I work in a large office building equipped with 12 elevators. I make use of the elevators at least eight times a day. Working in the building for the past six years, I've had ample opportunity to observe an interesting phenomenon and that is elevator protocol.
There are standard rules when it comes to elevator etiquette; current riders should be allowed to exit before new riders enter, one should allow for personal space and so on. But when it comes to the proper elevator etiquette for men versus women there seems to be conflicting opinions.
Emily Post, a name that is synonymous with proper etiquette and manners, says that when exiting an elevator the person nearest the door should leave first, regardless of gender.
A diverging view on ElevatorRules.com says that men should allow women to exit the elevator first, unless the male is blocking the door.
So which is correct? It's difficult to be sure and perhaps there is no right answer; only a matter of personal opinion. But here is where I witness the phenomenon. It seems that men over the age of 30 (give or take) tend to allow women to enter and exit the elevator first. On the other hand, younger men tend to exit and enter based on order and personal desire to get on or off first.
Personally I don't mind either way. I don't find it necessary to be allowed off first; in fact it can sometimes get a little awkward. And I'm not particularly offended when the opposite occurs. I'm more concerned with the thought that chivalry is dead, or at least dying.
No matter how society changes, it's still nice to be treated with a little chivalry. It's a reminder that good, old-fashioned values are still regarded. Call me a traditionalist but I still appreciate the small, gentlemanly gestures men make towards women; a door held open or a seat pulled out at a restaurant.
Popular television shows like Mad Men come to mind when discussing the topic of antiquated values. Though men seemed more chivalrous in the '50s and '60s, woman also enjoyed fewer freedoms.
Men stood when a lady entered the room decades ago, but women weren't allowed to have an opinion on the state of their country. Women were expected to have dinner on the table at the end of the work day but men took their hats off before sitting down.
So the question emerges; have we traded chivalry for freedom? How are young boys being raised today? Are they being equipped with these retro ideals or is chivalry a fading behaviour?