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: 31


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

Sir replied to Joshua Paul Hood's discussion How can I help a friend?
"I once asked a (male) friend if I could call him any time of day or night if going cold turkey on TV got me into depression.  He told me later how much he was hoping I didn't choose the middle of the night... but he said sure.  I…"
42 minutes ago
Joshua Paul Hood replied to Joshua Paul Hood's discussion How can I help a friend?
"I was thinking of letting her know that she can call or text me any time of day if she needs to talk about anything. I just wasn't sure if that would be over stepping any boundaries in any way."
47 minutes ago
Joshua Paul Hood replied to Joshua Paul Hood's discussion How can I help a friend?
"Thanks for advice."
57 minutes ago
Kevin Collier replied to Sen's discussion Most Cost Effective Rifle in the group Riflemen
"Okay then, a good .22 is the way to go. In a bolt action look for a used Marlin 25, they had fantastic barrels. New bolt, check out the CZ rifles, not cheap, but not heartbreakers either. In a semi-auto, go with a Ruger 10-22, they run forever, and…"
1 hour ago
MJB joined Tyler Wainright's group

Manly Dads

This group is for men out there who have children and are looking for a better way to balance manhood with fatherhood
1 hour ago
MJB joined M Saxton's group

The Art of Warriorness

Just as Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War,” has been applied to many different aspects of modern life; I believe there are many great lessons to be learned from all of the warriors and warrior societies, from SEALS to Samurais, and Spetsnaz to Spartans.
1 hour ago
Specs updated their profile
2 hours ago
Liam Strain replied to John Smith's discussion Creating an Online Freelance Business?
"I like wordpress, but it's a bit more DIY, even with good themes. For an all in one (albeit a bit more money up front - but not much), try Squarespace.  "
2 hours ago

© 2016   Created by Brett McKay.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service