As my mom’s hairdresser will tell you, “chivalry is dead.” The days when gallant men in suits roamed the earth, laying jackets over mud puddles, are over — gone the way of the dinosaur.
But from death comes life. Extinction breeds evolution. For chivalry to survive in the modern era, we, as men, must adapt to a new time and climate. As dating habits and gender roles evolve, so must we.
Today, chivalry isn’t as much about being a gentleman as it is about not being a jerk. Just because dating is informal doesn’t mean you have to be. There is always room for grace and civility in any relationship, whether it’s completely casual or the start of something more.
Below are a handful of tips on how to remain chivalrous in today’s dating scene. Though I happen to be a straight, cis guy, these apply no matter the gender identity or sexual orientation of the person you are trying to woo.
Honesty is the best policy.
Some prospective daters tend to stretch the truth. And while some may argue that fibbing about your height or income to impress a potential match is mostly harmless, lying about your romantic intentions is not. Misleading someone about a potential future together just to get laid is no better than catfishing. If you aren’t looking for anything serious, make it known before things go too far — be an opportunist, not a liar.
Sometimes, it’s nice to offer to pay.
Just because your date is strong, independent, and financially stable doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate a little old-fashioned charm from time to time — everyone likes to be treated to a night out.
Miranda, 28, is an assistant general manager at one of LA’s hottest nightclubs and brings in a comfortable six-figure salary. “I don’t expect a guy to pick up the tab every time we go out, but it is nice to be treated every once in a while,” she admits.
It’s always courteous to offer to pay, but remember — footing the bill isn’t a guarantee of anything. Just because you picked up the appetizers and two glasses of happy hour wine doesn’t mean your date owes you something. Chivalry doesn’t come with strings attached.
Remember: safety first.
The core values of chivalry are based around comfort and courtesy; making a person feel respected and protected. And as any nurse or ominous billboard will warn you, protection today is important.
We all know condoms are a pain in the ass. They’re the bike helmets of adulthood — bulky; uncomfortable; restricting. You want to feel the breeze in your hair. We all do… until you flip over the handlebars and crack your head open. You wouldn’t pressure your date not to wear a seatbelt, so don’t try and guilt them into not using protection.
Help them get home.
A classic act of chivalry is walking your date home after a night out. The same still applies when your date walks you home, and your night out turns into a morning in. If you like someone enough to sleep with them, you should care enough about them to help make sure they get home safe. Offer to pay for or split their Uber — it’s courteous. A silver Prius may not be a white horse, but it’s still a gesture that won’t go unnoticed.
Master the follow-up.
Whenever you interview for a job, it’s always nice to get an email the next day thanking you for your time and interest. This doesn’t mean you got the gig; it just acknowledges the value of your efforts. In the same token, an innocuous thank-you text after going out with someone doesn’t necessarily mean you’re looking for something serious, it just shows that you’re considerate. A short “last night was fun” can go a long way.
Keep some things to yourself.
Not all follow-up texts are appreciated. As any first-grade teacher will tell you, “If you don’t have something nice to say, keep it to yourself.” The same can also be said about dick pics (or any explicit pics, for that matter). Just because someone has seen you in all your natural glory doesn’t mean they want it popping up on their phone at work. It doesn’t matter if you think you have the Mona Lisa of morning wood; unless they ask, keep it to yourself.
Once chivalrous, always chivalrous.
One-night stands happen. There wasn’t a spark or a mutual interest. That’s life sometimes. But just because you don’t see a future with someone doesn’t mean you won’t see them in the future. Interactions after a regrettable hookup can be awkward. But that’s part of being an adult — putting on a brave face and being cordial, even when you don’t want to be. It doesn’t cost anything to be polite, and a little kindness goes a long way. If you see that person in the wild, don’t turn tail and run; be polite, say hello, and keep your dignity while respecting theirs.