I know we here at Inspy Romance are contemporary romance readers and writers. We read and write about strong, contemporary women, many of whom own their own businesses or have powerful positions. They’re independent and can do things for themselves, maybe even change a tire (I’m thankful I’ve never had to attempt this myself!). At any rate, they are certainly women who can open a door for themselves.
But can I tell you a secret? Nothing makes me swoon more than a man who still shows chivalry in this day and age. Not the duel-to-the-death type of chivalry, of course (though when it comes down to it, a man who is willing to lay down his own life for his love is the epitome of chivalry in any age). But, to my mind, the putting-her-needs-before-his-own kind of chivalry is what makes a hero both swoon-worthy and someone to root for.
Here are a few of my favorite acts of chivalry (many of which you’ll find in at least one, if not all, of my books):
- Holding the door. This could be a car door, a house door, a restaurant door, it doesn’t matter. Many years ago, when my husband and I had just started dating, a friend saw him hold a door open for me, and she got terribly offended on my behalf because clearly I am capable of opening a door for myself. I could only laugh because, to me, that act of opening the door was such an act of selflessness and care that it completely won me over. And to this day, my heart melts every time I see one of my boys (or my girls—let’s be fair, I love to see them put others first too) hold the door open for someone.
- Giving up his jacket, sweatshirt, etc. for her. I can’t help but include a scene like this in every single book I write (always in a different way and under different circumstances, of course), maybe because I’m always cold, and my husband will always give up his jacket or sweatshirt or mittens for me. (This is less of an issue now that we live in Texas, but I know he still would if I needed it.)
- Holding her coat for her. Related to giving up his coat, this one is also a sweet way for a guy to show that he’s thinking of her.
- Pulling out her chair. Okay, I admit I’m not sure if I’ve ever written this one, mostly because my characters tend to go on more casual dates, where there might not be an occasion to pull out a chair. And also because I always find it awkward myself to know how to scoot the chair back in after someone has pulled it out for me (it’s okay if you’re laughing at me now).
- Walking her to the door. Kind, caring—and also offers the perfect opportunity for a goodnight kiss!
- Giving her flowers. Ah, I love this one. Even though I always tell my husband not to buy me flowers, I can’t deny that it makes me smile when he does it anyway. Such a lovely way for a man to show that he is thinking about a woman.
- Kissing her forehead. Another of my favorites. Honestly, if I could write a book of all forehead kisses, I might, because I think they’re just so tender and protective.
- Paying the check. Okay, this is a controversial one, and my heroines do fight it in many of my books. I certainly don’t think the guy needs to be the one to pay every time, but since we’re talking chivalry, it’s sweet when they do pick up the bill (and it’s also sweet when they give in to the heroine’s demand to let her pay).
- Dancing with her. Just the other day, we were decorating the tree with the kids, Christmas music playing in the background, when my husband swept me into a dance. Dancing with him still makes me smile every time, as does a hero who dances with the heroine (and all the better if he’s a terribly awkward dancer).
As I was looking at this list, I realized that Joseph, the hero in my newest release, Pieces of Forever, checks most of these chivalry boxes. Plus, the most important: in his love of Ava and his willingness to put her first, he is a picture of Ephesians 5:25: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” That, to me, makes the perfect chivalrous hero.
Tell me, how do you feel about chivalry in contemporary romance (and real life)? Do you have a favorite act of chivalry?