Man was not intended to live like a bear or a hermit; being a gentleman is about etiquette and decorum. What hasn’t changed in over a century is that a gentleman knows how to behave toward other people.
We, the people of gentlemanliness, have collaborated to bring you the ultimate guide for being a modern gentleman in the year 2015. We’ve analyzed past works, such as A Gentleman’s Guide to Etiquette by Cecil B. Hartley, studied the cultures of our modern society, and taken into account the views and opinions of both women and men. This is the result.
1. IT’S NOT RUDE TO PAY FOR FOOD
As part of modern etiquette when dining with a lady, you are both expected to do the “check dance” (regardless of who invited who), even if she doesn’t want to dance. But only accept her offer to pay for half if you sense she’d be genuinely uncomfortable otherwise. A gentleman respects women’s equality, but wishes to pay for the meal as a sign of appreciation.
2. PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE
True, pretty much our entire lives are on our phones - but when you’re with someone else, devote your time and energy to being present and engaged with them, instead of with your device. All of your feeds can wait to hear about how your friend was chased down the street by someone dressed as a horse.
3. SAVE YOUR INNER LAWYER FOR THE COURTROOM
A gentleman understands the freedom of expression and thought, allowing others the entitlement of their own ideas. Even if convinced that your opponent is utterly wrong, graciously decline further engagement or dexterously turn the conversation - do not obstinately defend your own opinion until you become angry. You don’t see The Hulk invited to soirees.
4. DRESS LIKE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING
Dressing well is a form of good manners. Don’t settle for shirts with baggy waists, too short sleeves, or too tight collars. From a hiking trip to a keynote speech, a true gent always knows how to look good. Unless you actually find a store with clothes that actually fit off the rack, go custom. People will notice. Life’s too short for bad shirts: awesome shirts here and special offer here.
5. SO YOU THINK YOU CAN’T DANCE?
A true gent doesn’t stand idle, observing from a corner: you can probably already see the problem with this… creepy. Take a class and embrace your inner Fred Astaire. Dancing, much like life, is about courage and hopefully having fun - and remember, elaborate flamboyant arm movements disguise a lack of footwork.
6. LEARN HOW TO CONVERSE
Two year olds can have one word conversations. A gentleman should be engaged, thoughtful, and captivating. But do not steal the spotlight from others. Many people enjoy talking about themselves, so stay engaged, yet do more of the listening - and when they tell you some grandiose anecdote, let them have their moment. Don’t be a one-upper.
7. TO COFFEE OR NOT TO COFFEE
If the date has gone well, she might invite you up for coffee - or down; dating women who live in basement apartments is perfectly acceptable. The rule is if you’re not planning on calling her again or think that you might view her differently for having coffee on the first date, then do politely turn down the invitation. Do the right thing.
8. WATCH YOUR (DAMN) MOUTH
Endeavour to find words that express your ideas eloquently. A gentleman does not require offensive language to speak; for those who use words such as “gay”, “retarded”, or “ghetto” to describe something in a negative light not only adhere to stereotypes, but also show a lack of vocabulary and intellect. Cut back on that Hatorade. It’s a resentful beverage that too many fools drink.
9. KEEP THE CLASSICS
Chivalry is dead. Common courtesy is not. Some rules to being a gentleman will never change and should always be followed. The two biggest of which are opening/holding the door for other people and giving up your seat when there are no more seats, both in this order: an older lady, an older man, a lady.
10. BE A GOOD PERSON
This is everything else and it should be self explanatory, but we’ll go ahead and help you a bit more anyway. Be compassionate and show respect towards everyone. Don’t belittle or take advantage of others, ignore stereotypes, and understand that people from all walks of life are equal. It’s what we do that defines us. That, and really nice shirts.