When you visualise a gentleman, you’d be forgiven for immediately conjuring up an immaculately dressed older man, complete with moustache, pocket watch and top hat. In this day and age, it seems the chivalry and politeness of the discerning gent is somewhat of a rarity, particularly when compared to that of the Victorian era.
However, one could argue there’s no time like the present to revive the gentlemanly customs that were once synonymous with man. Whilst the days of wearing white gloves to formal events are (almost) well and truly gone, there are still a few mannerisms that can be implemented in this fast-paced social media era.
Firstly, let’s address manners around an evening dinner. A gentleman should always walk behind the lady until they arrive at the venue, after which he should hold the door open to let her enter first.
When approaching the table, be sure to pull the chair out for her. You should always stand as she leaves the table, and once more when she returns. Be sure when sat down that phones are on silent, and off the table. The best way to ensure you’re not distracted is by keeping your phone in your coat pocket, and leaving your coat in the cloakroom. If you’re wearing a hat, take it off when indoors. (This applies generally, too; not just at dinner). When it comes to the bill, kindly offer to foot it. However, if she insists to split, you are allowed to do so. We’re not living in the Stone Age.
Once you leave, be sure when escorting her that you walk on the outside, closest to the street. Hold the umbrella for her should it be raining.
Speaking of which, let’s discuss money. It is imperative that at no point in any conversation, should you discuss money. Period. Boasting about your income, expensive clothes, cars, etc., or belittling others for that matter, is arguably the most un-gentlemanly thing you can do.
Finally, a gentleman can’t be classed a gentleman without proper attire etiquette. (Side note, you cannot be a gentleman if you call yourself a gentleman. It should only be something that is bestowed upon you by others).
There are basic rules to follow when it comes to grooming and clothes. First, always ensure you are well-groomed. Your hair should never be unkempt, and it is fine to have a beard—provided you maintain it. Trim every other day and find your signature smell. It should be subtle, not overpowering.
When it comes to jackets, it’s important to get the buttons right. For a two-button jacket, only fasten the top button; for a three-button jacket, always fasten the middle button and never fasten the third. When sat down, always undo the buttons. For the accessories, your tie and pocket square should never match in colour or motif, but rather complement.
And finally, if there’s one thing to remember, let it be this: Be punctual. If you are not early, you’re late.