Is Chivalry Dead?

When I was in my 20’s, I witnessed a woman chide a man for opening the door for her. “I’m perfectly capable of doing things for myself!” she snapped at him.

I remember feeling very confused because I’d been raised to be fiercely independent, but I’d also been taught that polite men open the door for women. I felt sorry for that man because he was probably just as confused as I was, plus he bore the brunt of that woman’s rage.

Fast forward to a quarter of a century later. I witnessed a similar incident. A woman chastised a man when he offered to help her as she attempted to regain control of her grocery bags and not drop them. I simply do not understand the purpose of getting angry at someone who is trying to help.

When I visited the post office last month to pick up a shipment of ten boxes of my newest book for my book launch party, the postal worker offered to help me by rolling out the second cart behind me. I gladly accepted his help. As we approached the exit, a gentleman who had been filling out a packing slip at the counter ran ahead of me to open up the door for us. Both offered to help me load the boxes into my car. As I finished unloading my cart, yet another gentleman offered to roll the empty cart back into the post office building for me.

Their kindness saved me at least 15 minutes of hauling and loading time, not to mention wear and tear on my back. Had I aggravated my back from the lifting and twisting, I would’ve needed to visit the acupuncturist, which would have cost me additional time and money. An added bonus was that I was so uplifted and had hope in humanity again because I’d experienced such thoughtfulness. This boost put a spring into my step, which pushed me through a very long day. Thanks to their chivalry, I gained back time.

Ladies, if you don’t approve of chivalry, please don’t lash out. If you do, then eventually men will give up on trying to figure out who and when they can assist. They’ll just stop attempting to be polite and helpful. Your anti-chivalry scoldings will ruin it for the rest of us who enjoy being treated nicely. The next time a man offers to help you and you want no part of it, please just calmly state, “No thank you.” If you feel the need to assert your independence, perhaps your response can be, “No thank you, I’ve got this.”

Life is so much more pleasant when you choose to surround yourself with kind people. Life gets even sweeter when kind people drop into your life. I’d hate to lose this.

About Helene Segura, M.A. Ed., CPO®

8 Comments

  1. Scott Carley on July 2, 2019 at 8:56 pm

    That was a wonderful observation and your appreciation for chivalry means a lot to us men!

    • Helene Segura on July 3, 2019 at 7:41 am

      Howdy, Scott! I appreciate thoughtful, polite gentlemen. I hope that never goes away!

  2. Carrie Vanston on July 3, 2019 at 12:15 pm

    Love it! Thanks for pointing out that kindness brings out the best in all of us and accepting or declining it gracefully. We all, women and men, want to help each other out of situations like this and it just makes us feel good! I remember being at a conference in San Francisco when I was 8 months pregnant. I had a heavy bag and was standing in front of the stairs looking forlornly at the 5 steps up to the entrance as men flowed passed me on all sides. A woman came up and said, “I totally understand your dilemma, let me help.” We both laughed because the men were clueless of the problem with me going up those few stairs.

    • Helene Segura on July 12, 2019 at 8:57 am

      Hi, Carrie! I love what you said: “kindness brings out the best in all of us”. Cheers!

  3. Doris Slay-Barber on July 3, 2019 at 5:21 pm

    Every act of chivalry I’ve experienced has doubled the positive and pleasant feeling – once for me and once for the kind gentleman who helped me or exhibited the manners that his grandmother would have taught him.

    • Helene Segura on July 12, 2019 at 8:58 am

      Hello, Doris! Here’s to the longevity of kind gentlemen!

  4. Jon P on July 22, 2019 at 6:02 pm

    Great insights Helen. Like Carrie, I would personally like to re-frame it from being chivalrous to being kind. I don’t know if I open the door for women anymore than I do for men to be honest – I do it all the time for both. If a man was dropping his groceries I would certainly run to help.

    • Helene Segura on July 23, 2019 at 6:35 am

      Thank you, Jon, for sprinkling kindness into the world. We need more of this!

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