This notion of what defines a “gentleman” is constantly regurgitated all over the Internet. Every publication talks about it. Every blogger has an opinion on it. Every Instagram quote account that talks about “gentlemanly behaviour” chalks up glittery and synthesized quotes that represent this aspirational and Hallmark-esque quota for what it means to be a “gentleman”. And all of them say the same thing, “A gentleman is the best teammate ever!” or “a gentleman only has eyes for his lady!” or “a gentleman makes his lady feel beautiful at all times!”
Of course I agree with all those things, but seeing lines such as those be used to define what a gentleman is just makes me want to stick my finger down my throat and give myself the gag reflux until I spew all over myself. It’s because they’re thinly-veiled and uninventive. Lines like those are what I call “bubble gum bumper stickers”.
As a man who considers himself to be a gentleman, I’m going to give you my unfiltered interpretation of what it means to love and date like a gentleman.
No bumble gum bumper sticker bullshit, just straight truth on how to be a high value man and love with integrity.
Most people will say that a gentleman is the nice guy. Sure, but I’d sooner say that a gentleman is simply someone who doesn’t fuck with a woman’s emotions. Whether indirectly or directly, if you’re fucking with a woman’s emotions, you’re not a gentleman, you’re an asshole. I don’t care if you go to church on Sundays and pee sitting down, if you’re confusing a woman, you’re being a dick. It all comes down to a matter of intentions and the precedence you’re setting.
If you’re genuinely interested in a girl, set the precedence of courtship. Ask her out in advance (no last minute lackadaisical bullshit) and give her your Saturday night. Planning ahead and giving a girl your Saturday night tells her two things: you’re excited enough to see her that you’re willing to prioritize her and plan ahead, and secondly, you’re willing to give her a night where you could easily be out “chasing other bitches”.
If you do not wish to pursue genuine romance with a girl, don’t court her. Too many dudes confuse women by getting romantic about the idea of sleeping with them.
If you only want something casual, or are in a place in life where you don’t have anything to offer a woman other than your dick, make sure your intentions are clear that’s the case.
Honesty – The “I’m Not Interested” Challenge
Everybody is ghosting. Everyone is dropping breadcrumbs like timid little mice who are too afraid to tell the person the real deal. I challenge guys out there to be the exception. I remember the first time a girl I had been talking to texted me, “I don’t think we should see each other anymore. I don’t see us working out in the long-term,” I looked directly into my phone, dead stare and said, “You bitch! How dare you??” But that was immediately followed two seconds after by, “But my god do I respect you!” What? She was a bitch because she was being honest? God no! I was the one who was being a bitch because I couldn’t handle the truth.
If you aren’t into someone you’re talking to, and it feels necessary considering the circumstances, let them know, “I think you’re a wonderful person. But if I’m being honest, I don’t see it working out between us, and so, I think it would be best if we didn’t pursue anything any further.” If that girl hates you after that, it’s because of her ego and that’s for her to deal with, not you. She might think you’re being inconsiderate, but you’re actually being a more reputable guy for giving her information that she can process much faster and with less confusion.
In dating, I call this “cleaning up the laundry”. No stones are left unturned. So I challenge you to tell someone, “I’m not interested” in a way that is direct, but also very sincere.
Let Down Your Ego
Too many guys get wrapped up in their ego — the old classic, a girl doesn’t want to sleep with you, and so you call her a slut, but in fact she’s the opposite of a slut because she’d have to be a slut in order to sleep with a guy like you.
A gentleman understands that attraction is a matter of preference and taste. He doesn’t need to know he could get every girl; all he needs is his kind of girl. Moreover, so often our ego can take hold of us and make us do foolish things: lash out at someone who mistreats us, or desperately want to prove to someone that we’re special or worth it when they don’t seem to notice or care. But a gentleman always takes the high road. A gentleman’s confidence is quiet, it’s not boastful or attention-seeking. He knows who he is, has a strong sense of self, and trusts that a worthy girl will clearly be able to see the best parts of him.
Don’t Chase, Attract
Make it your dating philosophy to make your life so fucking amazing that a woman would be crazy not to want to be a part of it. Rather than constantly searching for chicks to bang or someone to date to avoid having to face yourself, focus all that energy on improving yourself and your life. A gentleman has faith and trust that by focusing introspectively, and making sure he’s living the most authentic life as possible, he is going to be presented with the greatest number of opportunities to meet the right person, organically. He directly ties in self development and personal growth with what is necessary to prepare himself for the right person.
Self Awareness & Emotional Intelligence
In my opinion, these are the two defining characteristics that create high value men in dating. Men who are self-aware and have high emotional intelligence are sharp, socially savvy, and skilled at dealing with their emotions and the emotions of others. Being self-aware translates into you being respectful of others, having a high degree of self respect, and being able to move through emotional relationships with a high level of integrity. A lack of self-awareness and emotional intelligence is what catalyzes misogynist, asshole, and douche bag behaviour.
For example: you know that guy who you see after an afternoon baseball game at the bar, wearing a giant beer spill on the crest of his t-shirt and a backwards baseball cap, shoving a chicken wing down his throat and yelling at some girl at the other end of the bar who’s scared shitless? Yeah…we all know that dude…he’s definitely not self-aware. He’s the anti-gentleman.
While a gentleman’s behaviour won’t always be exemplary one hundred perfect of the time, he will always self-access and critically look at his own behaviour to be sure he doesn’t repeat his same mistakes.
Selfless love is about loving with their best interest at heart. Too many guys stay in relationships too long, or meddle around in a relationship they aren’t entirely invested in because it’s simply “enough”. But a gentleman loves with her best interest at heart, knowing that she deserves more than enough, she deserves everything. If he thinks she could find greater happiness with someone else, or that she deserves more love than he’s able to give her, then he knows letting her go is the right thing to do. It’s the difference between clean pain and dirty pain — if you stay in something because of fear or complacency, then you’re infecting their inevitable pain, losing your relationship integrity in the process. But a gentleman maintains his relationship integrity by trusting his self-awareness and intuition, to make sure he’s completely honest in his romantic relationships, and most importantly, he does so early on, while the pain can be clean as opposed to infected pain after he’s suppressed his truth for so long for fear of confrontation.
Communication & Emotional Confrontation
This point directly ties into the previous point. A gentleman is emotionally assertive. He is a savvy communicator because he knows that on the other end of tough conversations is complete empowerment as a couple. I always say, “you won’t experience the greatest amount of freedom when you’re single, but when you find a relationship that adheres to the mantra ‘brutal truth’”. A gentleman builds this arena of trust and honesty in his relationships — knowing full well that tackling the tough emotions, being unafraid to bash the walls of the relationship, will allow him and the woman he’s with to become closer as a unit, or be freed up to find someone better suited for them. Approaching this type of maturity in a relationship takes a lot of emotional courage, but a gentleman knows it’s how you build and sustain love that is free and healthy.
When most people will talk about being a “gentleman,” they will say that a gentleman courts the girl, buys her dinner, and treats her with undying chivalry. Sure, but those are such surface and exterior actions. Any fucking guy can buy a girl dinner. Being a gentleman is so more than buying a girl dinner or pulling out her chair, it’s about how how you love and perceive love deep in your core, how you commit to improving yourself for the betterment of yourself and those you love and will end up loving, and the degree of care and respect you show for those you’re lucky enough to love in your life.
Most importantly, being a gentleman is about being authentic. You will fall short of being a gentleman sometimes — and if you don’t then girls should stay far away from you because you’re a fucking alien who should not be trusted — but it’s more so the grace, class, vulnerability and transparency you exude when you fall short of this pursuit of being a gentleman, that ultimately determines if you’re a man who can love with integrity.