Welcome To The Year Of The Gentleman!

Etiquette, rules, guidelines and advice on how to be a gentleman in 2017

We believe that style goes far beyond the clothes you wear. A man is the sum of his parts – his life, his work, his interests, his passions, his sense of curiosity and adventure.

What’s slightly unfortunate, however, is that when we talk about “being a gentleman” it often has the ring of something from a bygone era – almost like you’ve got to dress in a costume and pretend you’re living in a different time period to pull off effectively.

And while it’s true that a lot of the information out there about how to dress like a gentleman, how to shave like a gentleman, or how to drink like a gentleman is presented in a such a manner, the truth is that the art of being – and acting like – a gentleman is transcendent.

There’s never been a better time to think about conducting yourself with dignity, respect and kindness towards others. That is why we’re calling 2017 the Year of the Gentleman. And we challenge you to embrace it.

Here are several items to think about.

1. Politics

Unless you’re with a close-knit group of friends who you know with absolutely certainty share the same respect for each other (regardless of whether their political views differ), it’s never a good time to bring up politics. At the bar. At a dinner party. At the cigar lounge. Don’t do it. Especially these days.

In a world where everything is out there all the time, remember that there’s an art to making conversation. An omission of something isn’t a refusal to acknowledge its existence, but rather an acknowledgement that you care more about the experience you’re having with your company regardless of what their political stance might be.

2. Put the Phone Down

Speaking of the art of conversation, I think one of the reasons that it is being lost is a widespread addiction to screens and social media. It’s obnoxious. And you’re not that important. Instead of focusing on letting all of your “friends” know what a good time you’re having at [insert awesome place here], focus on those you are physically with.

This applies to any social situation. Out for drinks. On a dinner date. Put your phone in your jacket pocket – out of sight, out of mind – and enjoy the company of the person or people right in front of you. Live in the moment.

3. Ladies First

This type of gesture isn’t chauvinistic, it’s respectful. Open doors. Take her coat. Push her chair in. Show me a lady who wouldn’t appreciate any of those things and I’ll show you a spotted zebra.

4. No Complaining

There’s definitely a correct time, place and audience for lodging a well-founded complaint, just make sure you know when that time is. If you’ve got a legitimate beef about something – service, for example – take that up discreetly and politely with the appropriate party. Not everyone needs to know about your problem.

5. Shake Hands

Nothing helps make that personal connection to people that we’ve been lacking more than a handshake. Use it to greet someone. Use it to thank someone. Offer your hand, palm tilted slightly upwards, to the intended recipient, grasp firmly (but not too firmly) and shake once or twice. Simple and effective.

6. Online Conduct

As the internet and social media has become less private, I am continually amazed at how blatantly rude, obnoxious and hateful people can be. You know that when you leave that comment on that Facebook post, that your name – your name – is attached to it, right? And that people – your friends, your family, your boss – can see what you wrote? And once you put it out there, it’s out there? Maybe some people don’t know that. Or maybe they just don’t care. Sad.

These days, how you conduct yourself online is just as important as how you conduct yourself out in the wild. Be respectful and think twice before writing something combative or inflammatory. Disagreement should be encouraged, but make sure that if you want to have a conversation, that you approach it in a respectful manner.

Thanks, as always, for reading. And Happy New Year!

Stylishly Yours,

Brian Sacawa
He Spoke Style

Photography by Rob McIver Photo

Recommended

Chime In

  • http://clarityandchaos.net clarityandchaos

    There is no way to disconnect political views from the company you’re keeping or your approach to daily life, especially if you are a privileged gentleman, especially these days, Silence in the face of racism or authoritarianism from such a position is appeasement or implicit agreement.

    • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

      Thanks for the comment, sir. I think we’re coming at this from different angles. While I agree that it’s healthy to have an open discussion with people and do what you feel you can to change the world for the better, it’s also important to be able to read a situation and know when is a good time to bring something like that up. Are you with a close group of friends? A bunch of strangers? If it’s the latter, I think the advice given here is the best tact. It’s a matter of respecting the people around you and not assuming, righteously and selfishly, that everyone needs to know what you think. There’s a time and a place to share those opinions, but you’ve got to know when and where that is. Having a conversation is different than proselytizing.

    • beardedman

      Brian’s comment covers this well. Being a “gentleman” means that you consider the company you are in and adapt somewhat. We don’t have to disconnect our political views but should be mindful of discussing them and how you can do so without offending anyone in your company. If asked a direct question it would seem fair to answer honestly, but gently. If someone makes an outrageous comment, I think it is fair to suggest there are other opinions and that perhaps this is not the time or place to discuss them. It all depends on the setting. One should challenge boorish behaviour and brutish opinions that are brought up without respect for others in as quiet a manner as possible. If the offender doesn’t get the message, they might wish to be shown the door.

      • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

        Thanks for chiming in, my man. Good to hear from you and Happy New Year.

  • Luis Martinez

    Well said Brian. It all comes down in the end to the dying art of manners.

    • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

      Appreciate that, Luis. Think you nailed it.

  • Paul Loudon

    Thank you Brian, an enjoyable read. I’ve never seen a spotted zebra either!

    • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

      No problem, Paul. Thanks for your support.

  • PeterK1

    I think you should put your phone on “silent” as well as putting it in your jacket pocket. It’s easier to forget about it if it isn’t buzzing or chirping.

    • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

      Fantastic point.

  • http://www.adammartin.us/ Adam Martin

    There are some great point here Brian. Great post!

    • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

      Thanks, as always, Adam. Happy New Year.

      • http://www.adammartin.us/ Adam Martin

        Happy new year to you as well!

  • tomas

    Great Topic ! I am glad to discover that i already follow them all, on my side of the Pond (Europe and mainly Lisbon, Portugal).
    Greetings to al HSS crew and audience

  • Rollo_the_Cat

    I like the list but there is an unavoidable problem here. Defering to ladies is the natural thing to do if in fact your society defers to the natural order. I’d say our society doesn’t and that “lady” you are holding the door for is possibly as much your competitor as any man. They re not likely to act as a lady, not likely to live like a lady and most likely have no social claim to being one. In that case, why show deference?

    I am not saying I like the situation because I don’t. I am only pointing out that there need to be congruence between nature and society for traditional manners to make sense. We don’t have it.