The Essential Behaviours of the Modern Gentleman (and do they still matter?)

Is the idea of gentlemanly behaviour in public an outdated concept that modern society has left behind? Do you consider yourself to be a gentleman? Or is having different manners for men and women now passé? Opinions vary.

For example, I always pause when passing through a door if I am walking with a woman in order to allow her to enter first. It is an ingrained habit that I don’t even think about anymore. I was once taught that this was the polite thing to do, and that has stuck with me. Some people see any behaviour – no matter how benign your intentions – that treats women differently from men is offensive.

A new study has revealed the top 50 signs that you are a real gentleman, and many of them seem like just good manners or life skills to have. Others seem like they may be a bit of a generational backlash.

For example, 41 per cent of survey respondents say that a gentleman should have short hair, with man buns, pony tails, and the quiff (modern pompadour) being out. It’s true that you wouldn’t catch James Bond sporting any of those styles, but it still sounds like older people disliking some current fashion trends of younger guys.

Similarly, the report claims that the modern gentleman should handwrite letters, reads a broadsheet newspaper, and has never taken a selfie. Okay, I’ve never taken a selfie, but seriously: who handwrites a letter anymore? Or reads a paper? The printed newspaper is by definition, yesterday’s news.

Number three on the top 50 gentlemanly behaviours bridges the gap. It calls out a modern bad habit that too many of us have, but is difficult to argue with. A gentleman puts his phone away at the dinner table. That doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

Here they are.

The top behaviours of the modern gentleman

    1. Holds the door open for others
    2. Listens when other people speak
    3. Puts his phone away at the dinner table
    4. Keeps good personal hygiene
    5. Arrives punctually to social events and meetings
    6. Keeps a tidy home
    7. Lends his jacket to his partner on a cold night
    8. Knows when to admit he is wrong
    9. Polishes his shoes
    10. Keeps himself in shape
    11. Greets guests at the door
    12. Tells the truth, even in difficult circumstances
    13. Knows when to ask for help
    14. Good at remembering names and faces
    15. Up to date on current events
    16. Never gets too drunk
    17. Walks on the road-side of the pavement
    18. Avoids gossip and gossiping
    19. Keeps a tidy wardrobe
    20. Wears a watch
    21. Generous in the bedroom
    22. Steps in to resolve disputes
    23. Refrain from social media over-use
    24. Tells witty anecdotes
    25. Tech savvy, but not overly so
    26. Brings his partner breakfast in bed
    27. Gives money to charity
    28. Knows how to set a table
    29. Knows how to change a tire
    30. Can entertain your children
    31. Has opinions on the political landscape
    32. Knows how to give a toast at dinner
    33. Cooks a few signature dishes
    34. Knows how to host a mean BBQ
    35. Knows how to put up a shelf
    36. Good music taste
    37. Knows how to carve at the dinner table
    38. Knows how to tie a bow tie
    39. Has never taken a selfie
    40. Knows how to flirt
    41. Handwrites letters
    42. Reads a broadsheet newspaper
    43. Knows their whisky
    44. Reads the literary greats
    45. Knows a second language
    46. Has a signature drink
    47. Knows about flowers
    48. Knows the offside rule
    49. Knows how to make a range of alcohol drinks
    50. Knows how to camp/bushcraft

As I mentioned, many of these seem like valuable life skills (men should be able to change a tire, cook a meal, put up a shelf, and start a campfire) and good manners (not using their phone at the table, holding open doors, showing up on time for things).

What do you think? Are the rules of being a gentleman still relevant in 2017, and how many of them to you adhere to?

Bonus question: Do you stand up when a woman arrives at or departs from the table? And should you?

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