In a world of cellular phones, express lanes, traffic snarls, business lunches and social mediocrity, being a gentleman seems to be more and more complicated. The truth of the matter is that being a gentleman is not exactly like rocket science. Being a gentleman requires a little logic, some forethought, and a great deal of consideration for others. It is not about complicated rules and convoluted instructions. Instead, it is about trying to make life easier and more pleasant for one’s self and other people. It is about honestly and sincerely being a ‘nice guy’. For a gentleman, the noblest virtues are camaraderie, dependability, unswerving loyalty and compassion.
Merely acting like a gentleman is not enough: It is being a gentleman that is important, and that means thinking of others, being there when you are needed and knowing when you are not needed.
It is what you do and who you are-an accumulation of gentlemanly behaviour over the course of a lifetime- that make a man – a gentleman. It truly is possible for a man to learn to be a gentleman if he knows the direction he needs to follow.
- A Gentleman Feels for Others: A gentleman knows how to make others feel comfortable. He always perceives a situation from the other person’s perspective and avoids hurting others unnecessarily.
- A Gentleman Walks Through a Door: A gentleman always glances behind him when he walks through a door. He never lets a door close in another person’s face. It does not matter whether the other person is a man or a woman. If it is a revolving door, a gentleman pays more attention than usual. He never shares a revolving door section with another person. He respects the other person’s space.
- A Gentleman Gets Dressed: In warm weather a gentleman always wears an undershirt. When a gentleman wears a double-breasted suit, he never leaves the jacket unbuttoned. A gentleman’s trouser cuffs fall in a gentle break over his shined shoes. When he stands, his socks do not show.
- A Gentleman and his Cologne: A gentleman considers his cologne as an intimate apparel and should be worn accordingly. It should not cause comment, positive or negative, among other people in the room. Instead, it should be saved as a pleasant surprise for people with whom he makes close physical contact. A gentleman understands that a cologne is, after all, an accessory, not a substitute for a deodorant. When worn in excess, the cologne is annoying and raises doubts if odours are being covered up. Desirably a cologne or a perfume is applied on ‘pulse points’ i.e. on the wrists, behind the ears on the neck and the armpits for best results.
- A Gentleman’s Shoewear: A gentleman knows that even today, black shoes are considered more formal and serious than brown shoes. In fact, in the legal profession, black shoes remain the only truly acceptable footwear. Semi-formal and formal occasions are best attended wearing black shoes with laces. The loafers and moccasins are best left for informal attendances. Only in your riding clothes you must be conservative. If you can get boots made on English lines, wear them; otherwise, wear leggings. And remember, that all leather must be real leather in the first place and polished until its surface is like glass.
- A Gentleman and his Cap: A gentleman will probably own a stack of golf/baseball/cricket caps/hats, which he wears after work, on weekends, or on casual days at the office. These accessories are primarily for preventing exposure to the sun and are best used in this manner only. He does not wear his cap inside most public buildings especially houses of worship except in a ‘Gurudwara’. Traditionally, a gentleman would remove his hat if he were greeting a woman or being introduced to a new acquaintance of either sex. A gentleman washes his hair regularly, and he makes every effort to prevent dandruff. “When a gentleman feels the urge to colour his moustache, he should desirably shave it off.”
- A Gentleman Knows how to Leave a Tip: Leaving a tip is a delicate matter that concerns only the gentleman and the server. He does not brag about leaving a generous gratuity. If the service has been inferior, a gentleman does not inform his companions that he plans to leave a less than-sizable tip. A gentleman should leave a tip in a restaurant or a bar but not at a self-service fast food establishment. The word Tip is even considered as an acronym by some, which is supposed to stand for “To Improve Promptness “which is self-explanatory for the process”.
- A Gentleman Says the Right Thing: A gentleman knows that “please” and “thank you” continue to be the magic words, and uses them as profusely as possible.
- How to Start a Conversation: At a party, a reception, or a business meeting, a gentleman strikes up a conversation with any pleasant person he encounters. To prevent awkwardness, however, he begins with a positive and noncontroversial subject matter. In every case, a gentleman begins by asking a question that does not bring the conversation around to himself. If the person standing next to him responds cordially, he continues with a few more questions until the conversation is underway. A gentleman always avoids Slangs, as it does not beautify, but sullies conversation.
- When to Use First Name: Although the world at large is on a first name basis today, a gentleman knows it is always safe, on first meeting, to address a new acquaintance as “Mr” or “Ms” He depends upon this guideline, especially if the new acquaintance is an elder person or if he is dealing with his superior in a formal environment.
- Manner in which to end a Conversation: A gentleman recognizes that every conversation has its own natural rhythm. He is not being rude or inconsiderate when he attempts to bring any conversation; no matter how pleasant or how important to a timely close. When talking on the telephone, a gentleman accepts the responsibility for ending any conversation he has begun. On the telephone, he may say something as simple as, “It’s been very good talking to you”.