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: 22

Tags: gentleman, honest labor

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 Yankee Cowboy Bob 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

Philip Funderburk posted a status
"Book recommendation of the week: Founding Brothers - The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph J. Ellis. Must read imho."
22 minutes ago
Brian D Parker left a comment for David Johns
"Thanks for the welcome brother! Glad to be aboard!"
2 hours ago
Brad Williams replied to Brad Williams's discussion Self-Defense Without Guns
"Yeah, having heard what happened to my two buddies, I'm resolved if I got boxed in like that I would just wait until they got out of the cars, then start ramming.  Forward, reverse, forward reverse....  I wouldn't stop the…"
3 hours ago
Daniel Rodriguez replied to Brad Williams's discussion Self-Defense Without Guns
"It seems like these guys don't *try* to kill you. Swords won't work here, that'll escalate it. At most, a pocketknife, but it seems to be fisticuffs and clubs with these guys. If I had to run in with them, from what you're…"
3 hours ago
Brad Williams posted a discussion

Self-Defense Without Guns

This situation is going to take some detailing, so please bear with me.I live in Taiwan, where civilians cannot own firearms.  Crime here is almost zero, violent crime is basically zero.  Its one of the safest places to be.  There's also security cameras everywhere in the cities.  However, the little violent crime that there is ... is of a pretty frightening character.The problem is corruption.  While random crime like home invasion, convenience store robbery, drug crime, road rage etc. is…See More
3 hours ago
Ian Wilson replied to Ian Wilson's discussion So what is the point of all this? in the group Out to Build Bridges
"never heard of her, ...but thank you!  i found an article that she tweeted and it speaks to my soul.  i love it!  my gosh it was like reading my own thoughts.  so thank you for helping me to stumble upon that. and you are…"
4 hours ago
David Johns left a comment for Brian D Parker
"Hey, Brian!  Welcome, brother!"
4 hours ago
Jeremy added a discussion to the group Velo Men
Thumbnail

new to the group.

Just wanted to say hi.  I am new here.  I have a single speed chromoly bike that I ride a lot.  I enjoy riding around and running errands and what not.  I am looking forward to reading posts on here.  See More
4 hours ago

© 2014   Created by Brett McKay.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service