“There are tuxedos. And tuxedos,” stated Bond’s partner in one of the films in the Agent 007 series. To paraphrase” There are men and gentlemen”. How do you tell them apart? Who is a gentleman in our time? Does the concept even still have a sense of existence? If so, for today’s gentleman, is every woman a gentle woman?
Table of Contents:
- Is the gentleman an extinct species of man?
- Is it possible to be a gentleman today?
- A gentleman should not be confused with wealth
- A man does not decide whether he is a gentleman
- Culture written with a capital K
Is the gentleman an extinct species of man?
James Bond and Kingsman are the only representatives of them in our time? If that were the case, women could only enjoy their presence on the TV screen. The virtual world is an enclave where there are (although the word has ambiguous overtones in this case) classy men? Fortunately, despite the changes taking place in society, gentlemen are among us.
Times are changing and with them our ideas about the world. We adapt social rules and norms to reality, which in turn determines our needs in this regard. The rush for careers, modern technologies that make our lives easier a priori, remote work, the emancipation of women, liberal attitudes toward LGBT issues, all these things are causing old concepts of morality to undergo a metamorphosis. What was relevant to past generations takes on a different meaning today.
Without embedding whether the changes in our mentality serve social relations, we can conclude at the same time that certain, let’s call it, old values still apply. For it is impossible to build a new society in isolation from the principals that have shaped social consciousness throughout centuries of history. Custom is an immanent part of our culture. The concept of a gentleman is included in it.
Is it possible to be a gentleman today?
The meaning of the term has changed over time. Historically, this title was not originally based on a man’s action, but on an acquired right at birth. Wealthy, well-to-do parents, privileged social status – the so-called upper classes made the guy a gentleman. He did not have to work while enjoying a prosperous lifestyle. Those days are gone. In the 21st century, being a gentleman is based on the values of morality and a man’s honor. Meeting certain standards.
According to William Mekapeace Thackeray, there is a “man” in a gentleman and “a gentleman is therefore a way of being a man.” To act like a gentleman today is to be James Bond, Colin Firth in “Kingsman,” Arsene Lupin. Possess moral elegance. In the age of extended social networks, the ubiquitous Internet, and the rat race, this is indeed a great challenge. A marriage of modernity and classics. This is because it has something classic about it. Timeless ethics, fair play, decency, honor that transcends the era and current fashions. This is the “something” that distinguishes Prince Charles (now King) from Donald Trump.
A gentleman should not be confused with wealth
Neither money nor position will give a man class and respect. The term has to be earned these days. “Something” that modern men constantly strive for, not an end in itself. It is not an “ideal,” but an awareness of one’s own imperfection and a willingness to take responsibility for one’s actions. These are high standards for others, but especially for oneself. Impeccable dress is not a matter of money, but a selection of clothes through which one shows respect towards others depending on the situation. At the same time, expressing one’s own personality and taste.
Impeccable manners, an open mind, accepting constructive criticism and accepting failure as a means of self-development. The world is complicated, reality is complex. Such a man strives to be competent, interesting through his interests, hobbies. He treats others with respect and expects such respect from them. He does not confuse arrogance with confidence. Banal? Perhaps, but not all men manage to put these principles into practice. Few want it either.
A man does not decide whether he is a gentleman
Being a gentleman is not a genetic trait, it is not a result of a transcript in our DNA. You don’t get this as an inheritance from your parents. It’s a choice of how to live. Aspiration derived from the pursuit of continuous self-improvement. A man does not decide whether he is a gentleman. It is an honor bestowed by other people. Being recognized as one of them is an appreciative term for a man that says who he is in the eyes of loved ones, friends, co-workers. As Robert Edward Lee wrote, “how an individual enjoys a certain advantage over others is the test of a true gentleman.”
The measure of a gentleman in the past and today was and is his attitude to women. “Self-respect and intellectual sophistication, which manifests itself in an uninhibited but gentle way,” according to R.E. Lee, goes hand in hand with respect for the opposite sex. Savoir-vivre with women is the abecadal of a gentleman, in whose eyes every woman is a gentle woman. Making them feel special is a traditional value in the code of behavior.
Gentleman used to play polo, a sign of his physical activity. Today he takes care of his fitness at the gym. A well-tailored suit lies impeccably on a well-groomed figure.
Culture written with a capital K
Nowadays, being a gentleman is a concept referring to a man who represents high moral values, knows his weaknesses and constantly strives for self-improvement in every field of activity. A guy for whom the rules of savoir-vivre, such as impeccable behavior at the table, courtesy to women, respect for others, the artistry of choosing clothes, are just a kind of expression in everyday life. He is not a walking ideal in every respect, an arrogant man filled with pride about his own perfection. This is a man for whom culture spelled with a capital K is a determinant of his attitude toward others. He does not pretend to be what he is not. And that is its hallmark.