Chivalry is one of those things that’s almost impossible to do right. It’s like trying to teach someone how to drive stick shift. Too much effort, and you make them clam up and shut down. Not enough, and you’re a heartless cretin.
That’s why the Love Lounge is here. We’re here to guide you through all the romantic pitfalls facing everyone making an honest effort to get naked with someone else. Today’s topic is chivalry. No point in wasting time, let’s get started.
Our column today comes once again from The Frisky, and I’ve kept it as one of those rainy day columns. With Spring in full swing and Summer right around the corner, dating season has officially begun. So how does one practice traditional male courtesy while not putting off his prospective mate? Let’s find out. As always, the original column leads with my comments in italics.
8 so-called ‘chivalrous’ moves that creep us out
By Kate Torgovnick, The Frisky
November 10, 2009 8:58 a.m. EST
(The Frisky) — Blake Lively and Penn Badgley are definitely the cutest actors who’ve played a couple on TV that refuse to acknowledge they’re one in real life too.
Right from the get go, I can tell I’m going to hate this article.
Luckily, “Gossip Girls” in training all around New York are constantly telling the tabs about their Blake/Penn sightings. The two were spotted having brunch and smooching at Five Points restaurant.
According to People, “The actor was very doting and even walked his girlfriend to the bathroom at the end of their meal. The two left the restaurant arm-in-arm.”
Um, back the truck up a second. He walked her to the bathroom? I’d never heard of this particular convention until last summer, when a date offered to do this.
I’ll admit that I’ve never heard of this practice either, which makes me think the premise upon which this article is built is horseshit. Invent a weird social convention to use as the clothesline because real life hasn’t been interesting enough lately. Check!
“Why would you walk me to the bathroom?” I asked. “Oh, I thought that was common courtesy,” he said.
Sweet, but I’m a big girl. I can make it the 15 feet to the bathroom on my own. I’m not really interested in having you join me for the walk, unless you’re planning to join me in there.
I’m by no means a germophobe, but the idea of sex (which I’m guessing is what she implies with the “join me in there” part) in a restaurant bathroom is about as appealing as working mayonnaise into my lovemaking routine. Strangers use the restaurant bathroom, and as we all know, strangers are fucking disgusting.
I’m all for opening doors and you giving me your jacket when I’m cold, but here are eight other supposedly gentlemanly moves we don’t understand. Though any effort is always appreciated, even if it’s a little weird.
Translation: These don’t actually bother me, but I have a deadline and couldn’t be bothered to think of a real topic in time.
1. Ordering my meal for me. This has always struck me as bizarro, because chances are you don’t know what I want. The only time this is cool is if I have no idea how to pronounce something and you do.
But this goes against Mike Damone’s Five Point Plan. Of course, that scene is from a movie that was released in 1982, so perhaps its advice is a bit dated. And Damone was a douche stain anyway, so nevermind. Although, perhaps instead of correcting her pronunciation in front of the waiter, you should help her pronounce it ahead of time. Unless she likes being corrected in front of others. ALL women love that.
2. Letting me win at a game of Scrabble/pool/bowling when you are clearly better. No fun! Please give it your best shot. I want the satisfaction of really beating you.
A fine line here, to be sure. Let her win, you’re a condescending fuckhole. Get too competitive, you’re a dick. Finding that right level of competition so that everyone has fun, you’re a sorcerer. Good luck.
3. Using a code term for going to the bathroom. Especially retro words like “tinkle.” You can just say, “I’ll be back in a minute.” I’ll get it.
If your man uses the word “tinkle” in any other fashion besides hilariously ironic, order a bunch of food that he has to pay for and then split. Leave that hamster with a big bill for being a tool.
4. Pulling out my chair. Someone told me this tradition started when women wore loads of crinolines and, thus, scooting in your chair was difficult. That’s no longer the case. It just makes me nervous that you won’t push it in at the right moment and I’ll land on the ground with a thud.
Perhaps this is just a subtle hint that you should wear more crinolines. What do you say to that?
5. Carrying my purse. Yeah, it’s heavy, but I’m pretty used to it at this point. You carrying it just looks funny. I have enough of a hard time with murses.
This is an act of chivalry? Since when? I’ve always thought it was an act of emasculation. Who does this voluntarily? While at the Capitol Hill People’s Fair, Lady E and CJS Regular Dollar asked me to hold both their purses while they hit the port-a-potties. I kindly refused. I may be a modern man, but I’m still not holding a goddamn purse. Ever. I’m thinking this author invented several of these so-called “chivalrous” behaviors out of whole cloth.
6. Asking my dad for my hand in marriage. So outdated. Pops just shouldn’t be involved in our relationship. No one should know you want to marry them before they do.
I call shenanigans here. I agree that a woman should never be surprised by a marriage proposal, but nodding to tradition here and there hurts no one. And since you’ll likely be hitting pops up for money later so your friends can get all messed up at your wedding, maybe do him a solid and ask him before you seek to exclusively bang his daughter. Y’know, grease the wheels with the money man just a bit…
7. If you’re paying for dinner, not letting me put in for tip. Or get a round of drinks after. If I offer, it’s because I want to. I swear.
Ground covered fully by “Seinfeld” already, but all we’re looking for is a reach. Just reach for the check, put up some token resistance, and we’ll tell all our friends how cool you are. If you actually take initiative to buy drinks later, well, bonus.
8. Helping me put me coat on. This is sweet, but it’s always awkward because my hand misses the sleeve or gets stuck somewhere in there. It’s easier to just do it on my own.
Are you retarded, lady? Men are better at getting helped on with a coat because we have to buy suit jackets, and the trick is to put both arms back at the same time. One arm first only leads to disaster. Just throw them both back there, your coat will slide right on, and you get to that cool looking forward shrug move where your coat slides on all badass like. Don’t fault your man for trying to help you enjoy the best way to put on a jacket. It’s not his fault you don’t buy suits.
One chivalrous gesture that never goes out of style is offering your arm when you’re both dressed up and going downtown or to a company party or something. She’s likely wearing shoes she never does otherwise, you both feel more important than you probably are, and it adds just a touch of romance you can’t always replicate. A little tip from your old Uncle Dagger there.
And if that doesn’t do anything for her, just make anal sex jokes in front of her friends. That move never goes out of style.
Until next time…
06 May 2010 E Dagger