I’m an older, single guy with some old-fashioned tendencies, and that creates some uncomfortable and confusing paradoxes in my dating life.
I present the highly hyperbolic and ironic case of my passenger-side car door as Exhibit A.
I love my car. I own it, and it feels great to be self-sufficient. I feel like that’s an attractive quality.
But the ultra-modern feminists over at Ford Motor Company — and I’m begging you to read the sarcasm there — didn’t seem to think it was necessary to include a keyhole in the passenger door handle. I don’t have keyless entry (gasp!), which means I have to go to the driver’s side first to open my car.
So here’s where my sense of traditionalism clashes with my love for new and innovative technology.
I believe firmly in the act of going out of my way to open doors — car doors, regular doors; heck, even the cool glass-paned backdoor slidey ones — for ladies.
But when I pick a girl for a date, I either have to make a mad dash to get to my side of the car, open the door, flick the unlocky thing, and then hustle back to her side before she gets there, all the while feeling less like a man and more like a cracked-out cartoon character (a girl once thought it was all some sort of spontaneous race, bless her heart. It was hilarious.), or I feel obligated to preemptively explain in great detail (by now, unfortunately, you’ve realized how redundant it is that I of all people chose to include the phrase “great detail”) why I won’t be opening her door for her, lest she think I’m some sort of godless and jaded chivalry vacuum.
The point is, for some reason the world has decided that chivalry is about a series of things that have to be done just because that’s what’s expected, when in reality it’s a state of mind.
When you really think about it, it’s a little bit pathetic that, somewhere along the way, an act as menial as opening a car door became synonymous with chivalry — which to those who hold the priesthood should signify a far higher form of Christlike love and selfless devotion.
Am I still going to open doors for women? Am I still planning on paying for dinner? Absolutely. Someday I’ll have a car I can open from her side, and none of it will have changed a thing about the way I treat women or the sacred respect I’m learning to cultivate with each day and each date — both for them and for myself.
At the same time, it’s OK to let a girl open her own door. It’s OK to let a girl pay for herself — and even for both of you, if she offers.
In fact, if some responsibilities are shared every once in a while, a lot of us stand a better chance of discovering all the other far more meaningful and lasting ways to show respect for the opposite sex.