Many traditions have been lost over time, but the one dearest to me is the gentlemanly and chivalrous treatment of women. It has now become commonplace to ignore, and in some terrible cases, to condemn treating women with the respect that they deserve. My conviction is that since time has pushed for women to be treated as equals, and rightfully so, men have confused this with treating women "the same" as men.
Ladies are much different than us guys, from everything I've gathered in my 20 years of life. My approach to them, however, is not mocking or repressing their differences, but celebrating them, and I hope that my personal behavior will get the term "gentleman" back into the conversation. If you don't take anything else from my blog, remember this: laws regarding women's rights have changed and the American culture in which women have grown up has progressed, but men should always treat women like ladies, with the utmost courtesy and respect.
Simple Gestures Taken for Granted
Do I even need to say it? Open the doors for any lady, whether it be their car door, door to a building, or anything with a handle they enter and leave. Walk on the side of the street or sidewalk closest to traffic, which is a simple gesture of protection. In a room where a girl does not have a seat, give up yours or allow the only allotted seat to be hers. If it is cold outside, give the female accomplice your jacket if she doesn't have one. Walk her to her door, especially at night on a college campus. When going up or down a flight of stairs, always be a step further down in case she trips. Pull out her chair at a dinner table. Stand if a woman approaches you to speak with you.
These gestures are not grand chivalrous acts, but they do show initial significance that a woman will have in your life. On a much larger scale, when it comes time to propose, ask for her family's blessing. They spent eighteen years raising her to be the incredible lady you believe she is, so if she is important enough to marry, then ask her parents first.
Be on Your Best Behavior
It might sound obvious, but if you're not careful you can give off the wrong vibes to a lady. I make it an objective to never speak in crass language or degrading tone when in the presence of a lady. Positive and uplifting conversation will convince a lady that I'm trying to bring out the best in her.
I personally would avoid using my phone at the dinner table. If you are trying to make an impression on the girl, she needs to be of first priority for the time in her life she has opened just for you. Since we're now talking dinner, one of my biggest convictions is that a gentleman should always pay for a lady. I know that action has been a hot button issue when it comes to chivalry, but I think that a lady who expects a man to later on be a provider should let the man pay, at the very least paying for his own meal.
One of the most missed concepts in gentlemanly behavior is letting the woman decide when to push further in physical relations. If you get in the habit of letting her decide initially what is best for her and respecting it, then it will not cause problems later on in the relationship when you both want different things.
Invest in Her
Guys often like to joke with their friends about how expensive women are, and while sometimes they truly feel as if they're breaking the bank, a true gentleman who cares for a lady knows the longer lasting value she has in his life than money. That being said, invest in her.
Whether it's day one and your nerves are spiraling out of control or it's your three-year long girlfriend with whom you're completely comfortable, always let her know how beautiful she is on the inside and out. She probably spent about thirty minutes deciding just what necklace went right with her outfit; the least you can do is tell her she means something to you.
Listen to her. Once you become invested long-term, your conversations will start to carry more weight. Show you care from day one by paying attention to detail; a gentleman cares. Know her favorite color, her favorite musician, her favorite candy, what she's allergic to, and what her favorite animal is. Showing interest in her opinions and her outlooks on life shows her importance to you.
Give her gifts, write her notes, and cherish your time with her. Your affection for a girl will add up over time. She might not be calculating the exact number of sweet gestures you've done, but what she will know is that there was consistency in their occurrence. After all, chivalry is about giving of yourself, not receiving.
It all starts in the home. How you treat your mother is your first opportunity to learn how to treat a girl in other situations. That is why many parents advise, or should advise, their daughters to watch how a man treats his mom, since that is the foundation of his encounters with women.
Ultimately chivalry is a choice. It is a conscious decision that a man must make everyday to make the women in his life feel special. Ladies, if a man doesn't truly appreciate you enough to be a gentleman to you, is he the right one? Men, if you have done everything you could to respect and cherish a girl and she doesn't appreciate it, is she the right one?
There is so much more I could write; being a gentleman, in my mind, is one of the most essential characteristics in a man. If you have any questions as to why certain acts are deemed gentlemanly or want me to go more in depth on an issue, feel free to comment below.
Professing gentleman and believer in courtesy