Chivalry isn’t dead, but it’s certainly in shorter supply these days. Likewise, gentlemen still exist, today, although they may appear slightly different.
The “old school” gentleman, who pulled out chairs and opened up car doors, has since been replaced with the “modern” gentleman, who can maintain a stimulating conversation outside the realms Facebook Messenger.
Given the social norms of today’s society, being a gentleman will prove itself to be quite difficult – but not impossible.
And while media outlets love to glorify the male icons who tend to mistreat women, and ignore the more chivalric ones who don’t generate headlines, this should have no bearing on how you choose to conduct your own lifestyle.
Just because certain behaviors aren’t considered “cool” or “popular” by mainstream standards doesn’t mean they’re correct by societal standards. Being a gentleman is timeless, and mainstream trends will phase in and out. Notice this, and focus on the long-term.
While being in your 20s and carefree may discourage all intentions of acting “gentlemanlike” – recognize the longevity of certain good habits. These will never “go out of style,” and are telltale signs of maturity.
Everyone can be a gentleman. That title is earned, it’s not something you’re born into. Here are 20 things every prospective gentleman should strive to do:
1. He refers to women by their given first names
Mom gave her that name for a reason, use it. In many cases, it will be extremely disrespectful to call a girl anything besides her given name, and generic (typically profane) slurs are only a clear sign of your own ignorance.
A gentleman should be deliberate in regard to how he addresses a lady, and first names will leave minimal room for error.
2. If he can spare it, he spends it
While paying for your female date is no longer an expectation in today’s society, especially on first dates, unless you’re falling on really hard financial times, it’s a good look to at least offer.
3. He says "I’m sorry"
Having the capability to say, “I’m sorry,” is one of the most overlooked qualities in both men and women. Apologies require a great deal of strength, and the human ego will make matters personally challenging.
Part of becoming a gentleman is realizing that the man who can admit when he is wrong is no weaker than the man who never backs down.
4. He stands behind an unwavering set values
Standing behind a set of values, and believing in something, displays loyalty in a man. True gentlemen will follow a moral code, with others’ best interests in mind.
Upholding certain values will prove to others that you’re in no position to be walked over, and that you will fight for what you believe in.
5. He always holds the door open
It’s such a little gesture that goes such a long way. I understand these types of things may seem “ancient” in the year 2014, there’s still a degree of charm that comes along with them.
The “modern gentleman” should not abandon the “old school” tools of the trade.
6. He compliments people
Complimenting people around you is a direct reflection upon yourself. It shows others that you are not too self-absorbed to take an interest in them, and it also shows kindness.
While random acts of kindness may go unnoticed by some, to others, they might mean more than you could imagine.
7. He's well-groomed
Comb your hair, brush your teeth, shave your face. Maintaining small, good grooming habits will speak volumes about you as a person.
If you can’t manage to keep your appearance neat and orderly, how can you expect others to believe your life is any more neat and orderly?
8. He always smells good
For the ladies, but also for yourself. By simply smelling good, you will attract far more people than the alternative.
It’s a subtle aspect of your appearance that bears far deeper social implications. Find a brand or designer that you really like, and let that become “your smell.”
9. He keeps a good posture
This isn’t the back of middle school algebra class, and your company isn’t some boring teacher. Sit up straight, with your chest out, shoulders back and demand the attention of every set of eyes in the room.
Whether it be just you and your date or a room full of prospective clients. Gentlemen will have a strong backbone, and I’m referring to their character.
10. He's patient
Children are fidgety and anxious. Gentlemen are cool and patient.
Whether it be en route to dinner with a new girl, and stuck in traffic, or handling matters of business – a gentleman will always wait situations out until they’re most advantageous to act upon.
11. He maintains self-control
Gentlemen will always be in control of themselves. When other people, or things, take the wheel and steer, – with regard to life choices and specific habits – it is only a matter of time before you find yourself spinning out of control.
The modern gentleman will not fear experimenting with things, and indulging in certain things, as long as he maintains control and stays within the lanes of his respective road.
12. He always listens, first
Trust me. Everyone’s got something to say. It’s a much rarer commodity finding someone who will listen.
Being a gentleman is not about constantly speaking your mind, but knowing when to speak, and, most importantly, when to shut up and listen.
13. He's smart with his money
Gentlemen don’t live and die by receipts or bar tabs. Being fiscally responsible is a life lesson, and being fiscally irresponsible is one you will most likely learn the morning after.
Being a gentleman doesn’t mean buying every attractive girl you see walk past the bar a glass of wine to show off what’s in your wallet. True gentlemen will strive to find the right girl – and then start saving up to buy the entire vineyard.
14. He's always on time
Being punctual displays reliability. A sense of responsibility will often supplement those who value the importance of time, and meeting appointments.
If you’re on time with regards to the smaller things, others will know they can depend on you when it comes to larger issues. Gentlemen will know that being five minutes early is too late.
15. He asks questions and doesn't speak about himself
Showing an interest in others is refreshing. A gentleman will look to inquire about those around him, especially a date, rather than preaching about himself.
Asking questions will show a genuine curiosity in someone, the opposite of apathy. Gentlemen will look to keep their dates engaged, and speaking, as opposed to taking the risk of talking too much.
16. He's always respectful
Being a gentleman doesn’t mean being a “yes man.” It doesn’t mean seeing eye-to-eye with everyone you meet, and it certainly doesn’t mean being a kiss ass.
What it does mean, however, is that you will always uphold a level of respect with all of your associates. Naturally, a date, or girlfriend, is by no means any different.
17. He makes the first move
Don’t leave the fate of any situation in the hands of others. Whether it be starting up a conversation with a girl you’ve never met at a bar, being the first to attempt to reconcile things with a long-term girlfriend, or even pursuing a certain job opening – always take matters into your own hands and make the first move.
18. He's composed
Keep your composure. True gentlemen are always poised. Because when situations become dire, and others start to panic, gentlemen have the ability to provide a beacon of assurance that the people around them can feed off.
In the words of Ernest Hemingway, "Courage is grace under pressure." Be graceful under pressure.
19. He doesn't rush out of places
Sloan, from "Entourage," dumped a guy she dated because he asked to leave the Lakers game early to beat traffic. Don’t let this guy be you.
Always try to be the first man in and the last man out, as it displays your intentions to see things through. Whether it be a movie, a sporting event or work, don’t leave until the fat lady has finished singing.
20. He doesn't finish his food before his date does
Don’t be a pig. If you’re eating with company, or out to dinner with a date, don’t rush through your food like you haven’t eaten in weeks.
Especially during the earlier phases of dating, view meals and dinner dates as social events. Scarfing down the steak you order should always be secondary to conducting a stimulating conversation.
Unless you take her to Peter Luger, IN BROOKLYN. But at that point, you’ve already done your due diligence as a gentleman.