Sex and Relationships

Old School Chivalry

The Return of the Gentleman

By William Morton

What happened to that 1980’s movie-type of chivalry? There is something sentimentally pleasing about getting woken up to love songs blaring from some dude’s boombox. That’s right, chivalry! Calling to say “Good morning,” holding the door, paying for dinner, walking a girl home at night while never forgetting to keep her safely on the sidewalk—the side furthest away from the street of course, are all the little things that an eighties heartthrob would do. Unfortunately, the stereotype attached to chivalry suggests that a man must be financially stable and adorned in luxury clothing in order to be a gentleman. The truth is, the best kind of “knight in shining armor” wears sweatpants and might only be able to provide a bargain bodega lunch.

Today, if a man were to practice chivalry, he might be labeled a flirt or come off desperate. Some modern day women seem to be complacent in the misogynistic behaviors of their non-chivalrous men. Before the decline of chivalry, women were made to feel like royalty. Nowadays, it is as if we have gone from placing a lady in a castle, to putting her up in a motel. The thought of having a real connection with someone of the opposite sex has become vapid. We have turned into a “Netflix and chill” generation. What happened to the generation of casual drive-in movie dates and romantic evenings?

Opening the car door is free and should not be reserved for first dates only. There is no excuse for neglecting to establish a meaningful foundation with the woman you have chosen. You do not have to be rich to be a gentleman. Surprise your lady at work with a handwritten love note. Hold her hand while crossing the street. Buy her flowers from the dollar store. Follow my advice and you will have her feeling like a million bucks with that old school chivalry. Be sure to peel the price tag off of those bargain flowers. It is the thought that counts and thoughtfulness is priceless.

These small gestures are easy and cost effective, so why do so many guys feel the need to hide their romantic or sensitive side from their significant others? Are we turning into a generation of men that parade around in pseudo-masculine masks? We have somehow shifted toward the idea that we must not be chivalrous if we want to be considered manly. Chivalry should not be an option, but should come as second nature.

Not only is the woman you are dating the potential mother of your child, her body a vessel, she is also one of your greatest motivations in life. She is someone who cares for you and encourages your every dream. The effort that you put into your relationship should reflect that notion. Be honest with your girl, dote on her, treat her to a half priced pizza if that is all you can afford. These acts of kindness do not make you a chump. To the contrary, these loving gestures prove that you are a gentleman, despite your income and regardless of how faded the significance of chivalry has become. 

Does chivalry have a place in the modern day? If it was cherished in those eighties classics such as Say Anything, Pretty in Pink and Dirty Dancing, who is to say that there is anything wrong with it now? Like the old saying goes: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

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