Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Being a gentleman is sure to impress any girl you're interested in (or at least, any girl who is worth the effort!) It's also great to act gentlemanly around parents and grandparents, employers, teachers, and anybody else who might need to think you're great.
Pay attention to how you dress. You don't have to dress "preppy" but you should make sure your pants, shirts and shoes are of good quality and in good repair. Gentlemen don't wear things that are scuffed, stained, ripped, ill-fitting, or otherwise in bad shape. (See the "tips" section for dress ideas.)
Be courteous when you talk to a girl. Make conversation, but let her do at least half the talking. Look her in the eyes. Don't stare at other parts of her body, and don't lean in too close unless you're about to kiss her.
Practice your handshake. (Shake hands with your friends until you get this right.) You should reach out, grasp the other person's hand firmly but without crushing their fingers, give two up/down shakes, and then release. Shake hands immediately upon being introduced to someone new, and say the other person's name, along with, "Hi, it's nice to meet you." This also applies to girls, but do not squeeze their hand. Hold her fingers and gently shake up and down.
Don't use bad language. A foul mouth is not gentlemanly at all. Try to speak clearly, with your head up, and use correct grammar. Don't use big words if you don't know what they mean. If you don't know much about the subject of conversation, you can keep silent, ask what someone else thinks, or make neutral remarks.
Avoid talking about matters that people might find gross, disturbing or rude. If someone else brings such a subject up, listen politely but don't say anything. (Of course, there are exceptions depending on how well you know someone, and what they would or wouldn't find offensive and disturbing.)
Practice your posture. Gentlemen can appear at ease without slouching, you know!
Keep all your belongings (house, car, etc.) and yourself neat and clean. Don't leave trash lying around or dirty dishes in the sink. Shower daily, wear deodorant (but not too much, cologne or deodorant you can smell from a mile away is offputting) and brush/floss your teeth.
When initiating physical contact other than handshakes, take it slow. Don't touch a person until you have gotten to know them well first.
If you ask someone out on a date, offer to pay for dinner. You can let the girl talk you into splitting the bill in half if you want, but don't let her pay for the entire thing.
If you're visiting somebody's house for dinner, help clear the table. Offer to help wash the dishes.
Pull out the girl's chair and take her coat for her when she sits down.
If you're in a restaurant or out with friends and you are offered alcohol to drink, do not have more than one drink. If you're with people you know well, you can have up to two, but don't have more than that. A simple drink of a high-quality liquor is usually better than a mixed drink with cheap ingredients.
When you're riding on a bus or public transportation, stand up and offer your seat if an elderly person, pregnant mother, or (ideally) any woman gets on board.
However, do not fake this! Women can always tell if you are secretly a sleazy slimeball hiding behind the appearance of a gentlemen. If all else fails, simply remember this - being gentlemanly is about being courteous and respectful.
When offering a woman your seat, don't wait until she accepts to get up. This gives the impression that you are just doing it as a formality rather than really offering your seat. Instead, get up and then offer the now empty seat.
The key to this maneuver is to know the line between going out of your way to be a gentleman (thumbs-up) and going too far to be a gentleman (thumbs down.) Ideally, you should be able to trust your gut as to what is too far. If you're a novice, it's generally appropriate to go one step beyond what your gut tells you to do. (Chivalry is uncommon, so it will probably feel weird at first.) However, there are a few rules of thumb:
If she would have to push her way through several people to get to the seat, don't do it.
If there is a group and they can't all have seats, don't do it.
If you are sitting with a friend in a pair of seats, either you both do it or neither do. For just one person to do it, creates a lot of weirdness.
If you offer and she declines, try once more. If she declines again, sit down. The key here is to sit down without being even a little bit condescending.
Learn to iron your own clothes, and iron them. Don't expect a girl to do it for you. A gentleman is self-sufficient.
Keep your hair in trim, and keep your facial hair neat if you have any. (If you don't, then make sure you stay clean-shaven. Fuzzy chins are scruffy.) Don't dye or bleach your hair, it should remain its natural color.
For shirts, you should wear button-down dress shirts, polo shirts or sweaters. Shirts with collars are better than shirts without.
For pants, you should wear slacks that are neatly pressed and a conservative color like khaki, navy blue, gray or black. Jeans are okay in informal situations, but they must fit you (no baggy pants) and they must be in good condition.
Always wear a belt. Don't choose a belt with an oversized buckle or a lot of studs on it, though.
Know how to tie a tie and wear it correctly. Wear one when you're being especially formal.
Wear loafers or dress shoes. Make sure your shoes fit you well and are shiny and in good condition. Your socks should always match, of course.
In general, your socks should match your pants, and your belt should match your shoes. If you are wearing jeans, then your socks should match your shoes.
If you're ordering food or drink, don't order something you don't like just because it sounds impressive (like black coffee, escargot or scotch on the rocks). Only ask for something you actually want. It does not look very cool if you ask for something and then don't touch it.
Don't get piercings or tattoos. If you have them, take them off or cover them up.
Treat all women chivalrously, but don't be condescending.
When you're making conversation, avoid topics the other person (or people) might find offensive. Don't talk too much about yourself.
Don't get drunk under any circumstances. It's not dignified and is very off-putting. (Besides, if you're driving home later, it can be dangerous to you and your date.)
Never act as though you're too interested in sex.