost art is to show your willingness to be splashed instead of a woman should a passing car run through a puddle. Furthermore, in some countries people would throw trash out of windows, and the person walking closer to the building, was less likely to be hit.
It’s an effortless way to show her that you care.
Pay the bill.
All of it.
How can the way you dress be considered an act of chivalry? Well, because the way you dress not only speaks to the respect you have for yourself, but also for the respect you have for the people you are dressing to be around. The more effort you put into how you look, the more it shows you value how the other person is going to perceive you and act towards you in return.
As a general rule of thumb, do your best to wear a blazer or sports jacket. Not yet convinced? It will help to make your shoulders look broader and your waist look trimmer. Both attractive qualities to women. As Tom Ford says: You should always keep your jacket buttoned, it will make you look ten pounds lighter.
Chivalry has evolved, as it should. It is not reasonable to expect to read articles telling us to lay our jackets across a puddle so that our date may walk across it, but it is reasonable to understand that common courtesy and respect never go out of style.
While many of today’s men have lost sight of these simple acts, or perhaps never learned them in the first place – the gentleman who holds himself to higher standards will always work to keep them alive.
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