Chivalry is no longer a male bastion
There are many aspects of chivalry that are appealing to a woman. Traditionally, chivalry, or the art of behaving gallantly with a lady, was restricted solely to men – knights in shining armour (literally) went to great lengths to ensure the women around them did not have to lift a finger to do their own work. The concept of chivalry is an age old Western one in which the knights of yore were supposed to demonstrate courage and a desire to help the weak and downtrodden. The code was simple – that of excellent conduct, especially around women but also in a general sense – men were expected to never raise their voices, conduct themselves in a courteous and gentlemanly manner and not be disrespectful.
However, with time this word came to be used solely to express a gentleman’s conduct towards a lady and what many women grouse about in recent times, is that the men no longer act chivalrous towards them. Really long ago, men would take off their coats and spread it on muddy patches on the ground so that their womenfolk would not have to dirty their feet, a few years down the line, men regularly opened doors for women, drew back her chair when she went to sit down, stood up when a lady entered the room – in fact stood up every single time a lady rose from the table. And of course, the time and tested – and who can forget the much adored act of chivalry - the kissing of a ladies hand, to show affection and respect.
Yes, women love it when men act chivalrous. True, men would rather die than spread their expensive jackets on the ground for you to walk on but in those rare moments when strangers open the door to let you pass, wave you down the queue even if they are in front of you or draw out your chair when you are about to sit down at a table are much appreciated gestures.
In this age of equality however, many argue that expecting age-old chivalry is a fallacy. Women want to be treated as equals they say, so why should they expect doors to be opened for them? They can jolly well open their own doors!
So if we take the naysayers at face value, why don’t we flip the tables on them and be chivalrous to our gentlemen instead? Just like etiquette and good behaviour is appreciated by women, men too would be happy to be on the receiving end of chivalry at times. All it entails is being attentive to your partner after all, so why should men do all the work? Here are a few ways women can be “chivalrous” too:
Open the door for him: Men are traditionally expected to hold the door open for a woman when both approach the door at the same time. This is a courteous gesture and therefore, men deserve it too. Why don’t you open the door next time for your boyfriend or husband – or even a friend – and watch them feel happy at the special treatment. It’s special because historically, men are expected to do this therefore it might be a pleasant change for them. Open doors at the mall, whilst getting into cars and when entering rooms.
Carry his packages: It is a common sight in movies – men struggling under mountains of bags and boxes while the woman walks breezily ahead. Men, being the stronger sex, are supposed to bear any undue weight that the woman is struggling under – shopping or grocery bags, laptop or travel bags. Convention dictates that a woman should not be allowed to even carry a light plastic packet. If you are a strong able woman who is not carrying anything – why not offer to help the poor man struggling under numerous packages? Or offer to help him carry a heavy bag by holding one of its handles. The man will probably not allow this, fearing his chivalry and strength is under scrutiny – not to mention his ego, but it’s the gesture that matters.
Take him out to dinner: Traditionally, men are supposed to pay for a meal when they are out with their ladies. It is supposed to be very bad manners to expect the woman to pay for anything – even if it is a small amount. Therefore, it is sure to be a pleasant surprise if you take your man out for the evening. Tell him you are taking him out on a date – if you can drive and have a car, pick him up, take him to the restaurant, allow him to order whatever he wants and sign the cheque at the end. Do this once in a while and your man will be pleasantly surprised at being pampered for a change.
Do his errands: If you see your significant other at his wits end trying to finish all the tasks at hand, perhaps you could do some of his chores so that the pressure eases for him. Pick up the laundry, do the grocery shopping, fix him a meal and welcome him home with a relaxing beverage and a smile. Tell him he doesn’t have to do any work and you will take care of everything. Giving a man one day off from all work other than his official tasks can be a great stress reliever and this act of chivalry from the woman will be much appreciated.
Make the first move: This is another winner. Men are always expected to be the one to propose a relationship – whether it is an initial partnership or an engagement to be married. Maybe sometimes, men would like it if their ladies made the first expression of love and desire to be married? Go all out – prepare the perfect proposal, rope your friends in to help and when he least expects it, go down on one knee and ask him to marry you. This is an incredibly romantic gesture which shows how confident you are as a woman and this dramatic role reversal will have him speechless – but hopefully he will be able to utter his acceptance!
There are many more ways a woman can wow a man with her “chivalry” and they are all sure to be successful for one sole reason – because they are unexpected. Don't restrict this behaviour to your lover, extend the same courtesies for your brother or father too. Men will feel loved and cared for to a larger extent if ladies go that extra mile (sometimes) to don a shining armour.