I’ve read some delightful posts this week mostly expressing gratitude for all the gentlemen out there, how charming they are, how much they are appreciated. I echo those sentiments ten fold. Interacting with gentlemen is just delightful, they feed my soul, they affirm my faith in humanity.
One thing that cracks me up in this neck of the woods, we have four way stops, and rules about who goes first at an intersection, but the rules are often suspended, leading to great confusion. Many men about these parts are gracious, they believe in ladies first, so if they spot you, they will wave you through first. I’m laughing here, but they love to direct traffic and they will wait rather impatiently for you to figure out they have just surrendered the right of way for you. If you know anything about men, this is often a huge sacrifice on their part too, so one must show proper appreciation.
Trying to define a gentlemen can be a challenging thing, we speak of kindness, of opening doors, of being helpful, of recognizing that women are different, that we have vulnerabilities, that we require a bit of assistance, some gentleness and accommodation. Oh boy, is that politically incorrect to say these days. It is more fashionable for girls to be all strong and independent, a bit of modern foolishness of you ask me.
Being a gentlemen is about being kind towards women, being solicitous. Solicitous means, “characterized by or showing interest or concern.” Expressing a bit of brotherly love towards the fairer sex.
Of course, men don’t act like gentlemen exclusively for women, a big part of it is defining who they are as people, how they perceive themselves, what values they hold for themselves, but there is no doubt in my mind that women reap the benefits there, in a million delightful ways, even in simple daily interactions with strangers.
Although I’m sure fancy gentlemen can cultivate and refine their skills into an art form, I love the simple honestly, the-rough-around-the-edges gentlemen, that speak to something kind an innate within them. I love the ones who wipe the dirt off their hands when they are introduced to you, the ones who kick the mud off their shoes before they come into your house. One of my favorite experiences was with a gentleman in a shop who suddenly noticed me and quickly laid shop towels down on a greasy chair, as if I were a fine lady in need of a seat. It was charming.
Some people believe that being a gentlemen is a dying art form, but I don’t see that at all. Young or old, I see dozens of examples of kindness and good manners everyday. I suppose one must know what to look for, to not take it for granted, to make note of all these little things that often go unnoticed.
Some people collect stamps, coins, antiques, but I collect gentlemen, always observing bits of random kindness and charm, moments of graciousness, and I tuck these things away in my heart. Sometimes I take them out and offer them up as prayers, as intercession for a broken world so full of suffering and pain. Lord, look at the kindness I found out in the world today, look at what that son of yours did when he thought no one was watching. Bless him Lord, as you have blessed me.
I collect gentlemen, an odd habit indeed, but one that speaks to refined tastes, to having an affinity for the priceless things that have immeasurable worth, the things that will never go out of style.