Being a 21-year-old woman in the 21st century who has never been asked on a date does not seem that wild to me. My mother would tell you it is because I do not put myself out there. False. I have a simple request. Ask me out. I do not need to be courted per se, but is the fear of rejection really holding men back that much? This I believe: Chivalry is not dead. Women have just ceased to expect it.
Women today have told themselves, “He’s confused, he doesn’t know what he wants, he’s still getting over his ex.” The list is extensive when rationalizing why he will not ask you out. But if he wanted to, he would. No great love story starts out with him coming up with every reason not to commit but rather doing everything in his power to be with the one woman he sees as worth it all: you.
I do not think men are afraid of rejection as much as they are afraid of commitment. Spending time with someone without the big “date” word attached means that if it does not work out, we do not have to be sad because it was not a date and therefore it was a subpar time of socializing. Some say this shift is all because of the digital age or its seductive mistress, the hookup culture.
This may be true, but as men do less, women expect less. Dating is intentional which is why we avoid it. Although we try to avoid emotional pain, the lack of commitment can be taxing on men and women over time leading to fewer marriages and prolonged singleness.
As someone who has been rejected on more than one occasion and grown from it, I have concluded that yes, it takes away the pressure for the man, but it also takes away his ability to be chivalrous. Snapchat destroys a man’s opportunity to be chivalrous. Tinder destroys a man’s opportunity to be chivalrous. And women, if we do not expect it, we too destroy this opportunity.
Prizes do not chase winners. Do we remember that we are a prize? I am perfectly content remaining in my singleness, knowing that I am to be pursued and sought after. Flowers are $5 at Trader Joe’s and dinner is not necessary, just a bottle of wine please. Do not text me that you are here. Knock on the door and allow my slightly nosy roommates to greet you. Why? Because it makes it harder to say goodbye and that is OK.
Chivalry is not dead; I am just still looking for it.
Marketing major Eva Sundheim wrote this essay last spring for an assignment in her Mission of the Engineer course, an integrated course between the Catholic Studies and Engineering departments. Inspired by Edward R. Murrow’s CBS radio program in the 1950s, the assignment required students to respond to the prompt, “This I Believe…”.
This story is featured in the fall-winter 2022 issue of Lumen.