Chivalry, according to Merriam Webster is:
- mounted men-at-arms
- gallant or distinguished gentlemen
- the system, spirit, or customs of medieval knighthood
- the qualities of the ideal knight : chivalrous conduct
While listening to a radio broadcast lately, I was, to say the least, shocked at the conversation a caller was having with the host. The caller said if a man opened the door for her she’d probably break his arm. I was like what? She didn’t really say that did she? Did I hear her wrong? Nope, I didn’t. She did say that. WOW. Would she really do that? This isn’t to be condescending to her by any means. I’m just curious as to what makes her feel this way? I would love to hear her beliefs and her reasoning.
Having grown up in the 70s/80s, it was the norm for men to open the doors for any woman. They held the car doors open, opened store doors, and closed the doors. I never thought twice about it. My Dad did. He taught my brother too. My Uncles did. Men around our town did. My boyfriends did and my husband did and still does when the situation presents itself. I’m teaching our daughters that when a man or woman holds open a door for them, you say thank you as it’s just a polite gesture.
In all of the old classic movies, it was common place to see a gentleman open a door for a woman. It was common place to see men let women go ahead of them in line. We saw it happen daily in our lives. Were we being programmed that it was the right thing to do? Were men being sexist by saying, “Ladies First”? As a woman, I personally have never been offended when someone did it for me. I took it was that their Mothers raised them with manners on how to treat a lady.
I’ve noticed though that over the past few years, younger men will rarely do that now. Not too long ago I was getting bulky jackets out of my SUV to take into the cleaners. My hands were full but I knew I could still open the door with one hand so I wasn’t concerned. So as I started towards the door, a gentleman was also walking up with a handful of shirts in his hand. He literally sprinted in front of me so I assumed he was going to open the door for me. This gentleman opened the door alright then he pulled it shut, then looked at me, smiled and went up to the counter. Even the clerk stood there looking at him like seriously? After he was finished, he turned around, smiled at me then, said “Have a good day” and walked out of the door. I was dumbfounded. The clerk even apologized for his behavior. Was he in a hurry? Did he think I was going to take longer? Did he think because he pulled up in a expensive sports car that he was better then me? I have to admit it wasn’t the first time a man sprinted to get in front of me, however, it’s always been to open the door. Not to open it and slam it shut in front of my face.
Now after hearing that discussion and after doing some research around the internet, I am starting to see there is a lot of discussion on the topic of opening doors for others. As a Mom of daughters, is it now considered wrong that we are teaching them that it’s a sign of character when a suitor/boyfriend does that for them and that it’s common courtesy when someone opens the door for you?
I know this is a conversation that sparks many debates, but I’d love to hear why. Is opening doors for others considered wrong? Why would this caller feel that strongly against it? Is it considered old-fashion?
So this begins my question of is Chivalry a thing of the past?
1. Do you still open the door open for people?
2. If you are a man, have you been yelled at by a woman for opening the door for them?
3. Do you feel it’s sexist if a man opens the doors for you?
4. How do you feel when they do?
5. Why do you feel it’s wrong for someone to open the door for you?
6. Is the saying, “Ladies First” a thing of the past?
7. As a man, does it hurt your self-esteem if a woman opens the door for you?
8. Is the gesture of opening a door just something as simple as the golden rule? Do unto others?
9. Is the gesture of opening a door just common courtesy?
10. As a woman have you had someone yell at you for opening the door for them?