I was recently part of a conversation that was kicked off with the overtired (and I believe patently false) statement that "chivalry is dead". A new voice in the discussion was the position of "chivalry is dead, which is great, because I don't want special treatment because I'm a woman.
Chivalry is too old-fashioned."
It reminded me of a conversation I had with one of our clients where he clarified for me some of the roots of his chivalry. "I don't open a door because she's a lady" he said, "I open it because I am a gentleman." It got me to thinking about my top five "classic vs. old-fashioned" norms for dating in the 21st century. Just like a '57 Chevy will never go out of style and the Chevy Nova reminds you of a time we are glad is in the past, there are certain "rules" of dating that have appropriately faded over time and others that have withstood the test of time.
1. The Gentleman Always Pays -- OLD-FASHIONED. This is rooted in a time with fewer women in the work force and implies a level of inequality.
2. The Gentleman Always OFFERS to Pay -- CLASSIC. Women want to be wooed, and MAN AS PROVIDER is as important an attractor today as it was fifty years ago.
3. A Gentleman Stands when a lady approaches the table -- CLASSIC. You should really stand when anyone approaches your dinner table. I might update this guideline to be "in groups of four or less, a Gentleman stands when a new person approaches to join the table." It can become ridiculous if you are constantly standing and sitting as a large table fills -- better to wait standing while people arrive. Also, the purpose of this chivalry is not to draw attention to yourself as the only person at a ten person table to stand. In small groups, show respect and stand.
4. A Gentleman asks her parents for her 'hand' in marriage -- OUTDATED. We have progressed to an age when "permission" is no longer required for a woman to choose to marry. Update this "A Gentleman asks her parents for their 'blessing' before he proposes" and you can make her swoon with this timeless gesture.
5. A Gentleman always plans the date -- CLASSIC. A woman loves a man-with-a-plan and this is a great opportunity for a man to show his potential. This doesn't mean the woman can't make suggestions, but the planning onus remains squarely on the broad shoulders of the man.