Men of the X and Y generation seem to be far more concerned with impressions of fairness. There is an almost growing disdain for the woman who expresses certain expectations of courtship from a male counterpart.

Over the years I’ve had several one-on-one conversations with male friends who say things like, “Shit, I like flowers too you know,” and “She called me up to go out, and still expects me to pay.” There’s seems to be a growing exhaustion with the need to keep up with female ideologies. This pressure to first be everything she expects before you can be who you actually want to be. It’s a weird position, that one could argue women have established. The fight to be equal, except when… A conditional equality that in more ways than one, is just plain unfair.

This quest for fairness now permeates through every aspect of courtship. The tone of conversations about women who refuse to approach men in social settings has changed. The response is almost 50/50 depending on who you ask, and is impartial to whether they’re male or female. It often boils down to more than tradition and societal norms, and more-so a struggle of power and/or an unwillingness to appear desperate.  Many women believe it’s a “man’s job” to do the hunting and anything else would appear unbecoming. On the other hand, men are becoming far less adept at placing themselves in embarrassing situations that render rejection. The so-called rules are changing and one is left to wonder, is it an unreasonable expectation that men should always make the first move.

Some men find a woman going after what she wants attractive, while others still find the trait a bit forceful and even masculine. So what’s a girl to do? Is chivalry dying? Are women the culprits?

The Formula

This generation seems to be doing away with the overall idea of tradition. At the very least, social norms appear to be less of a deciding factor than they were decades ago. Though we may be more willing to stray from devout expectations, those influences do creep into our everyday lives and impact our overall perceptions. Chivalry in every documented definition centers on a social code of medieval times. Expecting medieval practices in present day times is in some ways nonsensical. That said, the idea of chivalry is not, nor will it every be dead.  People who covet, naturally seek out opportunities to make their hopeful partners feel wanted and adored. The pressure and often ingratitude of expectation is what kills the concept. What becomes unappealing is not ones desire for kindness but the subtle demands of its expectation.

Photo Credit
Photo Credit

We all want to have our cake and eat it too.  As a woman, it’s unreasonable to want to be on an equal par with men, then opt for exclusions. There are women who have no desire to achieve complete equality. Women who seek to break through the glass ceilings in their workplace but opt to take on a more submissive role at home. These are typically the women who find it difficult to make the first move. Others who share this discomfort may simply be too full of themselves to concede to otherwise. Chivalry is not a foolish desire but perhaps it is a foolish expectation. Chivalry is not kindness. It is not care and in many ways it is not earnest. It is a set of societal rules women have been lead to believe prove the candor of a man’s intentions.  A set of norms that though so easily duplicated have come to mean far more than they’re worth.

The formula is simple.  It’s not easy but try to find freedom in accepting that there is no norm and we make our own rules. The world is changing, and while it doesn’t mean you have to change with it, chances are you’ll remain a lot less fulfilled if you don’t. That doesn’t mean yielding to whatever direction the wind blows. It means being willing to both embrace and challenge change. Maintain your personal truth. If something makes you truly uncomfortable, don’t do it; chances are you’ll probably get by just fine too.

Write your own rules. Shed all the tactics and fairy-tale expectations.  Take the time to evaluate what truly matters most to you and redefine your standards. Write your own story. Be your own influence. Don’t knock anything until you’ve tried it. It’s outside of our comfort zones that the real magic takes place.

What are your thoughts on courtship? Are the rules changing? Who makes the first the move?