In a world full of hipsters, gangster rap, and baggy pants, the gentleman is becoming obsolete. They are a dying breed, wiped out by iPhones and iChats; popped collars and one night stands; sex through texting, breaking up over e-mail, and women that can change their own oil and stand up for themselves in a bar fight. But this doesn’t mean chivalry is dead. It’s simply evolving. As a man, I believe we’ve lost sight of how to behave in public. Nobody likes a drunken, college Frat boy. I promise. Nuclear fallout or feminist reign is no excuse to quit acting like a gentleman. It’s time to man up.
Below is a guide to surviving the 21st Century while still remaining a gentleman.
You can and should still hold the door for a lady. Even if she’s a malicious feminist plotting the fall of mankind. Ladies, we open the door for you because we know you’re in charge. People in charge don’t open their own doors. You enter. We follow.
Stand when a woman comes to the table. Keep that napkin on your lap. Let the woman order first, and for the love of God, never, ever order for her.
Keep your Blackberry, your Blueberry, or your Chuck Berry in your pocket while in good company. There is a time and a place for your iPad, iPhone, and iPod. At the dinner table with family, coffee with friends, a tandem skydive jump or bike ride, or on a date is not that place. Show some respect. Make eye contact. The world won’t stop spinning because you haven’t updated your Facebook status for an hour.
Be early. Fashionably late is out of fashion.
If someone else is talking, shut up and listen. It’s that simple. Got it? Good.
It may be common practice these days to swear like a sailor on a ship full of swashbuckling pirates, but a gentleman chooses his words carefully. Your tongue is a rudder. It steers the whole ship. Tacking on a curse to the end of every sentence does not make you sound like an individual—it makes you sound like an uneducated moron. Your vocabulary is unimpressive, dick.
No matter what, do not go into a woman’s purse—even if she asks you to retrieve some mysterious artifact from it. This is a trap. You don’t want a woman digging through your closet or all those private folders hidden on your desktop. Sometimes it’s best if you let some things in life remain a mystery.
You are not Tyler Durden. Walk away from altercations. No one will be impressed with you punching another man in the teeth because he’s eyeballin’ your woman, yo.
A pair of dark, slim-fitting, true denim jeans are good for a relaxing day off, as well as a night out at a fancy restaurant or club.
You are never over-dressed when wearing a suit.
Read. A gentleman educates himself. Your iPad and iPhone can now download books for little or no cost. There’s no excuse not to be reading Kerouac’s On The Road or Catcher in the Rye by Salinger. Not heterosexual enough for you? Then go for grittier work like Charlie Huston’s Caught Stealing. This book reads with the intensity of a Bruce Willis movie jacked up on Methamphetamine. It’s dirty, mean, violent, and funny. And best of all, short.
A quick text message or a sloppy email sent on your lunch break does not constitute a Thank You Note. Want to show genuine respect and gratitude? A hand-written, analogue letter will always hold up in a digital world.
When asking a woman out on a date, a gentleman does this in person or over the phone. He does not poke her on Facebook or shoot her a text. Poor form, my friend. Be confident.
This goes for breaking up, too. You do not send an email telling her it’s been real and thanks for the memories. Do not send your brother by to pick up your things or send a text. This is to be done in person without using phrases like, “It’s not you, it’s me,” or “I no longer find you attractive and want to start dating your roommate.”
I sometimes think I’m George Clooney or Fred Astaire. Dark and mysterious, suave and sophisticated. Sweeping women off their feet with a wink and a smile, throwing my coat over puddles, and helping old ladies cross the street. In truth, I’m awkward and clumsy; I talk too fast and stumble over words. I run into doors, and I’m all left feet and elbows on the dance floor. But I’m always myself, no matter what, because I’m confident in the man that I am. As a true gentleman should be.
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