My fellow gentlemen,
I’m sure I am not alone in noticing what seems to be a bit of an unnerving trend that is unfolding around us. It feels as though we are being complained about more than we are being praised. We are being avoided more than we are being desired. We are being ignored by the very last people who we want to be ignored by: Women.
This isn’t just something that is happening randomly. It’s not as if women have collectively decided that they don’t want to take men seriously anymore or that we are some sort of negative force in their life that should be shied away from. This is something that we have to take responsibility for as a whole. We need to realize that how we choose to act and conduct ourselves is not only a reflection of us as individuals, but representative of ‘all men’ on a larger scale.
Of course, this isn’t fair. We all hold ourselves to different standards and being grouped together with those who do not take as much pride in their reputation as others do, is not good for anyone. But the unfortunate reality is that it’s the truth. This is clearly evidenced any time a woman seems to be guarded when you talk to her, when she looks the other way in the street, or pretends to be on her cell phone to avoid eye contact with you.
How could this possibly because of you, when she has never seen you before or knows nothing about you? It’s not – it’s about all of the other men who have made her feel uncomfortable in the past, and now you are being grouped with them.
I am certainly not giving a sob story or trying to elicit a “woe is us” conversation, but instead to shed light on a very real issue that we have caused, and we therefore need to be the ones to fix.
What ever happened to the concept of honor? Being honorable, carrying one’s self with dignity, treating those around us with respect regardless of what they can or cannot do for us. Even more importantly: What happened to holding each other to certain standards of conduct?
Throughout history honor has been something that was held sacred to men. It was a standard that helped to keep people in line. If one acted in a dishonorable way (mistreating women, cheating on his spouse, et cetera), he felt the pushback from his social circles. He was no longer accepted. Why would he be? They held themselves to a standard and those who didn’t, did not belong.
But now, men can act essentially however they want and hey, it’s cool, you can still be our friend even though you did that horrible thing. Don’t even worry about it.
What some see as loyalty, I see as acceptance of a standard of living that doesn’t hold men accountable for their actions. This is why we have failing relationships. This is why we are having a hard time defining ourselves as a generation. This is why we are not being taken seriously by our female counterparts.
Really, what happened to honor?
I am not perfect. In fact I am far from it. But I do my best to conduct myself at a certain level of behavior where I would feel comfortable calling myself a ‘gentleman’ and really only find myself wanting to be around others who do the same. Why should it be any different?
You see, that’s the thing – we have become a society too comfortable with taking mulligans. To be considered a gentleman (or a lady), one must act like one. That is the entire point of having words such as these, they are representative of how we choose to conduct ourselves. Not everyone can be a gentleman, and not everyone can be a lady.
There are no participation trophies for life. You don’t get rewarded just for showing up. You actually have to put in effort.
I think often of strict dress codes that used to be enforced at nicer restaurants, or even the way people would dress when flying on a plane. Men were required to wear a suit jacket, and if you did not have one on you either needed to borrow one, or not dine at that establishment. Some may say this was too ‘elitist’ or discriminatory, and that may be part of the reason why these customs have declined. I believe there is maybe, maybe one restaurant left in Boston that requires men to wear jackets.
Why? Because the horror of excluding someone has defeated the idea of having standards. Instead of upholding standards and requiring people to meet them if they want to be included, we started loosening the necktie of conduct in order to let more people in.
The same has happened with relationships – instead of setting the bar at a certain level and not accepting anyone who does not meet them, we have begun to let it slip, little by little like a descending elevator, until eventually there will be someone waiting at a certain floor to get on.
I believe we need to stop doing this because the same problems arise. Instead of having to rise to meet the standards, men are simply waiting for the elevator to come down to their level. They know that eventually, it will get there, and they don’t have to put in any extra effort in return.
Therein lies the difference: Those immature and unwilling to push themselves will stand idly, waiting for the elevator to become low enough to reach them.
A gentleman will get on the stairs and start climbing.
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