The world needs more gentlemen.
It’s painfully obvious. It has as much to do with loutish behavior that the President displays sometimes as well as that of his detractors. It is reflected in what is now bubbling over daily in accusations of sexual harassment as well in the extended fingers that are often used to signal another’s displeasure when you make a bonehead move behind the wheel.
The odds seem great the President uttered the “s” word in a gathering that wasn’t exactly a one-on-one exchange. But that doesn’t mean it is carte blanche time to justify its utterance on Saturday Night Live by saying if the President can use it so can I.
A gentleman would never reduce a serious conversation by invoking gutter language nor would they latch on to someone else’s utterance of words that would make George Carlin smile and magnify the reach 12 million times over. Echoing boorish behavior in a way makes it even more repulsive than the boor’s.
It’s a misnomer that being a gentleman simply means opening the door for others, giving up a seat in a waiting room to a woman or a frail man, or dressing dapper.
It’s about having a high regard for standards of behavior, respect for others, and striving to live by the words of John Henry Newman. The 19th century theologian described a gentleman, in part, by saying they are “tender toward the bashful, gentle toward the distant, and merciful toward the absurd . . . He is never mean or little in his disputes, never takes unfair advantage.”
Those who think such behavior is the hallmark of a wuss are not men. They are simply the male version of the species — in short, a mere animal.
The true giants of civilization are those heralded and unheralded who deliberately take the small steps to move us away from the swamp of animalistic behavior. They don’t give into the impulse to put one’s need and feelings above everyone else. They check their ego and their self-righteousness.
It doesn’t make you a doormat or unmanly.
Those who are cads make the “me Tarzan, you Jane” mentality appear downright sensitive.
There is nothing charming about dogs in heat. There is more to this thing called life than putting your needs or wants first.
Vulgarity cheapens your message just like being the poster guy for the #MeToo movement.
Making the world coarser with words or actions blackens the heart and rubs reason raw.
It distorts things of beauty and makes points hazy.
Simply mimicking low-class behavior doesn’t expose the original sin as much as puts an anchor around your neck so you can sink to — or below — the level of whoever you are giddily trying to mock or destroy.
If being a gentleman means you or your ideas get rejected, live with it, the world is not yours for taking — at least the world that will endure long after your dance on this earth ends.
At the risk of sounding politically incorrect, the women’s movement was wrong for giving the entire concept of being a gentleman the old heave-ho by contending it was rooted in chauvinism, superiority or inequality.
While there are those who wear the outer veneer of gestures and words like a wolf donning sheep’s clothing, they are imposters.
Gentlemen do exist.
They believe in rules and boundaries.
Gentlemen not only keep them alive but they strive to spread them.
It may seem quaint or antiquated that one holds a door for a complete stranger whether they are your gender or not. But the gesture speaks volumes about acts that really count. We aren’t a solo act while here on earth nor are we the center of the universe.
Opening a door for others reminds us not to be self-absorbed and that others count.
I seriously doubt President Trump holds a lot of doors for people nor do the U.S. senators who leaked his “toilet” comment or Saturday Night Live regular Colin Jost who used the four-letters to complete the vulgar compound word.
It doesn’t make us gentlemen to make the deal at the expense of civility, to make political points at the expense of civility, or to go for ratings or play to our base at the expense of civility.
The non-stop blender keeps corroding the foundation of decorum weakening the foundation of civilization.
Yes, people curse. Even gentlemen do at times. But what gentlemen don’t do is do so at the expense of others, to torpedo things greater than them, or do so for brownie points.
The late comedian Sam Kinison would come across these days as a Boy Scout.
In his defense he knew when it was the proper place to slip into vulgarities, to repeat them, or use them to lift up his stock as an entertainer who trafficked in “adult” humor.
Simply put, there are rules.
And gentlemen need to keep them alive.