Chivalry! Do we even need it anymore? Gone are the days where it was customary to tip a hat in the presence of a lady, or to make sure she walked on the inside of the sidewalk, lest she be mowed down by a runaway street-car. The traditional rules that were standard for women of a certain age feel antiquated in today’s modern times, but modern-day etiquette is nebulous.
We spend entire meals with our faces bathed in the glow of our iPhones. We stalk persons of interest on Instagram and Facebook and dismiss viable options for love with a swipe to the left. The fact that we are even capable of face to face, human interaction without considerable failure is remarkable. There are no clear definitions for what is socially acceptable anymore. Let us be your guide.
1. Old Rule: Help her in and out of her coat
New Rule: Help her in and out of the gaping maw of an existential crisis.
2. Old Rule: Guide her through a room by placing a hand on the small of her back.
New Rule: Guide her through a room by pointing out conversational land mines and who to avoid.
3. Old Rule: Insist on paying for every date.
New Rule: Insist on paying back every single one of her outstanding debts, starting with her student loans.
4. Old Rule: Move her to the inside of the sidewalk, away from the street.
New Rule: Move her (gently, please) from the couch to the bed after she’s fallen asleep with her glasses on during a Real Housewives of Atlanta marathon.
5. Old Rule: Let her win arguments or discussions.
New Rule: Let her win the lottery. Watch her win at darts.
6. Old Rule: Pull out her chair at the table.
New Rule: Pull out. Just pull out.
7. Old Rule: Order for her at dinner.
New Rule: Order her a breakfast sandwich, large iced coffee and a coconut water at the bodega for the morning after.
8. Old Rule: As a sign of respect, stand up when a woman enters the room.
New Rule: As a sign of respect, make sure you’re wearing pants when a woman enters the room.
9. Old Rule: Escort your woman at formal events by offering her your arm to clutch.
New Rule: Escort your woman at formal events directly to the open bar.
10. Old Rule: Hold the door for women, and let them go through first.
New Rule: Hold the door for anyone that happens to be trying to go through that door, and they will do the same in kind.
11. Old Rule: Respect and listen to a woman when she speaks, offer words of advice and encouragement.
New Rule: Respect and listen to a woman when she tells you that your mansplaining is beyond reproach.
12. Old Rule: Gently steer a woman out of uncomfortable conversations by stepping in.
New Rule: Gently steer a woman away from potholes, oncoming traffic, and the terror of the unknown.
13. Old Rule: Offer your seat to a woman standing on public transportation.
New Rule: Offer your seat to anyone on public transportation who appears to be lacking the wherewithal to stand by themselves.
14. Old Rule: Protect your woman from the elements by offering your umbrella or your coat in inclement weather.
New Rule: Protect your woman from the scourge of Game of Thrones spoilers by letting her watch it on the HBO Go account you steal from your Aunt Cathy.
15. Old Rule: If the weather is inclement, offer to go get the car so she doesn’t have to brave the elements.
New Rule: If the weather is inclement, don’t be surprised if she spends her Saturday ignoring your calls on the couch in soft pants watching Call The Midwife on Netflix.
16. Old Rule: Insist that she sit down first at a restaurant.
New Rule: Insist that she sits down first whenever she damn well pleases, be it at a restaurant or on the train or in her house.
17. Old Rule: Take the reins when it comes to planning everything. Don’t stress your woman out by forcing her to make a decision.
New Rule: Take the reins when you inexplicably find yourself strapped to a runaway horse, or commandeering one of those inhumane Central Park carriages.
18. Old Rule: Make sure you are clean, freshly-shaved and well-dressed for all dates as a sign of respect.
New Rule: Make sure you left the house wearing clean underwear for literally every occasion as a sign of respect.
19. Old Rule: Get out of the car to open the door for her.
New Rule: Get out of the car if she asks you to get out of the car, because if she’s asking, there’s probably a good reason.
20. Old Rule: No phones at the dinner table during a date. Pay attention to your date!
New Rule: No phones at the dinner table during a date. Some rules never go out of style.