noun ( pl. gentlemen )
1 a chivalrous, courteous, or honorable man: he behaved like a perfect gentleman.
-New Oxford American Dictionary-
The other day on the phone my son told me he sent flowers to his girlfriend who having an extremely busy week in the run-up to an international event her firm is hosting. Good move.
The next day I saw Facebook photos of my other son wearing a suit before a college homecoming dance, complete with a purple tie to flatter his girlfriend’s dress. Nice touch.
My husband and I recently went out to a pretty upscale French restaurant to mark our anniversary. And he brought a card, complete with a note inside from him. Words are big on my love-language list. This man never misses on this count. He is big on hand holding and door holding too. He’ll even hold my purse for me when asked.
This is the same man who helps me run a large bible study every week. He leads a discussion group. He helps set up and put away the supplies. He locks up and make sure everything is safe and secure when its over. His generous courtesies actions allow me to take final personal questions and visit with the participants who’d like to spend a little extra time. I’m grateful for it all.
For women, a man being a gentleman is not just about courtesy and gallant gestures… it’s more about the virtues that motivate them. It makes women ask: who is the man within?
In the last week my news feeds keep sending me gentlemanly posts and I thought I’d share a few with you.
In 4 Signs of a True Gentleman, Dale Partridge, now father to a daughter, is in a kind of quest to really be the first gentleman in his daughter’s life. He offers this as numero uno:
1. He Puts All Women Before Himself
Being a gentlemen has no bounds of an intimate relationship. It is a badge a man should carry with him at all times. A true gentlemen treats his mother, sisters, female friends and all feminine acquaintances with admiration and regard. He is in constant search of ways to honor and uphold the value of his female counterpart. Whether through listening, defending or affirming, a true gentlemen is a source of strength to all women, not just the one he desires.
That’s a pretty tall order. Yet it is another way of saying, love your neighbor. Or extend respect to all women. For respect precedes love. I always told my daughter, back in her dating days… pay attention to how a man treats his mother and his sister. It will tell you much.
Over at CatholicMom.com, Ginny Moyer writes “What it Means to Be a “Gentleman” (And Why a Mom Should Care)“. In it she describes the gift of courtesy, too, and she also talks about a man’s inbred notion of the dignity of the human person — his treatment of the other — as a necessary core value.
A gentleman sees the innate human dignity of others, all others. Remember in Pride and Prejudice, when Elizabeth goes to Darcy’s home and hears from the housekeeper about how well he treats all the workers on his estate? Previously, she had accused him of not being a gentleman, but a testimony like that goes a long way towards altering her initial opinion. You can be fairly certain you’re on a date with a gentleman when he is genuinely and unostentatiously kind to the guy who refills the water glasses.
Read the rest.
I came across a fairly young blog for men called, The Catholic Gentlemen, written by Sam Guzman, the communications director for Pro-Life Wisconsin. He is pretty direct in calling men not only to gentlemanly behavior, but to holiness. He writes that there is a “man crisis” in the Church today and his call to radical faith in the teachings of Christ and his Church. You’ll get a taste of that from this recent post post on “12 Ways to be a Committed Catholic Man. ” Besides calling men to a deep faith in Jesus Christ… his #5 on his list of 12 is all about the Eucharist.
Discover the majestic manliness of the Mass – The Mass is the “source and summit” of the Catholic faith, and yet, the majority of men claim to “be bored by the Mass” and to “not get anything out of the Mass”. This is because they don’t know what is occurring in the Mass: they have little understanding of the manly symbolism of the Mass, a Sacrament that has been devoutly passed down for 2000 years. They don’t realize that during the Mass they are witnesses to the actual Bloody Sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross. If a man doesn’t actively participate in the Mass because of ignorance and boredom, he can’t receive the Graces that flow from the Eucharist. Learn the Mass to such a degree that you can explain it to others with the reverence and devotion that Christ’s Sacrifice deserves.
BONUS from Guzman: Chesterton’s Rule of Drinking.
The holiness factor — men with virtue — this is what we women are seeking.