03 December 2008

Assert or Desert her?

Chivalry versus Feminism

In the 1950s, the rules of dating etiquette were clearer. A man knew it was not only acceptable, but expected for him to open the door for his date, pull out her chair and pay for the meal. These days, the line between appreciated chivalrous acts and condescending behaviors is fuzzy at best.

The feminist movement brought women the right to vote and earn equal pay, but it sure made the practice of dating more confusing in the process. It would be a dateless man indeed who did’t acknowledge a woman’s right to make her own decisions when it comes to her life, her money, her body, and her mind; however, how do you reconcile that respect with the kind of attitude a man is encouraged to project on a date? When you’re initially getting to know a girl, it can be difficult to know whether or not she’ll see your actions as considerate or misogynistic.

The following are a few different situations that may come up during the beginning of a relationship viewed from perspectives on either side of the aisle: that of a well-intentioned, old-fashioned gentleman and an enthusiastic, empowered woman. Which opinion should rule in these ambiguous circumstances?

Picking up the tab
Gentleman’s perspective: It’s gentlemanly to pull out my wallet and pay, especially on the first date. It shows I am financially secure and goes a long way to making a good impression on my date.

Feminist’s perspective: As an empowered woman, I can pay my own way, thank you very much. The man reaching for his wallet is an indication that he thinks I can’t take care of myself.

AM verdict: For the first few dates, at least, the guy should pay. If she isn’t a gold-digger, the woman should at least offer to pay, but until a relationship is established, the man should expect to be shelling out for meals, drinks and movies.

Lightening her load
Gentleman’s perspective: Opening the door for my girl or helping her carry her shopping bags is my duty as the stronger sex.

Feminist’s perspective: Call any woman “the weaker sex” and see how far that gets you. I am fully capable of opening my own doors and carrying my own bags.

AM verdict: Instead of asking if it’s OK, just say, “Let me help you with those bags.” If she’s adamant that she doesn’t need your help, back off.

Performing manly tasks
Gentleman’s perspective: There are some jobs that men are still required to do. Mowing the lawn or fixing the car is a perfectly reasonable thing to do for her. She probably doesn’t know how to do them or doesn’t want to anyway.

Feminist’s perspective: These chores are not strictly for men. I am independent and intelligent enough to take care of these tasks on my own.

AM verdict: If she knows how to do it, she does it, period. Don’t insist on doing a chore just because it’s “a man’s work.” Alternately, don’t shy away from teaching her how to do something if she shows an interest in learning.

Defending her honor
Gentleman’s perspective: If a woman is insulted by another man’s actions or words, I should step in and take over the situation.

Feminist’s perspective: I can fight my own battles. If someone offends me, I’ll take it up with them myself.

AM verdict: It depends on the situation. If it’s a random catcall from a passing vehicle, it’s probably not necessary to do anything about it. If another guy pinches your date’s *ss in a club, you should step up and deal with the situation. In that case, you're not only defending her honor, but your own as well.

Ordering her meal
Gentleman’s perspective: I know what she’ll like, so I should go ahead and order for her.

Feminist’s perspective: I don’t think so!

AM verdict: Feminists win here. This behavior is archaic and comes off as rude and condescending. Unless she asks for a suggestion, keep your opinions on her order to yourself.
chivalrous confusion

It can be quite confusing to be a man in today's society, what with all the empowered women traipsing around demanding their independence, while chastising us for not being courteous enough to open doors for them. A general rule of thumb to keep in mind when dealing with the fairer (not weaker) sex: treat them as you would want them to treat you! Don't baby her or treat her like a child, simply be there for her as you would a good friend and everything should be fine

roperted from askmen.com.

No comments: