24 ways of being a true Modern Gentleman & 10 things one ought to do/know anyway

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The Age of the Gentleman — that semi-imaginary time we all have in our heads where men you actually wanted to sleep with wore fedoras and treated ladies like ladies — might be over, but there’s no reason it can’t come back next year. We just need to set up a few ground rules for being a modern Cary Grant/Paul Newman/Ken Cosgrove. We’ll all be drinking scotch and wearing linen suits again in no time.

1. Have a signature drink that you both can make at home after a long day’s work, and order with effortless swag at any bar you happen to be in. (This means no complicated ingredients and easy substitutes. If it’s a whiskey soda, so be it.)

2. Keep all negative social media activities to a minimum, because no gentleman engages in things like Twitter fights or passive-aggressive Facebook statuses. It’s just not classy.

3. Hold doors open for everyone, because that’s just a nice thing that you do.

4. Always text back promptly, even if it’s to let someone down gently. The worst thing you can possibly to do someone is leave them hanging so they can torture themselves with worst case scenarios.

5. Own and be able to sufficiently rock at least one suit. Suits are the greatest untapped resource that most men have access to, and can take even the most slovenly 4Chan dweller into slick presentability. You owe it to yourself to know your way around a suit.

6. Master a good handshake, so that you are neither depositing your limp sea slug of a hand on someone else’s palm, nor crushing them with your Rock-Biter-from-the-Neverending-Story force.

7. Never attempt to explain, under any circumstances, why a cat call should be considered a compliment.

8. Do not be afraid of accessorizing, because a pair of nice shoes or a classy watch can Upgrade U almost immediately, as explained in the Beyoncé song.

9. Do not refer to things as “gay” that aren’t homosexual human beings. People who call things “gay” as a pejorative are truly the raisins in the trail mix of life.

10. Do your best not to put others down in order to elevate yourself, it reeks of the people who categorize men by their Greek letter status.

11. Call your mother, even if you have to set up a Google calendar reminder to get yourself to do this.

12. Know how to cook at least a few good meals, because a) there is nothing worse than guys who assume it’s up to the woman to do all the cooking, b) there is nothing sexier than a dude who can cook, and c) everyone deserves to feed themselves well.

13. Make good eye contact, but not so much that it gets into “I’ve been watching you from behind your dumpster” levels.

14. Don’t corner people at house parties with your political views (and this goes double — nay, triple — for libertarians, as you guys are the most egregious culprits).

15. Erase the word “slut” from your vocabulary.

16. Treat every woman with the same amount of respect and humanity that you would your mother, sister, or daughter — and think about why there might have been conditions on how you treated them in the first place.

17. RSVP.

18. Always put a little money away at the end of each month, and not because you’re saving for anything in particular.

19. Be up-front about your finances, because it’s unfair for anyone to believe in the outdated gender roles of “the man should pay for everything.” As long as you’re working hard and trying your best, you deserve to be honest.

20. Do not sleep with anyone who wants a relationship from you that you are not prepared to give. Using their affection to get something from them physically is easy, but it makes you a bad person.

21. Learn how to dance, at least a bit.

22. Never underestimate the great value of unexpected flowers on a day that is otherwise nothing special, especially in long-term relationships.

23. Don’t be disdainful of selfies, guys have just as much a right to look and feel good about themselves as anyone else. If you want a selfie, take a selfie! Just don’t be a dick about other people who like to do it, too.

24. Be compassionate, and know that you are allowed to experience the full range of human emotion. Where the gentleman of our grandparents’ generation might have prided himself on keeping all of his feelings in check for fear of seeming ‘feminine,’ a real gentleman knows that the best thing about him is his ability to be kind and empathetic. Everything else — yes, even the suit — is just icing on the cake

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10 Things one ought to do/know anyway:

1. Coming to the door to pick someone up.

I think we’ve all had it with the incredibly unromantic “here” text, and meeting up always seems to be more casual and platonic than the alternative. Of course, meeting someone from online or any circumstance like that would probably be the exception to this rule, but generally: the 30 seconds it takes to get out of a car or cab and knock on the door makes a huge difference.

2. Trying to dress really nicely for a date.

“Nicely” means different things for different people, so I think it’s just a matter of putting effort into how you put yourself together to go out with someone. It’s not about wearing suits and petticoats again, but just realizing that, whether or not we like to accept it, appearance does count for something, and we should do our best to make sure that our appearance says something about us, in whatever way we’d like it to.

3. Bringing flowers or other tokens of affection to the first date.

Now, many lucky ladies (and some men) I know get this regularly, and in fact, I have myself as well, but only ever with people I’d been dating for a while. I think there’s something to be said for bringing flowers to the door on your first date. It’s become uncool because it’s forward and it’s a gesture that confirms their interest, but we should definitely get past that idea and worry more about how we’re going to let someone know we really do care and appreciate that they want to spend time with us.

4. Going dancing that’s not grinding on a grimy club floor.

Whatever happened to this? Dancing for the sake of dancing, like fun, not essentially sex on a dance floor dancing. What’s a better way to literally shake off nerves than seeing them bust a really dorky move on a dance floor? And the art of slow dancing has generally been lost, though I’ve been one to do it in my living room with my slightly coerced significant other, and I’ll tell you he’s said on numerous occasions it ended up being one of the most romantic nights we had together.

5. Straightforwardly asking someone out and not calling it “hanging out.”

Or, as is very popular these days, “talking.” “Oh, we’re just… talking.” As in, seeing one another and speaking frequently as to get to know each other? So… dating? We’ve found these really convenient ways to skirt around the issue of having to put our hearts on the line, but honestly, it just ends up being messy and confusing for all parties involved. There’s no need to go back to the idea of courting or anything, unless you want to, but simply being direct about whether or not you’d like to go on a date with someone is a truly lost art, one that really shouldn’t be.

6. Additionally, being clear about when you’re “going steady.”

Oh, the awkward, “so… are we… you know… what are we?” talk. Classic. We should go back to asking one another if the other person would like to “go steady” or something. There’s something about asking them if they’d like to rather than assuming that you are or aren’t anything that’s just very cute, in my opinion.

7. Romantic gestures like writing poems.

Writing poems may not be for you, I know mine would look something like “Roses are red, violets are blue, I hate poetry but I love you.” I literally just made that up thank you please quote me when you inevitably post that gem on Tumblr. But seriously, like a handwritten letter in the mail or just surprising them with something you made even if it looks like the macaroni necklace you made when you were 5 is cute just because you tried and were thinking of them.

8. Turning electronics off and just being with one another.

I’m not sure there is anything worse than the person who picks up their phone and starts staring at it in the middle of dinner, or at any point while you’re together and having a conversation. I’m not anti-technology here (hello, I work for the Internet) but I am saying that there comes a time to turn it off and disconnect and remember what actually matters. People.

9. The general concept of asking permission for things.

It used to be principle for people to say: oh, when can I see you? Or, when could I call you? Rather than just assuming they can at any point. But I think that old concept could be applied to our modern world by just assuming that, unless told otherwise, you should ask permission to you know, touch themanywhere, take them out, call them at a certain time, etc. Once you’re in a relationship these things usually don’t require asking anymore, but some do, especially when it comes to sexuality. I once knew a person who said that they asked permission before so much as touching a girl’s thigh, and that always stuck with me.

10. Not assuming sex is to be had at any point in time.

Now, I’m certainly not saying it should go back to being a taboo that’s unspoken of, but we certainly shouldn’t expect it from someone on the third date, on the first date, because they’re being flirty, because you know they’re into you, or even because they agreed to go out with you. A date does not have to be a precursor to sex, and you shouldn’t be disappointed if it isn’t because you should never assume that it will be. It depends on the person you’re with and what they want to do

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