CHARACTERISTICS OF A TRUE GENTLEMAN II
In part I, we presented you with some characteristics and concepts that make a true gentleman in these tricky times. However, the barrel wasn’t finished with that wisdom. Here are some more fundamental words a gentleman might keep in mind.
The cocktail, as much as the personality trait. And whilst a little bit of timeless decorum is a welcome touch (just look at how your grandfather dressed as a Bright Young Thing for more clues) it’s your skills with the bourbon and the bitters that will really stand you in good stead. A good, bold Old Fashioned is the height of manly drinking — straightforward, rugged, yet refined and aromatic.
Oh, you weren’t lucky enough to be born a baronet? Not a problem. Because nobility doesn’t necessarily have to have anything to do with your position in society. Rather, it can refer to your quality of character and moral compass. So, if you’re honorable, honest, thoughts of aristocrats and archdukedoms will slip your mind faster than you can say ‘hereditary feudal dignitary’.
Speed is an incredibly useful thing, not least with humour (if it’s not funny, make it quick). After jokes and smokes, we’d also add a couple more: compliments, icebreakers, relevant quotes, restaurant recommendations and the 100-metre dash.
Look to Mr Hardy Amies for guidance here: “A man should look as if he had bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care, and then forgotten all about them.” That’s style. Or try this, from Gore Vidal: “Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.”
Life is better downplayed. No-one likes the flash, the showy, the naff. Would you rather have a vintage Golf or a gold Lamborghini? A shiny power suit or a navy fresco number? A bottle of Dompers with a sparkler in it or a bottle of rustic red with a story behind it? A table at Novikov or a table at an nameless Tuscan family trattoria? No wrong answers, but several very right ones.
Kindness is the new kool. Anyone can be fashionable, or avant garde, or well-connected. But there’s nothing more enduringly stylish than being nice. Simple acts of kindness have more power than ever. We ought to do away with the macho platitudes about nice guys finishing last — this isn’t Wall Street in the 1980s. The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself. Something to think about.