in review: what makes a man a gentleman?

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This afternoon I ran behind two twenty-something-year old guys for a few minutes before they noticed my presence. Unfortunately, I happened upon a few minutes of their conversation in which they talked about a girl they recently saw swimming at our community pool. Not only was their verbal language atrocious, but their body language and hand gestures were inexcusable. I rolled my eyes in disgust and made my presence known.

Their countenances visibly changed the moment they realized I was behind them, and they offered to "get the gate" for me. The one said to the other, "See we're still gentlemen."

To which I firmly replied, "I'm sorry but getting the gate for me does not make you a gentleman."I thanked them for opening the gate and went straight to the treadmill to complete my workout. I ran for 26 minutes on the treadmill, and for 26 minutes minutes I had to listen to these so-called gentlemen belittle and degrade women.

I shudder to think they should ever be so lucky to actually ever be with a woman, and I am not referring to the virtual kind.

And so I ask, what makes a gentleman? Webster's dictionary defines a gentleman as "a man whose conduct conforms to a high standard of propriety or correct behavior." Sadly, the defining line of correct behavior has blurred over recent years.

When I think of a gentleman, I think of my husband. Obviously. Not only does he open my door, he usually tries to lighten my load or make my life happier whenever possible. Like right now, he just walked in from playing full-court basketball and is soaked through and through with sweat, but he is making me a fruit shake because earlier I mentioned how much I wanted one.

That's just the kind of man he is. He would never speak ill of a woman, even if I do. He just doesn't. He acknowledges a woman's beauty, and I have heard him pay women compliments on their hair, dress, or shoes. While we often joke about sex because well, it can be pretty funny, he never takes our intimacy lightly. It is something special we share. These are just some of his gentlemen-like qualities.

Is it important to you that there are still gentlemen in the world? If so, what makes a gentleman?

(One thing is for sure, men like the ones I ran behind today will never, ever be allowed in this house. Never. I teach and will continue to teach my daughters to honor and respect themselves. And I will teach them to look for men who honor them too.) 

1 comment :

  1. I had a similar experience the other day. The house next to ours got new residents recently and they were in their backyard having a house warming party. The husband and his friends were telling a story about work, every other word was a swear or slur. The mans wife and daughter were also outside playing in a small kids pool, within ear shot of this conversation. When they realized that I too was in my backyard, the story immediately stopped and a face appeared over our shared fence. He said "Sorry about that ma'am, I didnt realize you were outside". Never mind that his wife and small child WERE there, it took a complete stranger to shame him into slightly better behavior.
    For me, being a gentleman is all about integrity. Its not about opening doors or saying "ma'am", its about conducting yourself with honor and treating others (especially women)with decency and respect. Gentlemen of integrity are gentlemen, even when no one is looking.


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