We've all heard the common sentiment that chivalry is dead. I beg to differ.
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard my girl friends complain that the modern man is not chivalrous. And as a self-avowed feminist, I think blanket statements like this are completely unfair to men.
If you're a hopeless romantic who wants a fairytale relationship, perhaps you just need to start looking at dating differently.
While it may be true that the days of men courting women for months, bringing flowers to her doorstep, opening every car door, and paying for every meal are pretty much over, that doesn't mean that chivalry is outdated or that women have to settle for men who treat them poorly.
Rather, I think that chivalry has changed with the times and become a gender-neutral quality. The Knight in Shining Armor metaphor is both obsolete and harmful in our modern-day, female-empowered society.
While any woman is free to set whatever dating standards she desires, I think it’s fair to say that men are allowed to desire the same dating behavior from women they want to pursue romantically.
There’s nothing wrong with a female wanting a guy to pay for the first date — but there is something wrong with her not even offering to pay for it or to split the bill. There is a big difference between wanting certain qualities out of a potential mate and flat out feeling entitled to them.
Relationships are, simply put, investments — investments of time, money, emotions, sex, etc. If a man is investing all his resources on a woman for the sake of being chivalrous and not feeling valued for it, he is going to feel used. And rightly so. Any self-respecting woman who wants a chivalrous man should be finding her own way of being chivalrous in return.
Most relationships are never perfectly balanced when it comes to the investments each partner has to offer. One partner may make a higher income and pay for more meals, while the other shows investment by cooking meals at home. One partner may surprise the other with breakfast, while the other spends extra time doing chores around the house. As cliché as it sounds, it really is the thought that counts.
At the end of the day, chivalry isn't about being a perfect partner who is put on a pedestal. It's simply about trying. Someone who continually makes an effort to show his or her partner that they care is one of the sexiest qualities a person can have.
It's time we move out of the dating Dark Ages and ditch the Knight in Shining Armor fantasy for good.
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