Lead by example, ladies.
Whether a man is opening the door for a woman, sliding the chair away from the table so she can sit down, paying for her dinner on the first date, giving up a seat for her, or simply allowing the woman to enter the elevator first, these are all common ways, as a society, we define chivalry.
Whoever said chivalry was dead clearly doesn’t live in the South where it is still alive and kicking. Every single day, I’m experiencing chivalrous acts by men — most of whom I don’t even know! This was beautiful to me — until I started reading some studies created around chivalry…
This concept of chivalry has really been the focal point of many studies done in the U.S. over the last few years. One study suggests that “chivalrous behavior is a subtle yet harmful form of sexism, known as benevolent sexism. The term was coined in 1996 by the first study of this kind, which showed that men who exhibit signs of chivalry often exhibit signs of hostile sexism as well (i.e. thinking of women as less intelligent, weaker creatures whose place is in the home).”
So this got me to thinking. There must be a way to have my cake and eat it too.
That’s when the concept of the chivalrous woman came to mind. If studies are suggesting that men see us as inferior simply because they are being chivalrous to us, why can’t we simply return the favor and even the playing field — or at least get out there and play the game?
If chivalry is to remain, we have to adjust our actions and reactions, in some instances. Men want to see that not only are you appreciative of their actions but also that you are able to return the favor — you are able to become a chivalrous woman.
No one is asking for you to throw down your coat so that he can walk over a puddle or any larger romantic gestures, but there are many ways in which you can still be that beautiful, feminine lady that you are and still show him chivalry.
Here are 8 suggested ways that women can claim chivalry for their own...
1. Split the check.
I asked a long-time single male friend of mine why he was still single." His response was “I can’t afford a girlfriend!” As funny as this may sound, there is mounting pressure on men to pay for everything, the dinner, the movie, and even the late night drinks.
When it comes to chivalry, the main request I hear from men is that we (as women) should at least offer to split the check. Most of the time a man will say, no thank you, especially if it is on the first date, but the notion that you offered to help him is a good sign of what type of partner you could be for him in the future. It makes a great first impression.
2. Pay for it all.
Yes, I’m talking to you, girlfriend. Ask him out on a date and pay for everything: the dinner, movies, and late night drinks. Okay, take a deep breath! If you are open to considering doing something like this for a man who has been doing this for you for such a long time, there could be huge advantages to both of you.
This will be a benefit to him because it will relieve the mounting pressure that he feels in assuring they can afford wining and dining you. This will be huge for you because you will better be able to empathize with all he’s going through in order to make you happy.
3. Surprise him.
You can do something as simple as sending him flowers for no reason at all. Show him how it feels to be wooed. Some of the most macho ‘manly men’ will try and act like you’ve embarrassed them, but even they’ll have to admit that it felt good to know that they were thought of in a special way.
4. Say “Thank You."
Show your appreciation. Each time he behaves chivalrously, act like no one else has ever done this for you before. Or at least act as if, he’s never done this for you 100 times previously. This way, when you say “thank you,” it will be done with such fervor that will inevitably send a good burst of energy his way and will encourage his actions to continue.
5. Wait for him.
When he opens the door for you, odds are he may have to open the door for others too. Be sure to wait for him… with a smile on your face. Ensure that he sees you noticing how he’s been so helpful to others and not just yourself. And when he catches up to you, go ahead and lock hands or arms with him as if you are so proud to be connected to him.
If your man is the overly chivalrous type, odds are, he doesn’t mind doing the brunt of the driving whenever you two are together. What do you think he would do if one day you decide to get behind the wheel and say, “Baby, you relax this time”?
I think that will bring a huge smile to his face, at least once he moves past the initial shock. As a disclaimer to this suggestion, make sure that you are a safe driver. There could be other reasons why he does the majority of the driving when the two of you are together.
7. Bring him lunch or dinner.
If the fastest way to his heart is through his stomach, can you imagine how he’s going to feel when you bring him lunch or dinner to work or by his home? You can do something as simple as calling him up to tell him that you are going to stop and pick something up for the two of you to eat.
Or, if both of you are lounging around the house, you could be the one to volunteer to go to the store while allowing him to relax. He would really appreciate you for it, I’m certain.
8. Don’t expect it.
Finally — don’t expect him to be chivalrous. Women who wait by the door until he opens it are only showing that they are expecting him to do certain things for them. Instead, act appreciative, almost like it’s a pleasant surprise. And always follow your non-verbals with a verbal “Thank you.”
Make your thank you count so that he can hear it and so that he doesn’t believe that it is a habit of yours to say thank you the way we do when someone sneezes and we say bless you.
If you can follow these simple, yet meaningful steps, you will soon be on your way to becoming a chivalrous woman without worrying that he’s pegged you as a woman who needs to be taken care of. You’ll be able to bask in the best of both worlds — you will feel good and taken care of and so will he. Isn’t that the way everyone should feel? I think so.