I’m eating dinner with a young woman at a restaurant on the Lower East Side. As the discussion winds though typical first date topics like work, hobbies, friends, and family histories, we end up on an interesting subject – chivalry.

“When I’m on the subway,” my date says, “Do you know who I always see give up their seat for an elderly person or a woman?”

“Who?” I reply.

“Old men.”


“I’ve noticed that they’re always the first to offer their seat to an elderly or pregnant woman.”

“Often when they need the seats themselves,” I say. “Probably because that’s how they were raised.”


“Who’s bad at giving up their seats?” I ask.

“Financial type guys in their thirties and early forties,” the young woman replies. “They’re the worst.”

“I think that age range is called the ‘asshole period,’” I say.

“And how.”

“Those guys are usually married, mortgaged with kids, and in full career battle mode,” I say. “They’ve got a lot on their minds. I think they’d be chivalrous if they weren’t so preoccupied.”

“That’s no excuse.”

“Self-centeredness is usually the reason people act like assholes.”


“Then again,” I say. “Not everyone is receptive to chivalry.”


“My friend Laura is one of those high powered New York types,” I say. “Wonderful person, nice – but she doesn’t like having doors opened for her.”

“I know people like that.”

“Anyway,” I say. “We were on a business trip and, after a while, I just had to tell her ‘Laura, this is how I was raised. I’m opening the door for you. Deal with it.’”

“How’d she react?”

“She let me act like myself which was very gracious.”


“But some women don’t like men holding the door open for them,” I say. “They think it smacks of sexism or elitism.”

“Well some women think that when guys open the door for us you’re just sneaking a peek at our butts.”

“True,” I say. “But when I open the door for a lady I keep my eyes straight ahead.” (Well, most of the time.)

“That’s nice.”

I chuckle inwardly. I once took a tour of some antebellum mansion in the Deep South. When the tour guide lead us up the grand staircase, she told us to proceed up the stairs like society people did in 1860 – men first, ladies second. This wasn’t because men were considered superior, she explained, it was to prevent randy males from trying to look up the ladies’ hoop dresses. Maybe chivalry is a code women subconsciously made us adapt to protect them from male sexual aggressiveness. Hmmmm. There’s a topic for some researcher.

“I think chivalry was a societal code that evolved to help try and protect women.” I say. “Now that we’re in the twenty-first century and women need men’s protection less, the need for chivalry might be on the decrease.”

“Maybe,” my date says “But sometimes women don’t want to accept help from men because they think the guy’s got another agenda.”

“That happens.”

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a woman struggle with a stroller up the stairs and refuse help from a guy.”

“I’ve seen that too.”

“That’s because the woman think the guy’s creepy for offering to help,” my date says.

“When the guy’s just trying to be nice,” I say.

“When my friend Josh sees a lady struggling with a carriage he goes up to her and says ‘Oh my wife and I have the same carriage. Aren’t they a pain?’ and then helps the lady up the stairs.”

“Let me guess,” I say. “Josh doesn’t have kids.”

“Josh’s not even married. “

“So he had to lie in order to do the right thing.”

“It put the mother at ease.”

“Even though being married with kids is not a vaccine against bad behavior.”

“No,” my date says. “But I guess some information is better than none.”


The rest of out meal goes swimmingly – expect for a truly awful dessert which we leave almost untouched. When the check’s delivered I pay. I don’t believe in going dutch on first dates. I don’t argue with the waiter about the dessert either. It’s not his fault it’s bad. When dinner ends I help my date into her coat, open the door for her, talk about getting together for another date, give her an appropriate kiss, watch her leave, hail myself a cab, and head to the Port Authority.

Once I get on my bus I settle in for the ride home. The bus is full but everyone has a seat. When the bus makes it’s first stop in Weehawken, however, several people get on and have to stand. One’s an old women. Honestly, I’m tired and I’d like to sit – but a value isn’t a value unless you suffer for it. I get up and offer my seat.

Only to have some kid dive into it.

“Excuse me,” I say, surprised. “I gave up my seat for that women over there.”

The kid looks at me, iPodded and oblivious. He must be in his “asshole” phase already. I just keep staring at him.

“What?” he says, puling on ear bud out of his head.

“That seat isn’t for you,” I say. “It’s for that old lady over there.”

“Oh! Sorry, yo.”

“Could you let her have it, please?”

“No problem,” the kids says, getting up. “Hey lady!” he says to the old woman “Take this seat.”

“Thank you, dear.” the old woman says, shuffling over. “I appreciate that. I’m going all the way to Paterson.”

The young man did the right thing – with a little prompting. Self-centeredness, or just being oblivious, is often the cause of rude behavior. Occasionally everyone needs a little push. And believe me, I’m no saint. I need a push now and then too.

As the bus shakes and rattles across the battered Jersey roads, I smile to myself. Chivalry is not dead.

86 thoughts on “Chivalry”

  1. Mdcrack says:

    hey waiter.. Im a big fan and got ur book shipped all the way here to the philippines. I’ll be going to the states and i hope i can check out some of ur booksignings. And btw cool article bro.

  2. Michael says:

    Waiter, I love your posts. Simple slices of life, lacking in pretension. Hope the second date goes as nicely for you. Good luck on the book.

  3. Brian says:

    I have a strict code of who I will and won’t give my seat up for on the train – basically if you’re not old, pregnant or obviously struggling you can stand up.

    This enrages a female co-worker of mine who thinks that she should waltz on the train and have men falling all over themselves to give up their seat, despite her being young, well paid and having the luxury of sitting at a desk all day.

  4. Steve says:

    When I worked in the South Bronx, mothers always gratefully accepted my offer to help them with their strollers up the stairs of the El. It’s only the supposedly enlightened mothers of Manhattan and certain Brooklyn neighborhoods who think that they can do it all. The hard-working mothers of the Bronx know that accepting help is not a sign of weakness.

  5. Kgrrrl says:

    Good for you.
    I’m glad you even taught that kid a lesson, it will probably make him more aware the next time he’s in a similar situation.
    I don’t think it’s anyone’s fault, it’s just not instilled in people like it used to be.
    I know for me personally that I appreciate chivalry – but I also know that it took me someone who didn’t let me do ANYTHING to show me how nice it can be.
    I’m independent, but you know what? It feels nice to be appreciated and respected.

  6. Julie F says:

    I don’t mind when friends or strangers open doors for me, etc., but, it really bothers me when co-workers or clients do so. I feel like at work we are all equals, and to open a door for me signals that somehow you think that I am different, less capable perhaps.

    It’s just really strange for me to be meeting with executives at a company, talking about “really important things”, and then for someone to make a big show of opening a door for me.

  7. gilliebean says:

    I love a good chivalrous move now and again; but what really bothers me is when it’s perfectly reasonable for me to grab the door for myself and walk through behind a man but instead he realizes a woman is behind him, bumbles into me to get past me and hold the door open for me. It’s awkward and unnecessary. Also, when I try to be nice and hold a door open for a man, just because, and he stands there saying, “You first!” He’s making me hold the door open longer!! How rude is that…!

  8. A-dog says:

    the other day I held the door, as I was walking out of store, for two young women who came from money, family money not there own (you know you can tell, at least in NYC). Neither of them even acknowledged me, so I called out “your welcome bitch” to which the second one sheepishly said thank you. WTF is peoples problem, I’m done with chivalry towards women my own age (under 30, above 20), only elderly people, pregnant women or mom’s with kids. and don’t tell me I won’t get dates, b/c experience has taught that the bigger a-hold I am, the more youknowhat I get.

  9. Alexa says:

    I don’t mind if men hold doors for me, but I hold doors for men, too, and women.

    The best way to get away with it is to be ahead of them, walk partway through, and then reach back to keep it opened.

  10. John says:

    Good post man!

  11. Marsha says:

    It takes a village – and the kid learned something gently. Nice work.

  12. Anonymous says:

    When confronted with a female that seems bothered by having a door opened for them I simply respond that I do not do because they are a lady, but because I am a gentleman.

  13. Dave says:

    When confronted with a female that seems bothered by having a door opened for them I simply respond that I do not do because they are a lady, but because I am a gentleman.

  14. Chris says:

    Good for you, A-dog. I do the same thing. I don’t utter derogatory words (although I want to), but I will often say “yeah, you’re welcome” audibly and sarcastically. Once in a while I will get a “thank you” in return.

    Then again, some people will still act rude, as if I’m the asshole for saying something.

  15. witchypoo says:

    I offer up my seat to the pregnant and elderly women and men. The men seldom accept it. As a mother, I also offer assistance with strollers.

  16. gobisbay says:

    I rarely open doors for people, but I often go through and hold the door open for those behind me. It’s less likely to upset someone as it’s just being nice and not overly “chivalrous”.

    Also, most buildings have two sets of doors these days and it’s almost impossible to open both doors for someone, but you can easily hold both open for people behind you as you walk through.

    I often have people tell me how polite I am, yet I don’t even think about it. It wasn’t even ingrained in me as a youngster, it was just imitating the politeness of my parents. I always say “please” and “thank you”. I always say “excuse me” and usually even say “certainly” when someone else says “excuse me” to me. The building I work in has a side entrance for employees, but I always park out front and walk in the main entrance. I make it a point to say hello or good morning to the receptionist because she’s nice and because it’s good manners. She often tells me how nice it is to have someone say hello instead of just silently walking by as if she’s not even there and thus not important. Many times she’s referring to managers too!

  17. Chef Green says:

    Thank you for the daily dose of chivalry! Perhaps things are a bit different in the big city, but down here in the South, women look at you kind of askew if you *don’t* hold the door for them.

    The same applies to gentlemen entering/exiting an establishment behind you. Its just rude not to hold the door.

    Perhaps as you touched upon in reference to your antebellum tour, the concept developed as a means of preserving womens’ dignity. I tend to think that the chivalry, which is by no means dead where I live-is simply a layover to the gentler, more sophisticated manners favored by the founders of the Southern Colonies.

    Rock on with your polite self!

  18. billp salem oregon says:

    Always practice chivalry unless it was at work. The broads were too snobby.

  19. Mark says:

    Graciousness is inherited, like intelligence.
    Older men are brought up with graciousness because of their need to be gentlemen. Whatever else they do in life is not the subject here. The other thing is if a woman does not want the door opened for her, don’t argue with her, explaining this is “who you are” She doesn’t care. Be yourself, she is. If children don’t learn to be gracious neither wil be their bratty kids.

  20. HamsterSam says:

    Hamster says,

    1. There are assholes everywhere.

    2. There are more assholes in the North. For some reason…

  21. KarenS says:

    While living in NYC I helped a woman with three toddlers and a carrriage through a revolving door. She never even thanked me, so I told her to geet her tubes tied.

  22. Jennlm says:

    I’m glad chivalry is not dead. I also think it should go both ways. I’d give up my seat on the bus for an elderly man.

  23. Lala says:

    To KarenS: I don’t think that you should tell her to get her tubes tied. I mean, that was needlessly mean. You helped her because you wanted to, not to expect anything in return.

    I helped others and it felt good if they thanked me back, and if they did not, then it was okay too. No need to get bitchy over that. 🙂

    We should always do things sincerely, regardless of the outcome.

  24. M.A. says:

    Chris & A-Dog:

    You do realize the point is being, you know, a nice person – and not getting anything back? $100 says if you were chicks you’d pull the same crap you’re complaining about.

    Must hurt so much when you don’t get your due.

  25. kcbelles says:

    Good post! Glad you enjoyed your date – hope it leads to many more.

    I know it matters not who gets the credit, as long as the good deed is done, but seems to me the young man made a big show of giving up “your” seat to the elderly woman. I hope she caught that it was you who had the intention and then the follow-through to make sure she got it. A nice lesson for the youth – I hope it sticks.

  26. Amanda says:

    I think that in cities like NY and other metropolitan areas you are more likely to come across the ‘career’ woman type that is offended by chivalry. It’s downright ridiculous in my opinion for anyone to waste their time getting bent out of shape over someone trying to be nice to you. I’m a woman, and I love it when someone holds a door for me. Whenever I have the chance, I will hold the door for someone else who is elderly, or another woman, or even a guy if we happen to both arrive at the door at the same moment. You can really brighten someone’s day with something as simple as a kind gesture like opening a door, offering a simple smile or greeting, and remembering your manners.
    For all you ladies out there, remember: allowing someone to be chivalrous to you does nothing to undermine your status as a capable human being. What might undermine you however, is a stupid and rude reaction to someone’s effort at being nice.

  27. jo says:

    Nice post. I’m sure you know you did much more good for the kid than for the woman. Thank you.

  28. Hananh-Moon says:

    Back to the good stuff. 🙂 Awesome, waiter!

  29. Surendra says:

    Self-centeredness, or just being oblivious, is often the cause of rude behavior.

    You said it right. Being oblivious is another important cause too. I come from a different culture, different up bringing and when I am in US, I constantly fear whether I am being rude to someone while behaving in a way which would be considered perfectly normal in my culture.

  30. casu_consulto says:

    I didn’t read all the comments, so I’m not sure if this has already been covered, but often being chivalrous is a no-win situation for men. I’ve seen women get offended when a man offers them help/a seat/an opened door, and I’ve also seen women bitch about the lack of help/seat offering etc. I’m thinking particularly of a woman whom I helped carry a pram down a steep flight of stairs – she said “Thanks – a shame one of the MEN couldn’t have helped!” I can’t blame them for not offering, though, since they wouldn’t know if they were going to get snapped at. Not sure what I’d do if I were a man.

    When a man opens a door from me, I act surprised but pleased, trying to convey “that’s a little bit quaint but I can see the motive behind it is kindness.”

  31. NancyB says:

    “It’s for that old lady over there.” ??? I hope she didn’t hear that. Hopefully she was OLD and DEAF.

  32. pascobear says:

    Hi!! I just finished your book, and laughed and laughed, got angry, got sad. You have a new fan. Keep up the good work.

  33. Judy H. says:

    I find it interesting how many people here say they are “chivalrous” or even just “polite,” and then refer to “broads,” “bitches,” and “chicks.” Um, yeah. I’d rather be called a woman and open my own door.

    However, I do like it when people open the door for me, and I try to return the favor when possible. It’s just nice. Good manners. Which, by the way, should not be done only to be thanked!

  34. Mike from CO says:


    Sounds like you were raised right. Good manners are always in good taste.

    How is the progress with the new book?

    Mike from CO.

  35. Holly says:

    I don’t mind men being polite by helping me with doors, etc., but in certain situations it really bothers me when they don’t ask first if I need help. I was walking down the street with 2 heavy grocery bags and a man came up, and as he was grabbing a bag from my hand, said, “Here, let me help you”. He didn’t give me a chance to say, “yes, please” or “no thank you”, and I considered it very rude for a stranger to grab something from me without asking first. Another time, I was pulling a stroller up some stairs (my son wasn’t in it at the time), and suddenly a man grabbed the other end without warning me, and because I had been pulling the stroller so hard and didn’t expect the load to be lifted so suddenly, I fell down and the stroller tipped over, spilling some of the contents back down the stairs.

    So men, be careful before you help someone. Ask first. I’m not talking about opening doors, but when someone looks like they need help carrying something, be sure they know you’re going to help them with it before you go ahead and invite yourself to help carry it!

  36. Roxanne in Chicago says:

    I’ve gone through a few unfortunate periods when I was walking with crutches or a cane for a period of weeks or months due to sprained ankle, knee surgery.

    The worst offenders for not giving up a seat on the train were the fur coat bitches, women in their 20s and 30s wearing expensive-looking fur coats, usually sitting in the designated handicapped seats, completely ignoring anyone else once they got their seats. Even if I asked repeatedly for one of them to give up a seat, they rarely did. It was usually an old man, occasionally a younger man or woman, who offered theirs.

    If no one gave up a seat and I had to stand, I’d end up somewhere near the door, near the fur coat bitches. When the train stopped hard and I inevitably lost my balance, guess whose feet I “accidentally” stepped on. Oops! Sometimes they reconsidered their decision.

    When I’m not gimpy, I make a point to offer my seat when someone needs it more than I do. Courtesy isn’t dead here, even if some people disregard the concept.

  37. Michelle S. says:

    Oy vey! Why can’t people just accept a little help or chivalry? I hold doors open for everyone, I don’t care if you’re a man, a mom, or an alien from Mars, it’s really not that big of a deal. And I’ve found that if I say “Hi” and “How are you?” to sales people, neighbors, customer svc people, the mechanic, whoever, we’re all a lot nicer to each other and we all pretty much end up having a nicer day.
    I admit it’s not always the case, but it can’t hurt! I can understand A-dog’s and Chris’s frustrations, but I do it because I want to and it just might make someone else’s day. I know from experience that a little gesture can go a long way sometimes.

  38. cat says:

    Please don’t let a few fur wearers turn you sour. I own several furs and always hold the door for whom ever is behind me. Male, female, old, young, whatever. I, and quite a few other fur wearers I know are firm believers in ‘paying it forward’.

  39. battyboutit says:

    After being married to a country boy for many years I got use to doors being opened for me. I like it. I am 40 something now and I guess i have “that look” about me that makes most men chivalrous. I enjoy being lady like and I appreciate men who are gentlemen. I think business women try so hard to be business men, they forget to be ladies. I am glad I am not one of them.
    I don’t think it takes a village to raise proper children. I think it takes proper parents.
    personally, I think men want to be chivalrous around women. It makes them feel sexy.

  40. DoesNotMatter says:

    Old people using a school bus are just asking for it.

    Old people demanding that you get up while giving you the you’re lower than dirt look will get an lecture on manners, namely on saying “Please” and “Thank you” or just not looking at me like I should get in the oven already, after I have reached my station. Or after I have offered the seat to the next person it would be useful to (Even for an asshole female geezer -the rudes have for me been always females – if she actually requires walking aids or has a cast or somesuch I will get up).

    I’m polite, but neutrality is the least I require for being to polite to you. If you treat me like an ass I will happily oblige.

    Old people and buses rant #3565763 delivered.

  41. Margaret says:

    Politeness and the ability to have small talk are a necessity to grease the social wheels. There’s nothing wrong with smiling and holding the door for someone else – most of the time it’s just acknowledging someone else is around. Small talk can be fun and a good way to pass time on a train/bus ride plus get to know someone (for a little while). I’m pleased to note that my kids will always offer their seats to the elderly/tired. On the other hand – I have to laugh when I’m considered the elderly/tired person and get offered a seat.

  42. Sheila says:

    I don’t like having doors opened for me or chairs pulled out for me or being helped over curbs. It’s not an anti-chivalry bias — it’s just that I’m 52 years old and this sort of thing has NOT been the norm in my several decades of life. Therefore I’m not expecting it or prepared for it. Therefore I wind up falling over my feet because I was reaching for that door or that chair and this one, singular, old-fashioned guy just dove in front of me to get it for me. It trips me up. Being tripped up over and over again just so a guy can strut his “gentleman” stuff is irritating. Either everyone should do it or no one should do it…

  43. Cloro says:

    Waiter, I am fascinated by your ambivalence towards the elderly. You obviously have both great affection for and frustration towards the elderly (reference the Ending up Like Hef entry). I love the blog – both the pre- and post-book incarnations, and I am interested to see how your flash points have changed. And how completely I identify with both versions.
    Good entry. Thanks for the work you put into it.

  44. maggie says:

    Great post! Chivalry is very important to me, I think because my Dad ALWAYS held doors, opened the car doors for me, carried stuff, etc while I was growing up.

    I think you should do a post about who pays on dates. That is always a topic of discussion between my girlfriends and I.

    Love your blog & book, keep up with the writing!

  45. Becs says:

    I was ready to give up my seat to a woman on the bus one day when I realized we were the same age.

    BTW, have I told you lately that I love you?

  46. Frank says:

    So am I the only one wondering what happened to the GF, or did I miss something along the way?

  47. CB says:

    The thing that bugs me is the sort of gentleman who purposely draws attention to his chivalrous deeds. Holding a door open is kind; saying “Ladies first” as you do so is as obnoxious as not saying “Thank you” when the door is held for you. Refraining from cursing in certain situations is courteous; announcing “You’ll notice I wouldn’t say ‘shit’ in front of you” is just silly.

  48. jess says:

    I live in the Southwest and was raised to not trust a man who doesn’t open the door for you. I love it. Also, even when out with a friend, the guy generally pays. I always offer, but am told no. It is never expected but always appreciated. Also, when someone is exiting or entering a door in front of me, I always hold it for them to grab, or if it is an elderly person or someone struggling with kids, I hold it the whole time. I hate when someone can just hold to the door for a second so you don’t have to reach and instead they let is slam in your face. Maybe it’s just in Texas, though.

  49. Rain says:

    What I want to know is if you said thank you to the bus driver when you got off. I almost always do, and so do maybe a third of the people I pay attention to when they get off, but I’ve always wondered if this was unique to my area. Canada is a strange place, after all.

  50. electricdaisy says:

    I was always taught that men go behind the women on the staircase, because should they trip (on their huge hoop skirts, this is an old rule), they would catch them as they fell, and cushion their fall. Afterwards, the man descends first in order to catch her should she fall forward.

    I think that makes much more sense, as I (a woman) have had to put my hands on the shoulder/waist of a person ascending in front of me who missed a step, to prevent their fall or catch their balance.

  51. Sarah dos says:

    Good on you, Steve. I think many women could use a lesson in chivalry. I have only once ever seen a young woman give up her seat to an elderly person on a bus (it was in Japantown in SF and they were both Asian. Asian culture has a wonderful appreciation for the elderly). When it comes to doors, I think it’s just a basic courtesy, period. Regardless of who or what you are and who or what the other person is. I love having a door held for me by anyone and always say a sincere “thank you” and I always return the favor for others. And here again, so often women (usually 30-something, white, upper-middle class) will walk straight past without so much as acknowledging my existence, let alone expressing gratitude. Bear in mind, I’m a 20 year old woman. Chivalry is a two-way street and we could use a lot more of it.

    1. ClemenceD says:

      Talk about stereotyping.

  52. Jan in Chesterfield says:

    Good for you giving the kid a nudge. Maybe no one ever even told him it would be polite to give up his seat before. Not everyone is raised to be polite and considerate.

  53. Anonymous says:

    A survey that measures the amount of benevolent/hostile sexism one has and offers a brief explanation of the problems with both:

  54. Holly says:

    Sometimes I wonder how much of men’s courtesy is “chivalry” and how much of it is, “hey everyone, look at what a gentleman I am!”

  55. WENDY says:

    When I commuted to NYC, I once got on a train using a cane after a bad fall and you are right, none of those Wall-St-bound traders got up. The only person to offer me her seat was a very obviously pregnant lady. I, of course, did not take the offered seat.

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  58. Deena says:

    I LOVE any and all acts of kindness and I believe it is very important to say thank you for it! Here in the south I find it almost sad to see how surprised black people are when I’m (white) nice to them and hold doors for them. I love being kind to strangers, everyone! and receiving the kindness as well. I’ll take any and all of it.
    By the way… there is a lot of suffering of animals that goes into making a fur coat. It’s obvious that a person who probably knows the horrors of making a fur coat and wears it anyway.. would care less about giving up their seat for you on the bus.

  59. Rose Royce says:

    When I was younger, I always helped people with doors or asked if they needed help. At grocery stores if I see anyone elderly or looks like they need it, I pause, ask if I can return their cart for them so they don’t have to hunt down the cart return. I don’t tell them that I need that cart to help me get in the store. I REALLY appreciate and thank people who hold doors open for me, because I’m very grateful for the help as its extremely painful for me to open doors (yes, I’m female.) And depending what kind of day I’m having I might really need a seat because things don’t work like they used to after five decades of living. During a trip to DC last Summer I thought I was going to pass out as men in suits and boys with ipods grabbed all the seats in the subway and I was struggling just to breathe and needed to rest. So please, be a gentleman or a kind female, because some of us really need do need the help and most likely say a prayer for you for your kindness.

  60. cat says:

    …By the way… there is a lot of suffering of animals that goes into making a fur coat. It’s obvious that a person who probably knows the horrors of making a fur coat and wears it anyway.. would care less about giving up their seat for you on the bus….

    There’s a hell of a lot of suffering of animals that goes into making your dinner too.

  61. palpauly says:

    great post!

    cat, get some help

  62. sadianne says:

    Great post as always. It is nice to know some of you gentlemen are still around. I’m glad you gave that young man some prompting. He may remember that down the road and voluntarily offer his seat. Did you ask for a second date?

    Cat, seriously, get some help and go somewhere else to preach.

  63. Sarah @ says:

    More than anything, I tend to think that it isn’t that chivalry is dead so much as that a great many people lack fundamental manners.

    For example, when a man opens a door for me, I look him in the eye, smile, and thank him. He’s done me a favor, hasn’t he? And when someone sends me a gift or a card, I try to remember to send them a thank-you as promptly as possible. They’ve done something nice for me, haven’t they?

    And, in turn, I try to open up doors for people as well. I try to let cars merge into my lane and allow people with one item ahead of me in line, etc.

    It isn’t always chivalry. Needing prompting sometimes is fine, but what ever happened to people having good manners?

  64. Deena says:

    Cat, exactly.. which is why I gave up meat many years ago.

    I held more doors for strangers today and got lots of thank yous! 😉

  65. Tristan says:

    I totally agree. To me, my own self-centeredness has been the root of most all negativity I attracted into my life. Whether you want to call it “chivalry” or just plain acts of kindness toward our fellow man (or woman), it’s all about about the unlimited rewards we receive that only we notice (like karma, which you know more about than me). What I mean is, if we expect praise and thanks or any other kind of reward for doing something for someone else, then our reward is limited to that praise, thanks or whatever it is we were expecting in return. However, if I can be truly spiritual, and perform random acts of kindess, then my rewards are limitless, and provided by each of our different ideas of a Higher Power, mine being God.

    I loved your book. I am a 23 year old white male and have been a waiter for a few years now on and off. Your book really made me not want to wait tables any longer and has aided in me taking action to pursue my goal of becoming a teacher. I begin classes in the summer on Long Island. Thanks man… Hilarious book!

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  68. Kathie (Kat) says:

    But the important question is… how was the date? 😀

  69. Michelle says:

    As a 27 year old woman, I always hold a door for people regardless of their age/sex, etc, if I’m entering ahead of them. No, I don’t stand there and usher them in, I just wait until they grab the door instead of letting it close behind me. I notice that it’s WOMEN who do not always say thank you, particularly, women in their 30’s. Men and older people of both sexes always say thank you. To me, it’s just good manners. If someone holds the door for me, I thank that person. To not do so would be rude.

  70. Cheryl says:

    Wow, what a discussion prompted by the question whether to be chivalrous or not, when and to who.

    I, for one, really appreciate chivalrous behavior especially from men my own age or younger who know I’m perfectly capable of opening the door, etc. myself. I see it as a sign of kindness, nothing more, because it’s unnecessary. I don’t expect men to do this for me all the time either.

    And I’m not sure if this is a West Coast thing or not, but over here the general rule seems to be whoever reaches the door first (man or woman) opens the door for whoever is right behind them (man or woman).

  71. Miss B says:

    I tend to believe that people — at their deep-down secret hidden gut-level cores — are fundamentally good and fine and beautiful. But we just spend so much of our time — every day, every hour, every second — slaughtering our finest impulses. Out of…ignorance, or fear, or confusion, or a million other reasons. A billion, even. It makes me ache.

    (but I still believe in the beauty)

  72. Molly says:

    What I found most interesting about this discussion, and other similar discussions, is how “holding a door” is now symbolic of chivalry. It makes me wonder when that happened. It seems like, say, sticking up for those weaker than oneself might be a more apt symbol, should one be needed. I tend to agree with those who classify helping people as good manners, politeness, etc. and not, especially, chivalry. (although polite men are always good to come into contact with – and should keep it up)

  73. TimesReader says:

    There are two sides to every story and it’s easy to assume that someone who “steals” a seat like this is rude. But I’ve done it twice in the last month. Why? Because I thought it was being offered to me! Only after I’ve sat down have I seen that it was being offerred to an elderly person behind me.

    So did I get back up? Hell no! Know why? Because I’m pregnant! I’m sorry, but I’d like the seat too. And I don’t think it’s so crazy to assume they were offerring it to the pregnant lady and not the old one. 😛

    As for people who give up seats on the NYC subway – so far for me, without exception, it’s been Asian men. I’ve learned that unless you’re like 9 months pregnant and ready to go into labor on the train, very few people will even think to give you a seat. And honeslty, I was the same way before this, so as much as I don’t enjoy it, I understand. 😀

  74. ranvaig says:

    I’m in a wheelchair and people often insist on opening the door for me and are deeply offended if I don’t accept.

    But I am also *extremely* allergic to cigarette smoke. People so often have one last one just before they go into work, and you cant tell from looking at them. If you had a cigarette in the last 5 minutes, your bit of “chivalry” will make me miss the day of work (and pay) and perhaps my job.

    So don’t be offended if someone doesn’t want the door opened for them, you can’t know why.

  75. Goldie says:

    I try to offer help, including holding doors behind me, offering a seat when on public transportation, and the like, to people of all genders, ages, species etc. I appreciate and thank people who do the same for me. With that said… It puzzles me each time a man opens a door to let me in ahead of him, just because I’m a woman, pulls out a chair just because I’m a woman etc. Sorry guys, but the message is loud and clear – “I am man, you’re a woman. You are weak, I’m strong. You cannot take care of yourself, let me do this for you. You are not my equal.” I just chalk it up to his nineteenth-century upbringing – he cannot help it – some people weren’t taught to eat with a knife and fork, others like him were not taught to see women as their equals – not my problem. I thank him because it’s not his fault he was raised like that. I find this behavior, however, peculiar to say the least. Definitely not a way to get on my good side, especially if you are my colleague. I do find it endearing though, when an older man does it – like 70 and older. This is how things were back in his day, after all.
    My pet peeve though, is when a random guy I’m having lunch with, suddenly does not let me pay. I recently asked a guy I do volunteer work with to join me for lunch. When the check came, he grabbed it, in spite of my protesting. Guess when I’ll ask him to have lunch with me again, NEVER. This is IMO wrong on so many levels, and sends a message so confusing, not to mention puts a woman in an awkward situation. For all intents and purposes it looks like I have just weaseled a free lunch out of a guy I don’t know well. Not the kind of impression I’d ever want to make! Please don’t do this, guys.

  76. bec says:

    I think there’s a distinct difference between courtesy and good manners – holding the door open for anyone who looks like they might need it, or if it’s convenient – and chivalry, which is just courtesy with a sleazy agenda.

    The number of guys I’ve seen race to hold the door open for me, only to let it slam in the face of some dude carrying heavy boxes or an elderly gentleman, tells me that there’s no real niceness or graciousness.

  77. BARBARA says:

    I have to ride the bus on a daily basis. Amazing what having gas will do for those lovely college kids who will step on an elderly person’s feet to grab a seat from them. I can stand, have to sit at work all day anyway, but always manage to stand with my bottom right in their faces when I see this. One of the advantages to being on a heavy fiber diet, lol. Doesn’t take long for the air to clear after they suddenly feel the need to stand at the back of the bus, and the folks who should have been sitting get their seat.


    Report Abuse

    Quote Member

    Male, Age Private, Montreal, QC

    Posted Mar 14

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  79. gagi says:

    Great post except for the old lady crack 🙂 I have no problem with a man holding the door for me or giving up his seat. I always respond with a smile and a “thank you.” I also hold doors and give up my seat to others.

    As a kid, my mother sent me to charm school. Did you know that if a couple were entering a revolving door, the man goes first? That’s so he can take the weight of the door and push his date through. I think that’s charming.

  80. Phil says:

    Has anyone seen this video on chivalry?

  81. steve says:

    Why are you paying for dinner in this day and age???

    Also, I was on crutches for about a year after a car accident. The only people who offered me a seat anywhere, anytime were men.

  82. Kat says:

    people always open the door for me, I live in a small southern town (the south has plenty of issues don’t get me wrong) anyway, between 12 and 16 I was very shy so when people openened the door for me I would kind of nod and duck my head and blush, the word thank you just kind of froze in my throat, talkng to a stranger… No. I was really outgoing among friends or even strangers that weren’t focusing on me, but when someone held open a door and looked at me I just choked up.

    Anyhow my mom got onto me about it when she noticed, and something about being over 16 really helped so now I always say thank you, and when visiting larger cities where I have to open the door, I always open it for the person behind me, it’s never ben about gender to me, it’s just polite

  83. Christina Gonzalez says:

    I’m in love. You are so sweet. I refused help with a stroller once and my child was in it and we all almost fell. Thankful the same person was nearby to help out. I didn’t refuse because I thought his intentions were wrong, I was trying not to be a bother to anyone and thought that I was strong enough to accomplish the task. I won’t be that stupid again.

  84. Christina Gonzalez says:

    I will purchase your book soon. My mom was a waitress for years and she always taught us to give a good tip for any service even taxi cabs. I can take a cab 10 blocks (yes, lazy at times) and I’ll still give the guy a $1.00 tip at least despite the rising costs. Even a delivery from a place that’s a block away, I will still at least give a $1.00. Grocery deliveries maybe $4 or $5. I figure, I didn’t have to take a cab and I’d rather give the money to the delivery person. Everyone says I’m crazy, but my mom raised me this way.

  85. John says:

    Men have always been known for their chivalry. If they are treated well by women, they get treated better in return. If women want to be taken good care of by their men, they need to respect and treat their men with dignity.

  86. Dani says:

    I really applaud this.

    I live in the South, where some believe it is a magical land of chivalry. I’ve had plenty of doors let to slam in my face and sometimes on a limb. BUT, at the same time, I’ve had lots of guys open a door for me and I always say thank-you. And I highly disagree that it’s a show of ‘i am man, man stronger than woman’. It’s the polite thing to do, even if you’re a girl holding open a door for a guy.

    And I think people who want to raise hell about a door being opened for them just need to chill out. Be nice to the stranger attempting to perform for you an act of kindness and go on your merry way, alrighty?

    Chivalry is not dead in the least. My boyfriend is chivalrous to the core. I don’t ask him to do any of these things, and I don’t expect him to, he just does it. He opens doors for me, helps me carry my things, remains standing until all women around are seated, and in general is very polite. Let your boy be nice to you, it shows he cares, just like I do when I make him dinner or wash his clothes.

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