26 Apr 10

Chivalry and Dating

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By Jessica Downey

Even though things have evolved and been updated, unconventional ways of meeting people have been around since before I was born (actually since before I was even though of to be technical). Living proof is with my parents, who met through a dating service nearly 40 years ago.

My mom saw an ad in a local newspaper in Indiana for a dating service. They sent her a form to fill out (much like the questionnaires for internet dating sites) which she had to send back. Then, the service sent her a list of her matches – with their names, addresses and phone numbers.

That’s right; just the basics which didn’t include a picture. Today, most people wouldn’t think of meeting without seeing numerous pictures of you from all possible angles. Most people also wouldn’t even think about sharing their address before meeting in person (for some people that may even take a few dates).

There was also no sexting or sharing of naked pictures before meeting. Actually there really wasn’t even any sort of conversation about sex at all.

Likewise, dating has also changed a lot since my parents met. My mom met a number of guys from the dating service before meeting my dad and there was a recurring theme – the man took the lead. Nice girls didn’t chase after boys then, so my mom never called a guy or asked him out on a date.

My mom never paid for a single date. Actually, my mom didn’t even offer to pay for a single date. If she had, this would imply she didn’t think her date could afford to take her out (which would clearly be an insult). In fact, one time my mom took my dad out for his birthday and my grandma thought she was crazy. The only money she really brought was a quarter in case she had to call my grandpa for a ride home (and she only had to do that once because a man couldn’t keep his hands to himself).

During the date, the man was very attentive. He always pulled out chairs for her, opened the door for her and even ordered for her. She never once saw this as an insult or thought anyone felt she was incapable of doing these things herself. It was simply just being polite.

Clearly interactions between men and women have changed since the time when my parents met and at times it seems as though that whole chivalry thing is slowly dying. I can’t help but wonder something though. Years ago, so many men were chivalrous because it was expected. Granted, I am sure it was genuine sometimes but not always. On the other hand, now men do it because they want to. It kind of seems it’s more likely to be genuine now. So, is quantity really better than quality?

Jessica Downey is a freelance writer who lives in Chicago who writes about dating and life as a single woman. She currently writes for ChicagoNow.com and has written for Examiner.com

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About Jennifer Kelton

Jennifer KeltonI did not wake up one morning and say “hey I think I’d like a man use my sweater like a towel, write a candid dating book, become a dating expert, the CEO and founder of a social dating site and have three blogs.”

All of this has happened in a slow burn and here I am. The good, the bad, the mistakes, way too many tears shed to count, lots of wine and oh my goodness a huge learning curve that leaves me much of the time saying, “I’m sorry but this is all new to me.”

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