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What is it about American boys today that makes them unique? To begin with, they aren't raised with the same values as foreigners. Compared to them, our American young men are selfish, disrespectful and flaky. In terms of relations with women, they have no sense of responsibility and scoff at chivalry, claiming it has long been over-used and outdated. Also, not wishing to offend a woman's sense of independence in this delicate age of women's liberation, American men refrain from simple acts of courtesy in an effort to make the grounds equal. Little do they know that these gracious feats were from the start created to pay homage to women and to demonstrate man's reverence for women. Unfortunately, many times when a man does perform his gentlemanly duties, a woman, misunderstanding the intent of such acts, will become flustered and offended because she feels a man is implying that she can't do whatever-it-is by herself. This whole mix-up in American culture is a lose-lose situation. Either a woman takes offense at the action because she feels the man thinks she is incapable or she takes offense because he has chosen not to act at all, therefore deciding against playing the part of a gentleman. Such misunderstanding leaves men baffled and bemused. So what should a man do to be a gentleman without hurting a woman's pride? Easy, do what civilized people have been doing for years: be chivalrous and take your chances. Good intentions shouldn't go unrecognized. And if the woman's smart, they won't.

What actions exhibit chivalry? Well, to begin with there's the most common, simple and effective deed: opening the door for the lady. As much as it goes without saying there are far too many American guys who just don't do it. Little do they know that following through with this one is a fast way to a girl's heart. What can I say? We melt at the little things. In America, we're not used to much up-scale treatment so when a guy takes the time to do something special for us, it's a big deal. Other noble acts include pulling out the chair for the girl, paying for the meal and walking on the inside of the street. All these things are meant to demonstrate a man's recognition of a woman as a lady.

In countries such as Mexico, Germany, France and just about any other Western nation, treating a woman with a high degree of respect and admiration is inherent to the culture. From a young age, men are taught how to treat a lady by their parents. When a woman gets on a crowded bus, a man gives up his seat. When a woman approaches the bar, someone buys her a drink. When a door is opened, the lady goes through first. It's the way things are done there and the way things have always been done. Another note, men seem to be much more protective of their girlfriends everywhere but here. Perhaps it is because the cultures they come from originated in strong patriarchal systems. In these systems, the men dominated the relationship. Here in America because equal rights have been so keenly emphasized, a woman dictates the direction of her life in and out of a relationship with a man. By dating a native Mexican, I discovered a lot of cultural differences like this. It is interesting to note that in Mexico it is the men who seem to expect commitment and who are quicker to be jealous. A young woman is valued as the man's property, not so much an object. By being his girlfriend, she is turf that other men aren't to step on. Mexicans deem the relationship between the genders uneven in that the lady is placed on a pedestal.

America was not based off of any one particular culture, but instead has blended beliefs from its many different backgrounds into a collage of colorful values. Sadly, these values that were instilled during the foundation of America have eroded over the decades, losing their potency and purpose. This is why in America, people depreciate the value of chivalry while in other countries, it is something demanded of the people. In America, being a gentleman no longer has much significance. When a man acts as such, it is usually not because society has called for it, but because his family has raised him to do so.

Today American men need to realize one thing and American women another. Men need to heed the examples of our foreign neighbors and carry out the chivalrous acts of yesterday. Not only will we, as women, respect you more, but your chances of our going out on another date with you should increase two-fold. Women: you need to recognize that a man's opening the door for you is not a mockery of your independence. The act translates to, "I admire you so much that I'm going out of my way to do this thing for you," not " I know you're a woman and women aren't capable so I'll take care of this for you." If relationships were based more on respect and affection instead of skepticism, there wouldn't be so much miscommunication. American guys, go ahead and impress us with the chivalry that so many say is overrated. You never know. It might just blow us away.

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