The Feminist Guide To Keeping Chivalry Alive

How you can do your part to keep him doing his part.


Help him because (contrary to his belief) he does not have super-strength

We’ve all been with that guy who insists on holding our handbags. If you didn’t let him, good. Keep doing that. Unless it becomes fashionable to have a handbag the size of a suitcase (gargantuan scarves indicate that fashion could be headed this direction), then you should never, ever let a guy hold your bag. It’s a kind gesture, but it’s 1) way over the top and ridiculous, and 2) women can’t carry men’s handbags because men don’t carry handbags. (We could, I guess, hold a guy’s wallet. It’d be the same amount of trouble.)

The Feminist Guide To Keeping Chivalry Alive

Stop drooling. It’s really not that hot.

The bottom line: Carry your own damn handbag. The only excuse for not doing so is if both your wrists are broken. Now, if something is really heavy, don’t be a stubborn fool and refuse to let a guy help you. You can’t push that big flat-screen TV to the center of the living room by yourself? Those groceries full of juices and cans are heavy? Let him help. Note the advice here is to “let him help,” not “let him do it.” This requires you to do some of the work.

If you see him struggling to carry a bunch of boxes up six flights of stairs, take initiative and help him. Even if he says “No, I got it” (and he will for wanting to seem macho), help him anyway. Heavy stuff sucks. No one likes dealing with it, so help one another and then reward yourselves with a couple of cold beers.

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Avatar of Sarah Woodstock

Sarah enlightens us on a daily basis with the newest trends as (and often before) they transpire. She is the consummate globe trotter. Having traveled to over 70 countries, she earns her living writing, blogging ( and modeling while on the road. In her spare time she gets manicures, suntans on yachts in Greece, shops for even more shoes, and lives in the limelight. She loves photography, elephants, sailboats, bangles and ballet flats.

Reader Discussion: 103 Comments

  1. Avatar of Kathryn Diego

    Kathryn Diego

    I lived in many big cities worldwide. 2 years ago, I moved to a small town in North Central Texas. Immediately, the difference was very clear. Living in Colorado, when traveling through small towns as well as the more developed & populated areas, the people were out for themselves. This occasionally extended to their family members, not always. The door was left to slam on me most often, the people would push & shove by without an “excuse me” or, “I’m sorry”. If the door was held for me, it was more of an afterthought than anything. Even when there was a weak, half-hearted door hold, I made sure to smile & thank the person, male or female.

  2. Avatar of Louise Rose

    Louise Rose

    When we encourage chivalry we will not do any harm to our society as long as it is properly understood. In reality, I believe it could do wonders for our morals and behavior which have, as a whole, been degrading as time has worn on.

  3. Avatar of steev smith

    steev smith

    Do you remember the last time anyone held a door for you? Isn’t that such a nice feeling? So let’s all give that feeling away more.

  4. Avatar of Mary Schippers

    Mary Schippers

    I assume that every man knows that he should open a door for a lady. It’s pretty straightforward when you are slightly ahead of the lady. Open the door and allow her to walk through. No problems there. However, what happens when she reaches the door first and begins to open it. Well, it’s not ideal, but ensure that your hands are on the door to guide the process. She probably doesn’t mind opening the door for herself, but it would be nice if you helped. Try not to make it awkward by forcing her out the way to open the door.

  5. Avatar of Sona Moni

    Sona Moni

    There is nothing more frustrating than a man wanting to go out with a woman and having absolutely no creativity to plan a date. Chances are if you’ve asked her out you know enough about her to know something she would enjoy doing. So, refrain from saying, “What should we do?” Take her to a shooting range or to visit an animal shelter. Show her something you like to do for fun. It doesn’t all need to be the pressure of dinner. Honestly, believe it or not, women are quite simple species when it comes to entertainment.

  6. Avatar of Wanda Lee

    Wanda Lee

    As a woman, I always do my best to show gratitude for the good manners & chivalry I encounter. I will stand at a door, waiting for a gentleman or lady with a walker, a cane, a baby stroller or any such impediment which would make having their door held, a little nicer. I try to catch people doing something kind so that I can reinforce the good manners, then show appreciation.

    • Avatar of Kathleen McAlister

      Kathleen McAlister

      It’s great that you do this, really.

  7. Avatar of James Hannks

    James Hannks

    Show me a lady who deserves chivalry and I’ll be chivalrous. Today’s women tend to be selfish and exude such a strong sense of entitlement yet they demand to be treated as equals. When women chose to equitably exercise the attributes that you mentioned, namely respect, patience and thoughtfulness, then I’ll consider doing the same.

    • Avatar of Clare Wright

      Clare Wright

      Chivalry is not a reactive trait, but rather a proactive characteristic. No longer do I hold the door for a lady in hope that she will say, “Thank you.” I hold it because I believe it’s the right thing to do.

  8. Avatar of Jonathon Swift

    Jonathon Swift

    What I do for a lady is my honor. Need no rewards of any type. If not deserving I will still assist for it is the right thing to do. Though I have been taken advantage of, it is I who walks with head held high. Through the years of ridiculing my hopes of those who may follow.

  9. Avatar of Marjory Brooks

    Marjory Brooks

    Women must take an active and equal part in displaying knightly virtues, courtly love, and honor while men must take on the mantle of their knightly forefathers.

    • Avatar of Patricia Tucker

      Patricia Tucker

      Chivalry is reciprocated.

  10. Avatar of Oxi Harger

    Oxi Harger

    Chivalry is really just a way to use a fancier word for kindness. Really. It is not gender specific at all, and in most cases, it really does boil down to something as simple as holding a door for someone, or opening someone’s car door to make them feel special. They are incredibly simple gestures that take less than a few seconds, but they have a genuine impact on those on the receiving end of them.

    • Avatar of Maria Rapier

      Maria Rapier

      True! It’s basically just kindness and you don’t even have to be always thanked for doing a good deed.

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