E VERYBODY ADMIRES A TRUE GENTLEMAN. He is the ladies’ “knight in shining armor”, the hero and idol of teenage boys, hungry for a good role model to emulate, and the paragon and inspiration of other men, aspiring to be like him. How does a man become a true gentleman that everybody admires? Here are two definitions.
The Popular Definition of a True Gentleman
People know a man to be a true gentleman by his outward behavior. What are the usual outward manifestations that others see in him?
A man is a gentleman if he conducts himself in a respectable and confident – but not arrogant – manner. He always appears proper and composed, even in situations of direst nature. You see this in the way he walks – tall and upright with shoulders back and chest out.
He is a well-bred man, who is often well-dressed in accordance with the basics of good grooming. He has no tendency to immediately go along with the latest fashion fads and trends. He considers the weather and the occasion when choosing his attire. His shoes are always clean and polished.
The only accessories he wears are his watch and his wedding ring – no other jewelry. He avoids such fads as tattoos and ear piercings. His choices of colors are those of the base tones, like brown, gray, blue, or black; and those complimentary colors that produce the right combination with these base tone colors.
When meeting other people, he greets them with a courteous smile, and politely offers his hand for a handshake. He remembers their names, so that he can address them appropriately. He engages them in small conversation, but avoids laughing hard, as he considers this rude behavior on most occasions.
When dining with others, he minds his table manners. He eats slowly, and chews his food properly. He engages in conversation with his tablemates as he dines, choosing to dwell only on topics that are wholesome and evocative of agreeable feelings.
As a true gentleman, he does not gossip or talk unfairly about other people. He prefers to discuss current events and other topics that appeal to the intellect, instead.
When he opens his mouth, his words are not profane, although from time to time he might use some slangy language. His conversational tone is always calm and composed.
He is polite enough never to interrupt somebody who is speaking. He never lets discussions degenerate into an argumentation that runs out of control and leads to loss of temper.
Finally, in dealing with the members of the fair sex, he gives due priority to a lady if the situation is favorable for her. He exercises basic etiquette practices in treating her, such as opening doors for her, standing up when she arrives, and serving her before himself if he happens to be sitting beside her at the dinner table.
The Real Definition of a True Gentleman
But these are just the outward behaviors that other people can observe. What they do not see is what is happening inside the person.
Outward behaviors do not necessarily define a man to be a true gentleman, unless they spring from inner actuations. Without these actuations, they devalue to mere contrivances, designed to impress others.
Being a true gentleman is an attitude and a way of life. The man is gentlemanly because of his genuine respect and value of others. Unless born out of this attitude, the foregoing litany of behaviors is merely a script of performances, played out of hypocrisy by an actor in his world of make-believe. They do not reveal his true identity as a person.
A true gentleman’s conduct proceeds from an internal wellspring of values and good will. His behaviors are executed spontaneously, because they are the dictates of his own values. No written code of conduct is necessary for him to follow in order to carry them out.
He possesses an acute sense of propriety and mastery of self that is above par any challenges to his personal integrity and sense of diplomacy towards others. He is not necessarily the man of good manners that open doors for ladies or walks the elderly across the street. These are merely common courtesies.
He acts with prudence and moderation, and pursues what is good with courage and determination. His strong sense of justice dictates him to be honest in his dealings with others and to be respectful of their rights at all times.
As he does not need any written code of conduct to guide his behavior, a true gentleman’s virtues are in reality the bases of any code of good conduct that those wanting of them are guided by.
What Is Your Own Definition of a True Gentleman?
The concept of “true gentleman” means different things to different people. How about you? What is your definition of a true gentleman? Contribute to this article and enrich its content by writing your own concepts on the comment boxes below.