Man’ners Monday: What’s Chivalry

by Mindy Lockard on February 20, 2011

Week three of Man’ners Monday!  This week we take a look at Chivalry…

Chivalry isn’t just extended to that “special” someone. It’s extended to everyone…


1. Pulling out her chair. A dude who knows his decorum always helps the woman sitting to his right take her seat. He’s also aware that if the woman to his left doesn’t have help, he extends that courtesy to her before seating himself. With both hands on the back of her chair, he pulls it out and waits for her to be seated. He’s careful to slide the chair in until it brushes the back of her legs. She then takes the chair with both hands and edges it toward the table, never hopping but gently sliding. Whether you’re a dude or a Duke, this chivalrous task will be appreciated more than you know.

2. Walk on the outside: This is an old tradition but one that many of you have been taught.  Taking the outside of the sidewalk—next to the street—is the ultimate compliment paid to a lady.   This practice started when men shielded women from the splash of carriages, and although those days are long gone, it’s still a sign of good taste. When a man takes the outside, I always think, “He’s so sweet, he’d take the grill of a Mac Truck for me.” How many guys do you know say that without uttering a word? I thought so.

3.  Walk her to the door. It’s so important to make a habit of saying goodbye considerately.  Whether it’s a meeting at work or a guest in your home, make the extra effort to see people out. At times, this means turning off the car engine, getting out, and walking the woman to her door.  And don’t just do it hoping to get some “sugar” at the end of a date. Do it because it’s the right thing to do. If she insists on seeing herself out, at least you know you made the gesture.

4. Let the woman walk ahead of you into a room. A woman always precedes a man into a room unless entering a taxi a revolving door. When closed doors come into play, in a nonchalant manner, the man moves ahead to open and hold the door, allowing her to enter the room first. This isn’t rocket science, guys. It’s just good ole fashioned chivalry.

5. Practice restraint. I know, I know… this might take some doing. But I beseech you… try! When in the presence of a woman, a dude with decorum, i.e. polite, stays focused on her alone. Yes, you will struggle with a wandering eye (or two). The quickest way to disrespect a woman is to a). nonverbally tell her that you’re looking for a replacement or b). waiting for something better to come along. Wrong! Unless you don’t plan on taking her out again—ever—don’t do it.

How do you feel about chivalry?

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02.21.11 at 8:40 am

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen @ SecondCitySoiree 02.21.11 at 8:51 am

Great article! I think you should also mention the two times it IS acceptable for a man to proceed a woman – a revolving door or a taxi.

Mindy Lockard 02.21.11 at 10:22 am

Great point, Jen! I’ll clarify that right now.

Aleah + Nick Valley 02.21.11 at 10:36 am

This is a great post! Nick and I are both “old school” in terms of basic principles of being polite {it seems like that’s disappeared these days}. It goes such a long way! We were both brought up from a young age to write a thank you note, to say please and thank you, and to just be kind. I adore this post! {A}

Lisa Bruckner 02.21.11 at 11:29 am

Great article Mindy. While I may not “need” these gestures, I do appreciate them when they are offered because I see it as a cultural sign of respect and concern for my comfort. I think it’s equally important for women to recognize when a man is being a gentleman and to be gracious and elegant in her response (or learning how if she doesn’t know yet). Nothing is more awkward than seeing a man waiting for a woman to enter through a doorway first only to see her looking at him in confusion. Even worse is when a woman shoos a man away as he tries to help her get seated or leaves him hanging there for minutes on end as she chats and finds things in her purse, oblivious to the fact that he is standing behind her holding her chair!

For those of you who don’t think a man needs to do these things, I agree. However, its not about need, it’s about respect and being gentlemanly. I hear too many people complain about rude behavior. I think a little chivalry on everyone’s part can go a long way.

Mindy Lockard 02.21.11 at 8:28 pm

I couldn’t agree more, Lisa! Great points!

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