For the past 4 years, I have been writing and speaking on what it means to be a gentleman in the modern era. Class, civility, honor, chivalry, romance – both in life and in love.
And, for the past 4 years, I have spent every day responding to comments about how ‘men like this don’t exist,’ or ‘the gentleman is dead.’ And I can’t help but shake my head and wonder where, exactly, the gentleman has gone.
You see, I am no special breed. I have no superpowers. I don’t claim to be an expert or a guru or a thought leader. I am simply a man who holds himself to a certain standard of conduct, and doesn’t feel right about himself when falling below said standard. Unfortunately – I am reminded every day that this is (apparently?) rare in today’s society.
I am no better than anyone else, and nothing I ever write or say is meant to send that message. I simply seek to encourage others to hold themselves to higher standards than society holds them to – but here’s the problem:
We place the blame elsewhere, constantly. I hear from men that women don’t appreciate a gentleman. They don’t want chivalry, or romance, or courtship, or kindness.
First of all, that’s bullshit. And secondly – what difference does it make?
You see, here’s the problem: We are making excuses in order to avoid holding ourselves accountable for our actions. Worse yet, other men aren’t holding each other accountable, either.
Let’s be honest, if a woman complains about a man’s actions, she is going to be brushed off and probably talked about among “the boys,” but if another man complains a guy’s actions, then we can expect a serious conversation to arise. I’m sorry, but this is just the truth – don’t shoot the messenger.
And what’s happened is, we have separated the genders so much lately that we’ve got this blind loyalty to other men, for no other reason than, they are other men. So they could say or do something that falls outside of our scope of moral acceptance; yet, we still accept it.
Why? Because he’s one of the boys.
Bullshit, I say!
This is bullshit because the brutal truth is that men are the only ones who will change the social norms among men. First of all – each individual human being is responsible for his or her own actions – so this shouldn’t even be an issue in the first place.
But, alas, water rises to its own level, and often this means the lowest possible level that it can get away with. If we are still accepted for putting forth minimum effort, why would we put in anything else?
I know this is going to stir controversy, but it’s the truth. If we want to change social norms among men, then other men are going to have to step up.
We need to step up when ‘locker room talk’ happens. We need to step up when one of our brethren cheats. We need to step up when someone wrongs another – and not simply turn our heads because the wrongdoer is ‘our boy.’
No – screw that. I only want to be around people who hold themselves to the same standards that I do. I only want to be around guys who I can trust, whose character I admire, who I know won’t embarrass me by association. Who help to push me to become better.
Why is this such a difficult concept to grasp?
We need to stop blaming women, stop blaming laziness, stop blaming societal relaxation of standards, just stop blaming other people for your own bullshit.
There is only one person who controls your actions. One person who you see in the mirror. One person who is responsible for your reputation and the level of respect you obtain in this world.
If you don’t take pride in who you are as a human being, nobody else is going to do it for you. Lead by example, stop lowering yourself to the shortcomings of others.
Educate yourself. Improve yourself. Get to the gym. Read a book. Watch YouTube videos. Consume documentaries. Learn manners. Learn etiquette. Be chivalrous. Make the woman in your life proud to be with you. Make your future children proud to be your sons and daughters. Make the world a better place by showing them what it’s like to be a good person.
And above all: Make yourself proud to be you.
I would rather be in the minority of the respectable, than the majority of the delinquent. Wouldn’t you?