Speaking of post-date follow-ups, the other night I ran into what must truly be the last bastion of male chivalry in the dating world.
Chivalry is an interesting concept to tackle in 2012. Women think they still want it, but the concept of courtly love has been long outdated. We like the idea of men fighting for our honor, but don’t want anyone to think for a second that we can’t defend ourselves. Opening a car door for us is a nice gesture, but a little silly given that we manage opening our doors just fine the other ten thousand times a day we get into vehicles. Paying for dinner is sweet, the first time, but starts to get weird after weeks of leaving our own salary untouched.
When it comes down to it, I think what most women want isn’t chivalry, but rather politeness: a man who shows respectful and considerate behavior to everyone, regardless of whether or not he’s on a date. Women want someone who is courteous not because he is a man and she is a woman, but simply because she is a person worthy of respect. A guy who will run around and open a car door because he’s been told that the move works is far less endearing of an act than, say, a guy who will hold open the door to a cab because that’s what he would do for his girlfriend, his mother, his guy friends, a stranger.
This having been said, last week a guy made a tiny gesture that was so polite and so lovely that it really did make me swoon a bit. It was the end of the night, and he had walked me to the subway. After we said goodnight, he called after me, “Let me know you got home safe.”
Maybe I’m making a big deal out of nothing here, but I love when guys say that. He didn’t imply that I was incapable of getting home on my own, or force me into a cab like some other obnoxious dates I’ve been on. It’s not condescending and it’s not heavy handed and it’s not chauvinistic. But it’s also not something he’d ever say to a guy friend. It shows a nonchalant concern over my well-being, and an open invitation to the follow-up text.
(Another variation of this sentiment is when guys drop you off at your house, and politely wait until you’ve gotten in before driving off.)
If there’s any form of chivalry left in the world of dating, this might be it: a relatively hands-off way of expressing interest. Because if you didn’t send that text to let them know you got home safely, they’d…saddle up their steed and come find you? I don’t know. But if this is the only form of chivalry left, I’d still say the world is a mighty polite and romantic place.