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TikTok’s ‘Sidewalk Rule’ Is Proving Chivalry Isn’t Dead (And Women Deserve Better)

Have you heard of the “sidewalk rule?” If you’ve been in the relationship and dating side of TikTok lately, it might have popped up in your FYP. For people who are familiar with the old school rules of etiquette and chivalry, the sidewalk rule is nothing new. While it may border on sexist, many are using it as a little green flag that a guy is a great catch. Here’s everything you need to know about this old-school dating–and life in general–trend.

What is the sidewalk rule?

Vladimir Kudinov

Ask any of your older relatives and they’ll tell you. The Sidewalk Rule is an etiquette rule about how you walk on a sidewalk. Most traditionally, it means that, when a man and woman are walking together, the man should be on the side of traffic. If there isn’t a ton of room and you have to go single file, the man walks in front with the woman shortly behind.

Sounds archaic, right? Here’s the reasoning behind it: If a car jumps the curb and starts barreling toward you, the man would get the brunt of the impact. Or, in the case of a rainy day, he’ll get blasted with dirty street water while you stay fresh and clean under your pretty umbrella.

Is it sexist? Or is it a green flag?

Does the sidewalk rule remind you of anything? It has the same energy as men holding the door open for women. Just like the latter has debates about its potential for sexism, so does the sidewalk rule. Ultimately, it’s a polite and chivalrous act–and men aren’t the only ones encouraged to walk street-side. Moms will walk on the side closest to the street to protect their young kids. Younger adults will walk street-side to protect their elderly counterparts. It’s about keeping the people you care about safe.

Yet here it is, being the talk of TikTok. Why? Because being considerate is hot. A man showing he cares about your safety by quietly placing himself in harm’s way is a green flag. It’s the little things that show us who people really are, and this one can be added to the list of must-haves purely for considerateness alone. Heck, it’s even got people bringing up examples of the sidewalk rule in popular culture, like this clip of Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock from the 2009 rom-com The Proposal.

Learn more from this TikTok.

Not sold on the sidewalk rule? Check out this act of chivalry from the man’s perspective in the TikTok below:

What do you think? Is the sidewalk rule a green flag, or sexist chivalry that should be left in the last century?