Perhaps Not A Gentleman, After All

It has recently occurred to me that, barring some sort of radical change of direction, I cannot be a gentleman. This is not the sort of thing that might worry a lot of people. In fact a lot of people would think the concept is an archaic one and a nebulous one and a bit of a silly one and they might wonder what the hell I might be talking about anyway.

There are undoubtedly many definitions of a gentleman, although none come to mind now. Gentlemen should allow ladies to go first, hold doors for ladies, walk on the outside on the street, and things of that sort. A least I think they ought to do those things. I’m sure I’ve read it somewhere.

My own interpretation of this type of man is hopefully more relevant to contemporary life and is not so much about doing things for helpless women – because they aren’t helpless – but doing things for other people. People of any description, but particularly if they could do with some assistance, like if they are old or sick or injured or something of that sort. And yes, you ought to know which knife and fork to use and how to introduce someone to someone else, but the rules about these things are complex and not worth learning, let alone attempting to apply. No, the rule – my rule – is to make people feel comfortable. If you have just met someone, be friendly. If someone is a guest in your home and they wish to eat asparagus with a spoon, allow them to, without any semblance of fuss or protest. They are your guest. It is your responsibility to provide ease for them while they are under your roof.

Now the whole host thing is an area of struggle for me. I’m a bit shy and a bit unsure and this has frequently led to a guest with an empty glass which I could have filled or a lonely person who could have received a bit of sparklingly witty conversation from me.

You have to be confident to put people at their ease, but it was something I always thought I could work at.

What defeats me is the other element. Always put other people first. This is mainly achievable, and therefore not a problem, when circumstances are without the element of stress. But when it all gets a bit harder, then I can be self-centred and unable to find my way outside my own absorbed little world, wrapped up in me and my nerves and how I feel and why I’m put upon. And these things do not add up to putting other people first, when they see you stressed and can do nothing about it and neither can you. The result is confusion and tension and discord. Certainly it is not putting others at ease and placing their needs before yours.

So that’s that. A gentleman only sometimes, when things are going well.

A pity – but there are no good clubs to go to any more, so maybe there was never a point to any of this anyway.

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Published in: on October 24, 2016 at 7:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

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