Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

Men and women: Can you answer some questions about etiquette on a date, with your significant other, and just in general?

Asked by JLeslie (47245 points ) December 15th, 2009

I am curious to know what men do, and what women expect, so please state your gender and if it is how you act or what you expect—all of the time, only when on a date, or from your long-time SO as well. Thanks ahead of time.

1. Men do you pull out a chair for a woman? Women do you expect it?
2. Open a door for a woman?
3. Open the car door for a woman getting in and out?
4. Walk a woman to her care if she drove separately or walk/drive her home (whichever applies)?
5. Help a woman on with her coat?
6. Always pay for a woman’s meal?
7. Walk on the street side of the sidewalk?

Women, I also want to know, if you go on a first date and the man fails to do many of these things is that a make or break reason to go on a second date?

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40 Answers

CMaz's avatar

All the above is what I usually do. Unless she feels different.

gemiwing's avatar

I’m a woman.

1— No, I can seat myself.
2— Yes, if you reach the door first. There’s no need to run ahead of me.
4 (3?)- Yes please open my car door because you have the keys and it’s cold out here.
5— Yes please walk me to the car because it’s safer in a group.
6-No, I can dress myself and sleeves are tricky things when someone else does them.
7-No, and Yes. It depends on our agreement.
8-No, just walk next to me.

What breaks a second date chance for me is if you talk about how crappy your ex is, talk about what sexual acts you like, try to feel me up, are abusive in nature, have poor social skills (not from medical reasons), eat loudly or are rude in any way to the waitstaff.

Spirit_of_the_Nomad's avatar

I don’t expect or really want a man to do these things for me; I really appreciate it if he does but it really depends on whether or not he’s being himself or if he’s forcing chivalry. If he just happens to do these things as part of his pattern of behavior I will not discourage it but if he doesn’t and we still hit it off that’s fine. When I go on a date I’m not looking for someone to take care of me, I’ve been doing that myself for years, but for a companion with which I can share mutual respect and admiration.

tinyfaery's avatar

Do you want my opinion? It has nothing to do with the differences between the sexes.

JLeslie's avatar

Here are my answers:

I am a woman.

1. I prefer a man pull out my chair and push it in when I sit when I am at a formal occasion.
2. I don’t care either way.
3. I do like to have my car door opened for me, if I am dressed up. It can be difficult to get in and out of some cars and it is nice to have hand to help.
4. I think all men should make sure a woman is safely in her car, or see her safely home, whichever applies.
5. Yes, help me with my coat. I will help you with yours.
6. This is hard for me to answer, because I think it depends on the situation. If it is a first date, but you have met before and know you kind of hit it off, I would expect the man to pay. If it was a get to know you date I would think dutch is fine.
7. Not necessary, but I nice gesture.

Missing one of these would not make or break how I feel about someone on date, but if he missed doing a lot of them it would bother me.

My husband still does most of these most of the time.

Likeradar's avatar

I’m a female.
1. I don’t expect a man to pull my chair out for me. However, my guy does it when we go out to particularly nice places and I like it a lot on occasion. It’s a nice way to show a girl you have manners.

2. I expect a man to open the door for me if he gets there first. I open it if I get there first. A guy not holding a door for me if he gets there first is a 2nd date deal breaker.

3. I can open my own car door, and don’t expect a man to do it for me. My guy does it on rare occasion, and it’s a nice treat.

4. I expect to be walked home or to my car (or for him to offer- I might turn him down if I feel safe), whether I’m with my long term SO, a date, or a guy friend.

5. Only if I’m struggling somehow. I’m a big girl, I can get dressed. :)

6. No. It’s a nice treat, but I don’t expect my meals to always be paid for. If he asks, he should be prepared to pay. When I was dating and I asked, I would pay. I like a guy to pay for the 1st date though, It’s old fashioned and I have no excuse for liking it, but I do.

7. Meh. And I feel safer with me being on the street side because of all the dark alleys in my city.

jrpowell's avatar

I have a penis.

1. Men do you pull out a chair for a woman? Women do you expect it? I don’t, they are old enough to manage this on their own.
2. Open a door for a woman? If I am there first. I do it for strangers that are male too.
3. Open the car door for a woman getting in and out? Nope, I don’t drive.
4. Walk a woman to her care if she drove separately or walk/drive her home (whichever applies)? Yes
5. Help a woman on with her coat? I just put my own coat on. It wasn’t that hard.
6. Always pay for a woman’s meal? 99% of the time.
7. Walk on the street side of the sidewalk? I’m a lefty so hand holding is best if I am on the right.

JLeslie's avatar

@tinyfaery I agree with you. I should have just used SO, new date, or acknowledged homosexuals. Thank you for pointing it out. Although, #6 and #7 would probably not apply at all then. But, what still applies is how you feel in general, even outside of a relationship. If you have zero expectations of men holding doors open for women or paying, etc. I am assuming you don’t.

simplicity's avatar

1. Only if I want to watch her fall on the floor… oh go on or its a fairly formal setting.
2. I open doors for anyone and everyone if I get there first.
3. If its raining
4. Always make sure the lady is left in a safe location.
5. If she looks like she needs it.
6. WTF??? No way I don’t go out with scroungers.
7. Yes I do always do this. My grandma told me about this when I was a very young boy and it’s stuck. I just don’t feel right on the other side, not right at all.

JLeslie's avatar

follow up…if you have children do you teach them these things, even if you don’t really care about them?

deni's avatar

1. i dont expect him to pull out my chair
2. if he gets to the door first then that would be nice, otherwise i’d hold it open for him, or anyone else that might be behind/with me
3. not expected
4. it is nice to be walked to your car, or driven home. basically just in a safe spot.
5. not expected
6. with the meal it does depend. i dont mind paying for my share, or, after we’ve been dating a while, both of us. but not all the time, and on one of the first few dates i do believe the guy should pay. i dont expect it all the time, but it is nice.
7. hm. never thought about it. doesnt really matter i guess.

if a guy did none of these on one of our first dates i would scratch my head. but there are many other factors that go into me liking him too (read: if he’s jewish). lolol jk jk

Snarp's avatar

Male. My SO is my wife, we have a toddler. For the most part all bets are off. We have to divide and conquer to get things done, which makes some of this impossible. I have answered without reading other responses to avoid influencing my answer.

1. Men do you pull out a chair for a woman? Rarely. Women are generally not prepared for you to do this. I think it would be a good idea on a date, and I try to do it for older women and at restaurants.
2. Open a door for a woman? Always, even with toddler I try.
3. Open the car door for a woman getting in and out? In, not out. I’ve never had a woman give me a chance to open for her to get out. When the child is along, not likely.
4. Walk a woman to her care if she drove separately or walk/drive her home (whichever applies)? Always, no exceptions.
5. Help a woman on with her coat? Sometimes, but again, women no longer allow this opportunity very often.
6. Always pay for a woman’s meal? Yes.
7. Walk on the street side of the sidewalk? No. That’s an awfully archaic norm, and the amount of maneuvering one would have to do to accomplish it with the modern woman is prohibitive. Besides, the real reason for this was so the woman would get the washwater dumped on her head from apartments above instead of the man. This is not chivalrous.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I don’t have a problem being treated that way.It’s all very nice,but not required ;)The only deal breaker would be if he didn’t see me to my car or walk me home.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

—1. Men do you pull out a chair for a woman? Women do you expect it?
2. Open a door for a woman?
3. Open the car door for a woman getting in and out?
4. Walk a woman to her care if she drove separately or walk/drive her home (whichever applies)?
5. Help a woman on with her coat?
6. Always pay for a woman’s meal?
7. Walk on the street side of the sidewalk?—

To answer all of these questions with a single, all-inclusive answer: I prefer to treat her at least as well as, and hopefully better than, she ever expects. So, while I may not pull out her chair for her at a table if the waiter does it, I wait for her to be seated first. I rise when she enters the room or stands from the table. I always open and close the car door for her (as I explained, and she accepts, it gives me one more chance to be that near to her, perhaps to kiss her again, and to make sure that she won’t be stepping into a puddle—or worse—getting in or out of the car). As for paying, and where and how I walk with her (every chance I get, so of course I walk her to her car!), I just do what seems called for at the time.

tinyfaery's avatar

1. No. I do not expect it from anyone, nor do I want it. It’s awkward.
2. I open the door for everyone. I don’t expect anyone to open the door for me.
3. No. Unless, of course, they are disabled in some way.
4. I don’t like anyone walking alone, especially at night. But I’m not much of a protector. I see no good in me walking anyone, anywhere.
5. No. If someone is wearing a coat I am going to assume that person has arms.
6. The person who asks for the date pays for it, unless other arrangements have been made.
7. That’s just dumb. Is the outside person going to single handedly stop a car?

I am very gald to be outside of gender and sex norms. Why should expectations be placed on someone just because of their sex?

Jude's avatar

Possessing two X chromosomes (and a lesbian to boot)

1. Ladies do you pull out a chair for a woman? Do you expect it in return? With my girl and I, neither her nor I do this.
2. Open a door for a woman? I do hold the door open for her, always. I would be nice to get that in return, and she does (I open the door for everyone, though. My g/f thinks that it’s because I ’“am a nice, Canadian girl”, ha).
3. Open the car door for a woman getting in and out? No
4. Walk a woman to her car if she drove separately or walk/drive her home (whichever applies)? Always
5. Help a woman on with her coat? No
6. Always pay for a woman’s meal? Sometimes, I treat. Sometimes, she does. Or, we’ll pay for our own.
7. Walk on the street side of the sidewalk? I agree with tinyfaery. We walk hand in hand (most places), and we don’t always walk on the same side (of one another).

Women, I also want to know, if you go on a first date and the man fails to do many of these things is that a make or break reason to go on a second date?

It’s not a deal breaker. I think that’s it’s charming, though. It’s usually an unexpected and pleasant surprise.

Blackberry's avatar

I’m a male and I only do 2, and sometimes 3. This is a modern society, women are equal and I don’t think I should have to kiss so much ass that I’ve become a pushover to my mate, all of those seem absurd. Some women don’t even like to be treated this way.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

I live in Britain…...if a British man did any of the above…..women would think they were in the Twilight Zone or hallucinating.

As an American, if any American man did these things for me…...it would help his cause for a second date tremendously…..but unless he was downright rude….and a jerk….it would not be make or break.

nebule's avatar

1. Men do you pull out a chair for a woman? Women do you expect it? Please No.
2. Open a door for a woman? Yes Please
3. Open the car door for a woman getting in and out? In;yes, Out; no
4. Walk a woman to her car if she drove separately or walk/drive her home (whichever applies)? Yes..I’d like either of those if i like the guy
5. Help a woman on with her coat? No I’m fine with my coat thank you
6. Always pay for a woman’s meal? Not necessarily, but state from the outset whether you would like to… if you don’t it will be presumed we’re going halves…
7. Walk on the street side of the sidewalk? Yes I think I’d like that… but it wouldn’t be a deal breaker

Women, I also want to know, if you go on a first date and the man fails to do many of these things is that a make or break reason to go on a second date? Every little helps… If he did everything the opposite way round to what i’d like…I’d would be worried… and if a man walked through the door first… he’d be gone too. If he expected me to pick up the meal I would run a mile…. everything else is negotiable

Haleth's avatar

I’m a woman.
1. Having the chair pulled out for me would make me feel kind of uncomfortable. It’s just a little too much.

2. Which ever of us gets to the door first should hold it open. I don’t want a guy to run around ahead of me just to get the door, and I wouldn’t do that either. I just think people should hold the door open in general if someone is walking in behind them.

3. I think this is a really formal thing to do, like the person was self-consciously trying to be chivalrous to impress me. It just sets a tense and icky tone for the date.

4. I’m all for walking to the car, because this is a legitimate safety issue. I always try to travel in groups when I’m out after dark with my female friends, and we call each other once we’ve made it home. I don’t drive, and I take public transit all the time after dark. I think this is a lot safer than walking alone in a dark parking lot to a car, because public transit is well-lit and there are other passengers around. I can understand being picked up and dropped off if you go somewhere that you have to drive to get there, but otherwise I’d rather get around on my own.

5. No. Eww. This makes putting on a coat take like twice as long. I successfully put my coat on every other day without help, and I don’t need it now.

6. I’d rather treat sometimes. You can pay for dinner, but I’ll get the movie, or something like that. We should both be able to do nice things for each other. The expectations that come with paying for the meal all the time are one of the reasons I don’t like Valentines day. The man is supposed to come up with a great dinner, buy a nice gift, or make some sweeping romantic gesture, and then the couple has sex afterward. What if you don’t want to follow that script, or don’t want to have sex just because you’re “supposed” to?

7. Streets are pretty clean nowadays, but I doubt that if something came at us from the street you could protect me with your body. If someone drove through a mud puddle, some of it will probably still get on me. If a car crashes onto the sidewalk, I don’t think you will save me by being a human shield. Plus it seems like a constant reminder of gender roles, because every time we turned a corner, he would have to position himself to walk next to the street. So no.

Women, I also want to know, if you go on a first date and the man fails to do many of these things is that a make or break reason to go on a second date?
Like I said in another post, if a guy did some very traditional chivalrous things, I would think it was very off-putting. Being considerate and being chivalrous aren’t really the same thing anymore. Consideration goes both ways, but chivalry puts me on edge because it makes me wonder if a guy will be old-fashioned in other ways that aren’t so nice.

JLeslie's avatar

@Blackberry Some of it is just a practical thing, you are not teatering in heels and wearing a dress trying to get in and out of my husband sportscar. I also think it nice when men help me get my carry-on into the overhead compartment on the airplane, they are taller and stronger. It is almost no effort for a man, and a lot of effort for me. Some of these chivalry rules were created out of practicality. But, as @tinyfaery pointed out it is not just a gender thing. If I am with a girlfriend and she needs help, I help her too.

CMaz's avatar

Wow, lots of wordiness.

Just to express a little respect for another person who you apparently enjoy their company and want to show it.

If it works good if it does not. I hope what ever you do, translates well. Or I am guessing it will be the last date.

Snarp's avatar

The fact that many women are saying they don’t want the man to run ahead to open the door shows that women don’t expect many of these things. When I was growing up, women would slow down as they approached the door and wait for it to be opened. There was no need to run ahead. Same with the coat, women don’t create the space for this to happen anymore. Also true of helping out of the car. If a man is driving, he should open her door to let her in first. He should make some effort to be first to the door and hold it open, but not so much effort that it is awkward. He should follow her cues on the rest. If the woman gets to the door first, then she didn’t want you to open it for her. If she waits, you’d better open it. If she gets out of the car, then you aren’t expected to open the car door, but if she’s still in the car you had better get around and open the door. If she doesn’t make a move for her coat, you should pick it up. She will either put out her hand to take it, or turn around to be helped in, and you should read those signals. If you have to maneuver to get on the street side, then you shouldn’t bother, if she steps in or if you get to easily decide, then go street side.

So, to summarize, most of it is about reading some really clear signals from the woman, the rest is common courtesy that should be obvious to anyone.

moley_thecontrarydragon's avatar

@Snarp This is a minefield for men nowadays,damned if they do and damned if they dont.
It is really nice that a man would be willing to make sense of body language and to read what is wanted.
To answer the question, none of these would be a deal breaker for me assuming I was not left scuttling after him if he got out of the car and hurried in front of me leaving me to catch up. Letting a door shut in my face would be a deal breaker but if I get there first, I will open it. I like old fashioned courtesy but it isnt the most important thing if he is generally polite and well mannered. If he is polite to waiters etc and eats with his mouth closed.this is more important .

CMaz's avatar

@Snarp – GA.

strange1's avatar

1. no
2. yes always
3.no
4. yes if the place is dodgy
5.no
6. depends on the arrangement
7.thats something ive always done even with my kids makes me mad when i see parents not doing that funny thing is no-ne ever taught me this.

JessicaisinLove's avatar

Yes to everything.

Siren's avatar

I don’t expect anything (1 through 7) but it’s a pleasant surprise when it happens, especially the car door thing.

Sometimes it’s very helpful if you are all dressed up and someone opens your car door for you, opens doors for you, helps you on with your coat, and so on.

It definitely gets my attention if a male or SO does that for me, more because it’s a nice gesture more than anything else.

lonelydragon's avatar

1–3, 5, and 7 are not necessary, but they’re nice gestures. As for 6, I don’t expect him to pay for every date. I think that, ideally, dates should be 50/50 in terms of who pays. If that’s not possible, then the person with a higher income should pay for most of the dates.

I do place high importance on 4 because that shows concern for my safety, and that he might even be interested enough to want to prolong the moments before my departure. What can I say, even dragons can have a romantic side!

Cruiser's avatar

I treat my woman as a lady should be treated. Though the hard fast rules of etiquette are cumbersome in today’s busy world. I will open a door for my lady and often she will return the favor. On dates in particular, special times deserve special treatment.

Naked_Homer's avatar

Great question. I am a male, soon to be 41 and will be forced into the dating seen in about 1 month.

1. Men do you pull out a chair for a woman? If there is a chair to I will move over to make sure there are no difficulties and help yes.

2. Open a door for a woman? I like to. I was raise that it was a sign to show you appreciate their company. I do it out of politeness for everyone. It has nothing, zero to do with thinking the woman is incapable.

3. Open the car door for a woman getting in and out? I walk around when they get out, and close it for them, also as a gesture to move near them and show my interest in their company.

4. Walk a woman to her care if she drove separately or walk/drive her home (whichever applies)? For SURE walk her and then, if refused offer to stand on the stoop with clear understanding nothing tried.

5. Help a woman on with her coat? I will get her coat for her and ask if she needs help or would like me to hold anything. At that point I feel odd. If it is formal I would be more inclined. I did it for 13 years for my soon to be ex and she never seemed to care.

6. Always pay for a woman’s meal? Not always. If I asked her out I would do so in a manner that made it clear I intended to pay for dinner. I wouldn’t exclude her paying for coffee after if she offered, but if she agreed to dinner I would hope that she would let me pay. In the end I wouldn’t argue. It probably means (I do NOT want this guy thinking he has a chance).

7. Walk on the street side of the sidewalk? I was told when I was 9 to do this and it stuck. It feels odd not to.

In the end though the thing that feels right at the moment, the thing that feels most natural is what I do. I want to be me. @spirit of the nomad, what you said.

Pazza's avatar

I believe in equality…...
Nuff said.

(I’m married, so generally I just do as I’m told!)

SuperMouse's avatar

1. He does not pull out the chair for me – no man ever has – therefore I do not expect it.
2. He does open the door if he can. If there is an automatic door he presses it and always waits for me to enter first. Otherwise I hold the door for him out of necessity.
3. No man I have ever dated or been married to has ever opened the car door for me. I must admit though, I do find it sweet when my father does it for his wife.
4. He does indeed escort me to my car if we are parked far apart.
5. He does not help me with my coat, no man ever has.
6. We usually take turns paying for meals.
7. He does always insist that he be on the street side of the sidewalk. It makes me smile.

I knew a guy in high school who professed to be on a mission to restore chivalry. He did all the things you listed and then some. I’m talking this is a guy who, if given the chance, would throw his coat over a puddle for a woman. However, the one time we went to lunch when it came time to pay, dude didn’t even move for his wallet.

interjection's avatar

I am female.
1. I do not expect a chair to be pulled out for me.
2. Doors should be held for everyone. I hold doors for people, and I expect the same in return.
3. Getting into a cab, open the door for me and helping me in is fine, not expected but fine. It is not needed to help me out of the car.
4. Walk a woman to her car, and walk her to her house. At the very least offer. It makes me personally feel safe. But it has to be within reason, if you are going to walk 40 blocks with me back to my house, that’s creepy.
5. If you went to the coat check to get them, holding the coat open for me to put it on is nice. but not expected. though if I’m already starting to put it on, please do not dive into the coat to help me. I’ve been dressing myself for quiet sometime now, and I think I’ll be able to manage fitting my arms into the sleeves.
6. First date? yes. any other time, please lets not break the bank, I would like to pay sometime.
7. No.

This isn’t make or break it. Please and thank yous are much more important and the way he carries himself and his politeness to other people as well.

hearkat's avatar

Female, 43, single.

The only one of those that would matter to me would be walking me to the car – or at least offering to do so. Usually, I would decline, but if I am in an unfamiliar area, I might feel more comfortable if the gentleman accompanied me. I would then offer to drive him back to where he is parked.

I find helping with the chair to be awkward; helping with the coat is only useful if I’m all dolled-up and the outfit limits my range if motion (not likely to ever happen, since comfort outranks cute in my world; but if it did, I’d appreciate the help).

I believe that whoever gets to the door first should open it and hold it for others. I don’t have a problem if I open the door, and he holds it behind me, allowing me to proceed through first. (I hope I described that well… I’m a bit overtired.)

I think that whomever is driving should unlock the passenger’s door first (if they aren’t automatic). It is not necessary to open the door and close it behind me. Again, I’ve always found this awkward. Helping me out if the car is again wardrobe dependent…

I never consider who is walking on the street-side, unless I am with a child.

I believe that whomever extended the invitation and made the plans should be the one to pick up the tab. As a relationship progresses, if he gets dinner, them I’ll pay for the movie and coffee after (for example).

Sorry if I went out of order… it’s a pain scrolling up – and especially back down – on the iPhone

LeotCol's avatar

I am male

1. I wouldn’t really pull out a chair for my girlfriend I think
thats going a bit far.

2. I would open a door for her all the time

3. I occasionally open the car door for her entering the car but not exiting

4. I walk her home all the time

5. Only if she was having some sort of severe coat malfunction lol

6. We are fairly even in terms of paying for meals. Sometimes I cover it and sometimes she does
But if I wasn’t such a broke bum then I’d gladly cover it all the time. On a big date I’d cover it.

7. I’m not sure it makes much of a difference what side of the sidewalk your on….

aprilsimnel's avatar

I am a woman.

1. It’s nice when it happens.

2. If he reaches it first.

3. In, sure. Out, no.

4. Yes. It makes me feel as though he cares about my safety.

5. Unnecessary, but it’s nice when it happens.

6. First couple of dates is OK, after that I’d prefer sharing the cost. I was taught to pay my share, even on the first date, or else the man will think I’m easy and expect sexual favours. Imagine my surprise when a man paid and didn’t pressure me for sex within 20 minutes. Blew my mind.

7. Doesn’t matter. It’s not as if the horses are kicking up dust near the kerb anymore!

JLeslie's avatar

I was prompted to ask this question, because a close friend of mine had been on a first date and she was annoyed that the guy did not hold the door (she did not care that he walked through first, but then he let it close on her), did not help her with her coat, and did not walk her to her car. If it had been one thing she probably would not have made a big deal about it, but to her it was like at every opportunity for him to do some sort of helpful gesture he missed it. I have heard people complain that some of these etiquette expectations have gone by the wayside, especially among younger people.

Thanks for all of your answers! :)

Sarcasm's avatar

As a socially inept male, I’ll say the following:
1) I won’t pull the chair out for people.
2) I would hold a door open for anyone, whether romantically interested or not.
3) I would not go out of my way to open a car door. It feels too Chauffeur-ish.
4) I’d walk her to her car if I was interested in talking to her for that much longer.
5) I can’t imagine helping someone with their coat. I literally cannot think of the logistics in order to pull off such a feat.
6) If a relationship is supposed to be all about equality, then if I pay for her meal, she better pay for my meal next time. That goes for anybody, romantically interested or not.
7) To protect her from the mud puddles of soggy San Diego? I don’t think this question really fits for someone living in SoCal.

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