23/01/2013 13:06 GMT | Updated 24/03/2013 05:12 GMT

In Defence of Chivalry


It's a good job I'm married, and therefore not planning any first dates in the near future. Because now, based on the results of a recent survey, there could be an awkward silence when it comes to paying the bill.

Whilst one day it would have been customary for the man to pay, now - according to a survey by gentlemen's sock supplier - 82% of women would prefer to pay for their dinner on a first date, with 52% saying that they would happily pay for the entire bill.

Other acts that were once considered chivalrous are also now viewed with suspicion: 89% of women reported that they would refuse an offer by a man to carry their bag, 78% would not accept a coat from a man on a cold day, and only 34% of women expect men to hold doors open for them. Considering offering your seat on a bus? Don't: only 8% of women said they would accept - 2% if you live in London.

Don't get me wrong: I am not a misogynist, nor do I have any issue with feminism. However, I view these survey results with dismay. For me, they reflect the fact that common courtesy has no place in the 21st century.

I don't plan to stop opening doors for women, or offering them my seat. Nor do I plan to stop holding doors open for men, or offering them my seat, or showing any kind of chivalry to anyone, for that matter.

The lines between feminism and common decency have been blurred in this survey: feminism is about equality of the sexes, about women having the same rights and privileges as men. It has nothing to do with good manners, and - to be blunt - I would rather run the slight risk of offence than go against my own conscience and the principles I have been brought up to hold.

Should a simple gesture of goodwill be viewed with such suspicion in the first place? Perhaps good manners are so rare in today's society that any gesture made is assumed to be some kind of sexual advance; or perhaps the rejection of well-intended chivalry is, in some way, an affirmation of feminism. Either way, I'll offer to pay for our first-date meal. Just don't tell my wife.