16 March 2009

The Art of Chivalry from a Woman's Point of View

The practice of chivalry, I am thankful to say, is not dead. I really appreciate the fact that there are still men out there that will stand up and give a woman his seat, or open the door for them. I do not expect them to do this and always try smile or say "thank you" when it happens.

It is however, not without its complications.
Lets take for example the simple act of opening the door for the woman. Man walks up to door. Woman stands back, waits for door to open. Man opens door. Woman walks through. Man follows. This is fine where there is only 1 door, but when faced with a series of doors there is the added problem that the woman might get to the next door before the man has had time to catch up and then have to stand around waiting for the man to get there to open the door before she can continue. I managed to solve this problem by walking as quickly as possible through the 1st door and then slowing down, allowing the man to catch up before we reach the next door. It felt weird that I even found this an issue!

Then there is always that awkward moment when I am standing back to be polite and let the others through the door when they are all standing back waiting for me. I don't want to appear entitled and ungracious by pushing my way to the front, so I always have to be aware of whether the men are standing back for me or not.
Then there is the issue of who pays. I am not an avid feminist who insists on going dutch, but I do feel that I earn enough to pay my own way. I encountered this on a recent trip where my male travel companion was quite edgy until he'd paid more of the costs than I had. I was cool with it and thought that I'd pay him my share at the end of the trip. On the first trip I managed to get him to accept my payment by noting that he would do the same in my position. After the next trip, this was no longer an option. I have now come up with what I believe is an elegant solution to the problem. I will donate my share of the costs to charity (of his choice if he so wishes) if he refuses to accept payment.

I look forward to hearing your points of view and solutions to this tricky and potential minefield of a subject.


Anonymous said...

Hi Kim,

Nice touchy subject! I usually let the guy pay if he wants to after I've offered my share. I do try to return the favour at the later date, but usually at a lower value so he doesn't feel it's a game of one-upmanship.

Unknown said...

Thanks Daphne. Very useful tip