Some girls like them bad, some like them nerdy. However, there is one breed of a man that will forever have a soft spot in the hearts of ladies: the gentleman. True gentlemen, as some ladies lament, are a dying breed. While it was once the gold standard of being a true man, the art of being a gentleman is slowly fading from the modern guy’s consciousness. Finding a real man, then, is a rare treat.
Now, before you go out and ride on a thoroughbred stallion like some period drama character, the ways of a true gentleman actually differ from what Hollywood tropes suggest. Nope, you don’t need to dress like a dandy and sport a phony British accent, like you came straight from a Jane Austen novel. Being a gentleman is something you must strive for and should not be treated like an act, where you can go on and off character.
How to be a contemporary gentleman
Before you complain, being a gentleman has a lot of benefits, besides its usual impress-the-girl usefulness. First, it draws people to you. People prefer a gentleman to a cad. Second, it adds character, which can greatly increase your chances of getting promoted at work, while earning respect from your colleagues and subordinates. That’s three birds with one stone. [Read: 12 Prince Charming traits that make girls swoon all the time]
#1 Be mindful of how you dress. A true gentleman bears his clothes properly in every situation; both in the presence of his rowdy mates and in the presence of a lady. No, this doesn’t mean that you have to spend all your money on signature clothes to nail the preppy look. The key is to dress appropriately and tastefully.
Make sure you do not wear ill-fitting, dirty, stained, or bedraggled clothes. In choosing what to wear, always consider if it’s appropriate for the occasion, if it’s comfortable, and if it makes you feel confident. In that particular order. Dressing yourself slovenly even in high-end, new clothes won’t make much difference.
#2 Adopt good posture. Posture reveals a great deal about your personality, so it is advisable for guys to practice maintaining proper posture. Gentlemen should always stand straight, sit properly, and maintain a steady gait when walking. Not only does it look good, it exhibits confidence and self-assurance. A guy who stands hunched and walks awkwardly can be perceived as indecisive and insecure.
#3 Always be courteous and respectful when talking to a lady *or to anyone for that matter*. Like Sir Colin “Mr. Wet Shirt Darcy” Firth himself said, in the equally gentlemanly film Kingsman, “Manners maketh man.” This shows that the measure of a true gentleman is how he treats the people around him.
Using the “gentleman” faà§ade in the presence of a visually-appealing lady, but treating the rest of the people around you otherwise, is false gentlemanliness. A true gentleman will be courteous to everyone, regardless of age, sex, or physical appearance. [Read: 13 rules of etiquette for the modern gentleman]
#4 Be considerate to your female companion. Be it a sister, a co-worker, or your date, always be considerate towards a female companion. You are all familiar with the classic moves in the gentleman’s handbook:
A. Open doors. Upon entering or exiting a building, always hold the door open for your female companion. This also applies when entering or exiting a vehicle.
B. Stand up to greet a lady approaching you when seated. Also stand up when a lady excuses herself from the table.
C. Pull out the chair for a female companion. Don’t forget to take her coat when she sits down.
D. Offer your hand or arm. Your female companion will appreciate your arm when walking or going up the stairs—especially when your companion is elderly.
E. Offer to walk her home. If this isn’t possible, at least hail your female companion a cab after a date.
F. When using public transportation, offer up your seat. Offer your chair to a person who might need it more than you do. This includes ladies, the elderly, and disabled persons.
#5 Mind your language. Being foulmouthed—especially in social gatherings—does not make you cool, at all. Never swear or use obscene language when talking to a lady. To be safe, use neutral words in conversations and never use words that you don’t really know the meaning of, just for the sake of a good impression. A true gentleman would never bring up disturbing stories and inappropriate remarks, even in a casual atmosphere. [Read: 15 effortless ways to be nice and loved by all, wherever you are]
#6 Never drink too much or get drunk. In case you find yourself at a fancy ball, and find out that they serve a good vintage, never imbibe more than you can handle. Getting drunk means that there’s a chance of getting sloppy afterward, and you might do something stupid or inappropriate to other partygoers. Settle for a glass or two, take slow sips, and enjoy the quality of the liquor.
#7 Always be on time—if not ten minutes early. Never, ever allow your date to wait for you. It is expected of a gentleman to arrive earlier than the usual time, to give you time to prepare yourself and do some last-minute preening.
#8 Compliment your date. Make it a habit to compliment your date on her looks, as she probably spent a lot of time trying to look good. Make your compliments genuine, not far-fetched sweet-talk. She might take it another way if you take it too far. [Read: 19 sweet compliments for women that’ll make them go “awww…”]
#9 Make meaningful conversation. Small talk is acceptable for the first ten minutes. By then, the conversation should have gotten deeper and more meaningful. If on a first date, try to ask questions and initiate the conversation. This will give the impression that you are genuinely interested in her.
Never dominate the conversation by talking more. Practice active listening and good manners by allowing your date to finish speaking before you contribute your own story or response. [Read: 16 first date tips and advice to charm your date in no time]
#10 Be prepared to pay for the bill during dates. Even if your date offers to split the bill, kindly refuse and insist on paying. Doing the “forgotten wallet” ruse is ungentlemanly and shameful, even if you really forgot your wallet. Nowadays, there may be instances where your date will insist that you split the bill, but you can refuse by suggesting that she can pay the bill on the next date. This is both gentlemanly and a good ruse to get to a second date.
[Read: The right way to be chivalrous – The code of modern chivalry]
Being a gentleman is a lifelong quest; only men who actively pursue and embody gentlemanly traits will reap the rewards of doing so. Never attempt to fake being a gentleman, because women are usually capable of detecting a genuine gentleman from a phony, who’s only snaking his way into her pants.
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