DEATH OF THE GENTLEMAN
By Eddie Rivkin
Let’s get a few things straight from the beginning — so there is no misunderstanding about the intention of this article.
First of all, I believe in equal rights for women, though I do not believe that women should be Front Line combat soldiers. I am all for women serving on combat ships and other wartime functions. Just NOT on the ground, on the front line, subjected to the horrors of war and the treatment of prisoners. Equal work for equal pay? Fine by me! Women should be judged for, promoted, (and fired) for their work performance, exactly the same as men. Sexual harassment in the workplace is unacceptable. And no one, male nor female, should be subject to a hostile situation in the workplace, or for that matter, anyplace.
However, there are certain things, that throughout history, have been “male only” and should stay that way. Exactly the same is true for certain things that should remain “female only.” Although by definition that is unequal, the benefits of certain segregations far outweigh the perception of discrimination by gender.
I can’t find a reason why women MUST be a part of EVERYTHING men do. Don’t women realize that men are really boys, and we NEED places where we can burp, fart, scratch our ball bags and curse, without the fear of judgment from females? ESPECIALLY females we are “attracted to” and/or respect? Come on, ladies! You really don’t need to get your shoes shined or to hang out and smoke cigars! There are thousands of golf courses around the world – can’t we have a few for ourselves – if we promise to share the majority of them with you? We don’t want to, and would never ask, to come to your baby showers! We really do enjoy that you have Girls Night Out! Clearly, there are great reasons that our lives need not be 100% integrated 100% of the time, don’t you think?
But with all this new world behavior and these new belief systems, a very real problem has been created. In my opinion, it is having a very serious negative impact on relationships and society in general. Chivalry is DEAD! Okay, maybe not dead. But it is certainly in a vegetative state on life support. When did being a gentleman become nearly, if not totally, extinct?
There are a lot of possible reasons for the devolution of manners and gentlemanly behavior. The biggest of them include the fact that children aren’t being taught manners the way we were generations ago. In days seemingly gone by, young boys were taught to open the door for their mothers, from the time they were tall enough to reach the doorknob. We watched our fathers open doors, hold chairs, and help with coats. We never asked why. We were told it is the RIGHT WAY to treat a woman.
Another big reason is The Feminist Movement. I know, I know, that is a very non-PC thing to say, but the truth is the truth. Feminism/Equality as a base concept is perfectly fine. Over-the-top, radical feminism is harmful, as are most things done in excess. The question isn’t if you can open your own door, ladies – obviously you can. The question is why won’t you let a man treat you like a lady? Ditto for helping you on and off with your coat, and holding your chair at a nice restaurant. GOD FORBID, we order your dinner! What an abomination that would be! Doing these things for you is a sign of respect for you. It is NOT a sign of weakness or a gesture of submission on our part. These are just things men do, in being polite and showing women that they are something special to us. Why not let us? Why not respect us for respecting you?
Perhaps (one of) the biggest reasons interpersonal relationships between men and women have gone to shit is the natural evolution of technology; to wit, the Internet and social media. Today’s young people have no understanding of life before cell phones, computers and even cable TV. The world then was a much simpler place. People’s circles and social intercourse were on a significantly smaller scale. Nowadays, a technologically connected male or female has countless opportunities to engage and interact with potential mates and dates. And as with most things, when quantity goes up (exponentially), quality goes down, by at least that same multiple. In today’s world, a guy can ask out 100 random girls a day, and if 99 say no, his dance card is full every night! With truths like that, is it any wonder, words like disposable and throw away are frequently used to describe society? Obviously, I am not saying give up your cell phone, your iPad, and your membership on Plenty of Fish – okay, maybe that one I am. What I am saying, is that instead of being a bee trying to pollinate every single flower in the garden – try planting a seed or two and nurturing them. Flowers grow much better with attention. That’s enough plant analogies, forever. I am sure you, the enlightened reader, get my point. Society has changed so much, gotten so fast, and so impersonal, I feel like I should spend a few paragraphs trying to clear up a few common misconceptions and maybe even dole out a little advice to try to save the world (of relationships).
FIRST, A LITTLE SOMETHING ABOUT THE MALE THOUGHT PROCESS:
• If we ask you out to dinner, as in a date, we expect to pay! If you offer to pay, expect us to be insulted. (If you do offer to pay for dinner when we ask you on a date, we interpret that to mean we are dead in the water and/or forever being banished to the dreaded “friend zone.” It is very emasculating. Please refrain from doing it.)
• It’s fine, if you offer to leave the tip.
• If you want to pay, ask us out. But expect that a real gentleman will offer to pay in this instance, as well. This rule applies pretty much through the “dating” part of things. This does not apply to meals with friends, where alternating paying the tab or going “dutch” is more than acceptable.
• If I buy you dinner, that does NOT mean I am expecting the night to conclude intimately! (WOW, did I really type that, trying to be gentle with my words?) So here it is, quick and easy. We are NOT expecting to fuck on the first date because we took you out to dinner! But make no mistake, if you offer, we will happily accept. Ladies, if you get this sense from the guys you are going out with, YOU are picking the wrong type of guys. Or worse, you are putting it out there that you can be had for a good meal! You do not have to feel indebted because we bought you a meal. We want the pleasure of your company, that’s why we invited you on a date. We want to get to know you better and hope there is an attraction – that’s why we ask you on a date. If you sense something different that you are not interested in, trust your judgment and decline. Don’t take the free meal and lead a guy on, it’s unladylike! If you tell someone, “We can go out as friends,” expect that the guy might decline. It’s actually polite for a gentleman to decline a situation he does not want to be a part of. It’s not a slight against being friends with you. It’s that he has chosen not to accept that you have closed the door to “anything more.” Truth be told, many men will accept these terms, when in reality they don’t. Their “OK,” is just hoping they will change your mind over dinner. This faux mating dance can go on for a while, in fact, right up until one of two things happens. You give in or he gives up. It’s okay if you say no, for whatever reason you want to say no for. Please just don’t say yes out of guilt, pity, or your own feelings of not wanting to hurt our feelings. Just politely say “No.”
NOW, A FEW SMACKS FOR THE GUYS, AS I FANCY MYSELF AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY OFFENDER
• Set the bar at a level you can sustain. If you are an Outback Steakhouse guy, do not take her to Joël Robuchon on the first date. Women are not really that impressed with an amazing restaurant on the first date, unless it’s going to be one on EVERY date. You are sunk if you are lucky enough to get a second date, and the prestige level of the restaurant plummets! You are much better off taking her to a place you know that you enjoy, and best yet, a place where the people know you! You will be treated much better, (as will she, as your guest), and be able to offer great suggestions based on your experience vs. guessing what’s good on a menu written in a language you don’t even speak! If a woman suggests a restaurant that is out of your price range or out of your comfort zone, chances are, she is out of your price range and comfort zone! Or, she sees you as a sucker and is going to try to score a meal at a restaurant she has always wanted to try and can’t afford herself!
• No matter what the outcome, pay the check, be a gentleman, chalk it up as an experience and move on. Nothing is worse than acting like a whiny child when the date goes bad, or pausing when the check comes. You tried. It didn’t work. The reason isn’t important. Suck it up, be a gentleman, and call it a night. And PLEASE don’t try for a kiss goodnight!
• You are buying dinner – you are NOT buying a piece of ass! The biggest complaint I hear from my female friends is that men make them feel obligated if they are bought dinner! That is a HUGE deal breaker, even if you are making progress. Choose your words carefully during dinner. Avoid innuendo, and whatever you do, make no direct reference to sex! Even if you think you are being flippant and funny, the reality is, you are dying of a gunshot wound, self-inflicted, and it is fatal.
So there you have it, a little analysis, a couple of causes, and a little unsolicited advice on how to do better in your dealings with the opposite sex. Before I go, I’d like to leave you with a few thoughts from various anonymous writers I found on the “devil’s playground” (the Internet).
“The sad truth is chivalry isn’t dead. It just isn’t required anymore.”
“Being polite is so rare these days, that it’s often confused with flirting.”
“Chivalry isn’t dead! It just followed wherever being ladylike went.”
“It’s a man’s job to respect a woman, but – it’s a woman’s job
to give him something to respect.”
“I often wonder, if more girls were willing to be ladies, more guys would feel challenged to be gentlemen?”
Maybe the Internet is good for something after all?! Gotta run, my Plenty of Fish profile is getting tons of responses!