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Wednesday, 7 August, 2002, 11:21 GMT 12:21 UK
Chivalry 'is no-win battle for men'
man and woman
One in 10 women would object to men opening the door
Manners may traditionally maketh the man, but in the 21st century chivalry is a questionable quality, according to a new study.

It found although most women - nine out of 10 - still enjoy the door being held open for them - many would be insulted if a man offered to pay for dinner.

The report by the Future Foundation revealed that in the 'post-feminist' age, the traditions of male etiquette are unclear.


It's practically impossible for men to get it right

Melanie Howard, Future Foundation

But by contrast, the survey among 1,000 people also suggests bringing back polite traditions such as greeting strangers in the street.

While the majority of those women questioned expected a man to hold open the door, the same could not be said for footing the bill at the restaurant.

Some 22% of women would object to a man paying for dinner, compared with 40% of men who would happily take up the tab.

The highest proportion against men paying came from the 25-34 age group.

Also, most of the 1,000 people interviewed though it was "ridiculous" for a man to stand up when a woman entered the room.

Tricky business

Sadly, for the male population getting the right balance between what is acceptable chivalry and over-stepping the mark is a tricky business.

Melanie Howard, from the Future Foundation, said: "It's practically impossible for men to get it right... It (the report) means that every tenth woman a man steps aside for is probably going to take offence, which is a pretty daunting thought."

According to the research, while most of us are pleased by a relaxing of formality and labelling, we would happily see a return of the "the golden days" when everyone had good manners and the definition of the sexes was clear cut.

Well over half those questioned - 65% - would like to see formal social introductions become commonplace.

And some 80% would like to see the custom of greeting strangers in the street reinstated.

Some went even further - a fifth thought male news readers on television should wear dinner jackets.

See also:

23 Jul 02 | Health
22 May 00 | UK
24 May 99 | Letter From America
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