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Can you tell a Gentleman by sight?

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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I was watching an old movie on TCM lately and the line "can you tell a gentleman by sight" (paraphrasing here) came up, and it occurred to me that the definition of gentleman has seemed to change.
When I was growing up, it was easier to tell a gentleman - ie, one could tell by his dress, his body language towards others. Although I think we must all here admit that good clothes do not a gentleman make, I wonder whether the little nuances in dress and manner tip the scales in your eyes to perceive that a given person is in fact a Gentleman, or simply a a dressed up "man". Your thoughts Gentlemen? Sincerely, Jessie
 

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I've seen some well dressed, well mannered a--holes, and some poorly dressed gentlemen who would give you the shirt off their back even if these forum members wouldn't wear it.

So my answer would be no.
+1 There are surely some well dressed Amjacks....
 

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I think you'll find that on these fora, there is no consensus on what a gentleman is, let alone on how you discern one. And, to be honest, threads where people pontificate "A gentleman always..." or "A gentleman never..." are some of the more obnoxious and tiresome discussions we have here. They're the Fashion forum equivalent of the Trad-forum threads arguing about what's the traddest lawn chair, dog collar, etc.
 

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I think you'll find that on these fora, there is no consensus on what a gentleman is, let alone on how you discern one. And, to be honest, threads where people pontificate "A gentleman always..." or "A gentleman never..." are some of the more obnoxious and tiresome discussions we have here. They're the Fashion forum equivalent of the Trad-forum threads arguing about what's the traddest lawn chair, dog collar, etc.
Exactly,well said!

The definition of a gentleman as late as the early 20th c had bugger all to do with clothes, behaviour or manners. A gentleman was a nobleman or a man of position/power coming from the "right" family, having gone to the "right" school, having had his 3 year commission in the "right" regiment, then later having the "right" profession and being a member of the "right" clubs.

Some of the greatest blaggards and cads in history were "gentlemen"

So the answer to the Q is a resounding NO, not in a million years!
 

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This whole "gentleman" thing is overrated. Whatever it means, why is it important to be one. It's not.
As long you dress well, shower everyday, use the right fork, and hold the door for old people and little kids, it's fine. Forget this "gentleman" business.
 

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Exactly,well said!

The definition of a gentleman as late as the early 20th c had bugger all to do with clothes, behaviour or manners. A gentleman was a nobleman or a man of position/power coming from the "right" family, having gone to the "right" school, having had his 3 year commission in the "right" regiment, then later having the "right" profession and being a member of the "right" clubs.

Some of the greatest blaggards and cads in history were "gentlemen"

So the answer to the Q is a resounding NO, not in a million years!
His Lordship is on to something. In the old world (Britain/Europe), being a gentleman is a function of birth, while in the new world we tend to base it on behaviour.

The fictional Harry Flashman is an example of the former.
 

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My own personal definition of a gentleman goes beyond clothing, manners, bearing and courtesy. One can be impecibly dressed and be a jerk, or you can be a saint in rags. Neither is a gentleman.

In my mind, you can only be a true gentleman if you strive for propriety in all areas. Speach, bearing, attire, manners, dignity, compassion, integrity, respect - all parts of the puzzle.

In short - Can you spot a gentleman by sight? No, but a slovenly appearance disqualifies you from the possibility. Needless to say, I know VERY few true gentlemen.
 

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Respect is the key. In my book a gentleman has self-respect and respect for others, and behaves accordingly. I consider myself a gentleman (most of the time, at least) and do consider myself well-dressed (I better be - after all I'm the eHaberdasher!) But when I'm a sweaty mess in a t-shirt and shorts after working out, does this disqualify me as being labeled a gentleman? I certainly hope not. On my way out of the gym, I can still behave as such and hold the door open for the cocky thankless beefcake walking behind me, even if he fails to react in kind with a simple "thank you". Yes, the good old classic "golden rule" - even when others don't abide by it.
 

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"By sight"? Perhaps if you do some very careful watching of his interactions with others. By his dress? No.

One of the most shocking realizations I made after leaving college was that, on average, the "adult" professional and working people I've come across are even more vulgar than the students I knew.
 
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