What is a Gentleman?

  1. 1.
    a chivalrous, courteous, or honourable man.
  2. Some would argue that the concept of being a gentleman today is somewhat archaic. Others would argue that the rules of being a gentleman have not and cannot change, and if you don’t stand reflexively each time a woman enters the room, you might as well go live under a bridge. Being a modern day gentleman is achievable to any man who wants to rise above and stand out. But, at the same time, one must take in to consideration some things that make a true gentleman stand out from everyone else.
    Here, in 10 brief steps, is a guide depicting the things that, in my opinion, are the mark of a modern day gentleman.

    1)    A Gentleman is always in style.

    When most people hear ‘gentleman’ they think, suit, tie, polished shoes etc. Luckily, the definition has evolved and isn’t attached to a certain look anymore – it’s all about attitude and how you carry yourself. Choose a personal style that reflects your personality and lifestyle.

    2)    A Gentleman has good hygiene.

    Put effort into your appearance. It’s a given. Keep yourself clean, showered, and groomed. Nobody, especially your partner, wants to smell your body odour from across the table.

    3)    A Gentleman is mature.

    It’s now commonplace for potential employers to check out your social media profiles. You’ll also be hard-pressed to find a woman who won’t do the same before dating you. Even if the pictures are from years ago and you’ve since cleaned up your act, they’re not going to see the “now” you. They’re going to see the “then” you.

    While you’re at it, set up a grown-up e-mail address. The sounds-dirty-but-isn’t e-mail account you’ve had since high school is the farthest thing from gentlemanly.

    4)    A Gentleman’s speech is beyond reproach.

    It’s obviously a huge no-no in professional settings, but trust me, as a radio announcer, I know the importance of keeping your speech clean because when you constantly swear in your personal life, it becomes increasingly difficult to reel in the habit at work.

    Consider this a top priority if you want to be a gentleman. Not only will expanding your vocabulary make you a better communicator, you’ll impress others across the board with your intelligence and professionalism.

    5)    A Gentleman is approachable.

    Say hello as you’re walking past a stranger in the street. Make eye contact. Be approachable. It’s one of the best ways to open yourself up to new people, experiences, and professional connection. To be a gentleman while you’re out, always remember it’s all about them. Be a good listener. Ask questions. Take note of what’s important to them, and they’ll take note of you.

    6)    A Gentleman knows his purpose.

    Beyond a nice home and financial security, he knows what he wants. What are you passionate about? What mark do you want to make? Define what you live for. Not only will you feel more fulfilled, it’ll lead to so much depth and substance your head will spin. Everything will feel that much brighter.

    7)    A Gentleman makes firm decisions.

    Not making a decision is a decision in itself, and it’s not a good one! If you want the respect of others, know what you want and what you don’t, and be clear about it. Knowing how to say no is one of the most well-respected things you can do for yourself. You don’t want to be a fickle person who constantly flakes on those you care about because you over-commit, and you certainly don’t want to be the guy with no opinion or backbone.

    8)    A Gentleman keeps his word.

    A big part of being a gentleman is respecting others’ time and meaning what you say. If you say you’re going to meet someone at a specific time, don’t be late. When you tell someone you’re going to help them with something, help them. When you promise you’ll have a project done by a certain date, meet your deadline. Not only will this build trust with those you care about, it will also help build self-trust, a crucial-yet-underrated form of trust when you’re a gentleman.

    9)    A Gentleman keeps things in order.

    Keeping a tidy office, home, and car will leave a good impression on anyone you meet. It shows you take yourself seriously, and take pride in what you’ve worked hard for. Fast forward ten years to when you’re living with your future wifey: if you build the habit now, you’ll be one of the few who aren’t nagged about leaving their towel on the floor!

    10)  A Gentleman is himself.

    Our professional and personal lives are now fused together thanks to technology, so it’s wise to drop all that compartmentalizing and be authentic 24/7. Be authentic and let the facade down and stop trying to look so glossy. Not to sound like a hippy, but just be.

    What’s ironic about the art of being yourself is what makes you unique is usually what makes you self-conscious. The flaws you find irritating are appealing and endearing to everyone else – they’re what set you apart and make you memorable.

    Being at ease with who you are is the sign of a true gentleman. Gentlemen don’t lie or mislead – they’re as comfortable with themselves as they want you to be.

    Aside from this list, there are a number of etiquettes that are truly outdated, such as standing every time a woman enters the room.

    Although it is entirely polite to stand when being introduced, most women will find it weird if you were to stand every time they walk through the door.

    Helping a woman with her coat is another outdated practice, that, although gallant and adorable, does not sit well with women outside of a long term relationship or marriage because most women won’t know what you’re doing. Unfortunately, because of the lack of chivalry in today’s society, this is mostly a futile gesture. Another is helping a woman with her chair. Again, although it’s an honourable gesture, it’s somewhat antiquated. On a positive note however, if you are taking your lady to a decent place to dine, the waitstaff should look after this for you.

    Being a modern day gentleman doesn’t have to be hard, in fact it’s quite easy to achieve. All you need is some self awareness and a sensitive consideration for others. Those two things never go out of style.

    Damien Martin

    Co-Founder ‘Men of Honour’



Written by Michael Rochin