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Feminism didn’t kill chivalry

Chivalry is alive and well — if you’re a decent human being.

Last Friday I went out to dinner with some friends in Brooklyn. The food was good, but the company was even better.

All creatives. All in advertising. All female.

We brought each other up to date on our careers. Where we’re working now. What projects we’re working on. And where we hope to be next year. As our conversation evolved, we shared noteworthy series and movies we’d watched recently, and ultimately landed on women’s issues.

And after covering the Me Too movement and the fight for equal pay, we landed on the topic of chivalry when one of them asked with genuine curiosity,

If I want to be treated equally as men, does that mean I can’t expect him to pay for dinner?

A totally fair question.

Yes, it’s unfair to expect equal treatment and still expect to be put up on a pedestal. And besides being unfair, it doesn’t help our cause. “Equal rights— except when the bill comes” is not really the message we want to put out.

But let’s be real. The question at hand has nothing to do with equal rights and has everything to do with chivalry.

Once upon a time, chivalry referred to the courteous behavior of men towards women. And even though that’s what comes up on Google when you search for it today — Hey Google, get with the times — that’s not entirely accurate anymore.

Chivalry is courteous behavior. Period. It doesn’t have to be gender exclusive.

Personally, I think it’s similar to buying someone special a gift. If you want to show me you like me by inviting me out to dinner and treating me to a nice meal, I’m all for it. If I like you back, I may just want to treat you to a second date.

Just ask yourself: What am I comfortable with? Because when it comes down to it, this is a matter of personal preference.

Times have changed. And so have the dynamics of dating. He’s not going to ride up on a horse. And maybe that sucks. But the good news is he also can’t throw you over that horse and claim you as his property. He can still hold the door open for you though. But guess what, so can you.

In my case, he may not even be a man. He may just be a sexy ass woman I’ve been checking out at the gym for months. And when she finally asks me out I may just let her treat me to dinner because I dig that she wants to make me feel special.

I think any one of those badass women I went out to dinner with in Brooklyn last week would agree with my bottom line:

Chivalry should be more about being thoughtful, attentive, and considerate. And not about splitting the check.