Advice

Chivalry and Online Dating: 4 Rules for the “No Rules” Generation

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Sunday night, HowAboutWe co-founders Aaron and Brian are going to be the special guests on “The Dating Marketplace with Nic and Neely.” We’re super excited! Nic and Neely — Boston’s go-to ladies when it comes to smart, fun dating advice — are going to be talking to the guys about a hot topic: Chivalry. And it’s for that reason that Scott decided to address the topic here today. Check it out, and be sure to tune in Sunday at 8:30 ET to hear the show!

Chivalry, in one form or another, has dictated men’s behavior in romantic relationships since medieval times. But, is there room for it in the modern, somewhat anonymous world of online dating?

We have come to view any attempt to put concrete rules on our romantic engagements as oppressive or, at the very least, kind of lame, but we find ourselves torn.

Women seem to miss the feeling of being thought of as a prize and courted as such, but they often find men’s attempts to woo them in this manner to be insincere, insulting or even pathetic. Men often feel confused and frustrated by what they see as a double standard — women want to be treated like princesses, but only sometimes and only by certain people. The question of what is appropriate behavior for men has become almost completely situation-specific. Treating a woman right now requires attention and insight rather than just following a rulebook. The new chivalry, the chivalry that actually applies to the modern way we date, will have to take into account that the rules of engagement change from woman to woman. Given that, there are some ways in which women wish to be treated in their online dating lives that seem more or less universal.

1. Women like to be asked out. On actual dates.

Find a cool place or activity that you think she might like and ask her to go. Doesn’t have to be fancy. Just has to have be an actual time at an actual place.

2. Don’t proposition women for sex on a dating site.

Not every woman is looking for a serious relationship, but this doesn’t mean that they’re eager to have sex with a total stranger either. If a woman is on a dating site, it’s respectful to assume that she wants to go out on dates. Even if she mentions that she’s kinky in her profile. Even if her profile picture is a cleavage shot. It is respectful to let a woman know that you’re only looking for sex, if that’s the case, but a friendly message or two to gauge the situation before you start getting all pervy should be considered standard protocol.

3. Don’t crowd her

You might be one of a thousand guys who messaged her this week. Don’t get all crazy on her if she doesn’t get back to you right away, or at all. That’s her right. She’s out there looking for love just like you are.

4. Never, ever express your frustration

Dating is changing rapidly and we’re all still catching up. We’re all in the same boat. If it seems like “women don’t know what they want,” you gain nothing by saying that to women. Share your frustrations with your male friends, sure, but leave them out of your online dating messages and profile.