Monday, February 2, 2009

Chivalry Is Alive and Kicking in the Midwest

Back in July, I wrote a post about chivalry being dead on my morning commute. If you look back and read the post and then read the comments, you might see that the post wasn't received too well.

And I think I now realize why. It's because all our readers are from different parts of the country/world. When I wrote that post, I was making a sweeping generalization of all men being a-holes when commuting. So, I would like to revise my statement because back then I was commuting in and out of New York City on a daily basis. Since I moved back to Chicago, I've found my commuting experience to be completely and totally different than my experience out east. I have found that men in Chicago (and I'm going to guess most of the Midwest as well) are very chivalrous even in the mornings before they've had their coffee for the day. 

The one thing I have consistently told friends about how much I enjoy Chicago compared to NYC is how people here are so nice. I say this like I didn't grow up here, but I think having been out east for 6 years made me forget. 

I get in cabs, and the cab drivers ask me how my day is going or talk about the weather. (I was in a cab the other day, and the cab driver asked me if it was okay if he used his phone! I was so shocked, I almost didn't answer.) People smile at each other on the streets. People I don't even know say 'hi' to me. This obviously did not occur on a daily basis in New York.  In NYC, you avoid each other's eyes and if you do catch each other staring, you don't say 'hi'...you look away. 

But what has really shocked me is that all my gripes in my previous post on chivalry being dead have been proved wrong. On my commute in the Windy City, I have witnessed things I never thought I would get the chance to see. I have seen numerous (not just one, but many!) men give up their seats to elderly women, pregnant women, and sometimes women in general on the bus and on the L. Doors on the bus and at my office have been held open for me countless times. And at work, men make sure that women get on and off the elevator before them. 

This isn't to say I haven't seen some men not hold open doors, but for the most part I've been pleasantly surprised at how different men act during their commutes in Chicago as opposed to Hoboken or New York. 

And I have to say, I'm getting used to being treated like a lady. 

30 comments:

Working Girl One said...

it's like a whole 'nother world over there. i get body-checked by men and women on the 4 train every morning. awesome.

Tricia said...

I found that as well when I moved from NY to Cincinnati in my early 20's. Men at work always made sure women got off the elevator first AND held all doors. I was in culture shock. Now I'm back in NY (Albany) and it's back to less than chivalrous behavior most of the time.

Betsy said...

I am so thankful to be from the South. I can remember being in college and being six feet away from a classroom door and the guys would stop and hold the door. Ladies, if you are looking for chivalry, move to the south and I guarantee you will have problems finding a man with manners.

*Just Jen* said...

You should visit the SOUTH! When I went to Chicago the last time, I remember thinking how rude people were there. But I think that comes down to it just being a pretty busy city. I have never lived in a BIG city, but I do know when people from bif cities come down south they are amazed by the politeness of everyone in the south.

themanhattantransfer said...

A product of Southern hospitality, I am accustomed to having doors held open for me and a guy there hold my hand for balance when I get out of a car or a plane.

Living without those courtesies in New York definitely makes me appreciate it now!

Erin said...

It's hard for us spoiled midwestern girls to travel just about anywhere. When I was in New York the last time I began to think I must have a real princess complex...good to know it's them and not me ;-)

Sidenote,: Went to Maui last summer and was blown away by the kindness of Hawaiians. A. Ma. Zing.

A New Beginning said...

When I finally moved out of NYC this past April, I will say, I forgot how nice people are in other parts of the country. I had been almost conditioned to think every man was like the men I had come in contact with on a daily basis in NYC. Your post is so true, and resonates like a message that was sent to me the first day I stepped onto Indiana soil. I, all of a sudden, had people smile at me as I walked by them, hold doors open for me, and be genuine in their interest in how I was when they asked, "How are you doing today?".
Chivalry is alive and full of life in other places, but I too forgot that until I left NYC. I became conditioned to the latter, and am glad I realized that this wasn't the norm for the rest of the country. It was uplifting, and just makes you feel so good. I'm glad you too, have experienced this also.

GIRL FROM THE LAND of 10KL said...

I agree with your post---probably because I'm a midwestern girl. We're all minnesota nice =)

Have a great week!

Lindsay said...

That's so nice. When I was living in New York, I was lucky if anyway squeezed further into the subway car to let me in. Now that I live out west, I drive everywhere and rarely take public transportation. I'm not proud of this and miss living in a city with a good subway/bus system. Maybe I should head out to Chicago . . .

Mrs. D said...

I've never been to NY or Chicago (but I want to sooo bad) but if I ever do go I will probably be floored as well. I'm from TX, so I'm used to being treated like a lady. It's nice isn't it? :)

Vampy Varnish said...

My hubbie is southern (we live in the SF/Bay Area) and I am from here. He's definitely A LOT more chivalrous than most guys I grew up with and know. Something about those Southern gents! The men in SF seem to be fairly chivalrous though, I have to say people around here really aren't what I would call "friendly" in general with people they don't know.

A Dilettante's Perspective said...

This talk of "Southern Hospitality" must not apply to Tallahassee, Florida. I worked there for four years, and I have to say the DC folks, while not quite chivalrous, are a lot more considerate. I'm not sure if the men here are complete a-holes, because they just seem to be oblivious to their surroundings.

Laura said...

honestly?! Your probably one of those girls that expect guys to pick up the check all the time to aren't you? Listen, by virtue of this blog you're characterizing yourself as a professional woman... which means that you probably benifit from equality in the work place and wish there was more of it. Yet, you want special treatment, you want to be treated like a delicate flower of femininity. It drives me CRAZY. By all means, men should be polite, they should hold doors open for people as should YOU. You should give your seat to the elderly/disabled/pregnant becase you are young and your body is sound and its the right thing to do.

Anyways, Im sorry to come to your blog and rant, its just one of my biggest pet peeves as a woman, that other women seem to enjoy equality and strive for it then expect special treatment based on their sex.

Doublebanker said...

It is very rude for a cab driver to talk on the phone...and probably a little unsafe.

Cat walks on water

Jen Of All Trades said...

You obviously don't take Metra. I take it mid-afternoon - which is NOT high traffic time - and the people trying to get off from the upper level somehow feel it their God given right to get off before the lower level folks. Perhaps I am seeing a psychological pattern in the passengers here: feel higher than the rest, sit higher than the rest. But its only those on the lower level that will graciously gesture someone ahead of them. Or maybe its just the a-holes on my particular train. I don't know.

TudorCity Girl said...

Wow. There IS hope!!! That is great to hear. I am about ready to give up on men in NYC. I've always loved Chicago.. Perhaps I should move out there! Rent is less too.
:)
Very interesting post.

TCG
tudorcitygirl.blogspot.com

Ms. Salti said...

How refreshing it must be... almost a whole new world! Guys in Utah are split down the middle. Some are chivalrous, some are not. I prefer the ones that are, but they all seem to have been swept up already! I'm left with all the a-holes! Except, of course, for those gentlemen who are with their women, who hold the doors for other women as well! And now I'm rambling...

Working Girl Two said...

Laura - I see your frustration and to a point I agree with you. As professional women, we strive for equality in the workplace, but I guess I don't personally see how having the elevator door not close in my face in the morning or a door being held open for me make me want to be a delicate flower and therefore less of a professional. Like you said, men and women alike should be nice. Hold that elevator door, give up your seat on the bus. They are just nice things to do...and I guess I rarely saw them being done while I was in NYC and remarking how people are charasterically different in Chicago, particularly men.

I am not in fact one of those girls who expects her date to pay for her - in fact, I went on a date a few weeks ago and we split the check. And when I lived in New York, I frequently would give up my seat on the train or bus to elderly men or women and sometimes people would get annoyed that I did this because it means that I would then have to stand, taking precious space that they had deemed theirs.

I think my post was merely trying to say, hey, let's be nicer to the human race... in particular on our morning commute.

Bayjb said...

Yeah people are a mix of big city mean and Minnesota/Midwest nice. It's refreshing. If you're in Chicago we should meet up! I always love meeting local bloggers.

E said...

Great post! I'm from the south so I'm used to people being nice and making eye contact and stuff. Glad you are being treated well! :)

Maki said...

Aw that is nice that gentlemen in Windy City are nice.

I lived in NJ (about 30 mins to the city) for a year in 2007, but my experience with people there were fairly good. Although once I stepped in the city, the air got so uptight and everyone was all busy pacing themselves....

I grew up in Hawaii, so being friendly to strangers are ordinal thing and I don't know why it's so hard for some people - I wish eveyone is like that, so that we can all live happy!!!

Sunny said...

Catch an award :)

Fabulously Broke said...

That's something I couldn't get used to in Dallas either..

But I LOVE IT!

Fabulously Broke in the City

"Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver."

Cal said...

Ah yes...I love living in the Midwest! I am so used to men opening doors here in the Twin Cities that I've almost run into a door when a guy I was with didn't open it for me...spoiled rotten :)

Masood said...

Your generalization (in this post and the earlier one) was for commuters in America. Let me tell you, this is the case even in other parts of the world, namely the Middle East. I work in Dubai and chivalry is very much alive and kicking here.

Women are always invited to get off elevators before others with someone always holding the door, seats vacated in buses and public places for them, cars stop mid-road to allow them to cross, doors opened and held open & it's always the men who move off a women's walking path, be it on the streets, malls or offices!

And to tell you the truth, I am proud of being part of this chivalry brigade! :)

Big Red said...

It is so true. Guys in the Midwest and the South (where I am originally from) are most certainly more gentlemanly. A guy can be a complete douche, but her will still open the door for you or give up their seat. Guys in L.A. aren't chivalrous. Any guy who opens the door for me, automatically gets me to ask him where he is from, and most of the time, its from the South or Midwest.

Mommy2lilgems said...

Thanks for this. I live and work in Chicago and sometimes get so spoiled I tend to take it for granted. You're right, though, our midwestern boys are made uf pretty good stuff, and I'm thankful for that!

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with everything you said in this post. I am from Illinois, yet I live three hours south of Chicago on a farm.. and the guys are very nice and chivalrous! I also go to college in South Carolina.. and the guys are the same... yes, southern girls. You can all just calm down on your southern bliss. Its not just the south... I am sorry but being around overly proud southerners for 4 years just makes me want to tell everyone that the the only difference is how they talk and what they eat... no offense!

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