It has recently (as well as not so recently) come to my attention that chivalry is not so much dead as has had a really long month of binging and just woke up with an array of unfortunate new tattoos on it’s rear-end and face, as well as a rainbow mohawk on its head and perhaps a toe or two missing…and a slight heroine addiction. So it’s not dead. Just a little confused and sickly and emaciated in oh so many ways…
My need to speak about this comes from a not unusual situation: Guy starts chatting you up on the subway to Brooklyn (from Manhattan). At first it’s friendly/curious/a little too smiley (*insert raised eyebrow here*) chatter about your Spider Solitaire game, then it’s chatting about being from Canada, travelling and the educational system in North America as well as the positive socio-economic and cultural repercussions of the economical crisis on certain Brooklyn neighbourhoods. Yep. That was my 11pm MTA conversation on my last night in NYC, folks. Life.
So naturally he offers me his number and the next time I’m in town I should call him up. Me: “I make no promises…” Him: “I don’t expect any.” Friendly chatter, goodbyes, followed by a hilarious walk home through a slightly-less-”affected”-by-the-economical-crisis, neighbourhoud of Brooklyn… Sidebar, I have to describe that situation:
Guy on the street corner with friends (being closely watched by a cop on the opposite street corner) “How’s it going Becky!”
Guy: Jessica! Cassandra? Savannah! Julie! Carolyn? I’m trying to guess your name, here! (said in a completely genuine manner)
Me: *bursting out laughing at his impressive attempts and gesturing for him to keep trying as I keep walking*
Guy: Linda? Sarah! Kayla! Ok. Good night Becky!!! Well… at least I made you smile!
Me: Yes you did! *and I’m unable to stop chuckling the whole way back*
Legit lovely….Maybe you had to be there. But I digress.
So here’s where my hesitation comes to play. If I call this guy from the subway up (which at first I was like.. “No. I will not.” But after our lovely and interesting chat, I thought… Maybe! A cool guy, potential friend!) then what are the implications? If a guy buys you a drink or two. If a guy buys you dinner. If a guy offers you a piece of chocolate. If a guy gives you his number and you want to call him up to hang out the next time you’re in NYC. What is expected of emancipated women of the 21st century? I call upon you: Feminism? St-Agatha? Madonna? Lady Gaga? SOMEBODY HAVE AN ANSWER?
It has been my guilty-white-girl attitude to offer a kiss in exchange for a (very expensive) dinner even if I’m not feelin’ the love (if you will). Should it be my policy to show an ankle when a guy holds the door for me? I mean give a guy a smile on the street and he might just offer you a good ol’ stalking, complete with creepy-voiced “compliments”. So you gotta gauge it, sure, but…
My question is, whatever happened to chivalry? Those 1950s days when a boy would chase a girl around (and hopefully sing a song or two along the way) in order to woo her into letting him hold her books. When holding hands made your heart go pitter-patter and sharing a soda didn’t mean you were gonna spread your legs for him later on that evening.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good ol’ modern world and wouldn’t have loved living in the 50s… I don’t think. All I’m saying is: is it just me? Or are we expected to “give back” to the chivalrous (mohawked and hangovered) man or else suffer the wrath of being called a “cold, manipulative bitch” and add to our already besieged self-esteem/self-worth struggles and confusions. Men, why?
So where do we draw the line? Can we be emancipated women of the 21st century and still expect a gentleman to pay for dinner? Is it rude of me to think that he is rude if he doesn’t offer to pick up at least the first check. (Rules on this vary, but I do believe that if he asks you out on the date, he should probably offer to pay. Sue me!)
Ok now after that date: If you’re not sure of the vibe, I mean it was a good meal, you chatted for hours even though it felt strained at times but maybe it was because you were nervous, I mean he’s really cute…. do you kiss the guy? (asks the 14 year old girl to Cosmo Girl’s advice column…)
What about out at a bar/club… the most UNCHIVALROUS PLACE OF THEM ALL. Where Chivalry goes to die by flaying followed by drowning in a vat of pure alcohol. IS it unchivalrous of us ladies to accept a drink or several from a young “gallant”, knowing full well that though we may dance (even that is questionable) we will most definitely not makeout with you on that dirty dance floor? Is it not more unchivalrous for the young man to insist on grinding (…how ELSE are you gonna dance? RIIIIGHT?!…sigh*) because he GOT you a DRINK!
Me: Hey man. You offered the drink. Who am I, poor student/struggling actor to say no? WHO?!
Funny story: this can sometimes backfire, as my friend experienced on our most recent outing to a slightly scuzztastic (but cheap drinks!) bar for a friend’s birthday. The guy buys her a drink. He is slightly unfortunate. She accepts it nevertheless. He starts to “dance” with her. She declines. He actually takes the drink back from her hand after she had taken a sip. Her: ….
PROOF that drinks are the new currency for luck in the bedroom. The Dance Floor: Meat Market in a new and even more literal way than ever. Now who’s to blame for this unfortunate mathematical equation? The emancipated “emerging female adult” is one of the culprits, that is for certain. Gosh darn it but we crave the attention, don’t we ladies? I mean we all love to go out dancing, get some drinks bought for us, maybe flirt with a guy or two, harmless fun. Some girls hope to find the man of their dreams there. Some girls do. Most will not. In any case we are partially to blame for this. But as in love, lust and disgusting bar behaviour (DBB for short) are a two way street. Two two way streets? An intersection?
So again, I ask. Where do we draw the line? Granted the men who have been less gentlemanly in the past, have mostly been very drunk and oh so young, but was this behaviour not indoctrinated into their sober brains? Cause the idea has to come from somewhere! Let’s not kid ourselves, alcohol doesn’t make stuff up, it just loosens up the already present urges and moral beliefs. So who’s the jerk who’s spreading the news about the dance floor and other such areas? The idea that girls are only there to let loose AND WILL “DANCE” WITH ANYONE IF HE’S FORCEFUL (doesn’t take no) ENOUGH (points towards the bedroom will be attributed with any drink purchased). LET THE GAMES BEGIN! *bell tolls 11pm*
THAT BEING SAID!!! I would like to say, that some bars are worse than others and that chivalry still exists in beautiful moments such as :
The guy from Manchester who not only paid for my cab ride home but accompanied me all the way home to make sure I was fine. Not forceful AT ALL, he said goodnight (after I gave him a grateful peck) before taking that same cab all the way back to his hotel. No guilt trip. No muss. No forceful exchange of numbers. Thank you, wherever you are!
The guy (and his friend) at that same scuzztastic bar which was previously mentioned, who kept offering to buy drinks for me and whoever couple of friends I happened to be dancing with at the time. Strings unattached. In fact we were the ones who invited them over earlier, to buy our Birthday Girl friend a drink and insisted they stick around. Cool guys for the win!
The guys who offered me a ride home cause I was wearing a cool hat (there were also girls in the car or I would never have accepted. Also they were from Ottawa and quite sober) and even though they kept saying I should go to the club with them, and I adamantly refused time and time again, they were totally cool with dropping me off closer to home. *shrug* Cool guys for the win x 2!
So there are some cool people. There are some wonderful guys out there. And to those men, I say thank you. Thank you for offering a girl a good time without the bitter after taste of a scuzzy and guilt-tripped roll in the metaphorical hay. To those other men and to the girls who encourage them… don’t. Just don’t.
Final words of wisdom: Men, here are 3 simple rules to follow whilst drunk, sober or otherwise…
1. Know how to read the signs. 2. Don’t be a creep. 3. Class will get you everywhere and crass will get you STDs. **CLASS OVER CRASS PLEASE!**
So say we all. ;)
On a similar note, here’s a little tip from our favourite Jenna Marbles on how to get a guy to remove his groin from your hiney (and other unfortunate interactions you may suffer):