What Men Get Out of Chivalry
This weekend, I made a little friendly gesture toward a stranger. We were in the best grocery store in the D.C. metropolitan area when we both grabbed for the last piece of produce, saw each other, and hesitated. I took the vegetable and presented it to him; he thanked me sincerely. It's not like I'm fucking Mother Teresa or anything, but it feels nice to do small things for other people, nice enough at least to make up for the lost veggie. And it made me think about all the little things that the modern chivalric code teaches men to do for women—open doors, carry bags, pull out chairs, take coats, stand when a woman enters the room. These are actions that may only reduce a woman's inconvenience by seconds (opening her door) or which may not inherently benefit her at all (standing when she enters). In most cases, the benefit to the woman is outweighed by the pleasure the man gets out of doing something nice for her. Chivalry robs women of that feeling. It may not feel like much in one little vegetable-giving, but compound that over a lifetime and separate it entirely along gender lines, and shit starts to get pretty weird.