There are many definitions of the term chivalry but the modern notion is courtesy to women. Cambridge Dictionary defines chivalry as a very polite, honest and kind behaviour especially by men towards women.
The term chivalry was very common in the medieval century (5th to the 15th century) among the knights. For a man to be considered eligible to be a knight, he had to have certain characteristics such as loyalty, courtesy, protectiveness, honourability and gentleness. This was to be displayed in all he did. Now you know why ladies are always waiting for their knight in shining armor.
We asked some of our readers between the ages of 18 to 30 whether chivalry still exists in relationships and our society in general and these are some of the thoughts they shared:
“Chivalry is not dead. I still know men who are kind, courteous and take care of women around them.” – Vision Sifuma, 24
“In most relationships it is dead. Simple acts such as a man opening the door for the lady are unheard of.” – Dorcus, 23
“The rise of women empowerment has caused men to shrink back. In a sense, they don’t know how to act when it comes to treating a lady.” – Faith Karimi, 28
“I still believe in the idea of a man holding a door or pulling a seat for a lady.” –
With these responses, hope for chivalry is evident and it is clear that women, empowered as they are, crave for a tender, loving care. So how can a man be chivalrous? You need to…
And not just to her but to everyone. It’s offensive to talk down on people and treat them as if they were inferiors. Treat her and others as you would like to be treated. Also learn to say please and thank you, they can go a very long way to making her happy. Treat her with respect; show us a man who treats women with respect and we will show you a man who receives respect in return.
You have invited her for a date? Please show up early. This means planning for traffic and little disasters. The saying ‘never keep a woman waiting’ applies here. Once she gets to the table, rise as a sign of respect and acknowledgement. Once you have stood up and exchanged pleasantries, pull the chair out for her and as her knees bend to sit, gently push the chair back into position.
You probably both live busy lives and since homemaking and caregiving roles have been left to the woman, there are things she still needs to do once she is home from work. Apart from acknowledging her efforts, assist her with one item on her to-do list and she will be eternally grateful. If she is cooking, you can be a good support system by handling the babies. There is also nothing unmanly about cooking or washing dishes.
It won’t hurt to be romantic once in a while. And this does not mean that you go breaking the bank so that you can please her. Small and sweet gestures such as taking her out to dinner will do wonders to your relationship. The gift of time and attention needs no money, gift her these.
In this era we are living in, being honest and trustworthy is a big deal. Let your intentions be known from the word go and don’t try to hide any habits. Also, do as you say, mean what you say and say what you mean.
Never take advantage of her sexually: This is a big one. A common trend we have witnessed recently is men taking a woman out on a date, getting her drunk and thereafter asking or demanding for sex. Of course, she is not in the right mind to make a decision and you will thus be taking advantage of her drunkenness.
Beyond the mannerisms
Chivalry should not be narrowed down to certain social contexts such as dating but it should spill over to all aspects of our lives, for instance, how we treat other people. Women need to respond better when men are courteous, kind and caring towards them. Not in naivety but with discernment and in that way we will have a society in which both men and women understand and treat each other better.