In a dating scene that often complicates relationships and gender behaviours, and where many new dating sites seem to encourage casual hookups, a new dating website launched by a graduate from a top UK university plans to return to old-fashioned courting values, like the man making ‘the first move’. While many will applaud the website’s emphasis on traditional values, the dating portal could well raise questions of sexism and the perpetration of outdated concepts of dating behaviour. In a nod to the ideals of days past, the website features vintage black-and-white images of romantic couples, with the catchy handwritten slogan “good old-fashioned dating”. The portal aims to counter the notion that chivalry is dead in 2015.
Chivalrynotdead.com was set up by Oxford University graduate Beth Murtagh to counter the current trend for casual dating in the heterosexual community. Male users are required to initiate interest and conversations with females. Women are banned from approaching men they take a fancy too, apart from sending a handkerchief icon to men who spark their interest, which is meant to attract the potential husband or boyfriend’s interest. The handkerchief is an attempt by Murtagh to hark back to the Victorian era when ladies would only offer a would-be suitor a signal of their single status, while the Victorian gentleman was expected to woo and court her in return.
The site also features traditionally-inspired dating tips for men and women, but with the tips only visible to the gender they are written for.
Murtagh, who is also managing director of Chivalrynotdead.com’s holding company Gargery Ltd, said in a statement: “…it is particularly important in the era of hook up apps to bring romance back into the dating scene. The rules of chivalry are important, particularly for women, as they allow a woman time to assess how a date treats her and to negotiate how she would like to be treated in a relationship. I don’t see this as anti-feminist.” Newly developed apps like Tinder and its gay equivalent Grindr have taken the dating scene by storm, with their emphasis on appearances and quick fuss-free dating, but have caused alarm among exponents of traditional dating who say that they have cheapened love and relationships for the sake of a one-night stand.
Murtagh’s dating site has come in for particular criticism on social media such as Twitter, where it has been blasted as ‘sexist’ and ‘outdated’, although many have supported it in its ambition to bring chivalry back to dating. For those interested in signing up, member profiles are available for free until September, after which a monthly fee applies. Chivalrynotdead.com can also be followed on Twitter and Facebook.