Reality Check Week, also known as Sometimes Life Ain't Fair Week, also known as Wake Up and Smell What's Cooking week. Today: Chivalry. Read and learn...
Blogger and galpal @SingLikeSassy recently shared a story about walking into a lounge and having no where to sit. Despite the fact that several unaccompanied men were seated, none offered her their seats at the bar. Finally, a gentleman of the Caucasian persuasion offered his seat. She thanked him and offered to buy him a drink but he said no thanks were necessary. Someone replied on her blog with the following:
The thing about this post is that the white guy gave up his seat to a black woman while a bunch of brothers stood by and let him. I mean, c'mon. Brothers should be wondering what this white guy sees in this black lady. I think one of them should have fallen off his chair to compete with the white guy. Do white guys see a woman, any woman, and feel compelled to be a gentlemen while a room full of black men do not? if so, that's sad and it speaks to why so many black women are considering their options.
Le Big Damn Sigh. So many things wrong with that comment, I can't even begin to address them all. Causing me to reflect on the fact that if chivalry is truly dead, we buried it and tap danced on the grave.
Let me chat at the ladies and the men on this topic. Starting with the ladies...
If a man wants to open a door for you, let him. If he greets you, greet him back. Let him pull your chair out, check the road before you cross, lift heavy things and kill spiders - what is wrong with that? None of those actions denigrate you or threaten your feminism. You are woman, you can roar while a gentleman offers some basic common courtesy.
When it comes to things like who picks up the tab and who orders the meals - there's a way to handle these without beating a brother upside the head. If we're early in the relationship, I tend to smile real pretty and say (as we peruse the menu), "Is this on you or on me?" Of course I expect him to say, "I got this." But if he doesn't, I know what I'm working with. As for who orders, I generally prefer to order for myself if the guy doesn't know me that well because I'm allergic to all sorts of random things. But my ex-fi would always ask me what I would like and relay it to the waiter, "The lady is having..." I had no problems with that.
I remember walking down the street with an ex and he automatically moved me to the inside, away from the traffic side and took my hand to help me across the street. I paused for a minute (stunned) and then smiled and kept it moving.
These are just the chivalry basics, don't get me started about respect, communication style, balance of power and heading the household. Suffice it to say I'm traditional. All I'm asking ladies is that you give the man a chance to be a true gentleMAN. If he fails, you know what you got. But give a brother a chance... please? And can you kindly say "THANK YOU" to the man for making it effort. A little appreciation goes a long, long way.
Gents... you're going to have to step your game up and if your courtesy game is tight, tell a friend. It's almost to the point where a man with "traditional values and courtesy" is considered a unicorn. Seriously, if a lady is waiting by herself for a seat - get yo' hindparts up. Some of y'all just bitter about some old shiggity your ex-girlfriend/wife/whatever did to you so you're mad at all of us. I didn't sleep with the gardener in the bed that you bought, can you open my door please?
If you try to pull back a chair for a woman and she sends you "the look" just tell her, "This is how I was raised, deal with it." Guess what? She will. Again, these are just chivalry basics. Please don't make me run a tutorial on how (and when) to approach a female. Let me give you an example.
The other night near 11:00pm, I'm in the Wal-Mart. I'm in sweatshirt and yoga pants, hair in a ponytail that would have made Pebbles (a la Flintstones) proud. I am clutching Extra-Strength Midol, a bottle of wine, caramel corn and a gigantic box of Always Overnight Pantyliners with wings. My face has "Jesus be a Percocet" written all over it. I see bruh-man easing up in my peripheral vision and I send him the laser-beam "don't you even think about" side-eye from Hades. He sidewinds up any damn way. Looks at what I have in my hands and says, "Hey Ms. Lady, how you doing tonight?" I start shaking my head slowly from side to side. The older woman in the aisle with me shouted, "How does she look like she's doing? Move it along, son." He stood there for a minute, looked back at my products again and almost ran the other direction. <~~What NOT to do.
All I'm asking gentlemen is that you make a genuine effort to treat a lady like a lady. Please and thank you.
I could go on but I shan't - what can we do to bring chivalry back, ladies and gents? What "old school" male/female traditional roles do you adhere to (or not)? Ladies, do you fix your man's plate? Gentleman, do you offer a coat to your shivering girlfriend? Ladies, if you are asked out - who pays for the meal? Gents, do you like it when a woman takes the lead/initiates things? To the married folks - who handles the finances? Who has the last word? I'm curious. What customs are still alive and well? Which ones need to come back? Let's talk chivalry, common courtesy and respect today. The floor is yours.