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Which are the basic rules for behaving like a gentleman?

25912 Views 41 Replies 34 Participants Last post by  Padme
Any literature on this?
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A few years ago I was seeing this Chinese woman woman was in the midst of a divorce (Chinese husband). Anyway she wanted to have her father ( a chef) fix me dinner. I go to the house and find the table covered in very labor intensive Chinese foods-chicken feet-fish heads etc. I picked at the food to be polite and I hear the husband tell something to his wife in Cantonese. She told me that he didn't think I liked the traditional food and wanted her to send out for something more "American". That just blew me away-he'd done so much work and was willing to send out just to please some picking eating white devil. He was so nice about it. Long story short-I cowboy ed up and began eating and complementing everything with both hands.

He died a couple of years later and sometime after that I was talking with the mom. She said this amazing thing. In 43 years of marriage, he'd never allowed her to wash his shorts. Even though she worked 7 days a week and was no delicate flower, he wasn't going to ask her to wash his dirty underwear.

I'd call him a gentleman.
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I go to the house and find the table covered in very labor intensive Chinese foods-chicken feet-fish heads etc. I picked at the food to be polite and I hear the husband tell something to his wife in Cantonese. She told me that he didn't think I liked the traditional food and wanted her to send out for something more "American". That just blew me away-he'd done so much work and was willing to send out just to please some picking eating white devil. He was so nice about it. Long story short-I cowboy ed up and began eating and complementing everything with both hands.
I see this from a slightly different perspective. While it may have been considerate of him to offer to send out for different food, why did he ever let it come to that to begin with. He put you in a very uncomfortable position whichever way it went. Certainly you wouldn't want your host sending out for food just to appease you; but at the same time you shouldn't be put in a position of having to "cowboy" up and eat foot that you might not only dislike in terms of taste, but also in terms of cultural norms.

I had a similar situation years ago when a Japanese lady that I knew invited me to a Japanese dinner with her and her husband. She wanted me to experience some of the more traditional Japanese fare rather than the Americanized versions. At the same time she took great pains to make sure that there was enough Japanese cuisine on the table that most Americans would find palatable in terms of both taste and presentation. That way I wouldn't be forced into a situation where I had to eat anything that I might find distasteful.

If that lady that I knew could think this far ahead I certainly believe that the Chinese chef could have done so also. As your host he, unfortunately, put you in a lose-lose situation. Surely he knew that most Americans aren't likely going to want to dine on fish heads and chicken feet. But again, I agree that it was polite of him to attempt to rectify the situation; however, at that point it was beyond being repaired without you having to feel bad about it either way.

There's probably a lesson here about hosting folks from a different cultural background. :icon_smile:

Cruiser
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Psalm 15 - the gentleman's psalm.
Thank you. This is perfect!
I'd highly recommend P.M. Forni's Choosing Civility.
The first (and probably the most important) rule: do nothing that will attract attention to yourself.
Has anyone read What Every Young Man Should Know which was published by Esquire in the 1960s? My boss mentioned it once, and I found it recently in a used book store. It's perhaps aimed at young men in college, but it seems pretty good.
The first (and probably the most important) rule: do nothing that will attract attention to yourself.
I'm not sure I agree with this. One of the values held dear to the gentleman is (moral) courage. Sometimes a stand has to be made and such stands rarely leaves one inconspicuous.
I agree that .....

.... one should not shirk his moral duty, but perhaps that would more properly go under the heading of attracting attention to the issue at hand and not of seeking attention for the person himself.

Not attracting undue attention to oneself is something I value highly, and one of the hallmarks I look for in a person of quality, and I am seeing that quality less and less in recent years.

I'm not sure I agree with this. One of the values held dear to the gentleman is (moral) courage. Sometimes a stand has to be made and such stands rarely leaves one inconspicuous.
Not attracting undue attention to oneself is something I value highly, and one of the hallmarks I look for in a person of quality, and I am seeing that quality less and less in recent years.
What is is my old headmaster used to call it? "Quiet confidence", I believe.

And Henry V: "In peace there's nothing so becomes a man as modest stillness and humility".
Any literature on this?
What is a Gentleman??????

This the year 2010, who the hell are you supposed to be genteel to?????

The feminist have killed and buried him over thirty years ago.
What is a Gentleman??????

This the year 2010, who the hell are you supposed to be genteel to?????

The feminist have killed and buried him over thirty years ago.
Yawn.
What is a Gentleman??????

This the year 2010, who the hell are you supposed to be genteel to?????

The feminist have killed and buried him over thirty years ago.
To be a gentlemen, I think you have to act the complete opposite of this guy.:devil:
The first (and probably the most important) rule: do nothing that will attract attention to yourself.
I'm afraid that would limit my usefulness, as most of my actions are quite remarkable. I assure you this is purely by accident, as my overwhelming talent and verve prohibit me from doing unremarkable things.
I'm afraid that would limit my usefulness, as most of my actions are quite remarkable. I assure you this is purely by accident, as my overwhelming talent and verve prohibit me from doing unremarkable things.
:icon_smile_big: You need business cards - "Goplutus - Master of Humility"

Thanks to the OP and all the contributors - some excellent reading in the links.

I had not heard "do unto others..." called the Golden Rule before. Wikipedia's article is quite a good read.
What is a Gentleman??????

This the year 2010, who the hell are you supposed to be genteel to?????

The feminist have killed and buried him over thirty years ago.
'

Look the word gentleman up in a dictionary because you clearly don't understand any of the five acknowledged definitions.
Thank you for the referrral to Psalm 15. It's another excellent practical application of the biblical text.
Seconded.
Can someone please explain the "never present a lady to a gentleman (except in rare circumstances) " one. I have looked at Google but cannot seem to find it, What is the correct way please. A genuine question. Thanks Simon
Amongst people of similar standing, the man is always presented to the woman. When two women (or men), the junior is presented to the senior.

Where the man is of much higher standing he would have a lady presented to him. For example, a woman would be presented to the mayor or a lord. I suspect that the relationship with one's wife means that she is presented to all others by her husband unless she is of high social standing (but I may be wrong).

This all stems from the Victorian rules and responsibilities of acquaintance. It was deemed important to gain permission to acquaint one person with another before doing so because those people would be bound by such rules thereafter. Hence the request of introduction: "Please allow me to introduce ..." or "May I introduce / present ...?" I guess that a husband would determine whether or not another should be acquainted with his wife and therefore sought to introduce her to the other.
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