Are We Calling Time On Gentlemen?
In an interview Dita Von Teese (famous Burlesque Dancer), once said she believed that gentlemen are sexy. Are gentlemen sexy? Does Ms Von Teese’s humble opinion hold sway with the women of the world, or, is she an exception to the current set of womanly values?
The ‘old fashioned’ ideals concerning gentlemen have diminished in importance, and taken quite a severe dent over recent decades. These once imperative standards could be believed to be dead and forgotten by men, and women, replaced instead by selfish ego.
So, even if gentlemen do still exist somewhere in this sea of anarchy, do women really want to catch one? Is there room for such men in today’s society, and if so, what qualities does a man have to possess to constitute being classed a ‘gentleman’ these days?
The official Oxford Dictionary definition states that a gentleman is; ‘a chivalrous, courteous, or honourable man’. This definition originated from the Middle English, in the sense, ‘man of noble birth’. In its later usage the term denoted a man of a good family.
So the term gentleman still bears the same qualitative meaning; basically, a man with a decent character and background.
For me, a gentleman should possess these traits along with manners, respect and dignity; all of which are harmless enough. Nothing there could be viewed with suspicion, or, could it? Admittedly the traits of a gentleman are seen as undermining to women’s rights, and out of touch with modernity. However, I disagree. Manners, respect, courteousness and dignity demonstrate the old adage; ‘do unto others as you would have done unto yourself’. These traits are essential to humanity!
Now I am fully aware that I have been brought up a little old-fashioned. Instilled with manners, etiquette, principles, scruples and standards; in short I know how to behaviour in polite company, how to conduct myself. I in turn will therefore value these ways of being from other people, but it doesn’t make me any less forward thinking, liberal or liberated. Far from it! As an individual, a woman, I am outspoken, independent, capable, intelligent and educated. Yet, I am also unafraid to admit that I do appreciate gentlemen. I appreciate the traits gentlemen possess.
I know that for some women, admitting this would be shameful. They would balk at the very idea of even considering a gentleman as anything more than a throwback to whale bone corsets and subjugation, but not me. In fact, the very notion of a man holding a door open for some women is considered an outrage, a ghastly and degrading act. Well, I respect such actions, as I would do the same for anyone myself. I would not expect any man to do more for me, than I would be willing to do for them. If I have manners and so on, then, why shouldn’t they have them also? Or, why else waste my time with such uncivilised individuals? Any display of manners, of courtesy, does not detract anything from my independence as a woman, who has rights, who can live her own life as she chooses. What actually puts me off is a lack of manners; ‘manners maketh the person’ after all. Without manners who are we exactly?
An example of bad manners, of ungentlemanly behaviour; a group of men who are eager to ogle the women passing them by upon the side-walk, but just as eager to then barge the same women off the side-walk and into the busy street, just so these men can continue walking by without having to ‘put themselves out’. Now that example of behaviour is intolerable for me, and is far more degrading than a simple act of a man holding a door open through mannerly courtesy. I know which I prefer, to be treated with at least a modicum of respect!
If the traits of a gentleman are so offensive, just consider momentarily a man who doesn’t demonstrate dignity, respect, courtesy and manners. What type of person would he make? These traits are essential elements in any would be relationship, without them you become just an object. The man has no concern for you as a person at all if he is unable to demonstrate such kindly traits towards you. Why then do we so easily compromise on manners in society? Or gentlemanly qualities?
Why do we forgive burly machismo, but abhor a man with kindly manners?
I know I can’t possibly be the only woman out there who is despondent towards what seems to be the ‘show me your boobs’, drink until we collapse male culture of today.
When I see such leery and obnoxious men, this is when I wonder where the species called gentlemen are. This is when we all need to see the gentleman the most; to restore faith, to demonstrate that not all men are just sex crazed idiots, who categorize women according to how good their breasts look. That there are many men out there who are genuine, do care and that can treat women like human beings, not just objects.
With all things considered though, even the bleak things, I do believe there are gentlemen out there in the world. I know because I have seen the proof, although I admit not as often as I would like to! Maybe gentlemen often hide away from the world, maybe men are afraid to appear as gentlemen? I don’t know.
What I do know is that real gentlemen are not the Prince who will whisk you away on a white horse into the sunset, but real men; men who value women, and don’t compromise their manners, courtesy or respect towards other people. Gentlemen are something worth vindicating, valuing and celebrating; a world without them would be a world lacking much-needed class.
So men, please don’t be ashamed or afraid to be seen as, and called a gentleman. There is nothing shameful or embarrassing about having such a grand and noble title placed upon you. In fact, it is a honour, not a dishonour.