To Be Chivalrous or Not

Was invited to be a panelist on a TV Forum on Channel News Asia – “Maybe Baby” recently.

And one of the issues brought up was… our guys could be more chivalrous, or ‘gentlemanly’. One lady related that there was a time she was about to walk through these glass doors carrying heavy bags, and nobody offered to keep the doors open for her. I can relate to these incidents. When I am overseas, and I am standing in an elevator, chances are one of the guys will keep the doors open, and wait for me to walk out first. It rarely happens in Singapore or Malaysia for that matter.

Actually, I don’t think that our guys are less nice compared to their overseas counterparts. It is a lot more about awareness. Sometimes, they are just not aware of the social etiquette that is expected of them. Or maybe they grew up in a very MCP environment where the mother waits on the father. Or maybe they are confused. Since we women have been asking for sexual equality. I think our guys definitely will be more chivalrous if they made aware of what the ladies are looking out for.

Just to give you an example, my personal story. My dad has always made it a point to walk on the side of the road where the traffic is coming from. When I first started going out with my hubby, I realised that he does not do that all the time. I pointed it out to him, and ever since, he has always made the effort to switch sides with me. :)

During the forum, one of the other panelists voiced her opinion on this issue. I am paraphrasing her. I cannot remember her exact words. She said that what should really matter is not whether he opens the door for you, but whether he stays up with you through the night when your child is sick. All these so-called chivalrous acts like opening the door and pulling out the chair are just scratching the surface. I definitely understand where she is coming from.

But there is a big problem.

Nowadays, when people date, they do not have the opportunity to delve deeper to know whether the guy will stay up through the night to look after the baby. You probably only have the luxury if you get to know the guy from school/university where you can observe through various activities. Or maybe, if you have met through a charity activity.

Nowadays, ladies can only observe the things that the guys do OR don’t do during the date. And from them deduce whether they would like to meet him again for a second date. One of my clients used to wear slippers to his dates. He definitely is the type of guy that would stay up for the baby. But most ladies would already be put off by his sloppy dressing on the first date! Never mind wanting to get to know him better! Luckily, after our ‘coaching’, he dressed better for his dates, and he is now happily married.

Ladies, what do you think? Do chivalrous acts matter?

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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