We dated the Zeros… so you don’t have to.

21
September

New Fall 2011 Trend: Chivalry

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Oh, Mad Men.  You’ve given us so many wonderful things.  You’ve given us the enigma wrapped in a suit that is Don Draper.  You’ve given us a spunky heroine in Peggy Olsen.  You’ve given us sophisticated fashion.  And you’ve also shown us just how much social conventions have changed since the 1960s.

Of course, most of the changes have been for the better.  I think we’re all glad that blatant sexual harassment is a thing of the past and that people don’t have three pack a day habits anymore (Personally, I lament the loss of the day-drink-while-at-work,  but what are you going to do?).  However, we’ve also lost some of the manners and standards that people used to hold dear.

Think back: when was the last time your dinner companion stood up when you went to leave the table?  That custom went the way of white gloves and fedoras.  Whenever I’m on an elevator, it’s every man (literally) for himself.  Very rarely do the men on board step aside and let the ladies out first.

Gentle readers, I’m all for feminism.  Equality rules.  However, did we have to trade manners for the right to vote?  The last time a man pulled my chair out for me it was in a restaurant where the average meal costs $50. And it was the maître’d.   It’s not that my squeeze has poor manners, because he absolutely does not.  It’s just that certain customs are no longer “en vogue.”

I’m aware that Don Draper is not the model for chivalry.  He cheated on his wife non-stop and then cheated on the women he was cheating with.  I’m in no way suggesting that he’s someone to look up to.  I also know that the Mad Men reality wasn’t glamorous for women.  It was a time of turbulence and glass ceilings and limited options. However, I’d argue that the turbulence and glass ceilings still exist.  And now we don’t even have the benefit of being treated like “ladies.”

I may not be the only one who feels this way. Banana Republic recently launched their “Mad Men” collection, a clothing line filled with sexy-yet-demure clothing that’s a complete 60s throw back.  Décolletage is so last season, darling.  We’re looking for class and elegance as opposed to sass and trash.  That time period, for all of its faults, has a certain romantic appeal.

So is it really so crazy to think that we return to a more chivalrous time as well?  Think of it like a new trend for fall.  Leopard print, pencil skirts and men holding doors for women.  Society actually agreeing that “ladies first” isn’t going to set us back decades in feminism but, rather, will make us seem more civilized.

Gentlemen, I promise you, there’s little that women find sexier than good manners.  Don’t believe me?  Next time you’re attempting to charm a lady, go out of your way to be polite.  Open (and close) the car door for her.  Pull out her chair.  Offer her your arm when you’re walking down the street.  Good manners are never going to be considered a bad thing.

And, while we’re at it, let’s rethink the drinking at work thing, too.  ‘Cause that looked awesome.

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Elisabeth Fitzgerald

About the author: Elisabeth Fitzgerald

Elisabeth Fitzgerald is a Chicago born, Los Angeles based writer. In addition to writing fiction and non-fiction, she also works in the entertainment industry. When not holed up with a pen in her hand or a script at her side, she enjoys Tejano music, vintage clothing and tricking herself into exercising with yoga. Her dislikes catalog a number of prominent ZEROS.

Elisabeth has written 63 articles for us.

One Response to “New Fall 2011 Trend: Chivalry”

  1. Anna Keizer October 2, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Agreed! Though I think most chivalrous behavior is now so rare that when it actually happens, we women don’t know what to do. The first time my BF refused to go through a doorway before me, I just stared at him in confusion. I thought he had changed his mind about the restaurant we were going to eat at. ;-)

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