I happened to be in the vestibule area of the church while guests were entering and was fascinated to watch these five 20-something guys as they smiled, offered their arms to each lady and said something like, “Would you like me to seat you?” Each one of them really put his all into being polite, being a gentleman, being friendly, giving his most dashing smile and being chivalrous. I was so proud of this group of guys! I expected women to smile and take the groomsman’s offered arm with gratitude and appreciation.
But I was surprised that more than half the time, women would refuse the guys’ gallant offers and either just walk past the groomsmen silently, ignoring them, or say something like, “I’m good.” When this happened, the guys would look so deflated.
This rejection really seemed to hurt the groomsmen’s feelings. It actually broke my heart. I’m sure none of the guests intended to offend anyone. We are just independent women these days – who apparently aren’t very used to chivalry anymore – thank you, feminism. But when a woman would accept a groomsman’s offer – he would look ELATED. Finally – success! Acceptance! Someone who appreciates my efforts!
WHAT WERE WE THINKING!?!??!?!?
It really hit me that we as women over the past decades have taught men NOT to treat us in a way that says we are special just because we are ladies. The generations before us have been so bent on proving our independence as women and that we can do anything they can do – that we have lost a lot of the power of our femininity and caused our men to lose some of the power of their masculinity, too. It makes me so sad!
It’s tough for a guy to repeatedly face rejection and keep giving of himself and offering his arm or opening doors and then to be treated with anything but gratitude and a warm smile of appreciation. In fact, I know men who do try to be chivalrous and open doors or offer to carry packages or give up a seat for women and are at times treated with disdain, contempt, disrespect and sometimes even verbal abuse.
WE HAVE TO TURN THE TIDE!
Ladies, I implore you! Let’s begin rewarding the gentlemen among us by graciously accepting their attempts at chivalry. Let’s give him a beautiful smile and a heart-felt “Thank you VERY much! What a gentleman you are!” when a man opens a door or offers to carry something for us (unless it is an unsafe situation, of course). Our delight and gratitude are all the payment a gentleman seeks.
I want men to find they will be accepted and rewarded when they treat women well. Isn’t that how we would really like to be treated – like ladies who are worthy of the time, attention and efforts of the gentlemen around us? I LOVE to be adored, cherished, protected, treated generously and kindly. And that is the kind of world I want for my children to see and to live in when they grow up, too.
If even just a few of us begin to accept the kindness and chivalry of the men around us – we may just inspire men to keep up the effort, to show them that it is worth it – that some women will thank them, accept them, treat them with respect, appreciate their masculinity and appreciate their selfless acts of generosity.
I pray that we as women might find ways to use our powerful femininity to build up the men around us, to make them really feel like MEN. I pray we might learn to use our modest, feminine appearance and gracious, admiring, thankful, feminine spirits to bring out the best in the men around us and to empower them to become the godly leaders Christ desires them to be.
A NOTE TO THE GENTLEMEN OUT THERE
THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for your willingness to offer your assistance, your arm, your strength, your kindness and your chivalry to women. The world is a better place because of men like you. I want to apologize for the times you have been rejected or treated rudely simply because you were being a gentleman. Please don’t stop being the selfless, heroic, generous man that you are! There are many ladies who deeply appreciate your acts of selflessness, assistance and masculine good manners. Please keep up the great work!