Of all the things a gentleman may possess, good manners are the most important. From the boardroom to the fairway, from the airplane to the dinner table, a man is defined by how he carries himself. The standards by which a gentleman lives are based on respect for others—for their feelings, their sensibilities, their opinions, and their wellbeing. This respect is the foundation of etiquette and its adherence constitutes the actions of a gentleman.
AT T I R E
Anytime I see a man wearing a ball cap in a restaurant, I stifle the urge to ask him if he won his little league game. A gentleman’s attire is not about the cut of his suit or the talent of his tailor, it’s about dressing appropriately for the situation. For example, while shorts and flip-flops may be well-suited for the beach, they have no place at the theater or, God forbid, an airplane. The same goes for dressing simply for attention. A gentleman wants to be remembered for his charm and wit, not his multicolored pants or festive bow tie.
T R AV E L I N G
Of all of the obstacles that threaten the steady demeanor of a gentleman, modern travel is the most precarious. From canceled flights to cramped seating to the battle for overhead compartment space, modern travel is as enjoyable as a self-administered colonoscopy. But no matter the frustrations, a gentleman doesn’t cause a fuss or bring attention to himself. He simply grins and bears it, letting his graciousness and style serve as an example to everyone from the flight attendants, to the security guards, to the other passengers, all of whom would rather be anywhere else.
C O R R E S P O N D E N C E
While a text or email may be quick and easy, a handwritten note is a much more personal expression. Whether you’re thanking someone for their generosity, congratulating them on a success, or offering your condolences, take the time to put pen to paper and shell out the forty-nine cents for a stamp. The small effort will tangibly reflect your sincerity and be remembered long after the texts and emails have been deleted.
S M A R T P H O N E S
Unless you are Batman, a phone has no business clipped to your belt. While smartphones are a necessary evil of modern life, a gentleman uses his discreetly and with careful consideration to those around him. Like alcohol, smartphones are a great servant but an awful master. A gentleman never lets his phone monopolize his attention or supersede his manners. He understands that unless he is on call to deliver a baby or transplant a liver that, ringing or not, his phone should remain in his pocket until he is out of earshot of others.
T I P P I N G
The greasing of palms is a subtle art that a gentleman executes with understated nonchalance. While credit cards and digital payments are convenient, they cannot work the same magic as a well-placed bill. A neatly folded and quietly slipped five, ten, or twenty, can work wonders when one wants a table at a fully booked restaurant or a tee time on a busy Saturday morning. Cash can open all types of doors from a private room at a museum to the back entrance of a popular club. A gentleman understands that this type of tip is not a bribe, it is a solution, yet one that must be applied with extraordinary tact, and never at the expense of others.
Each month, the Man About TOWN will share his Upstate rendezvous, which may or may not involve cocktails.