The existence of gentlemen is gradually becoming an issue of major concern.
It is even ironic that sometimes those who behave “brand new” and disrespectful may somehow earn a strange medal of respect from their peers or recognition from the public; whereas, those who have a little more decorum may be viewed as losers.
This brings forward cause to reminisce about the days of “good girls like bad guys”. While this might be viewed largely as “high school” or juvenile behaviour, which we should really get over, some people take this into adulthood.
There are certain behaviours that should be expected of men. However, standards seem to have gone into extinction and when it even comes to relationships these days, women seem to have little and expectations of how they should be treated by men, which is probably why some men do not make much of an effort anymore, and the women who expect the normal gentlemanly standards may even be viewed as divas or “high maintenance”.
As a result of these low standards, some women settle for abusive relationships or for men who they know they do not deserve but still end up with because they have lost hope in finding a decent man, as gentlemen are rare these days.
I recently had an interesting conversation with some men in their mid-20s and asked if they did some of the things expected of gentlemen for women around them, such as opening doors, pulling out chairs, knocking on the front door when picking a woman up for a date, helping to carry items, arriving on time, listening, creating time to visit and so on… many of which come at no cost and do not necessarily require gross effort.
I was surprised to hear them say that they rarely do and only do so when they are interested in dating the woman and/or expect something in return from her. Since when is being a gentleman a requirement just to get something from a person? What happened to the days of simple decency?
Another interesting (and tricky) scenario is on the topic of finance. Take for example, a couple goes out for a meal and then go dutch when the bill arrives; or in some instances the woman covers the bill. It is not normal behaviour for a gentleman to allow this, especially while dating…it is unacceptable.
However, this is not to take away the reality of today’s economy where the cost of living is skyrocketing and women might need to lend more support in the household (for married couples or cohabitants). It is also not uncommon for the woman to earn more than the man, but this gives no excuse for the man to relax on the behavioural aspects of being a gentleman.
It is also not an excuse for the woman to abuse this position as the higher earner and treat the man as inferior. Respect is a key factor that moulds relationships, especially when it comes to such peculiar situations as this.
Under this same topic of finance, there is also a school of thought in line with recent movements in area of female empowerment. Women these days, because they now find themselves in the same positions as men in the work place and earn a good living, feel like they can and should take care of themselves…and cover all their bills.
While this movement is great for women, it should really not take away the fact that men should still be men and should still be allowed to be men. Sometimes, women need to take a step back and allow the men to take up their responsibilities. This “I’ll do it myself, otherwise the man may expect something from me if he does it for me” mentality is what gets many women in trouble these days because they don’t even give men a chance to be gentlemen and men very easily take the bait and go with the flow.
While these societal factors above have influenced the way men behave, there is another area of concern for some men who are genuinely clueless about the way to treat women. This is an indication of poor upbringing, rebelliousness or lack of exposure.
This raises concern about the way we bring up our boys and men these days. So much focus seems to be on girls and women: She must dress well, she must be a good cook, she must know how to clean, she must be intelligent, she must be confident, she must be witty, she must be respectful, she must act like a lady…. the list goes on. Women are trained from childhood to fulfil all of these requirements. While all of this was going on when women were girls, what happened to the boys? What were their fathers teaching them?
So for those who may not know here are some tips on behaving like a gentleman when dating (please note that this list is not limited):
When taking her out, don’t just park outside the house and call to say “I’m here”, go up to the house and pick her up from the door. Okay… you might not need to do this all the time, but at least come out of the car to open the passenger’s door for her.
Try not to check other women out whilst on a date.
Also in line with above point, try not to share messages from the random lady from work who is flirting with you.
Do not talk about yourself for the entire conversation (practise the art of listening)
Help carry any excess luggage she has (i.e. anything additional item that is not her handbag)
Do not expect her to walk to your car if you parked a bit of a distance away from the venue you are both leaving (especially if she is wearing high heels). Tell her to wait, go and get the car and drive back down to meet her
Cover the damn bill!
Oyin Egbeyemi is an engineer-turned-consultant-turned-educationist, runner and writer. She blogs at https://thevoiceofsamanthabrown.blogspot.com.ng/ and you can follow her on instagram (@samantha_brwn) or twitter (@OyinEgbeyemi)