Bring Chivalry Back
“WHERE HAVE ALL THE GOOD MEN GONE…” I imagine Bonnie Tyler belting over the speakers as my friend walks into the room and literally shouts at me “CHIVALRY IS DEAD LAH.”
Like with all things worth arguing about, there are always two opposing schools of thought. There are the STRONG INDEPENDENT WOMEN who are firm believers of holding their own doors. Then there are those who are perpetually mourning the death of the old-fashioned gentleman of yesteryears (guilty as charged).
My friend and I spend the next hour trash talking about the ways men have let simple acts of gentlemanliness slide into non-existence. Like texting a monosyllabic “here” and not coming to the door when he says he’ll come to pick you up. Or conveniently ignoring your arm full of bags when all he has on him is his wallet tucked cozily in his back pocket. With each disappointing experience retold as a gossip column, things started to feel little dismal. But with the rise of feminism and movements like equal rights and female empowerment, it’s an undisputed fact that it has gotten a lot harder for men to impress us.
As we sit and ruminate over our lost hope of being wooed the “proper” way, here are a few everyday things that we wish guys could do to get back in our good books and actually stay there.
1. Walking on the outer side of the pavement/road
This small gesture tells a great deal about a guy’s heart. Not that we’re counting on getting hit by a car, but when a guy makes the effort to stand on the more “dangerous” side of the road, it shows that he’s protective. It’s him telling you that your safety matters even at the expense of his own.
I remember being very impressed when a male friend did this only to have me react with my joking oh-so-famous “I can fend for myself thanks”. He said “Well, it’s not that you can’t but I just wanted to do it.” And while that shut me up so fast, I was a big fat puddle on the inside.
By the way, it takes a lot for someone to render me speechless. So you can imagine how much that meant to me.
2. Picking her up / sending her back to her doorstep on date night
While we’re not exactly princesses in medieval times, it does make a difference when a guy turns up at your doorstep to pick you up. Perhaps guys today are unaware of the amount of brownie points they’d get for making their presence known to our parents before taking us out. Sure, it might be daunting but when a guy shows his face at your doorstep, it shows that your parents’ opinions matter more to him than his endearing fear of them.
Apart from it being a sign of his genuineness in impressing you, it’s a great way to start a date. Imagine all the heart emojis that would be bleeding from our eyes when we see his expectant face at the door.
3. Opening car doors (and perhaps closing them)
I admit, I accepted this as a lost art until someone did it for me. It was his first time sending me home and I was a little perplexed as to why he was walking with me to my side until he opened the door. And the icing on the cake was when he waited for me to be seated before closing it.
And apparently, I heard from a few girlfriends of mine that he does it for everyone. Consistency is key everybody.
As James Corden says it, Shut. The. Front. Door.
4. Standing in front/behind her on escalators especially when she’s wearing a skirt or dress
In general, whenever a guy makes the effort to protect your modesty, it bumps him up a few notches in the attractiveness scale. It shows that on top of just looking out for himself, he’s looking out for you. And he values you enough to not want you to be at a disadvantage.
The crux of this point is the level of awareness the guy possesses. When a guy is not stuck in his own head and finds it in himself to be on the constant lookout for you, this is how you’d know his mom taught him well.
5. Planning where to go on a date
If I got a dollar for each time a guy asked me “where do you want to go?” when he was the one who asked me out, I’d have enough money to make Donald Trump shy. Also, I know I look rather bookish with my glasses but do I look like Yellow Pages to you?
Out of the entire process, planning where to go would seem like a puny problem as compared to the unsurmountable obstacle of the actual task of asking someone out. So when a guy makes the effort to think of where to go beforehand, it shows me that he put enough thought into this. And after all he did plan to get a “yes” out of me, so +12478 points for confidence.
6. Really ask her out
When everyone today is scared shitless of being vulnerable or getting rejected, the “wanna hang out” or “let’s grab coffee soon” line is as old as my grandma’s ratty handkerchief. Contrary to popular belief, letting a girl know that you’re interested in her and that you would like to take her out isn’t going to make her run for the hills.
It seems like men have forgotten how to properly ask someone out. Here’s a tip: it involves a question mark, respect and it has to be done personally for it to be counted. All too often we get passive-aggressive encounters with guys who aren’t confident or sure enough. Most times when a guy asks us out properly, he already has a 50% chance of securing a date.
Do the math.
7. Insisting to help even when she refuses
Not sure what happened between now and then, but men used to be a lot more insistent when it came to helping someone out. Nowadays, it’s pretty normal for a guy to take you at your first “no, it’s okay” when he asks if he can help you with the bags. He would toss an insouciant “okay then” and proceed to walk the entire Orchard Road as if you didn’t have 10kg worth of stuff hanging from your arms.
Imagine the opposite. He sees you with a truckload of bags and offers right off the bat to help you only to be turned down with your “no I’m fine. REALLY, I’VE GOT THIS”. He isn’t the least bit intimidated by your semi-crazy eyes, refuses to take no for an answer and respectfully goes ahead to help you with your bags.
8. Handwritten cards or handmade gifts
The days of ink on paper are a thing of the past. Or anything that requires both hands and maybe some glue and paper to communicate. I used to dream that someday a guy would profess his undying love for me in writing, either on a napkin or in a song. But these days, all you can hope to get is a pathetic “luv u” because spelling it out in full might come across as too “intense”.
There is a special kind of sensitivity to a guy when he takes pen to paper or creates something with his own bare hands. These days, all you can expect are cryptic statues on Facebook or a super vague caption on Instagram that *surprise surprise* might or might not be about you.
Fun fact: I once had a guy give me a charcoal sketch of my face which took him 18 hours to get right. I didn’t have feelings for him but boy was I impressed!
9. When he lets her take centre stage
Somewhere else in this world, men aren’t shy about showing off their partners. Maybe it’s because we live in an Asian society and humility is a trait heavily preached about (but showing off a new Mercedes is perfectly acceptable).
When a guy takes obvious pride in a woman’s capabilities, not only does it make her feel good about herself, it also shows that he’s secure enough on his own to elevate someone else. In a self-serving world today, it’s a breath of fresh air when a guy is able to compliment someone else’s achievements rather than his own.
I saved the best one for last. I don’t know what it is about modern dating but apparently being straight up about your feelings is not socially acceptable. You can’t tell someone you like them; you have to make them play Sherlock by hyper-analyzing your Spotify playlist or your Twitter updates. You can’t text back too fast, or they’d think you’re overly enthusiastic.
Being vulnerable is part and parcel of being human. So when a guy understands this, it’s truly a sight to behold. It’s one that tells of courage and is a sign that he isn’t interested in playing games.
Spotting The Gentleman
At the end of the day, a man’s respect towards you is a reflection of himself, and being respectful doesn’t mean being a pushover. In today’s world where everything is about thyself, it’s easy for a guy to stand out when he isn’t like the rest of the pack.
Fancy schmancy guys in dapper suits may look gentlemanly, but real gentlemen know that their actions count even if they’re in a plain tee at the hawker centre. And of course, it works both ways. Focus on being a girl who holds valuable qualities too, so these men know how much we appreciate little things like that.