Are we post-feminist enough now that gentlemanly behavior can be acceptable again?
Chivalry is not dead. It's just been keeping its head down for a bit. And who can blame it when the line between courtliness and condescension has become so blurred?
A damsel, however, need not be in distress to enjoy a considerate gesture.
You're not required to spread your cloak for your mistress's dainty feet, but she won't feel remotely undermined if you help carry the shopping. Strike the right note and both of you should benefit from your knightly services.
[. . .]
The easy-mannered man appears to be in control in any situation. This should not be confused with a controlling personality. Our 21st-century knight knows how to get things done his way without huffing, hectoring or “do-you-know-who-I-am?” arrogance. He displays the kind of social confidence that puts other people at their ease, and a physical confidence that has nothing to do with macho posturing. You feel that if push came to shove, he could slay dragons or, at the very least, see off a mugger, but pushing and shoving really isn't his style.
Above all, the chivalrous man is a grown-up.
I never really bought into the "oh, woe is us, one minute women want equality and the next minute they want chilvary" hysteria of recent years. I can't think of a single instance in which a woman upbraided me for being "sexist" when I was trying to be police. The basics of that politeness -- things like holding doors, offering help with packages, "please" and "thank you" -- have always been a part of civilized society and always will be.