The problem with men and women is that we want our cake and we want to eat it too.
Men want a woman who is bold, audacious, sexy, unafraid to take charge and make things happen. But they also want a helpless, whispery princess to flutter her eyelash and ache to be rescued by her dashing prince. Women want to rule the world, make their own money, make their own rules, dictate their terms and be their own bosses. But they also want a romantic, charming, sweep me off my feet charmer that makes their hearts rejoice with happiness.
There are always winners and losers in that battle. Who gets to have what they want? And who has to make the sacrifice so the other person can get it? If you want a chivalrous man do you have to be the helpless girlish girl waiting to be rescued? Or does a chivalrous man appear when you are at your most bullish?
The male ego is fragile. Perhaps thats the wisdom in giving them a strong body. Whereas women have softer exteriors and the toughest hearts. Together we make a complete, complex whole, each protecting the softness in the other. In the past the recipe was simple. In the romantic era, women dressed in a certain way, men behaved in a certain way. Society dictated that your bosoms be on display, that you could sew, play a musical instrument and speak and sing in the gentlest of voices. Men walked around all puffed up, dressed in boots, jackets, hats, smoked pipes and rode around on their horses bragging about war. You would book a dance on the lady's dance card and ask her permission to walk with her in the garden.
Now its a lot more complicated and everyone is confused. Do you take flowers? Do you pay for dinner? Do you open the door? There should be a charm school for men and women. Since the dating rules have changed so drastically, everyone should get a chance to be on the same page at least. The line between appropriate and inappropriate courting has become so blurred that its a wonder when you do meet someone who does it exactly right. I suppose there are no hard and fast rules any longer except the ones you put in play.
Someone once said to me, it's the women who get to choose. Men put their offers forward and women accept or reject them. Have we forgotten this? We can dictate how we wish to be treated not the other way around. If we wish to be wooed with romantic gestures and flowers and such we have a right to want it.
However, in the defense of men. You cannot be a dashing prince swooping to rescue a woman who appears to be stronger and more capable than you are. The key is to analyse each woman's needs individually. If you wish to find your way into her heart you have to use the door she opens for you. And if that means you have to cook a meal, rub her feet, write little notes of poetry, then just do it. Because thats what it means to be chivalrous and gallant.
So ultimately chivalry is not dead. Its just hanging in our closets. Dusty, unused and forgotten. Its up to us to implement its use.