What makes a gentleman – from those who know

So much is caught up on what makes a gentleman nowadays; whether it’s holding a door open for a withered old woman, wearing a Fedora to the park or saying ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ on Tinder, we just don’t know. It’s the past that a man looks to when he tries to work out a profound definition for the man he’s become, so to try and put this concept to rights we’ve taken a look at the words of those who know, to try and define a meaning of what truly makes up a gentleman.

GEORGE BERNARD SHAW
The Nobel Prize winning Irish Playwright was also known for being a successful orator, covering topics on religion, class and education. We think that you can find a profound meaning with his quote on the more selfless nature that a gentleman should possess.

Quote: “A gentleman is one who puts more into the world than he takes out.”

ANNA KENDRICK
The American actress and singer, who starred in Twilight and Pitch Perfect, may not strike you as a woman that would deliver such a profound analogy of a gentleman. But we felt this quote, through the perceptive eyes of a woman, should be what a man must consider.

Quote: “A gentleman is someone who holds the comfort of other people above their own. The instinct to do that is inside every good man, I believe. The rules about opening doors and buying dinner and all of that other ‘gentleman’ stuff is a chess game, especially these days.”

FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY
The Russian writer, made famous for his sporadic lifestyle, defines the gentleman as a man that is not owned by money, but more a man that is in control of his self.

Quote: “A real gentleman, even if he loses everything he owns, must show no emotion. Money must be so far beneath a gentleman that it is hardly worth troubling about.”

WILLIAM FAULKNER
The American author, playwright, poet and essayist William Faulkner could do just about anything with a pen. His most notable work; The Sound and Fury, was what propelled him into the mix of the Nobel Prize coterie, and established Faulkner as one of America’s best loved writers. With this concept of a gentleman’s durability through even the harshest of times, we believe this is something to consider.

Quote: “A gentleman can live through anything.”

WILLIAM LYON PHELPS
19th century radio host and prohibition personality, William Lyon Phelps discusses the importance of a gentleman’s modesty. We think this quote has some worth for the man who looks to the good in all people.

Quote: “The final test of a gentleman is his respect for those who can be of no possible service to him.”

FR. LAWRENCE G. LOVASIK
Do-gooder and wide smiled Fr. Lawrence was often remembered for his kindness. If a gentleman learns one lesson from today, it’s to take the morale high ground and be compassionate towards the one’s that turn you away.

Quote: “A gentleman has his eyes on all those present; he is tender toward the bashful, gentle toward the distant, and merciful toward the absent.”

CARDINAL J. NEWMAN
Further from that religious mantra that seems to hang around like the smell of manure on a farm, or an ageing grandmother’s terrier, the object of exerting kindness to others is something that is often repeated and expected of the gentleman.

Quote: “It is almost the definition of a gentleman to say that he is one who never inflicts pain.”

THEODORE ROOSEVELT
Past President and proud Republican, Theodore Roosevelt’s words on a gentlemen touch on one of the most archaic expectations; that a gentleman should be courteous to others. We feel that this has a place, even for the gentleman of today – offering to take the bill from a woman, allowing someone before you on an escalator and giving up your seat on the tube.

Quote: “Courtesy is as much a mark of a gentleman as courage.”

ROBERT S. SURTEES
If you ever head down to Croydon you’ll find Robert Surtees sporting comic hero ‘Jorrocks’ vaulting a hedge on horseback. Perhaps not London’s most world renowned attraction, yet it shows the satirical personality that Surtees was. Known for his hawk-eye observational skills, we believe you should take his word of advice and class him as a man who knows.

Quote: “The man who is always talking about being a gentleman, never is one.”

MARK TWAIN
The creator of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn is deemed the ‘Father of American Literature’. Exerting his advice in a wave of fatherly wisdom, Twain teaches you, our reader, the importance of omitting vulgarities from conversation… also he sort of insinuates that you should tell lies, which we for moral reasons cannot agree with.

Quote: “No real gentleman will tell the naked truth in the presence of ladies.”

KONG FU ZI
Establishing a vast army of disciples is no easy task, but the man who is referred to in the modern world as ‘The Master’, managed to create an army of followers who all united in his belief of the ‘Golden Rule’. To simply walk the walk, and avoid only ever being a man that talks a good game, we suggest you follow the words of the famous Chinese philosopher.

Quote: “A gentleman would be ashamed should his deeds not match his words.”

Further Reading