Guide To Being A Modern Day Gentleman: The Basics
I’m going to push the envelope and make a lot of y’all uncomfortable. Embrace it. We need to be uncomfortable in order to make changes.
I’m just going to keep it 100% real.
We, men, are assholes.
Yup, complete assholes. Manipulative jerks who feel entitled to do and say as we please. Men manifest this inherent tendency to be an asshole to different degrees and manners, and this has been happening for as long as we can go back in history. Think about it, women were not allowed to vote in the United States until 1920. It took a whole lot of assholes to enforce that rule on Election Day. Today, women all over the world are marginalized, brutalized and terrorized by men who feel that the universe revolves around them.
It’s not completely our fault.
Society has brainwashed us by constantly enforcing certain gender norms that encourage us to believe that we can do and say as we well please, especially with regard to women.
I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say I’ve had my fair share of asshole moments. We all make mistakes, but we have to do better. I’m sick and tired of shaking my head in bewilderment when I see men mistreating women verbally, emotionally and physically (I’m definitely putting my hands on you if I see you physically abusing a woman).
We have to set the example for our sons so that our daughters can live in a better world. We have to strive to be gentlemen rather than assholes.
Webster dictionary defines gentleman as “a man who treats other people in a proper and polite way”. I define being a gentleman as a lifestyle of love and respect.
So here’s the plan. I’m going to write about how a modern-day gentleman behaves. Today we’ll start with the basics and we’ll get into specific scenarios in future posts. I’m going to push the envelope and make a lot of y’all uncomfortable. Embrace it. We need to be uncomfortable in order to make changes.
Let’s begin with rule #1…
1. Always Act out of Respect
No matter what your end goal is, always always always get there respectfully.
Appreciate and understand that everyone came from a woman. We are forever indebted to women for the life we have.
I have five amazing sisters and a super woman of a mom. When I lose my way, I come back to this truth. I think of the women in my life and say “Is this how I would want them being treated if they were in this current situation?”
If you’re serious about being a gentleman, this question must always come before your actions.
2. Start the Conversation the Right Way
In my 28 years on this earth, I’ve yet to see one guy convert successfully on a cat call. You just can’t win with that strategy. What you can end up with is a sexual harassment case if you mess with the wrong lady. You don’t want those problems.
So how about we just keep it real simple.
*You see someone you’re attracted to. You walk over*
You: (make eye contact and smile) Hey, how are you? I just had to come over and meet you.
Just say that and then gauge the reaction. Some people will want to pay you zero mind. Well, that’s fine. Keep it moving.
Others will engage you. Build your conversation from there and be yourself.
3. Everything but “Yes” Means “No”
There are a million ways to be turned down. A great philosopher once said “shoot your shots”, but we all can’t be Steph Curry. Rejection happens and you should not take it too personally.
We all know this scenario quite well:
You: Hey, how you doing?
That right there, homie, that’s a no. Here are your options from this point:
- Walk away pissed that you’ve just been objectified (I would say join the club but membership is already full: too many women)
- Say something polite, just so she knows that she just missed out on a good guy
Cursing her out, continuing to try and have a conversation or stalking her are not options. Those would all constitute harassment.
How about those times when things aren’t as black and white? If you are unsure about how someone feels, straight up ask in a clear way. “Are you comfortable?” “Are you okay?” “What do you want to do?”
You can still shoot your shots without being a creep or jerk, and by being a gentleman, you’re putting yourself in a position to take better shots.
4. It’s Better to Give than to Receive / Aim to Please
Give genuine compliments.
Say thank you at a nauseating rate.
Give away smiles like Oprah does cars.
Give little personal gifts like hand written notes.
Make sure she’s taken care of before you take care of yourself.
All giving MUST be personalized. Not all women like flowers. I learned that the hard way. Don’t assume anything. Investigate, ask her best friends, ask her months before her birthday what she wants. Put the effort in to make your giving meaningful.
5. Be Observant and Speak About it in a Positive and Encouraging Way
Scenario: A friend walks in and you can clearly see that she has a new hairdo.
You: Hey, new haircut?
Her: Yeah, I decided to try something new this time.
You: It looks good on you!
This is a very simple conversation, but too many times I see guys botch it by not being observant of something someone clearly took time to do. I then see guys compound that mistake by putting a woman down rather than complimenting her. Even if you think the hairdo, doesn’t look good, still say something just to give her that extra boost of confidence we all need when we go through change.
Sometimes people just wanted to feel noticed and appreciated. Make the simple play.
6. Hold the Door
So this is one of those old school rules that seems to have died out over time. Holding the door is something I do for everyone. It’s just an example of a random act of kindness that brightens the moment for someone else.
If you’re walking with a group of people, find your way to the front to open the door and let everyone in. I guarantee you that, within that same group, someone else will repeat that act of kindness at the next door.
If you see your mom getting into a car, run your behind over there and hold the door for her. It’s the least you can do for yo mama.
If you see someone walking with groceries behind you, slow down a bit so that you can be there to hold the door without having them run to you.
If you’re on a date and driving, get the car door for her. Scratch that, hold EVERY DOOR for her.
It’s okay to forget sometimes, but make it a habit to be a door opener.
7. Be Confident, Not Cocky
Walk with your head held high, speak with a smile on your face, and be comfortable in your own skin.
Do those things and you’ll draw people to you. That is what confidence does – it’s the magnet that creates and maintains relationships.
Cockiness is putting yourself above others. It may not be your intent to do so, but standing with a big sign saying “Look at me” only makes you seem like a lesser person.
Let people discover the amazing things about you without it coming from your mouth.
One thing I try to do is have a conversation without mentioning where I work or where I went to school. I let the person who I am speaking with bring up those subject matters, but I’m just fine being Chi and talking about my love for chicken and music.
8. Learn to Listen
Sometimes a person wants to hear their own voice. Plenty of research has proven that talking is therapeutic. Understand this, allow it to happen, but don’t space out of the conversation. Commit to listening.
Don’t allow technology to distract you when engaged in conversations. Put the phone away and keep it away until there is a break in the conversation. I promise, it’ll be okay.
Don’t spend your time thinking of what you’re going to say when someone is speaking to you.
Listen, and if you have nothing valuable to add, ask a question related to what you just heard.
9. Be a Man of your Word
Talking like a gentleman is great, but talk that isn’t backed up by action is a waste. Be someone who people can rely on.
Broken promises upon broken promises are what many women deal with every day. Promises coated in proclamations of love and self-actualization. Don’t promise someone the world if you can’t handle the basics, like paying your bills on time when you know that they are due at the same time every month.
While we’re on the topic of being on time..
This whole “colored people” time concept. I hate it. Break away from the stereotype and strive to be on time. If you agree to meet someone at 1pm, don’t leave your house at 1pm. That’s just rude.
10. Be Her Biggest Fan
Whoever she is, wife, friend, daughter, sister – be there to encourage and not dismiss. Say thank you for the little things she does. Say congratulations for the little things and not just for what you’re expected to remember. Tell her she looks beautiful and that she’s a Queen.
Support the women around you and show them that we are here to do better than men did in the past. Let them know that through our actions, we’ve matured and will continue to mature.
Allowing love and respect to work in unison within you is the essence of being a gentleman.
Blessings to you and yours,