I was talking to somebody who said that he feels women are too easily impressed by chivalry. After screaming herself hoarse about the equality of men and women (he said), the same woman swoons over a chivalrous man. He accused women of double standards.
A bit of thinking led me to the conclusion, that yes, we do like chivalry. In fact, everybody does. But not in the sense of men holding doors open and offering their chairs to women. Everybody appreciates courtesy, good manners, and concern towards fellow human beings, regardless of the sex of the courteous person, or of the person at whom the concern is targeted.
Maybe I can explain better with examples.
Situation: A group of us are passing through a self-closing door.
I don't expect - Anybody to hold the door open for me.
I expect - The person who has already passed through, to pause and hold the door for that one second longer to prevent it from swinging back, so that it does not bang into my face, and I can pass through it elegantly and safely, and in turn, hold the door for that one second longer to facilitate the person behind me to pass through unhurt.
Situation: I enter a conference room for a meeting, and see that there is one chair short.
I don't expect: Anybody to get up and go out of the room, and get me a chair.
I expect: That when I go out and get a chair for myself, and am struggling to get the bulky swivel chair into the room through the self-closing door, my colleagues should not stare at me blankly, chewing their pen caps, but get up and hold the door open so that I can get my chair inside.
Situation: Getting on to the bus.
I don't expect: Anybody to stand aside and allow me to climb into the bus first.
I expect: That s/he should not shove me aside to get into the bus first.
Situation: Waiting (like at the doctor’s), where there are a number of chairs, all occupied.
I don't expect: Anybody to get up and offer their chair to me.
I expect: Somebody to get up and offer their chair to the pregnant lady/the lady carrying a baby/old people/the person with a crepe bandage around his ankle.
Actually these are very small things. It is common sense, and basic courtesy, which should be followed by everybody without a second thought. But an unbelievably small number actually practices it.
So naturally, when someone, be it male or female, displays such little gestures of thoughtfulness, it is very natural to be drawn to him/her. And the insensitive ones, who don't understand what is happening, accuse women of falling for chivalry. All I can say is, wake up, and smell the coffee.