Sunday, September 27, 2009

Never imagine the speaker naked: no matter how attractive.

The title can be credited to a gem of advice from Sam Martin's G is for Gentleman which was published in 2003 (you can be linked to the UK Men's Health review here) and in my humble opinion, should be the ubiquitous tome for males gracing this earth. It is social gold.

According to Martin, no doubt via Miss Manners, or Emily Post, a 'real and true gentleman' is:
  1. in possession of an outstanding character
  2. never late
  3. always discreet
  4. never arrogant
  5. of impeccable manners
  6. always well spoken
  7. immaculately dressed at all times
  8. in possession of good social skills
  9. in possession of a genuine concern for others
  10. forthright enough to never make excuses
The hello kiss: do it with confidence, especially in Rome: do as the Romans do. This isn't a sensual event.
In 1922 Emily Post (1873-1960) published her book Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home. A well near exhaustive work of reference in which she details how to behave courteously, dress accordingly, play sports appropriately and live graciously in all aspects of life.

Post's work covers both female and male etiquette, and while the usual gentlemanly behaviours were covered- never allow a lady to walk on the road side of the footpath, always offer your hand whilst getting out of the car to name just two, I sensed early feminism which, while it certainly didn't promote burning bras, affirmed the female place in society back in the 20's as beginning to have a sense of a independence. Apparently if you were meeting a gentleman friend on the way to a 'house party', he should by no means pay for your fare. Also, if a gentleman happens to come across a female companion as she buys a small item at a stall, leave her to pay before carrying on the conversation.

The 'sports' section was, quite simply, ruddy hilarious. The golf excerpt nothing short of brilliant, although it does dispel the (potential) urban myth of GOLF standing for 'Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden'...?

Golf is a particularly severe strain upon the amiabnd in no other game, except bridge, is serenity of disposition so essential. No one easily “ruffled” can keep a clear eye on the ball, and exasperation at “lost balls” seemingly bewitches successive ones into disappearing with the completeness and finality of puffs of smoke. In a race or other test of endurance a flare of anger might even help, but in golf it is safe to say that he who loses his temper is pretty to lose the game.
A young woman must on no account expect the man she happens to be playing with to make her presents of golf-balls, or to caddy for her, nor must she allow him to provide her with a caddy. If she can’t afford to hire one of her own, she must either carry her own clubs or not play golf.

To be honest I was more interested to find out what is...not expected, but what is appreciated in a gentleman in today's world. Luckily there are a few characters around the world who think the same and have taken it upon themselves to write turn-of-the-millennium 'updates'. My favourite found at the library was Sam Martin's 'G is for Gentleman', with an excellent forward by butler Rick Fink.
And if you're not an aspiring gentleman? You should be. I'm not the feminist that my foremothers are probably begging me to be from their graves, but the reality is tradition is making a comeback. For my birthday I received the recipe book Ladies, A Plate, which was published in 2008, and holds recipes tried and tested by the author that date back to the early part of the 20th century. Now, if us girls are going to be in the kitchen (which the title of said recipe book suggests...), albeit with a test match or two in the background on tv, then it's fair to say we wouldn't mind our men, no matter what role they may play in our lives, to continue to adopt those lovely aspects that were prevalent in the very same days dinner was served at 6pm on the dot with slippers ready at the door and a sweet bread and butter pudding for dessert.

I'll leave you with my favourites from G is for Gentleman.....

Until next time,


There are a few styles of shake that will doom you from the word go. One is the limp shake, by which you just hold out your hand but don't squeeze. If you're on the giving end, this feels similar to firmly grabbing a flabby, lifeless, tenderloin steak. It's unpleasant, to say the least.

Gentlemen travel in numbers- so if you're in the know, and the rest of your posse is in the dark, it's up to you to illuminate them.

When listening, never interrupt to take a phone call, say hi to passers-by or pet a small animal.

Never imagine the speaker naked, no matter how attractive.

Things to say when: greeting a blind date-
  • 'Thanks for meeting me'
  • You look great.

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