Whatever happened to chivalry? Where did all the gentlemen go? Does anyone out there remember the word ‘dating’? Does anyone know what it means? In fact, whatever happened to plain old-fashioned good manners? We live in an age where in order to land a $15 per hour job you need a $100,000 college education, and yet it seems that no one has any common sense anymore. In fact, sometimes, the multi-degreed, most educated people out there seem to be the most clueless when it comes to common courtesy, appropriate behavior, and consideration of the feelings of others.

We seem to be living in a grab-all-you-can, ‘I deserve it all for free’ society. You can blame our economic environment if you want to, but, personally, I believe it’s a symptom of the evolution of man that needs to be reversed, sooner rather than later. What do good manners and common sense have to do with sex and dating? Everything. It seems that we need an elementary education on dating and sex etiquette – something that unfortunately is never taught in school. And I wonder, when did parents stop teaching polite manners, consideration for others, and social skills at home? Not having children, I think of my sister’s comments, since she has very well-mannered 9 and 11 year old kids. She told me recently that she has noticed a lack of telephone etiquette and communication skills in many of their classmates. Kind of surprising, since they all have cell phones by the time they are in the fifth grade. Could it be that the cyber world of texting, email, and social media with all of its acronyms like LOL, OMG, LMAO, and TTYL is turning our society into communication retards?

I recall my sister once commented that she found it disturbing that ‘the system’ seems to be rewarding children for mediocrity. For example, if your son or daughter joins a soccer team, at the end of the season, whether they played well or not, everyone on the team gets some sort of trophy or reward. So even if a child sat on the bench for most of the season and had no skills at all, everyone at the end feels like a ‘winner’, even if the team lost every game. Apparently, we now give accolades and prizes just for participation. Maybe we have created a generation or two who are so addicted to the television, the Wii, the X-Box, the i-Pad, etc. that we have to offer them a reward for simply getting off their little asses and going outside to play. I also hear they have changed grading systems in some schools from point systems, like A’s & B’s or numerical scores to letters for satisfactory and unsatisfactory – as though a child will be traumatized if they are compared to the intellectual levels of other children. When my sisters and I were in (Catholic) grade school, we worked our butts off to be at the top of the class so we could receive a little plastic Jesus at the end of the year as a reward for our high grade point average. We studied for hours to compete in and win inter-scholastic spelling bees and receive the coveted prize – a pen and pencil set. What is wrong with some good healthy competition anyway? Isn’t that the real world? I thought we lived in a society where those who excelled were the most highly rewarded.

Back in the dating world for several years now, after ending an 18-year marriage, it appears that this system of rewarding mediocrity may have been in place much longer than I realized. It appears that no one wants to work for anything anymore and they all feel entitled to a reward for minimal or no effort. Case in point: men who cannot spend $15 to take you to a movie or ask you out –anywhere – and take time to get to know you, but who expect instantaneous sexual gratification. I date a lot of younger men, mostly because that’s what I attract and often times find more attractive and interesting than men my age or older. But it seems as though this new style of connecting between the sexes, which we call ‘hanging out’ and ‘hooking up’, has spread like wildfire throughout every generation across the male species.

Has our high-tech world of instant gratification handicapped us when it comes to interpersonal relationships? And has easy access to online porn caused women to think that they have to open their legs and give up the goods in exchange for a $7 drink or a dinner at Arby’s? Are women so desperate that they are afraid if that they don’t engage in sex fast enough, they’ll lose a man’s interest and he’ll head out in search of a woman with looser morals, or go home and jack off to internet porn? Or is it just that today’s man has evolved into an ADHD-stricken underachiever who gives up too easily and targets the easy goal?

I’m not saying that women don’t get horny. In fact, sometimes women just want to get laid without strings or drama, just like men. I’m all about embracing one’s sexuality in a healthy way. I can certainly extol the virtues of a high libido that just increases with age. But there are many ways to get your sexual needs met. So if you are a woman who has had a string of liaisons that left you in tears, one-night stands that left you feeling empty, or any interactions with men that damaged your self-esteem and left you feeling ‘used’ or unhappy, you might want to rethink your strategy and find a healthier solution. If you have a high libido but don’t want the drama, you may want to get online and order yourself a Magic Wand by Hitachi, and the accompanying dildo.

Call me old-fashioned, but I like to think of myself as a valuable prize to be won. And to win the prize, you have to put in some effort. If you are not at all familiar with the art of dating, wooing, and winning a woman, go to Netflix and pull up a few Cary Grant movies from the 1950s. I know these are stereotypical portraits of men and women in the 20th century, and our roles have changed (slightly) since then. I know that we are much more open-minded now and that we have birth and STD control. I know that you can watch free porn on the internet and find swingers’ clubs almost anywhere. So what? Does that mean that common courtesy, good manners and polite communication should be abandoned? I don’t think so.

Anyone who reads my column knows that I’m no prude. I am, in fact, a disciple of the ‘joys of sex’, so I’m not talking about abstinence here. I’m talking about common sense on the part of both sexes, valuing ourselves as human beings, and having some respect for sex itself. In my last article I wrote about the value of a vagina. I will say this again: We teach people how to treat us. I wonder what would happen if women all started using the ‘professional’ scale when it comes to men. If a high-class paid escort makes $300 (a conservative estimate) per hour, then if a guy in a bar buys her a $10 drink, all she needs to do is spend 2 minutes expressing thanks with a short conversation. If he can capture her interest within that time, it could lead to something more. This is worth the investment for the guy, and guilt-free for the girl. And of course, this could work both ways. I’m not saying that a woman shouldn’t buy a drink for a guy if she has the means and wants to take the risk.

All I’m saying is if you want a worthwhile experience with a man or woman whom you deem worthy of your time and attention, put in a little effort. If you are a man who is looking to score with a smoking hot chick, know that she’s not lying around at home in her matching push-up bra and thong on a Saturday night at 11 PM waiting for you to text her ‘what R U doing?’ so that you can come over and do her. And if you are a woman who would like to feel ‘valued’, set the expectations properly right from the beginning. If a man is worth your time, and he is truly interested in you, he should learn how to call you and ask you out for a proper date. If he wants the ‘prize’ he should have to win it. Value yourselves, girls. I hear so many women complain about men not treating them well, or being taken for granted. If you begin a relationship by rewarding someone for mediocrity, do you really think they will ever have the motivation to work harder?

And for my male readers, who say they don’t understand what women want – it’s pretty simple. Women want to feel sexy and desirable. They want to feel valued, and be treated with respect. These are the basic rules of any type of relationship – whether it’s a fuck buddy situation, dating, committed, or long-term relationship – marriage is no exception. You want the sex kitten in the bedroom and the perfect lady out in public? Most women I know, especially experienced older women, want that too, and it comes naturally to them. You can unleash your bad boy self to play with the sex kitten once you have both decided to take it to the bedroom. But act like a gentleman and treat her like a lady first. Yes, women enjoy sex! But unless you are a rock star, or a Chippendale dancer, I can guarantee you – all women have more options than you do to get laid on any given night, and with a lot less effort. So buck up, and make an effort. If you need help, I offer dating coaching. Also stay tuned to my website for future teleseminars on the topic.

27 Responses

  1. Blythe Barny

    This seems to be the norm, but there ARE STILL chivalrous men out there. There are still men out there who are gentlemen and keep their hands to themselves until the lady makes the first move. A word to the guys, please still be gentlemen. We will respect you more.

    Reply
    • Jonathan Cairo Ender

      Often times those men are also equated as being a pushover because they're genuinely nice and then often end up as just a "friend."

      Reply
    • Patricia Sommer

      I was referring to Andrew's comment, but I think one can be a gentleman and not be viewed as a pushover. In the same vein, one can also be direct and express their interest without being a disrespectful a-hole. I've seen it done. ;-)

      Reply
    • Patricia Sommer

      I was referring to Andrew's comment, but I think one can be a gentleman and not be viewed as a pushover. In the same vein, one can also be direct and express their interest without being a disrespectful a-hole. I've seen it done. ;-)

      Reply
  2. Natalie Howard

    "If you begin a relationship by rewarding someone for mediocrity, do you really think they will ever have the motivation to work harder?"

    This is the key line that stood out to me, I think some women get wrapped up so quickly in impressing and keeping the guy that they give it "all" emotionally and sexually wayyy too quickly without making the guy sweat a little. Taking things slow and keeping your options open (as a woman) is the trick I think.

    Reply
  3. Athenna Harrison

    Yes! Completely agree with every word you wrote. I've dealt with plenty of guys that I let take me for granted, but then I had to take a step back and re-realize that I'm worth more than just sex and I need to start acting like it. I'm worth a date (not the cheap kind either) and I should start expecting that. Any woman should.

    Reply
  4. Jonathan Cairo Ender

    This is an intriguing and valid article. I will say that I consider myself to be old fashioned in ways as well as chivalrous, but with a proper modern twist. I do find this article (to some extent) generalizes men more than it should. I'm not sure where to being in responding to this article since there's an exorbitant amount of things I could say and respond to, so I'll try and summarize it into a few simple points (in no particular order).

    A) Us real men that are gentlemen with a solid level of intelligence as well as manners, morals, integrity and values, equally want to feel valued and desired by women. But oh so often it seems we're passed over for the chic playboy who put on a facade and often "hurt" women emotionally.

    B) Communication appears to have failed for both men & women partly because of technology. People don't value actual conversations in-person as much or a phone call, it's often conversations over text which as many I'm sure have experienced, can lead to miscommunications and upset. Plus, for women, if you don't intend or want to talk to a guy again after the first time, don't give him your number. If his ego is hurt, he'll survive and if he wants to pine about it, he's clearly not mature enough to deal with the basic function of life where not everything goes the way you want.

    C) As for dating… I agree, people don't take the time to get to know someone which is as related to my communication point with texting etc. In many cases, when I meet someone I want to date, I DON'T add them on facebook because while they may get some sense of you from your postings and your photos, it's too easy to read into those and make assumptions. If that person wants to know me, they'll call me, text me, email me, or even better, spend time with me in person the way it should be.

    D) Dating and meeting someone that's right for you simply comes down to this. These days it seems like a big pain and way more effort than it's worth to try and meet someone of the caliber one is looking for, therefore, many seem to settle for less, get hurt in ways and are upset and sometimes jaded as a result. One must know how much they want to invest in others in relation to what they're looking for and would like in that special someone; know your limitations, but don't create an unrealistic list that a person must meet to be right for you. If you give up and don't take chances on people, then your hope of meeting the right person becomes an impossibility. You need to know you're a strong person and will overcome any upset that happens in a healthy way with the proper amount of time. Also, take a break from the dating world and focus on yourself because dating and trying to meet someone IS exhausting!

    Reply
    • Dominic Chen-Alvarado

      I especially agree with your first comment. Interesting example: my brother was on a dating site for awhile, and using the "nice guy approach" and explaining about himself – he has a job, is educated, etc., etc., he barely got a response. Once he started *trying* to be mean/sarcastic/dickish by commenting on their photo, etc., he started getting more responses. I have no idea why this is. I have similar experiences with exes of mine (that I'm still friends with) coming back to me and constantly complaining about how their new boyfriends are assholes and why they can never get a "good guy," not realizing that they already had that guy, and left him in the dust.

      Reply
    • Kristy Thomson

      The best person to meet is one who values themself and accepts their mistakes. It is the imperfections that make you who you are. If you go looking for someone just like you, then you end up finding fault in them because those may be faults you don't like about yourself. But, the reason nice guys finish last is because they put others first before themselves, so keep on being a nice guy!!

      Reply
    • James Yoon

      I only act chivalrous around the office, but the girls around the city just ain't what I want so no need to be chivalrous in public.

      Reply
    • Patricia Sommer

      Appreciate all the thoughtful comments here. And Jonathan – well said, and some great advice.
      I would agree that there seems to be a fascination in our society with the playboy, or the 'bad boy', but one hopes that women learn from the consequences and make better choices in the future. Not to do so is the definition of insanity, isn't it? Repeating the same behaviors and expecting a different result. But then again, some people are addicted to drama. The 'highs' provided by the smooth-talking 'Cassanova' can become like a recreational drug. Fun at first, but dangerous to our health.

      Reply
    • Jonathan Cairo Ender

      Patricia – Thank you for your accolades :) I've always had a fascination with communication in our society, particularly in relation to the world of dating/relationships and technology. It's QUITE a fascinating topic with A LOT to be said about it as I'm sure you could tell my from attempt at a few simple points. There is the saying about insanity, thought it's not an official definition, but one that was created by a source that's not fully known to this day, but it clearly says something to many along the lines of what insanity could feel like :)

      Reply
  5. Randall Alford

    The always evocative and provocative Ms Sommer… You can follow her on Pinterest if you do that sort of thing (I'm still behind the curve, here…) :o) In any case, keep her articles for 303 on your radar screen! (( <3 )).

    Reply
  6. Adam Johnson

    It goes both ways. If you make an effort to take them out to a nice dinner, buy tickets to a show, and generally have a plan – they text the day before and cancel. If you call after work to grab a drink, they're more likely to say yes (but then is it a date or a hookup?). And online dating is just shopping – note all of the 5'2" girls looking for a guy who's "at least" 6' tall or some other superficial requirement. So really it's this attitude that all women can have something on any night that exhausts me. Relying on this excuse to say try harder and blow you off at the same time? That they have "a boyfriend" one week and come sit on your lap at the bar the next? Maybe I've been doing it wrong… From your article the $7 drink and dinner at Arby's is starting to sound like a good idea. (to be honest, I don't actually believe this).

    Reply
    • Jonathan Cairo Ender

      The world of dating and trying to meet someone is that of a "Catch 22." Men overall may be more insensitive compared to women, but women more often than not are the ones playing the mind games, or so it appears.

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    • Patricia Sommer

      I agree it goes both ways. Which is why I advise women who do not like the way they are being treated, to change their own behavior. I am curious to know the age group of the women you are referring to in the examples you give, Adam. I can probably wager a guess.

      Reply
  7. Jonathan Rose

    It always amazes me when a modern woman deplores the current state of relationships and sexual mores, expressing a desire for the return of good, old fashioned chivalry. I mean, chivalry? Really?

    Per Wikipedia, chivalry is the “traditional code of conduct associated with the medieval institution of knighthood…a moral system that stated all knights should protect others who cannot protect themselves, such as widows, children, and elders.” Let’s restate this simply: Women were considered helpless, dim-witted subjects, lumped into the same category as the elderly. So a special “code” was created to ensure their protection and safety. In theory, at least. The reality of the situation is that in the medieval ages—in the age that created this wonderful thing called chivalry—women were not allowed to marry without the consent of their parents. They couldn’t own businesses. They were property. Completely subject to the men in their lives, be it a brother, a father, a husband. Women endured rapes, beatings. Their only purpose in life was to tend house and make babies. It seems especially relevant to the author that they were not allowed to divorce their husbands.

    Why would we, in the 21st century, have any desire for anything remotely resembling the social order of the 6th or 7th? Why would we, in the 21st century, even look to the (more progressive than medieval) 1950s when women aspired for the “M.R.S. degree” instead of a real education, and were seen as self-centered and overly ambitious if they decided to work outside the home? Cary Grant? The man was married FIVE times. Look to his famous movie roles if you want, but remember that—just like pornography—those portrayals of romance, intrigue, and passionate love affairs were little more than a fantasy. A way for the movie studios to make a buck. An avenue for the diamond industry to teach a women her worth.

    “The art of dating, wooing, and winning a woman” is little more than a trickster’s trade. A remnant of an archaic society that still perceives women as prizes to be won, trophies to be displayed, merchandise to be purchased. Victims to be protected. Manipulated. Discarded.

    It’s slightly ironic that a woman who sees herself as exactly what she’s been taught to by a misogynistic society—“a valuable prize to be won” by the highest and most charming bidder—is hawking the value of a vagina as something progressive and beneficial to today’s modern woman. This is a throwback of the worst sort—the kind of regressive attitude that will damn many a female to determining her worth based solely on her gender. On her anatomy. It’s telling that nowhere in the article does the author mention intimacy, love, affection—the true prize won in all of those old Cary Grant flicks.

    I, for one, am glad to be living at a time that chivalry is dying. That our antiquated views of gender and its associated roles are changing. I am happy that a woman feels free to go home and fuck a stranger, even if he hasn’t bought her so much as a $15 movie ticket…if that’s what she wants to do. I am a firm believer in equality and fair treatment, in kindness to others regardless of their sex, orientation, or social status. I don’t believe that a woman deserves to be treated differently simply because she’s a woman. I am a feminist.

    Finally, tying this perceived problem into the sense of entitlement that today’s younger generations apparently epitomize is an interesting strategy. It seems to me that the writer, as a woman, feels entitled to certain treatment for no reason other than that second x chromosome each of her cells contains. For that prize in her panties. And when it comes down to it, she has no problem asking a higher price for what she obviously sees as her most valuable asset.

    Reply
    • Shannon Barrett

      TL;DR – I want to have sex anytime I want but it has to be meaningful and special… except for the times it doesn't have to be meaningful and special. But if you don't know the difference between those times then obviously it's your fault because you're lazy. And are not a gentleman. And make no mistake I'm not a prude; buy a dildo.

      Reply
    • Patricia Sommer

      Appreciate your comments, but I do think you missed the point here. 'Chivalry' in this context is not about a Wikipedia definition from the 7th century, but about demonstrating common courtesy and consideration for a woman if you are interested in her.

      I do not believe a woman is 'entitled' to be lavished upon merely because she has a vagina, altho some of our younger generation of women may play that card, which indeed sets the progress of women back 200 years. Unfortunately, there are a lot of men who deem themselves 'feminists' because it means they don't have to make any effort to get their own needs met. After all, independent women will fuck whenever they feel like it, without 'intimacy, love, or affection', and pick up the tab on dates, too. I too 'am happy that a woman feels free to go home and fuck a stranger, even if he hasn’t bought her so much as a $15 movie ticket…if that’s what she wants to do.'

      Feeling 'valued' has nothing whatsoever to do with being treated like a 'trophy', then being manipulated and discarded. On the subject of manipulation, read my article on emotional abuse. And it's unfortunate that you view my statement of being 'a valuable prize to be won' as a statement about being a good piece of ass, and nothing more. I may be that, but I know what else I bring to the table as should everyone with any smidgeon of self-esteem. Do you not see yourself as valuable? Would you too, not wish to be valued by someone who pursued you?

      My viewpoint comes mostly from women I talk to and coach, who are older, successful, and beautiful women who bring intelligence, self-awareness, experience, personality, and sex appeal to the table and continue to meet men who seem to feel 'entitled', while offering little in return. Until our society can embrace the divine feminine, that was revered in our ancient civilizations long before the days of 'knighthood', and we can once again balance the beauty of both masculine and feminine energy on this earth, we will constantly have this sort of discourse, resulting in a lot of people of either sex never really getting the intimacy and love they desire.

      Reply
    • Patricia Sommer

      Also, Jonathan – if you actually read the article I linked to: Vagina: Asset or Liability, you would see that the reference was a little tongue-in-cheek humor for a commentary on male and female roles in today's society, and the judgements that same society makes, from the viewpoint of a sex-positive feminist.

      Reply
  8. Joe

    Maybe if you dated men your own age then you wouldn’t have written this article?

    Reply

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