To quote a famous comedian, "Chivalry is dead... and women killed it."
While most of us can cite specific examples of chivalry here and there, I would argue that, on the whole, it is a left-over remnant of a society that has basically ceased to exist for the past 40-50 odd years. Chivalrous acts by men (holding the door open, giving up a seat to a woman on the subway, etc.) signal that men and women occupy distinct places in society, and that men are the protectors and providers for women. Since the triumph of the feminist revolution and the entrance of women into the workplace as the equals of men (now, even on the front lines of battle), chivalrous gestures no longer make any sense in a world where men are not regarded by society as the protectors and providers for women.
I am a medical student who works in a hospital, and I can attest that if I went around opening doors for female doctors and nurses, many of them would regard that gesture with suspicion, even as insulting to them. I can't say I blame them-- medicine is very hierarchical, and for a student to imply through his actions that he is in some way above his superiors is a big no-no.
So it is very confusing for men to know when chivalry is appropriate in today's society-- when it will be appreciated, and when it may be met with confusion, contempt, and even hostitily.
I know what you are saying here Dave, I see it sometimes with my colleagues. One day one female friend became all offended when a gentleman held the door for us. I thanked him and she was complaining and I finally turned to her and said, it is such a shame that you can't appreciate courtesy, no matter who offers it. I think women who considered chivalry chauvanistic need to rephrase it in their own mind and accept it as neutral gender courtesy. I for one love it and I definitely try to extend courtesy as well.
I work with a large number of researchers from Peru. And, they maintain a very congenial, proper Old World sense of chivalry and it is such a breath of fresh air to meet someone and be greeted pleasantly and warmly, to have someone wait for you to enter an elevator or through a door who will defer to you for seat and speak courteously at all times. I find that acting warmly and courteously to others generally is received well and returned in kind.
When my son graduated from Marine boot camp eight years ago, my mother, one of my brother's and his family and my family all went to be a part of the festivities. They are taught as part of their training proper etiquette. They offer their arm to the eldest unescorted female, adjust their gait to theirs, etc. I was most impressed and his grandmother was of course delighted with what a fine gentleman her oldest grandson was. :-). Outside they would stand to keep the sun off of the person they were escorting, etc. Little details.
Language however was not really on the list evidently. I made a playful comment about how wonderful it was that they had taught them all of these fine points, I thought they might have worked on his language too. He grinned his ornery grin and said oh mom I went to the wrong place for that. Sure enough shortly after we headed over to meet the Drill Instructors, I was coming up behind them and they didn't see me. They were carrying on quite a colorful conversation with each other. I cleared my throat, and as soon as they saw me, it was all apologies and buttoned up behavior. Made me grin, lol.