Wednesday, November 02, 2005


The Renaissance of chivalry

I was coming out of Tim Horton's the other day with one extra-large coffee in each hand. Not only did one gentleman hold open the door for me, but another guy just stepping out of his car reached over and opened the passenger-side door for me as I tried to work my fingers underneath the handle and pull it open without dropping my coffees.

It confirms a theory I'm working on - chivalry is back.

Just in the past few months, I'm noticing a lot more doors being held, seats being relinquished, and "no-you-go-okay-I'll-go-no-really-I-insist" dances with total strangers. It's been quite refreshing!

Now, it could be that since I spend a lot of time with both hands full and a preschooler or two dangling from my limbs, people are just more prone to take pity on me, or are trying to help me out so I don't do damage to any innocent bystanders, but I'll take it nonetheless.

I was getting a ride home from a work colleague recently, and as we approached his car he actually came around to my side of the car first and opened the door for me. I have to admit, that's the first time anyone has ever done that and I loved it. Such a simple gesture, but so very classy.

I never understood the argument that courtesies like this were somehow demeaning to women. Maybe it's because I'm secure in my ability to open my own door that I don't feel threatened when someone else offers to do it for me? I admit, though, to feeling rather bad the few times that a gentleman has stood back to let me get on the bus first and I ended up getting the last seat, leaving him to stand for the 35 minute ride home. It's sometimes a little embarrassing to be an able-bodied recipient of someone's kindness when you feel you are really no more deserving than they are.

I'm proud of the boys' manners, inasmuch as preschoolers can have manners. Tristan's "thanks" whenever I hand him something is now so ingrained that I can see he doesn't even think about it, and Simon is the most adorable toddler ever with his similar sounding "here-go-mummy" and "thang-u-mummy" whenever he gives me something or gets something from me. It's important to me that they grow up to be the kind of boys who think of others, and who are respectful and courteous.

What do you think? Is chivalry back? How important a role do manners play in your opinion of someone? Is it still appropriate for a man to step back and let a woman go first, or is it insulting?