The term of gentleman in today's society may prompt many different images in your imagination. A courteous man of good social standing, a sharply dressed and neatly distinguished older fellow, or if your connotations are more negative, a snobbish elitist. I however, being inclined to consider myself a gentleman, have ruminated on the real reason for, and meaning of my chosen adherence to principle and iconic attire.
1. A gentleman is idealist in attitude, but realist in rationale
To me, being a gentleman, and a lady for that matter, denotes the belief in mankind being able to be something more than what it might appear that we are at face value. Something noble and more profound. In attitude a gentleman strives to be cordial, calm, collected, slow to anger but nonetheless swift to action. He does not boast, he does not make wanton use of violence to show off, nor does he engage in criminal activity, unethical practices of any kind. He treats women with kindness and care, from opening the door to defending her should she be accosted in any way, robbers, rapists or the like. These are idealist attitudes, but a gentleman should also be understanding of reality, a realist rationale in that he does not act naively nor expects everyone to act in accordance with his own principles and therefore be wise, shrewd and discerning.
2. A gentleman should not be harmless, but he should strive for peace
"Not being capable of violence is not being a good person, that's being harmless. A good person is a dangerous person who elects to not be cruel."
-Paraphrased from Jordan Peterson
A gentleman should be a man in the true sense. He should be more than capable of defending himself and others, be physically strong and able, and not shy away from vehemence when he needs to confront it. But he should never seek out conflict nor incite it. But aspire to live in peace with his fellow man.
3. A gentleman should dress his best because he is confident in himself, and comfortable in his own skin
To dress sharply and up to par with classical outfits is not about flaunting status or superiority to me, but to exude confidence and an air of responsibility as a person. It is an expression of respecting yourself and others to the degree that you dress to display dignity and morale. It is to be yourself in the best version.
4. A gentleman ought to be cultured, and knowledgable. But not puffed up!
Knowledge is quintessential for a good humanity. A gentleman should be aware of the world around him, knowledgable about history, science, culture and politics to some degree and be able to discuss them properly. But he should not be arrogant nor puffed up by what he knows, as if it makes him better.
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”
5. A gentleman ought to be assertive, but not a bully!
There is a sure difference between not being a push over, and being demeaning. A gentleman should know to value himself enough to let his views be known openly, and stand up for them. Defend his position if he is challenged, but be humble to concede should a factual matter be proven that he is in the wrong about.
And there it is. My review on what it truly means to be a gentleman in my own view.