Chivalry was a concept developed in medieval times and is defined as the noble qualities a knight was supposed to have, such as courage and a readiness to help the weak. It is characterised by the traits of gallantry, courtesy and honour. Nowadays, the concept of chivalry is largely confined to the mannerisms a gentleman should treat his lady with.
The following is a list of some gentlemanly acts any man should follow to pay due respect to their women:
- Open doors and pull out chairs.
- Be punctual, polite, keep calm and collected.
- Put your coat or jacket around her on a cold day.
- Be helpful, such as helping fix things and lifting heavy objects.
- Cover her with your umbrella even if it means you get wetter.
- Walk on the outside of the sidewalk. (This is derived from the tradition of Victorian England when people would throw excrements out the windows – the male would be more likely to be hit and thus carried an umbrella at all times)
- Do not be thrift and know how to pay bills discreetly.
- When conversing, listen to what she says and be attentive.
- Be romantic, treat her with flowers, gifts and surprises.
- Compliment her and accept her for the person she is.
- Never make meaningless promises or go against your word.
- Respect her.
Although most of this list is part of general etiquette, it is indubitably a crucial part in courting. In fact, as author John Bridges said, being a gentleman requires “a little logic, a bit of forethought and a great deal of consideration for others”.
However, one cannot help wonder how long chivalry can last in this modern world. As chivalry was based on the idea that the strong should help and protect the weak, it essentially implies that women are weaker and in need of protection by the man. Ideologically speaking, this goes against the arguments of some feminists. Does this mean that those women do not expect chivalry from males?
Regardless, a true gentleman must act chivalrously and treat ladies with proper etiquette if they expect to be respected and loved in return.