A conversation with a friend prompted me to consider the definition of “Gentleman” in today’s society.
The original topic centered on the “Southern Gentleman”. The subject had been lambasted, as all things Southern are these days. I should mention my friend was a gentleman from the breadbasket section of the country, whereas I represent the female gender from the south.
The first point made by my friend is that the southern man is perceived as ill-mannered and uncouth, holding little to no respect for the fairer sex. He offered his personal experience with a few southern men as examples. I countered the type of behavior he described could be found in the north, south, east, and west. Those were not gentlemen.
I would like to offer my definition of a true gentleman in modern times.
Gentlemen, no matter their locale, are well mannered, up to and including holding the door open for a person (male or female) behind them. He measures his words for the impact they might have. Considerate of those around him, he will hold his tongue rather than offer direct insult. There are occasions when an irrational person might goad a biting response from a gentleman, but at that point, the offending party deserves what comes next.
A lady, by this definition’s extent, is a complementary counterpart to the gentleman. Socially pleasant and charming to the friends and associates of her gentleman, she would be mortified to cause a scene in a public place. Any and all unpleasantness would be held for the private moment.
A gentleman would never raise his voice to a lady, most especially in a public place. What he says behind closed doors, among compatriots in private, is his business, and another gentleperson would never repeat what might or might not have been said.
On a final point, a gentleman would never refer to himself as such. It would be pretentious and shallow.
How do I know of what I speak? Because I have the honor and privilege of being married to a true gentleman. His parents’ fortunes were less than stellar, but they taught him how to behave and how to treat one's fellow man. He was born in Miami, Florida, marking him Southern Gentleman. His parents were Cuban. Even with the stereotypical Latin Blood, he is the epitome of a Gentleman, by every word of the above description.
He saves his passionate heritage for me, in private. I am one blessed, lucky, ecstatic, satisfied woman. Can your partners say the same?