Ali Kirker: Forget chivalry… all we want is good manners and maybe the odd text

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NEARLY three-quarters of women think chivalry is dead, according to a survey.

While it is rare indeed to see a man help a woman put her coat on or pull a chair out for her, women hoped “modern chivalry” would have replaced them.

Well, what exactly do they mean by that?

It seems men calling when they say they will, or letting you use their phone if your own phone’s battery has died, is what women want.

Hmm. It’s not much to ask, is it?

It’s hardly a man chucking his coat over a puddle so you don’t have to step in it.

And before you ask, of course that happens to me all the time.

Both of those examples sound like basic manners.

That’s what I think is sadly lacking in modern life – manners, not chivalry.

I find myself feeling really irate if I hold open a door for someone and they swan through it, without even a glance in my direction, let alone a word of thanks.

Little examples of that happen all the time in everyday life.

It’s not because people are ungrateful or simply bad-mannered.

We can all be too busy, rushing through life and thinking about what we’ve got to do next to even acknowledge the kindnesses that can make a difference to our days.

Sometimes we’d all benefit from not living life so fast. Surely I’m not alone in feeling a bit sorry for men over the whole chivalry debate, though.

They’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

One man on the SP team told me he’d be “scared” to offer his seat to a woman in case he got a mouthful of abuse, offended her or made a fool of himself.

I got on a train at Edinburgh’s Haymarket not so long ago.

It was absolutely packed and a great example of why so many people have a go at our train companies.

Dozens of people were standing, squashed up against each other.

It’s a miserable way to travel.

One man, lucky to have a seat, kindly asked me if I’d like it.

I think it was the first time it had happened to me.

Apart from when my husband gives up his seat for me. That’s kind of different – he knows his life would be a misery if he didn’t.

I was so taken aback I mumbled that I was fine, thank you.

So did the woman next to me.

That poor man was mortified.

All for being nice. His mum would have been proud of him.

That just about sums up the state of how confused men must feel about how they’re supposed to behave.

When almost half of women think it is old-fashioned for men to insist on them ordering first in a restaurant, while the other half expect it, who can blame them?

Maybe women are just as baffled.

But it’s a simple as this. Letting a man carry a heavy box for you doesn’t mean you don’t believe in equal pay.

He’s just got greater physical strength. Or you’re lazy. That’s all.

You can appreciate chivalrous behaviour without being a relic who belongs in the 1950s.

One of the other wishes women had in the survey was that they wanted men to send them “attentive texts” during the day.

Maybe I’ve been married too long but I think about the most I can expect is: “Can you pick up bread on the way home?”

That’s fine by me!

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