I read the Times article “27 Ways to Be a Modern Man” with a mix of fascination and horror. Fascination because I couldn’t believe someone actually espoused some of the featured points and horror because by the end of the list, I realized someone did.
Eventually I realized the author is referring to the “average man” and that reassured me somewhat. In contrast, however, I am compelled to address those same points myself, only in dealing with the modern gentleman.
1. A gentleman does not simply buy shoes for his wife. Sure, he knows fashion and the size of his spouse’s feet, but he knows better. He will take his spouse shopping. He will not fidget while she is in the changing room. He will not roll his eyes when she goes in for the 8th time. He will pay. He knows the experience is more important to his spouse than the shoes.
2. The gentleman’s confidence does not sink. Unlike the average man whose self-confidence can be affected by others his confidence can only be affected by self-doubt. When self-doubt yields valid arguments, he changes his approach. When it does not, he ignores the self-doubt. He acts always as if things are going swimmingly. Because they are.
3. A gentleman does not stuff his face with popcorn in a darkened theatre. He will not have his hands full of butter when his spouse reaches for his hand. He will not have popcorn bits in his sweater when exiting the theater and he will not abide any food which makes the kind of noise that makes it impossible to view the movie. No popcorn.
4. A gentleman does not accept a fillet with fatty or charred bits. The only two options are: Cut away the best part and eat it, because only the very best is good enough or, if the gentleman would make a point of it, eat the garnish and send the rest back to indicate the inadequacy of the kitchen. Either way he does not withhold a tip. The waiter is not to blame for the cook’s failures.
5. A gentleman does not require a parking spot. A gentleman is driven. One does not drive. The only exception to this is racing automobiles. Taxi cabs are perfectly acceptable.
6. A gentleman is not required to charge other people’s devices. Worse things have happened to dinner than people being forced to interact with each other due to discharged batteries.
7. A gentleman will not stock sugary drinks proven to cause obesity and diabetes. His drink selection is composed of wines, sparkling water, and the occasionnal lager with the very rare cocktail when entertaining. Children drink water, milk and possibly juice.
8. A gentleman is always well spoken and uses the correct term. One never uses “gauche simpleton” when what he really means is “common”.
9. A gentleman does not wait to have kids to learn new things. Things are never called “stuff”. Stuff is a term only appropriate for plush toys, pillows and fowl.
10. A gentleman will not have to wash the dishes because he invests a modern dishwasher to the benefit of his whole family.
11. A gentleman does not have to participate in any social media, but should he choose to do so, he does not disparage competitive platforms.
12. A gentleman does not have to check the status of the soap before a wash. The soap has been changed well before the last minute.
13. A gentleman will absolutely not willfully listen to Wu-Tang. Conversely, though, neither will he complain when forced to bear it by circumstance.
14. A gentleman does not require a grocery list. If he is out shopping he decides what he will purchase. Hence a list is unneccessary. There is no place where it is acceptable to be “buried in one’s phone”.
15. A gentleman’s flooring is irrelevant. His choice of shoe maker is not. Kenneth Cole is a clothes designer. One buys clothing from a tailor, not shoes. If one is somehow obligated to wear Oxfords, one need only know Fermani.
16. A gentleman’s home is secure. Should an intruder appear, the stylish walking stick should more than suffice given the early years fencing lessons.
17. A gentleman never “balls” melons. Should there ever be a requirement for fruit to come in spherical shapes, one engages a professional.
18. A gentleman provides a shoehorn to visitors for convenience and to avoid sullying pants while kneeling to tie shoes. It’s just being considerate, really.
19. I will concede that to a gentleman flowers should be gifts, not apologies. However, if one does not screw up, one does not require apologies.
20. A gentleman does not understand point 20 of the original article and assumes the writer’s spouse wrote point 20, or possibly the author is playing an odd “reverse” joke. The gentleman is the “big spoon”.
21. A gentleman doesn’t scold other people for sneezing, regardless of circumstance.
22. A gentleman does not “amble”, much less present himself publicly being divested or disheveled to any degree.
23. A gentleman finds it pointless to argue about movies with someone who believes Michael Mann to be a good director.
24. A gentleman’s phone does not “run flat”. Planning, superior technology and an excellent memory ensure he is reachable at all times.
25. A gentleman does not shy away from a gun. While he may have a deep distaste of violence, should there be violence, there will never be doubt regarding the outcome given early years marksmanship lessons.
26. A gentleman does not cry without good cause. Dying loved ones, injured or starving children and certain forms of farming accidents are the only valid reasons.
27. A gentleman dances only rarely. The kinds of places he dances aren’t equipped with a D.J. and do not stock “jam”. A gentleman never makes a public spectacle of himself.
I hope this has clarified a few things.
A modern gentleman.
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