Thursday, July 16, 2009
On gentlemen (and a bit on ladies)
My Ate asked me once what kind of guy I like and I said I like a gentleman. She asked me what a gentleman was and I gave some concrete examples of what I figured a gentleman did, and she retorted with a “What is this, a slave?”
Okay, so all those chivalrous acts like opening doors for you and carrying some books for you when you’re lugging around too many things, or offering to take you home (and then taking you all the way to your doorstep and saying hi to your family) may be a bit old-fashioned for today’s “lifestyle,” but it doesn’t make anyone a slave. Besides, it’s not all his work—ladies also have a role in helping men be gentlemen, after all.
But I’m not here writing about what a gentleman should be—that’s a topic too vast for this blogger’s short attention span for the time being. (Besides, that would require more than one entry, but I digress.) What I really came here to write about is how all that modern lifestyle PR talk has gotten us all to think that traditional is out of date…it would be at worst, “anti-feminist” (hello, women are not damsels in distress etc.) and at best, a simple inconvenience (because everyone’s in such a hurry!).
Condo-living, for instance, practically rules out the fact that when a gentleman takes a lady out on a date, he should be polite enough to come knocking at the door, say hi to the family, take her out on the date, and then bring her back home, seeing her to the door. Too tedious? It’s only proper; this way, the family knows who their daughter is out with and they get a good impression on the young man too—this is a guy who’ll be responsible, thoughtful… and so forth.
But condominiums offer so little parking spaces for guests—sometimes it’s not inconvenient anymore but rather impossible. How will he see her to the door when he can’t even park the car for five minutes? Condominiums are meant to suit the “modern lifestyle” and it seems the modern-ness of it all doesn’t include these traditional practices.
I suppose when a gentleman really wants to be, er, gentlemanly, there will be a way to do it. (There’s more to being a gentleman than following traditional practices to a T, though it’s always best to follow them when possible.) One, there is doing the simple acts of chivalry: offering his seat, offering a hand when walking down a flight of steps, etc. And then there’s doing more character-building acts like holding back that supposedly uncontrollable male weakness (which is fiction, btw, created by money-motivated culture villains), which, in a great way, shows how much respect he has for that lady he’s pouring all his attention to.
Because no matter how speedy today’s lifestyle suggests us to be, there are still those things we can’t hurry. And sometimes, it’s the waiting—it’s the “inconvenience”—that does us (ladies and gentlemen) a lot of good.