Good evening, young squire! Might I compliment you on your wisdom in deciding to treat yourself to reading this?
And that is your first lesson in the fine arts of gentlemanning: Don’t be shy with paying compliments to someone else. If someone’s manner of behavior or style of dress warrants a compliment, let fly thy kind words! However, do keep in mind that it should be a sincere compliment, and it should be warranted. There seems to be a misconception out and about, that compliments are like breath mints, that you should dole them out to anyone with a mouth-hole on their face-place.
Let me clarify something, my dear aspiring gentleman: Do not waste your mints on those who already have breath that is as refreshing as a chilly breeze enema. That’s just silly. And rude. You may give someone the impression that they have rancid sewer-tongue, when they do not. That’s not only deceitful, it’s a cruel trick to perpetuate.
And lo! Your next lesson: Youngster, don’t be a shitheel. Not only are you forced to endure the indignities of being called something as base as a “shitheel,” you also act as a blight upon the good social standing and fine family name of those around you. Be the rising tide, youthful person, raise the boats around you. Don’t be as the California drought and bring the rest of us down, for serious. At that point, you’re not just a shitheel, you’re a buzzkill.
Let’s say you’re talking to someone, and you find their slacks to be quite flattering to their particular height and build. Well, by all means, if it’s an appropriate moment, feel free to let them know. I find that something like, “Say friend, quite the dazzling pair of trousers you’ve got happening!” is always a welcome thing to say.
Now, this is something of a nuanced point, so keep in mind that the key word in all of that is “appropriate.” If you’re in the middle of a business meeting, discussing the current trends of the latex nipple clamps market, it may not be the best time to let your regional vice president know that his longpants are super-duper.
Not far removed from that lesson is the next: Your compliment should not, in fact, be self-serving. While this is closely related to it being a sincere compliment, it is not the same thing. Revisiting the nipple clamps meeting, there you are, admiring the choice of slacks your regional VP has made, largely because they really compliment his sweet, sweet bum. If your compliment is intended to alert said VP to the fact that you view him in a sexy time light, it’s probably best to shut your yapper. That sort of behavior are the non-gentlemanly actions of a Crass Dickbag. You, my bright eyed and bushy tailed lad, should never be a Crass Dickbag.
Our next lesson deals directly with crass behavior: With the exception of a few, very rare, very select circumstances, a gentleman never, ever, ever Reply All. After all, it’s highly unlikely any joke is ever that funny. A gentleman never assumes.
A proper gentleman never forgets to give credit where credit is due. After all, none of us can get by alone, least of all a gentleman. Not only does the beating heart of gentlemanning, the noble pursuit of Imperial Colonialism, stand proudly upon the shoulders of, at any given time, a third of the world’s known peoples, but a gentleman is always cognizant of the tribute owed to the Many Faced God. While a gentleman may require three names, he does prefer them to be names in good standing, and of proper stock. After all, one’s tributes are ones calling card.
Another vital piece to the gossamer arts of gentlemanning is to have at least one proper suit. Trust me on this. You’ve made it this far, why not trust me just a little further? This is not to say that you must always be dressed in said suit. Like a canister of mace, or an epi pen, you’ll never be upset that you had it when the situation demanded it.
A point of clarification: A proper suit is not the same as a cool suit. While a cool suit will be cool, it will never have the unassailable versatility of a proper suit. A cool suit works in very specific circumstances, such as attending a rock concert, or taking in a charming sunset. A proper suit can easily be worn to a wedding, a job interview, or your own funeral. As any gentleman knows, these are not “cool” situations. Also, directly related to this, the act of gentlemanning is highly intolerant of anything related to the affliction of “Ed Hardy.” It simply isn’t done.
A gentleman understands that, while the typical rules of engagement dictate no women and no children, the truly guilty souls are fair game for harvest. If one insists on engaging in a vulgar, crude lifestyle, one is no longer subject to the same protections accorded to all under the Berlin Accords of 1988. It is known.
Crucial to the gentleman’s arsenal is being prompt. Haste almost always leads to a disheveled state, and that is something to be strived against. Much like flea markets and children’s wings of the consumption ward, a disheveled state can make great strides to bringing the room down thanks to an air of failed dreams. Kindly refer back to the edict regarding being a buzzkill.
A gentleman is never as bold as anything. A gentleman is not bold. Ideally, one is mistaken for a coat rack owned by an elderly, or better yet, a tall case clock. Aside from the obvious implication that one has ascended to a state of near-perfect stillness, one understands the value of being nigh-British in being unobtrusive. To stand out is to be a pimple on the face of etiquette.
This desire to be minimally impactful goes so far as to prohibit something as invasive as whistling. Certainly, though, this does extend to the commonly accepted method of warning someone of an impending herd of vagrants.
As you can see, the Crabby Gentleman’s Guide to Gentlemanning is so much more than a mere guide. It is a philosophy, a state of being. Apply these simple principles to your life, and rest assured, you will master gentlemanning in no time.