How to Be a Gentleman
Friday, 6 May 2011
I've been getting called "gentle" and "a gentleman" quite a bit recently. Me, of all people! The man who prides himself on taking women as lovers within a few hours of meeting them, and who hardly ever goes on second dates because he either sleeps with a girl on the first date, or burns the house down trying.
Yet I am, according to more and more women I meet these days, a gentleman.
I've had an interesting and at times soap opera-y progression of events over the past week in which my girlfriend has contacted an ex-girlfriend of mine, whom she'd never met or spoken to, in order to, at first, vent about me and seek her guidance, and now to be friends with her. My ex-girlfriend and I have since reconciled, and my current girlfriend and my ex-girlfriend have been comparing notes on me: the good and the bad.
I have a big belly (I'm skinny by American standards, but... I'm not in America anymore).
My face gets red very easily.
I'm troublesome and not simple. Just when they think they have me figured out... they realize they were wrong.
And, I'm a gentleman. I have gentle eyes. I'm a gentle person.
That last one is no accident, mind you. Being a gentleman is something I've long aspired to be. I'm a big believer that a man can be fast, powerful, and incredibly seductive – and yet, still manage to be dashing, enchanting, and considerate.
James Bond is a rogue and a knave, and he shoots bad guys and beds women – a LOT of women – with speed and expertise.
But he's still a gentleman. And if you aren't – well, I think you should aim to be, too.
In today's day and age, when most men have forgotten how to be a gentleman or have given up trying to be one, a true gentleman stands out. And being a gentleman doesn't have to mean being weak or being a pushover – it doesn't even mean you have to move slowly with women.
The essence of being a gentleman is about so much more than simply the clichéd mainstream notions of "gentlemanliness." And what I'm going to explore with you here, in this article, is exactly what being a gentleman really entails.
What Does It Mean to be a Gentleman?
I'm struggling a little to define this as I sit here in front of the computer screen.
I know how to be a gentleman. I can feel what's gentlemanly and what isn't. But how to break it down into elements that are easy to digest?
I guess I ought to start with what mainstream society thinks the term "gentleman" means. If you watch television, a gentleman is a man who:
- Holds open doors for women.
- Helps women into and out of their seats.
- Is always the one to pay for a date
- Never rushes or hurries a woman or makes her feel uncomfortable
- Never gets overly emotional or upset
- Never does anything to hurt a woman
And actually, I think you don't have to throw too many of those out.
As we discussed in the blog post from a day ago, I don't think it's ever much of a good idea to pay for a date with a girl. I know that goes against conventional wisdom, but most of the information on this site does, so that shouldn't come as much of a surprise.
And the holding open doors and helping women into and out of their seats – I don't think this is something you ought to over-prioritize over, say, maintaining a sense of sprezzatura about yourself, so rushing to pull out a chair is out of the question; but if you are close by and can do something effortlessly, I see nothing wrong with it and in fact some good things about it.
Here's the thing with the holding doors / helping women up and down thing: if you are nearby, and if you can do so effortlessly and without troubling yourself, it's considerate. It's always considerate, but rushing around and breaking your back to do it is too much, and comes across provider-ish, which is something you always want to avoid, at least in the beginning.
But showing a little consideration, where it doesn't trouble you to do so, communicates to women that you are a warm person and you care. Furthermore, you don't mind extending a small amount of effort that doesn't much hinder you in order to help her quite a bit (e.g., holding the door doesn't affect you much at all, but it might be a great boon for her, who is smaller and weaker than you and likely finds the door relatively heavier than you do).
Not rushing a woman, not making her feel uncomfortable, not ever getting emotional or upset, never trying to hurt her... yes, those are all correct.
So if we want to define what a gentleman is, I think this is the definition we want to go with:
A gentleman is a man who helps women to feel completely at ease around him, allows them to relax in his presence, and does small things to make women's lives easier that he's able to accomplish without inconveniencing himself or appearing tryhard.
Stated another way, a gentleman is a man who inspires women to feel a degree of comfort they feel with few other people, takes any form of pressure off their shoulders, and makes their lives a little easier.
Why You Should Want to be a Gentleman
I'll be honest: you don't need to be a gentleman to get women in bed.
But it helps. It helps a lot.
And not only does it help you get women in bed... it helps you keep them sticking around long after that first night together, too.
Women like a man who's a true gentleman. Of course, getting to that point can be a bit of a journey.
Most men go through a phase I'd probably call the "asshole phase." This is the phase immediately following the "nice guy phase," once a guy has realized he was being too much of a pushover with women and so, in an effort to correct this mistake, he goes too far to the other extreme and becomes an asshole. And it gets him improved results.
Most men never make it beyond the "nice guy phase" or the "asshole phase." They're trapped in limbo in one of those two phases indefinitely, simply because either they got comfortable, or they never figured out another way to do anything better.
Like we talk about in "Better Than Jerk" though, the next stage in men's advancement – and as much of a quantum leap from the "asshole phase" as the asshole phase is from the "nice guy phase" – is becoming a genuine man.
And another term for "genuine man" is gentleman.
I had a buddy in San Diego, California, who was, at times, crass, vulgar, and full of sex jokes and innuendos. He dressed consistently averagely, and his expertise was in bedding girls he'd met in dive bars – and he'd bedded hundreds of them.
Yet, women would call him a gentleman. I heard multiple different women refer to him this way. And at first, to be honest, it surprised the hell out of me. Him? A gentleman?
With a little time and perspective, I began to realize why women referred to my buddy as a gentleman, despite his probably not meeting most of society's "usual" definitions of the label. Because what women see as a "gentleman" is actually quite different – and a lot deeper and more realistic in scope and definition – than what society in general sees as a "gentleman."
Women don't define "gentleman" the way most men define "gentleman." To women, a man being a gentleman is not about the things he does – it isn't about whether he holds open doors or pays for dinner. To a woman, what makes a gentleman a gentleman is how he makes that woman feel.
And what you'll see with women when they find a man they consider a gentleman is, they trust him. They like him. They let their guards down around him, and the follow his lead.
And women are good at knowing the fakers from the real deal. You can't fake being a gentleman. It's something you must become. But once you are – once you truly are the kind of man a woman considers a gentleman – if you combine that with deep diving, moving faster, and being a sexy man, you're in for a potent combination that will be winning you a lot of success with women in a short span of time.
Why do women respond so well to gentlemen? They don't like being pushed. And gentlemen are the ultimate in making women feel comfortable and not being pushy.
Personally, I tend to be most attracted to strong, accomplished, intelligent, picky women, and women like that will not tolerate pushy men who make them feel uncomfortable. The moment they start feeling uncomfortable, they stop everything, make their exit, and you never see them again.
Even with women with less exacting standards, being a gentleman performs better than being pushy; though, I should take a moment to differentiate between being pushy and leading decisively, because the two are different things.
Being pushy is about trying to get what you want without proper consideration for another person's emotions. Leading decisively is about taking action, but doing it in a way that is inclusive rather than divisive.
Most men, when they attempt to get women to do something, end up becoming pushy. Instead you must seek to lead decisively.
While being a gentleman is one thing, you must remember to take action, lead, and be decisive. This is what differentiates a man who is a gentleman friend from a man who is a gentleman lover.
How to be a Gentleman
When you begin working on how to be a gentleman, the following items are the most important to keep in mind:
- Warmth and emotional stability. A gentleman remains calm and stable emotionally in most situations. Things that rattle other men, make them jealous, or cause them to judge women do not affect gentlemen. You must show women that you are open and accepting of them and will not think poorly of them regardless what happens, because the instant someone thinks another person thinks poorly of her, she feels a gulf is growing between the two of them and that he doesn't really know her. By staying warm and accepting, gentlemen avoid the gulfs that other men so readily create.
- Thoughtfulness and mild expenditures of effort. Remember that you don't want to overdo this – you don't want to go crazy rushing to hold a door open for a woman, or try to carry all of her bags for her, or pay for everything for her. But some measure of effort being spent on her is a good thing – it communicates that you care.
How much you should expend depends on you, the situation, and the girl – some women will react better to slightly more effort being spent on them, and others will react poorly to the same level of effort and think the man is trying to hard to get them. Play around with expending small degrees of effort on women, and find out what works best with what kinds of women. Generally speaking, more closed, conservative women will require a greater expenditure of effort to feel comfortable, while more open, dynamic women will require a smaller expenditure of effort to feel comfortable.
- Giving women an "escape valve." I tend to be fairly aggressive in moving things forward, as I really don't like wasting time (in any area of my life) and I don't like the risk that greater time spent with girls introduces that mistakes get made or life intervenes. But when you are aggressive in moving things forward, you need to constantly give women an "escape valve" to release any tension or apprehension about those things moving forward.
This is deserving of a post in its own right, but when you go to invite women somewhere with you, you'll find women are more willing and more likely to say "yes" if you preface your statement with an option for her to excuse herself. For instance, I might say to a girl, "I don't know what else you have going on today, but if you're not otherwise engaged maybe we can go watch a movie." It's a compelling enough statement that she's going to be inclined to say "yes" to, but you also give her a path to escape (she could say she has something else going on / is otherwise engaged). It relieves much of the tension and makes her feel like you're not being too pushy – which also makes her more likely to say "yes." She trusts that you're not going to make her do anything she isn't comfortable doing.
Even while escalating physically with girls – kissing them or touching their bodies – I'll often not be fully facing them, instead giving them a little bit of an "out" so they'll feel like they can get up, peel off, and leave if they absolutely want to. This also serves the function of reinforcing in the girl's mind that she could leave, if she wanted to, and so the fact that she's staying makes her realize she's there not because she has no choice to be there, but because she chooses to be there.
The point is ultimately a gentleman does take action and does move things forward, but he always prioritizes a woman's comfort first. He's not going to go out of his way and do things he doesn't want to do or things that terribly inconvenience him, but he is going to do anything he can within reason that isn't going to cost him a great deal to make a woman feel more comfortable and to make her feel she has the choice to leave if she so desires.
When you mix this in with deep diving, moving fast, being sexy, and leading decisively, you give women a compelling reason to like you and to feel comfortable moving as quickly with you as you want to move. And even if for that reason alone, learning how to be a gentleman is something I think worth learning to do.
And aside from all of that... it's just nice to be able to bring in that refreshing sense of freedom and acceptance to women's lives that the gentleman brings. One of the highest compliments that a woman can pay to you, in my opinion, is to tell you that she likes talking to you and spending time with you. You being a gentleman is a large part of how you make women feel that way when they are around you and in your presence.
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