I’m a lady. I happen to enjoy being treated like one. And I just love gentleman. I’m no stranger to dating; I’ve spent much of my twenties single. It seems like though, especially in more recent times, that the notion of “chivalry” has fallen by the wayside. I’m not exactly expecting a guy to take off his jacket and throw it across a puddle, but come on. It’s been quite awhile since I had a car door opened for me, my chair pulled out at a restaurant. Yes, I know I’m perfectly able-bodied, and can do all of those things myself. Totally not the point. Acts of chivalry are symbolic. They represent who you are as a man, and what matters to you. Plus they are very nice, and in my case, never go unnoticed.
Let’s discuss for a moment who pays for the bill. This is my number one chivalry gripe, and makes or breaks whether I will pursue a long-term relationship with a man or not. I’ve had plenty of men who wined me and dined me endlessly. No matter my insistence (and often willingness) to pay for my own meals and drinks, they shoo’d me away. “Please!/Get out of here/Don’t be silly!/It’s my treat!” It’s politeness. Especially in the stages of early courtship…or I guess these days, what we call “dating.” More often than not, my favorite men courted me. Even ones who lacked in other areas or with whom things didn’t work out, they seemed to understand the significance of paying for dinner. I’m a smart, capable woman, and I do believe in women’s rights. But, I’ve always been on the more old-fashioned side. I was raised that way. If you’re dating a man, you want to feel taken care of. And lately, I don’t. I say, “Let’s split this?” or “Do you want some cash/my card?” and with no hesitation, he snatches my money and we go dutch. Quite frankly, few things make me want to put out less.
I realize we don’t live in the nineteenth century anymore, and I suppose it would be wise for me to slightly modify my expectations. I guess I’ve had a taste of what it can be like to be treated extremely well, and I won’t lie, I enjoy it. I like hand kisses, getting flowers and random presents, and being courted — and by the way, you should want to do all of this. Men who take a girl out for a certain number of dinners or try to buy their way in and then have some sort of expectation of a reward, or are trying to satisfy some waiting period — no. I’m pretty good at sensing intention, and if it doesn’t feel genuine, that isn’t going to work out for me, either. My thought is: If the man isn’t willing to pay for your first meal, he isn’t going to want to pay for any subsequent meals, either. He will expect you to float your own way, which is totally fine, if you just want to be friends. It’s about knowing and feeling that your man can take care of you — even if I can (and do!) take care of myself just fine.
Not that long ago, I met up with a fellow I’d met through match.com (sigh). He was mid thirties (almost ten years older than me), and seemingly successful. He looked better online, but that’s beside the point. He had selected the restaurant and he had initiated the date. (This seems to be an important “point.”) We had an unremarkable yet not completely unpleasant meal; he selected to sit on the patio even though it was freezing. The check came and he ignored it for awhile as it lingered on his side of the table out of my reach (sometimes the waitresses try to help us ladies out). Finally he picked up the $50 dinner/drink tab and said “how about you grab this, and I’ll grab drinks afterwards?” Pardon?! Needless to say, we went splitsies and he made a big point of asking the waitress to “please make sure she pays for hers, and I pay for mine.” I wound up needing an “out” from my friends on this one, which entailed an awkward phoned in pseudo-emergency. I felt a little bad, but. If the guy had been gentlemanly I wouldn’t have bailed so soon and maybe would have spent a little time getting to know him — I usually give the guys I date ample “chances” if things seem to not be going well right out of the gate.
And this works both ways. If a man courts me the way I expect, I would not only reward him handsomely in the bedroom (once the time arrives), but also eventually work my way up to cooking him meals and otherwise pampering him. Not because I feel that’s my gender role necessarily, but that’s what I like to do. I’m more traditional. Things have a way of balancing out. There has to be a happy medium, even in these mixed up modern times, of getting exactly what we want and expect from the opposite sex. Until then, I’ll be watching old movies and pining away for the men who wear gloves and will help a fair maiden down from her carriage without even blinking an eye.