What is chivalry? Originally, it was a code observed by Christian Knights, which determined how you behaved both in battle and in everyday life. Later, it became the term used for courteous behaviour, particularly from men to women.
Now, many people think there’s a difference between being chivalrous – well mannered and thoughtful – and being patronising, especially when dating. Most women would still welcome an act of thoughtfulness from a man – but not if he insinuates that it’s because she can’t manage for herself. We haven’t got time for a scholarly essay here, but feminism and the rise of the career women have meant many men, especially Christian men, are unsure about whether to do the chivalry thing or not.
Before you get into hot water when dating, you should probably check out what your date thinks about this. You may be able to get an idea from her profile but if not, just sound her out when you’re emailing or chatting. And girls, make sure you don’t send out mixed signals about what’s offensive to you and what’s not.
So, what should Christian singles counts as chivalrous in 2012?
- Opening doors
This is a strangely contentious issue for such a small act. Common sense would say that you hold the door open for anyone – male or female – that’s coming through it ahead of you or behind you. It just makes it easier – and we’ve all been annoyed by people who let the door swing in your face. It’s a simple act and it shows some thought – everyone should do it.
- Asking for an opinion
This is the new age of chivalry. Not that long ago, it would have been chivalrous for men to take the decision when ordering at a restaurant, or when deciding on venues for dating. Today, it’s more chivalrous to decide together. Today’s Christian single women are strong, independent and perfectly capable of choosing a bottle of wine or where to go on a date.
- Thinking about the relationship
If you’re dating and trying to impress someone, or create a romantic atmosphere, you’re going to behave differently than you would if you were out with a group of friends. That’s often why it’s OK to offer your jacket to your date if she’s cold – it’s not just a chivalrous act, it’s an intimate one, which shows you’re thoughtful. It could even clinch the next date. Most women would appreciate it, but the ones that don’t should, in their turn, be chivalrous enough to say so nicely – it works both ways.
So traditional Christian-based chivalry isn’t necessarily dead, but it’s moved with the times. Both men and women need to be thoughtful when it comes to dating – that way, the relationship gets off on the right foot, which is always the most important thing.