Being a gentleman is about behaviour, wearing the right clothing for the right occasion and showing the appropriate manners at the appropriate time
There is a lot of rubbish written about what it means to be a gentleman in the modern world. Often we are told that the "Gentleman" has died, that there is no place for a gentleman in today's society. Other times we are told that being a gentleman is old fashioned and out of date and that feminism means that both men and women have to be treated equally. Some articles even suggest that to be a gentleman means over dressing and being a 'dandy'.
The truth is that the term "Gentleman" has been completely mis-understood. Being a gentleman is not necessarily about the way you dress or the actions you take in different situations. Being a "gentleman" is about behaviour. It is about the way you interact with the world around you and it is about being empathetic towards the people you come in to contact with everyday. Being a "gentleman' is more important today that it ever has been.
Today, people walk around with their eyes glued to their smartphone screens, interrupt a face to face conversation to answer a call from an unknown number, tweet and Facebook when they are out having dinner with their friends, dress in jeans and a 't' shirt in the office because it is 'cool' to do so. The list is endless. All these things are most defintely not gentlemanly behaviour. Indeed, much of this behaviour is just plain rude.
So, here is a list of 'behaviours' that a modern, twenty-first century gentleman follows:
- A gentleman focuses all his attention on the person sat in front of them. Their phone is hidden away in a pocket or bag and on silent. (Not "vibrate mode" - real silent)
- A gentleman is always aware of the people around him. He cares about the well being and comfort of the people he is with.
- A gentleman always gives up his seat for a lady or elderly person. He does this without fuss and without drawing attention to himself.
- A gentleman is always dressed in the right clothes for the occasion. In the office he wears a smart suit or smart casual clothing. When invited to a dinner or party he makes sure that he gets to know what the dress code is so that he is appropriately dressed for the occasion.
- A gentleman does not draw attention to himself. He does not show off, or brag about what he has achieved.
- A gentleman does not walk around like an advert for designer clothing. His clothes are smart, but understated and do not show off designer labels on every surface.
- A gentleman is knowledgable about many things and is well read. He can engage in interesting conversations on a variety of subjects. Not just the ones that interest him.
- A gentleman does not express extreme emotion. He does not scream and shout at other people and remains calm in a crisis. Equally, a gentleman does not get excessively drunk in the presence of ladies and does not engage in drunken fights at the end of a heavy night's drinking.
- A gentleman is never late. Usually arriving ten minutes early.
- A gentleman is honest. When he makes a promise he keeps it. And if circumstances force him to break a promise, he tells the other person immediately and explains the situation.
- A gentleman is culturally sensitive to other people' perspectives. He understands that other countries do things differently and is perfectly happy doing it the way the locals do it when in a foreign country.
- A gentleman is loyal to his family, friends, company and country. He would never dream of betraying them in any situation.
- Finally, a gentleman in a pleasure to be around and is quite probably your closest, most loyal friend.