Chivalry or Chauvinism – You Choose

Scenario #1 Gas Station

Twenty year old religious girl pumping gas into her car. Man approaches, offers to help her. She says thanks but no. Younger dude approaches her, also offers, she says thanks but she can manage. She comes home and complains that guys don’t think gals know how to pump gas, how dare they be so chauvinistic?


Scenario #2 Busy Office Building Entrance

Thirty year old hot babe, high heels, business suit, loaded down with purse, laptop bag, and two armfuls of files. Needs to enter building – Man approaches, opens door, offers to help her shlepp. She thanks him graciously and gives up the files. At the end of the day she tells her husband that a really nice guy helped her out, and she really appreciated it.


OK, so both of these scenarios could be taken from either viewpoint. If I were the gal at the gas station I would like nothing better than to have someone pump my gas for me – I would so not see it as chauvinistic. I would think that the dude was brought up right, and I would thank him.  Second scenario I would also look upon it as chivalry, or just plain decency. If I saw a guy struggling with packages and a door I would certainly rush to open the door for him. I certainly wouldn’t think he was judging me incompetent.


But are we raising our girls (yes I know I only have boys, but I am raising them to be gentlemen) to be too independent? Yes a girl needs to be able to pump her own gas and not rely on men for anything or everything, we need to be able to do things for ourselves, but when someone offers to help – why should that be seen as a judgement that she cannot perform that action for herself?


I like doors opened for me, I love when men are chivalrous – if I am dating a guy who opens the door for himself and leaves me behind, it shows me he has no manners. It doesn’t mean he is a bad guy, just needs some gentle lessons. Do I expect him to rush to put his coat over a puddle so I don’t get my tootsies wet? No, puhleeze, not with the price of dry cleaning today. A new pair of shoes is so much cheaper and oh so much more fun!! However, just because he holds the door open for me, and walks on the outside edge of the sidewalk does not make him a prince either. Just less of a potential frog.


Common courtesy seems to be a dead art these days, because so many women these days are afraid that allowing a gentleman to aid them in some way makes their personhood inferior. But if a fellow female offered the same help it would be seen in a totally different light. Men have become so used to being rebuffed that they don’t even try anymore – they don’t want to get their feelings stepped on either.


What do you think?

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  1. Gitty Levi says:

    This is the best. Winter 2008 and friggin nightmare with all the snow. 8:20 in the morning. I am up to my “pipik” in snow, digging out the jalopy, cursing and crying. The car is stuck, back and forth we rock. Did I forget to mention that my two kids are in the car freezing their pipiks off as well. Not once, not twice, FOUR times, men that I knew drove past me, in their non snow covered cars, (they have indoor parking, I at the time, did not. Thank g-d we bought a house and I now have a garage. Oh happy day!). Not only do they not stop to offer help, they have the chutzpa to wave at me as they drive by! Hey jerkoff, if you’re gonna be an asshole and let a lady dig out her car by herself, pretend you didn’t notice her to begin with!!!!!!!!!! Chivalry is dead!!!

  2. hadassahsabo says:

    one of those must have been mr pigmansky!

  3. rutimizrachi says:

    I am so glad to hear someone speaking reasonably about the need for manners, disassociated from gender. Courtesy training starts when people are mere bunchkins. A glut of guys, shmoozing on the sidewalk in front of the shul, should not cause a woman (pregnant out to HERE) or an elderly person to walk out in the street. I always taught my boys to “walk in a line like ducks” as we approached another person on the sidewalk, rather than driving him/her into the street. Opening doors for other people, not talking inside the doorways at shul, and other symptoms of manners, all must be taught. And, yes, we always expect our sons to at least offer a higher measure of graciousness to the elderly, and to females. A little old-fashioned-ness makes the world a sweeter place, IMHO.

  4. corvx says:

    In the first situation I could see how this would be annoying. I’ve never heard of a stranger offering to pump someone’s gas, that’s creepy. Chivalry in this day and age (given all the psychos and criminals in the world) can’t extend far beyond opening a door for someone. The first girl must be from a VERY VERY small town somewhere in the boonies.

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