Thursday, July 28, 2011

Where are all the gentlemen?

Suburban Princess:  A lot of the bloggers and other women I know are wondering where all the gentlemen are...

Suburban Prince:  The gentlemen are wondering where all the ladies are.

Hmmm excellent point handsome husband!

He does raise a good many women think men should be gentlemen but never ask themselves if they are worthy of being treated like a lady.  I don't mean a capable, strong, self-sufficient woman...I mean a lady...Lady.

Now, I do know many will argue that all members of the female persuasion should be treated like a lady and yes, I agree but you also must understand how hard it is for men today to navigate the female mind and walk the tightrope between doormat and offensive.  How does a gentleman today know he isn't going to be told off for getting a door?  A chair?  The bill?

In my book I give a few pieces of advice about relationships and perhaps the one I repeat on a daily basis more than any other is...

15. Be the kind of woman the kind of man you want, wants.

In other words, if you want a gentleman, be the kind of woman a gentleman wants and appreciates.  Gentlemen enjoy women who make them feel manly so even though you know you are capable of changing a tire, opening jars and hanging pictures it pays off in the end to be a lady and let him be a gentleman.  You really can't go through life as a don't-call-me-dollface-in-the-boardroom-I-can-pay-for-my-own-dinner-don't-even-think-of-getting-the-car-door kind of woman and still expect to attract the kind of man who will treat you like a lady without a second thought.  Sure he will treat you like a lady but odds are he isn't going to be attracted to you in the way you might want.  I have been known to stand there waiting until my date opened the car door for me and if he didn't or made a fuss, rolled his eyes or any other less than savory response the date was over before it began.  I wasn't going to waste my time with someone who wouldn't take the opportunity to recognize a lady and respond as a gentleman.  There's your test.

I look around at the young men I know and I just shake my head and wonder how on earth they get any girl to go out with them!  Most are bums, unemployed, no ambition, no motivation to improve themselves or their lives and still, they have girlfriends, bedmates and more.  Why do so many young women today have such low standards?  Call me picky but when I was single I wasn't even going to consider drinks with anyone who didn't make a certain amount, have a certain lifestyle and like certain things.  There were no shortage of single men who fit the bill and they were happy to date me because I fit their bill.  I wasn't wearing jammies to the grocery store, I don't own a 'good' hoody for special occasions, I educated myself on table manners, etiquette and proper behaviour.  I was told over and over by men that 'classy dames' are few and far between...and this was more than 15 years ago!  I look around today and wonder if there are any left at all!

I have never understood why women go to other women for advice about men - it doesn't make sense to go to someone who doesn't know a thing about what men are thinking.  Everything I know about men I learned from men.  I knew I needed to know what men think about this issue so, I went to the source...

From Mr Toad: 

Many, if not most men, are simply jerks.  Over reaction to the lives our parents led has created a bunch of pompous, self important, spoiled jerks, at least in the professional classes.  The world would be better off without 'em.
Women have lowered their standards of acceptable conduct and have become too tolerant of man's foibles.  Several well placed directives, delivered early, would nip a lot of the nonsense in the bud, or at least cut a girls losses. If a man is not trainable or at least re-trainable he's no good for anyone.  
For better or worse, most gentlemen are created, by women 

Neither men nor women come pre-programmed to be their best selves, as Oprah would say.  The qualities a gentleperson exhibits are habits, learned most probably at mother's knee, and reinforced by mother daily until the end of her life, later by those they associate with.  People (men?) if left alone are essentially lazy and would prefer to backslide rather than do the necessary work required to hold themselves to higher standard than their peers. 

IMHO many young women forgot(never learned) how to insist that they be treated with dignity and respect, hence they accepted less of themselves, and frankly got less.  What was then lost was the ability to pass on the skills, ability, habits, qualities of a gentleman or woman (lady) to their children. The viscous cycle began.

Clearly feminism has played a role.  Look at the role models.  Any woman on television who plays the role  her grandmother assumed was her rightful place is (stay at home mom, caregiver, near servant to her husband) is derided.  Feminism also killed manners.  Other than my house when was the last time you saw men regularly holding car doors, building doors, saying please, yes ma'am, etc? The awful 80's put paid to everyday courtesies.  We are none the better for that.

A woman should always be a lady, regardless of the situation.  Snookihood is never an option.

Another of my favourite male bloggers, James of Man of the 50's says....

This is a complex problem to say the least. I think your husband is right on  one account. A lot of what makes a gentleman behave as such is to respond to graces of a lady. Today young people aren't being taught social graces or even basic social skills. I think in my youth Fathers taught by example, while Mothers were the ones who "took you to school" on these issues. 

A slap on the back of the head and a stern "A gentleman wouldn't look!" taught me to respect a lady's privacy. Now photos appear daily on the internet proving no one taught that young girl how to exit a vehicle like a lady or that man with a camera that a gentleman wouldn't look. 

I know a lot is said about low self esteem for girls and that leads young men to treat them badly. Talk is nice, but there comes a time to correct bad behavior for both sexes. My Mother used to tell my sisters and their friends," Don't dress like you are giving the boy a head start". If you are going to look like a hooker, don't be surprised if you're  treated like one. 

It seems more mothers today mollycoddle their sons and Dad just gets another beer and turns NASCAR on. Fathers should treat their own wives and daughters like ladies so Junior gets the idea young.

So there you have it!  We as women need to insist on men being gentlemen. And we must insist on being ladies.  Gentlemen are part, if not all, chauvanists.  Now dont get all bent out of shape about the word - if you want a gentleman, accept a little bit of chauvanism because when men started being afraid of being labeled that way and women insisted on getting their own drinks, chivalry went out the window.  For heaven's sake ladies, learn how to be gracious and let a man get the door, your chair, the bill.  I know a lot of feminists...they are all men.  It's their handy way of getting out of having to do anything and honestly...feminism is code for 'the women do ALL of the work'.

It is the personality of the mistress that the home expresses.  Men are forever guests in our homes, no matter how much happiness they may find there.  ~ Elsie de Wolfe

Have a fabulous day!


MCW said...

I completely agree! As you know I am single and dating in NYC. I may date a lot of guys that are not for me, but they always treat me like a lady. Hail taxis, open doors, wait until I am inside to leave, etc...expectations can be set from the 1st time you meet someone.

Preppy and Proud of it! said...

I totally agree! My husband and I are raising our boys to be respectful and out daughter to be worthy of respect!

Adrienne said...

I am so happy that I am no longer single. Back in the day, I experienced quite a lot of ungentlemanly behavior and not surprisingly I put up with it.

My husband was raised to be a gentleman and even after over 12 years of being together, still opens my car door, carries the groceries, does all the handyman stuff around the house and waits until I sit down before we being eating.

This was a great post - especially important for single men and women to read. Maybe you could submit it to a singles magazine or

Lily Lemontree said...

Fab post, loved every word!!

TheSocialKnight said...

I completely agree with "Be the kind of woman the kind of man you want, wants".

I notice quite a few of the women I know want a gentleman, but they cannot let go of the 'I don't need a man to do crap for me' persona. They refuse to let a guy pick up a tab, they feel awkward when a man is opening a door, and think men and women should be equals in a relationship. Not to say we aren't equals, there's just certain things I think a man should do for his man, as a sign of respect and gentility. Anywho, great post!

Miss Janice said...

Love this post SP! Totally agree...except that I might just need a a hoodie for special occasions! HA HA! My line about my husband is always..."Do you really think he came this way?" Lord, that man has had to go through a LOT of training while living with me!

Jo said...

So many important points made in this post ~ if this were taught in school so many problems of today's youth would be resolved.

My son is not perfect but he is a gentleman and I take great pride for this. It's a true life lesson


James said...

How very flattering to be quoted, and on the same page as Toad. Thank you. Keep up the good fight.

Suburban Princess said...

MCW - So true! I always say let people know exactly where you stand and what you expect!

Preppy - I think that's a huge part of it, girls dont even tho they should be worthy of more.

Adrienne - Yours and mine would get along brilliantly! That's an awesome idea! I should speak to them. You always have great ideas!

Lily - Thanks bunches!

SocialKnight - Young people today just arent taught social grace. A simple thank you for holding the door is all that's needed.

MissJ - You would need a going out nice ski jacket to go with your good hoodie.

Jo - None of us are perfect and yes, it should be taught in school. Even just how to say thank you with grace.

James - Thank you for contributing! I wouldn't have been able to do this post without you.

Teena in Toronto said...

I don't know if I agree with the terms (gentlemen and ladies, etc.) ... but I think we should be respectful to each other. You get what you give.

Karena said...

I agree completely. I am a widow and always think of how not only I expect to be treated, also what kind of man my late husband would want for me.

I will not lower my standards and I know in my heart the right gentleman will come along.

Thank you dear as well as James and Toad for their thoughts.


Art by Karena

Little Miss Can't Be Wrong said...

i love this post. so so true!

Mrs Stepford said...

This is absolutely THE best post I have read all year.
I adore what you have written.

If you want be treated like a lady, act like one. I know for sure that my h2b will only ever act like the gentleman (that I know he is) is when I treat him like one, and most of all respect him as a man.

I am sick of hearing my girlfriends beat up on their spouses/boyfriends. It is like stripping men of their masculinity and their desire to "protect and provide" for their women.

So nice to know that there are other 'ladies' out there! :o)