Originally published in The Jersey Journal
Dating can always be a harrowing adventure. Sure it’s fun and exciting and full of wonder! But it can also be cause for confusion, frustration and miscommunication.
Two particular ideas that come into contention sometimes is equal rights vs chivalry.
As a man, we hear both sides of, “A woman can do anything a man can do!” and, “Be a gentleman and open doors, carry bags, etc.” I have heard from my male clients that some have been chastised for opening doors (“I can do it myself!”) and complained about for not offering to pick them up (“He had me take a cab!”)
This can be confusing for men and women alike. So in the interest of helping out both sexes, here are some pointers.
For the gentlemen
Hold doors for her, including restaurant, cab and any others. And as an etiquette note on revolving doors, men should go first. It’s polite to get the door moving, making easier for the woman who follows you.
Chivalry is not dead! If she approaches you while you’re seated, rise. If she gets up from dinner to go to the restroom, stand up.
It is simple and yet, most guys have no idea.
Pushing in her chair, opening doors, and standing when she approaches are just a few easy ways that you can set yourself apart from all the other guys out there. Women love to feel special.
Also if you’re ever in doubt, pick up the check! “Pay for the date! Yes, women are more than capable of paying their own way, but in the lines of making her feel special and taken care of, nothing feels better than a man using his hard earned cash on the woman he is courting.” Mike Goldstein of Hoboken’s EZ Dating Coach lets us know.
She is not made of porcelain. She won’t break. Women enjoy doing things for themselves as much as men do.
Israel Irenstein, a NYC dating coach says, “If on the third date and she offers to pay, you can politely refuse and offer to have her take you out the next time. That way she gets to choose something that she likes and is in her price range.
“It also allows the woman to feel happy that it’s a joint partnership.”
Also, understand that too much chivalry can start to seem stalker-ish.
Here in Jersey City, there are many ways to travel: Uber, busses, cabs and trains, to name a few. A woman isn’t helpless to get from place to place. Of course, it’s always nice to offer, but don’t insist on picking her up or dropping her off. Women need to feel safe and sometimes, she’s more comfortable not having you know exactly where she lives after the first date.
For the ladies
If a man is trying to act all gentlemanly, allow him to.
There will be other times for you to demonstrate your strength and constitution. He’s trying his best!
That said, do not expect a man to do all of these things automatically with no input from you.
“They should not expect to be catered to and doted on if they are not willing to reciprocate,” says Lisa Schmidt, an IDCA certified dating coach at DetroitDateCoach.com.
“A simple thank you and acknowledgement to a man is like 10 dozen roses to a woman,” Schmidt added. “He wants to win the girl, not get her because of what he does for her. She gives him that satisfied feeling when she is appreciative. In turn it encourages that chivalry and good behavior.”
As a man, trust me, a gracious and meaningful, “Thank you,” with a touch on the arm can recharge our battery for weeks!
Don’t wait for outmoded 1950s expectations about how a man is “supposed” to act in courting.”
Damona Hoffman, dating strategist and radio host at DatesAndMates.com, says, “You don’t want to become the aggressor but you want to invite conversation. Many women think that by making eye contact, smiling or starting a conversation that they are flipping the rules of chivalry but the reality is that the actions of modern women have made many men reluctant and fearful of approaching even if they are interested.”
I have had many of my female clients tell me that they never meet eyes or smile or talk to a guy because “it’s the man’s job to come talk to me.”
You making sure that you are inviting does not lessen you or make the man not want to pursue you. Sometimes, we could even use a little help!