I am a Flaming Liberal about Gentlemanliness

"You better 'splain!"

Yes, I had planned on it, thanks. But it will take a couple of minutes.

I learned some interesting things recently. Going back a few hundred years, the gentleman was a kind of lower-level nobility. He had good "birth" or family background and was reasonably wealthy. One of the main criteria is that he did not have to do actual work for a living, relying on inheritance, real estate or whatever.

"One mustn't mix with the working classes! That is shameful. We must set examples and hope that they learn from their betters. Noblesse oblige." The snooty idea of nobility and social rank that equates wealth with quality of character rankles me to no end. Sorry, Zeke, I do not recognize your authority or judgment. In this regard, I do not stand for conserving the standards, I am a liberal.

Fortunately, that system faded. The distinction began slipping over the years, and things like the Reform Act of 1832 in England damaged the class of gentleman even further; it became wider. The middle class grew over the years. Gentlemen's Clubs were created (and not in the silly euphemistic way that Americans have for "strip joints"). Clubs grew phenomenally in the 1880s because more men felt that they could belong to something. The concept of Gentlemen's Clubs found its way in many corners of the world. Gentlemen fit very nicely into the ever-widening middle class.

"Why is anyone called a gentleman today, Cowboy Bob?"

| Rewind a bit. The classes required distinction, and so manners were created. Gentlemen and ladies had their code of conduct. When you are glared at for slurping your soup (rightfully so), you are violating a class distinction. Echoes of the old days when it was said, "We do not act like the commoners." Social class warfare was encouraged. As if it was not enough to be distinct by having hands that were unscarred from doing honest labor, the code of conduct further distanced the classes.

Most of the class warfare distinctions are gone when it comes to using the term "gentleman". After all, we have a far greater equalizer than Sam Colt gave us. My equalizer is green, folded and stuffed into my diamond-studded money clip. If you can pay, you can get respect. For the most part, anyway. Money is another nail in the coffin of class distinction, because you are not excluded from shops if you can pay.

These days, being a gentleman is something to which we aspire. And that means character and manners more than anything else. Sure, you can dress like a gentleman based on some current fashion trends. But the outward adornment does not define the inner character or spirit. Of course, if you have enough spare change and can afford finer clothes and such, it is nice to both look and act the part of a gentleman. But as far as my liberal attitude on this is concerned, the bricklayer can be as much a gentleman as the head of a Fortune 500 company.

Views: 36

Comment

You need to be a member of Art of Manliness to add comments!

Join Art of Manliness

Comment by James Murphy on October 22, 2009 at 2:46pm
Thanks for sharing, I agree 100%, and I liked your joke to.
Comment by Cowboy Bob Sorensen on October 21, 2009 at 4:19pm
"ALMOST" enough... lol. Man, some of the replies I got were better than the joke itself. Glad you liked the post, hope it made sense, I didn't feel like I had the right rhythm.
Comment by asa c mcguire on October 21, 2009 at 4:16pm
Well put bob. This is almost enough to make up for the stalker joke. My head still hurts :-)

Latest Activity

Cletus Rothschild replied to Specs's discussion Real Men.
""And at the same time be prepared to maturely voice your opinions and have logical discussions.""
44 minutes ago
blackjack replied to Brett McKay's discussion New Moderators
"it's so cool"
3 hours ago
Liam Strain replied to blackjack's discussion Development of the Automobile
"Dude. These are not discussions. You are copying and pasting entirely from other websites. Use the blog space if you just want to regurgitate wikipedia entries.  Or in this case "the Victorian…"
4 hours ago
blackjack posted discussions
4 hours ago
Michael K. Gillespie replied to Beowulf87's discussion Beard vitamins? Or other ways to thicken the beard?
"Hey there! Beards are like a source of pride for men. But it can be tough if it is not in genes, right? See the point is to make your beard grow thicker the first thing to do is start exercising regularly. This will help blood circulation which…"
4 hours ago
Michael K. Gillespie replied to Apollyon's discussion Job Anxiety - Afraid of getting/keeping a job?
"See you could also find a profession which is less crowded and less social. You can also apply for trainee post where you would be in learning phase and no responsibility. But yeah, do keep finding for another job too because why settle for less…"
4 hours ago
Liam Strain replied to John Muir's discussion Donald Trump Is A Greedy, Creepy, Ignorant Jerk in the group The Great Debate
""Have no idea what you're even yammering about his electoral victory. He's rather proud of that one.'I was referring to the claims that "it was the biggest electoral victory since Reagan" that he made repeatedly. Then…"
4 hours ago
Native Son replied to Pale Horse's discussion Internet Censorship in the group The Great Debate
"This thread is still percolating along? Just in case some folks hadn't noticed, companies and their advertising agencies have ALWAYS determined what are appropriate venues for advertising their products. What's happening with YouTube is…"
6 hours ago

© 2017   Created by Brett McKay.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service