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Vox popping your way to success

September 30, 2010

This week saw my first attempt at a new and essential area of journalism – the greatly resented vox pop. In terms of journalistic aspirations, I can’t say that being a professional ‘vox popper’ would be high on my list, but it did give each of us a chance to communicate with the people in our local area and listen to their opinions and feelings on a number of issues.

Following an article that had appeared in that day’s Metro which detailed a lack of chivalrous modern gentlemen, we decided to hit the streets of Angel in order to find out what local residents feel makes the perfect modern gentleman.

Is chivalry well and truly dead?

Women no longer expect to act like courteous gentlemen, a recent study has found.

The survey, which was conducted by retailer Austin Reed, showed that many women and men believe their busy day-to-day schedules do not allow the time for truly romantic acts. Chivalrous gestures such as giving a woman your coat, or offering to pay for her meal, have been replaced by the odd caring Facebook message and a few ‘loving’ texts.

We went to Upper Street in Angel to find out your views on whether chivalry and true romance are still possible in this busy day and age.

Mary Jakes, 54, a saleswoman from Holloway Road, Islington, said: ‘To be honest I think romance is dead. Real gentlemen don’t exist anymore. I can’t remember the last time a man gave up his seat for me on the bus, or held the door open for me. I’ve given up hope! Although I do think you get the occasional gem. Someone who goes out of their way to wine and dine a lady, buy her roses and all the other things that we women deserve.’

Odette Edwards, 20, a student from Newington Green, Islington, said: ‘I think it’s really nice when a guy takes the time to text you, especially if he says something nice. A text asking whether you can pick up some milk wouldn’t be too romantic though! Boys can act like gentlemen without having to go out of their way to act old-fashioned. It would be nice if a guy held open the door for me but I definitely don’t expect it!’

Buster Reece, 23, a charity worker from Old Street, Islington, said: ‘I’d hold open the door for anyone, not just a girl; I’d do it for strangers. It’s common courtesy isn’t it? It doesn’t take much to be polite and it doesn’t really take any time to hold open a door. Besides, you can make time for anything if you really want to do it. I haven’t really done anything romantic for my girlfriend yet but I always hold the door for her, even if she doesn’t expect it.’

Tanya Kearns, 16, a student from Holloway Road, Islington, said: ‘I really don’t think guys even realise that women care whether or not they hold the door open, it just doesn’t even occur to most of them. I’m not sure if I would be bothered if a guy held a door for me although I’d definitely be seriously annoyed if he slammed it in my face! I think what women really care about is that a guy is trustworthy and thinks about her feelings before his and his mates. So many blokes nowadays care more about their reputation with their friends so they won’t go out of their way to be openly romantic to a girl.’

Jonathan Kender, 59, an accountant from North Finchley, said: ‘The fact that this matter has even come to light is appalling! Can a text message ever really be considered as an act of romance? It takes no thought really, does it? Holding the door open, offering a woman your jacket, these are acts of respect which all gentlemen should be doing. Simple things that make a woman feel special, that’s real romance and consideration. I don’t think chivalry will ever die, as long as there are always those ready to keep it alive and I most certainly am one of them!’

Alejandro Sacco, 22, a journalist from Barnet, said: ‘You should definitely hold doors open for people, not just for women, for everyone. It’s polite. I think that chivalry should be kept alive in whatever way possible, even texts. A text can be romantic if it says something nice and caring. I like to think that people still surprise each other and do loving things like buy flowers and chocolates, everybody loves unexpected surprises like that. ’

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