What it takes to be a modern gentleman in the 21st century.


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Fellow men of the world;

I am constantly bombarded with posts and memes on Facebook about what “real men” and “real women”  do. Usually these things involve superfluous actions or qualities, but I always find myself sarcastically asking, does that make someone who doesn’t do this a “fake” man or woman? I see what they’re trying to accomplish, but in general it’s sort of a ridiculous set of requirements.

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I think “real men” have always been seen as stern, emotionless, a little harsh, and typically associated with the puffed-out-chest alpha males who shotgun beers and slap each other on the backs.

If that’s your thing, it’s all well and good, but it doesn’t cover all the bases to make a “real man.”

What about the qualities it takes to raise a family? Make a woman feel safe, but supported? Build and keep meaningful friendships and relationships in all parts of life? These things require much more personal depth than just following a short set of “macho rules.”

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Here’s what I do think matters when it comes to being a “real man” in modern society:

  • Be able to provide for your woman even if she has her own money, security is important.
  • Be protective, but not oppressive. When you’re out with your woman, there is no reason to puff out your chest and bump it up against any guy who tries to talk to her. Be calmly confident, sit back or keep your hand casually on her back or leg, and let her do her thing. Nothing screams insecurity in yourself and your relationship, like overreacting in those situations. In fact, shake his hand and introduce yourself. No decent guy will try to steal a girl away from a guy that he likes.
  • Learn how to fight. Not because you should be some grunting caveman trying to start fights out at the bar – but because you will feel safer and confident in general knowing you can take care of yourself and those around you.

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  • Show compassion. Regardless of what society tells you, emotions are not just for women. Show people you care and are actually human. Plus, if a woman is considering something long term & building a family with you, she won’t want her children raised by a statue.
  • Be chivalrous. This doesn’t just mean pulling out chairs and opening doors, though that is of course part of it – people have lost sight of true chivalry. It’s an attitude, a personality, an inherent respect for those (mostly women) around you. Stand up when a woman leaves the table, try not to swear around them, just generally have some class, you get the idea.
  • Dress like a man, not a boy. It’s time to put away the snapbacks and the sneakers, gentlemen. Find yourself some nicely fitting clothes that suit your personal style and image, clean cut and simple. Set yourself apart from the majority of the male population by paying attention to current styles and fashion, and implementing it into your daily life. When you look better, you feel better, and when you feel better, you do better.
  • Know how to cook. It’s 2013, cooking is no longer always the “woman’s role” as much as guys on the internet like to joke about it. Take the initiative, make your girl a nice dinner every now and then, and mostly – if you live on your own, you’ll be able to fend for yourself and stay healthy while doing it.
  • Be well rounded. Connect with the wilderness as well as the city, or vice-versa, to stay grounded and in touch with yourself. You’re a member of the human species, don’t get too caught up in life that you forget to reset every now and then.


Let me know what I missed in the comments below or by tweeting me at @JamesMSama.

I could probably sit here for hours and run through all of the things that I see women complain about on Facebook when it comes to “men” these days. Gentlemen, I know you’re out there – it’s time to step up and make yourselves known. We are being overrun by those who have no regard for the above qualities, and women are beginning to think we are extinct because of it.

Prove them wrong.

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  1. Kris Toe-Fur on July 9, 2013 at 1:46 am

    Great points! Although I’d disagree with holding the door. I feel this is an important thing to do as a gentleman for women, especially elderly woman. Oh yeah, real men cook bacon shirtless. Just saying

    • James Michael Sama on July 9, 2013 at 1:27 pm

      Thanks man! I just want to clarify, I do agree that it’s important to hold doors, pull out chairs, etc. Were you saying it is or isn’t? Perhaps I didn’t express myself correctly in the write-up and it came across the wrong way.

  2. […] What it takes to be a modern gentleman in the 21st century. (jamesmsama.wordpress.com) […]

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  4. […] recently wrote a post titled What it takes to be a modern gentleman in the 21st century, and some people suggested I put together something similar for the women of our […]

  5. "not really a man" on December 14, 2013 at 3:28 am

    i don’t understand how the way i dress affects me being any less of a man if i perform everything on this “check-list”…
    obviously for a rare occasion i will wear dress shirts and coats.
    but if i’m just hanging out with her to a casual lunch or regular dinner… do i really need to look THAT overdressed? lol…

    • Randy on December 28, 2013 at 10:00 pm

      I interpreted this statement as less of a “you must dress like NPH at all times…including a suit in bed” and more like, “a gent/grown-ass man is keenly aware of the situations in which it’s appropriate or socially beneficial to go beyond simply putting on pants, and is prepared for them. Casual is fine when the occasion calls for it, but a ” real man” almost always puts in the minimum effort to at least look clean cut and not too scrubby. Everyone has their gym shorts and no shower days here and there, but males who routinely neglect hygiene/grooming/clean clothes are loudly announcing that they don’t care about themselves, and that means they probably don’t care about others or how they embarass them either.

  6. Jennifer on December 29, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    As a single 30 yo woman, it’s great to know there are men who know what being a gentleman is. I especially appreciate the section about chivalry, mainly because so many men these days are afraid some feminist is going to punch them for opening a door. The one thing I would have liked to seen is about men keeping it in their pants. Most dates for me, or even non-dates such as drinks or first meetings, seem to end with the guy either going for a kiss or a grope or trying to take things as far as they can. I would love to meet a man who respects me and himself enough to end the date with a hug and that’s it. Thoughts?

  7. […] Sama comes right out in his recent post and tells us, “What it takes to be a modern gentleman in the 21st century“. He begins by pointing out the current onslaught of definitions of real men and real women […]

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  9. Angus on July 9, 2023 at 4:05 am

    And it’s 2023 now, being chivalrous, open door, standing, etc no longer only men’s role (and not only to women, even should not be especially (except pregnant or elderly). cause that’s stil not equal)

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