published Friday, November 16th, 2012

Leber: Question goes viral: Is chivalry sexist?

A couple of weeks ago, a dear friend of mine posted a link to a blog piece with the same subject as the headline you've just read.

The article was a reaction to yet another blog, written by a young man. His original posting, titled, "How To Treat a Woman on a Date: The Basics," was deleted offline, but it apparently garnered some interesting responses.

Upon using the magical Google tool, I learned that this list of dating tips had gone somewhat viral when it was written a few years back.

The author of the blog my friend posted gave her reaction to the tips and her reaction to the reactions she saw others give.

Here are the tips and my thoughts on them.

1. Do not let more than one day go by (after the date) without contacting her.

I hate these rules. The last time I was in early courtship, there was no Facebook, no MySpace, very little texting... oh, and we lived in the same dormitory. But I think it depends on how the date goes. If you stay up all night talking, text her something sweet and simple the next day.

After a good date, give it two or three days. Don't wait more than a week. And those five little words: "Can I see you again?" are a nice way to end an evening. But if you say you're going to call, call.

2. Be on time.

Yes. Yes. Punctuality is important. Don't be early. We need those last five minutes to do Super Secret Woman Things. But don't be late. If you are going to be more than seven minutes late, call or text with an explanation. Unless you're driving. Don't text and drive. But then apologize and tell her that's why you didn't text. Hey, I think responsible driving is sexy.

3. 4. 5. and 6. Open her car door. Help her put her coat on. Hold the door open for her. Pull her chair out.

These are grouped together because they all have one basic response: Do it if you can do it naturally, without too much muss and fuss. Let's break it down ...

A) The car door. If you and your escort are walking to your car, which you have unlocked by remote key, walk to her side first, open the door, wait until she's situated, close her door, then proceed to your side. However, expecting her to sit in the car while you get out and come around to the door is awkward. Exception: Rain and one umbrella. In that case, ask her to wait while you come around to her side with the umbrella.

B) The coat. If you happen to be closer to her coat, retrieve it and, yes, it's nice to hold her coat for her.

C) The door. OK, here's the rule: Whoever gets to the door first should open it. It's OK to take a quick stride or two if you want to ensure you get there first, but don't go running for it. Oh, and under no circumstances should you make some exaggerated sweeping gesture to indicate she should pass through the doorway. Actually, one exception: If you met at a convention of Renaissance Fair enthusiasts. But then she should curtsy. So win, win.

D) The chair. Let her walk in front of you, behind the restaurant host. If she stops at the closest chair, pull out her chair. If she walks around to the other side of the table, I don't think you need to do a full lap just to pull out her chair. But wait to sit until she does.

Oh, and ladies, unless you have terrible taste in men, he's not doing any of this stuff because he thinks you're incapable of opening a door or putting on your own coat. He's trying to be nice. Say thank you.

7. Order for her (after asking her what she wants).

Ehhhhh ... I'm not wild on this one. I sometimes have menu questions, and I want to be able to ask them of my own accord. But let's split the difference on this one. If you've agreed to share a bottle of wine or an appetizer, you may order on behalf of the two of you (unless she has done so, as the waiter will likely take her order first). Also, if you're dining in an establishment where it's appropriate to order in a language you speak and she does not, then sure, go ahead and order for both of you. But definitely make sure to ask what she wants first.

8. At the end of the date, don't drive off until she's safely inside.

This implies that the man will be sitting in the car waiting for her to turn off the porch lights. To which I say, no. Now, if you two don't know each other well, she might prefer to meet somewhere. I don't particularly care to be in cars or anywhere not public with men I don't know well. However, if she's going to get in a car with you, she probably feels fairly confident that you're not a serial killer. In which case, do not just drop her off like you're driving the seventh-grade carpool to gymnastics practice. You need to get out of the car and walk her to her door. At that point, you should expect to say goodnight, like a gentleman, and then leave, like a gentleman. Consider anything beyond that up to her discretion. Oh, and if you honk for her at the beginning of the date, you're in huge trouble with me.

Agree? Disagree? Think more guys should think like this woman? Think I'm a 1950's throwback? Let's talk.

about Holly Leber ...

Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...

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