Is Chivalry Dead – and Is It My Fault?

Posted by    |    February 14th, 2012 at 3:42 pm

It’s gotten to the point where I feel uncomfortable letting boys open the door for me. “Stop,” I’ll tell them, “I can do it myself.” To these boys, the few that I’ve allotted my phone number to over the years, I must sound like a five-year old hindering her father from tying her shoes, pushing him away as she fumbles through the loop it, swoop it and pull.

I have to admit; I am pretty good at tying my shoes. As a child, I excelled past Velcro-strapped sneakers, slid right on by the slip-on’s, my nimble fingers favoring lace-ups to alternative means of footwear. Doing things on my own was never a problem for me.

This includes opening doors. Perhaps Beyoncé ingrained in me the lyrics to “Me, Myself and I,” subconsciously programming me to be strong on my own, perhaps for the rest of my life. Depend on someone? No thank you. A girl has to be prepared. What if, by allowing boys to open doors for me, I lose the motor memory to open them on my own?

Picture a woman standing alone outside the door to a restaurant, her perfect coif undone by the stereotypical rainfall, her arms limply hanging at her sides.  She stares longingly through the glass-pained door at the cozy, happy patrons enjoying their meals. She was subjected to a lifetime of chivalry. And now, she will have to ask for someone to open the door for her. Poor girl.

The only cure to avoiding the above scenario is to practice the door-opening move on my own. And so I do. Picture it to be a standing push-up, if you will.

I never realized opening the door for myself was a problem. My reasoning is simply this: doesn’t a guy want a girl who can do things on her own? I hope I find a guy who thinks, “Gee, that’s nice. She’s independent. I’ll never have to worry about placing my jacket across a puddle so she doesn’t mess up her shoes. What a cool girl I’m dating.”

Except, maybe he won’t say “Gee.” That’s not too manly of a word.

It has been brought to my attention that perhaps this guy doesn’t exist. (Or maybe he does, but he also says “Gee”.)

On a recent date, I was invited to dinner at Taco Diner on a seemingly casual Tuesday evening. I wore minimal make up.

After some tug-of-war over the check, I let him pick it up. We reconciled that it had been a long day, and it was best to call it an evening.

In order to go home, one must move toward the door.

As we approached Taco Diner’s exit, I heard an abruptly quizzical and somewhat offended voice. “Hey,” he said as I placed my hands on the door, “what are you doing?”

“Uhm…what do you mean?” I asked, pushing the door away from my body, allowing myself to move gracefully toward the West Village parking lot.

“You didn’t even give me a chance to open the door for you!”

My reaction was more immediate than single-minded me would have anticipated. I jumped back, slapped my palm to my forehead, and lamented that I hadn’t even thought to merely consider lingering behind for half a second. I wasn’t going to give him a chance to be gentlemanly.

Until he called me out on it.

Maybe I was holding a pillow over the face of chivalry; attempting to suffocate the antiquated generosity. But it seems to sure be putting up a fight.

Tags: , , ,