7 Charming Ways To Be Chivalrous — A Guide For Men AND Women

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how to be chivalrous

Treating each other well is a practice BOTH sexes should embrace.

When was the last time you felt completely appreciated — the kind of appreciation that leaves no doubt about how fully gorgeous/handsome, sexy, talented, honored, respected and loved you are? The kind of appreciation that makes you tremble even?

As confident as you already feel, dating someone who makes you feel like that (deeply appreciated) is incredibly special and arousing. And sorry, today's "no emotions involved," hit-it-and-quit-it "hook up culture" is not where appreciation like that is found. 

Full disclosure, I'm a modern gentleman. I like my Hendricks Martini straight up with olives. And I'm more comfortable in a tux on stage than at a bar in blue jeans. "Gentleman" might be a throwback term in this era of split the check, 50/50 gender equality, but there's a sexy secret that men like me know — chivalry works! 

Though some jaded folks accuse us of manipulation, hypocrisy, misogyny or worse, true modern gentlemen regularly practice the virtues of chivalry. 

Small courtesies — holding the door for you, paying for dinner, sending you a handwritten thank you note, or hailing your cab — are just the beginning of our chivalrous repertoire. We work hard to match our acts of courtesy to your unique preferences; it's a sign of our respect and interest in you — whether romantic, professional or casual, woman or man. It's hard work and takes practice, but it's so rewarding.

As hard as we try at learning how to be chivalrous, we don't always get it right. We're human, too. Folks feel prejudiced because of aberrant men behaving badly. Let me state this for the record: sleazy pickup artists and true modern gentlemen are entirely OPPOSITE types of men. Thanks to feminism, those manipulative guys are a bit easier to spot. And true gentlemen thank feminism for better information about what women want.

The game of courtship still has rules anyone can use without getting snagged in the sexist swamp. Those rules work for men AND women alike, regardless of sexual preference.

So what makes a person chivalrous?

Back in the post-Medieval day, chivalry was the basis for gentlemanly conduct. Even though that old form of chivalry doesn't really fly in the 21st Century, its ideals still feel right. Ladies, this chivalric code guides the way modern gentlemen treat you because that's how we live our lives. And you deserve nothing less. But now he deserves nothing less as well. 

Here's how to be chivalrous and how both women and men can show modern chivalry:

1. Make courtesy your calling card.

Did you know that Al Gore commissioned a study on the positive effects of courtesy in the workplace? Why? Because common thoughtful courtesy works. It's a best practice. It's chivalry lite. Whichever side of the chivalry debate you stand on, I'm sure you'd prefer that a stranger didn't slam a door in your face or cut you off in traffic.

In an intimate relationship, expect your partner to treat you courteously in the ways that are most meaningful to you. But also do the same for them. If they're lost on what that means, be direct and tell them. Nothing says "hot" like a partner who knows what they want, in or out of bed.

2. Be honest, kindly.

Chivalry offers a way to commit to deeper and more satisfying personal interaction, whether dating, courting, marrying, or starting a business. You can't build a connection without integrity and honesty, it's what cultivates trust.

Be truthful with yourself and your partner. Look deep into your partner's eyes when you tell your truth — look beyond your own words and consider how it feels to actually hear them. Learn to master honesty delivered kindly. Practice this. Shared honesty is a huge intimacy-builder.

3. Show unfailing loyalty to those you commit to.

If you aren't clear about your own loyalty, please don't expect it back! Want an exclusive relationship? Non-exclusive? MarriedPolyamorous? Make sure you share that with your partner. Make your loyalty plain and show your partner the same level of honesty and faithfulness you expect back. 

4. Be helpful (without treating others like they're helpless).

Nothing is more off-putting than feeling patronized. That said, everyone needs a hand now and then, and modern chivalry includes doing the hard work of figuring out what makes your partner feel looked after. 

To find out what they like, ask. "May I hail a cab for you?" "Would you like me to carry this for you?" Ask and pay attention to the ways your partner likes you to step in and assist (and ways they don't). As they teach you about their needs (and you likewise communicate your own to them), you grow more sensitive to each other. 

5. Look for solutions that are fair and just.

Justice may not seem sexy, but people who know how to be chivalrous see both sides of poignant issues and speak passionately about them before taking sides. In relationships, chivalry demands that you each feel genuinely understood by the other (which deepens your connection).

Look deeply into your partner's eyes and listen to them (the same way you want them to hear you). Your opinion matters but just listen first. Use the question "What do I feel is just?" as a springboard to know each other more deeply.

6. Protect the downtrodden.

Your partner wants to know you have compassion. One way to show this is in your response to today's social ills: homelessness, poverty, mental illness, substance abuse, abandoned animals. How do you respond?

Whether you keep some energy bars in your car to give to the man holding a "hungry and homeless" sign or stand up to your friends when they make a racist joke, your partner needs to know the breadth of your courage and compassion. It says a lot about you.

7. Avoid scandal.

Who wants to watch their partner cuffed and walked to a waiting cop car? Or, stand beside them while they publicly confess to an affair? If the baggage of our track record contains scandal, buyer beware!

In a relationship, the chivalrous thing to do is disclose what you must when it's appropriate and necessary. And don't create new scandals that might hinder your relationship (or humiliate or hurt your partner). Knowing how to be chivalrous means never making someone regret the faith they placed in you. Scandal kills intimacy and trust, so don't. That is all.

Let's ask it again: when was the last time you felt "spine-tingling" appreciated? 

Though you might not have noticed, chances are good that the person who gave that appreciation to you was practicing chivalry. That person is worthy of your favor and your hand. Give both. You'll be glad you did.