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10 things that make a man a gentleman

Ever asked yourself how to be a gentleman? Here's our list on what defines one, from elegance & etiquette.

By Raja Izz

Image: Tom Claeren

It is well known that most young men today; as well as older men have lost (or never had nor learned) the art on how to be a true gentleman, especially among Millennial’s who have been overly influenced by social media, movies and television shows depicting young men behaving very uncouth in words and deeds, and believing such things as being “cool”.

How do you define a ‘gentleman’?

Here at GC we thought it was high time we set the record straight; did our bit from GC's "Knights of the Round" framework, and defined once and for all the characteristics of the modern gentleman.

Image: Y.M. Raja Tun Tan Sri Dato' Seri Utama Alias B. Raja Ali

 1. A gentleman strives to make his country/community a better place

A classic aristocrat lives by the code of conduct - Noblesse Oblige" - literally translates to “nobility obligates.” It implies that with wealth, power and prestige come social responsibilities; it is a moral obligation to act with honor, kindliness and generosity.

For a gentleman, true noblesse oblige has nothing to do with high birth, power or prestige. True noblesse oblige is a responsibility for all of us who have been given the benefits of living in a free land, founded on the highest principles. If we, as a country, miss the mark, it is no reflection on the founding principles. It means we have the responsibility to use our energies and intelligence to return to basics and fix it.

Image:  Bon Zainal Harun & The Style Soldiers

2.  A gentleman is always well-groomed and well presented

No matter what company, occasion or top secret mission, dress to the best of your ability. Wear slim-fit clothing (if possible, tailored). If anything fail, remember to wear a classic navy unstructured blazer. You'll thank us.

Image: Tunku Zain Al-'Abidin ibni Tuanku Muhriz

3. A gentleman is cultured

Extending your cultural tastes (literature, classical music, travel, opera, orchestra, fine arts, ballet, symphony, history, world politics, theatre, museum, circus) will bring you an enormous amount of pleasure, as well as a wealth of knowledge that will make you a more substantial & sophisticated gentleman. 

Image: Khairul Fahmy & Puteri Afzan Shakira

4. A gentleman constantly proves that chivalry is not dead

This time-honoured gentlemanly gesture has become problematic in the modern world. For us, it’s straight-up good manners, a spot of polite chivalry worthy of being preserved.  

Some may consider this blisteringly dated, but sacrificing one’s comfort for your lady is an act of attentiveness and selflessness. You may be left shivering in the elements, but you can enjoy the warm glow of altruism emanating from your very core.

Image: Shazlan Sufian, Dato' Setia Aubry Rahim Mennesson, Tengku Datin Setia Paduka Zatashah Idris, Tengku Dato' Sri Zafrul Aziz

5. A gentleman always RSVPs

Don’t leave your nearest and dearest hanging. Reply promptly, and be sure to bring the party when you arrive.

Image: Tom Claeren

6. A gentleman has an enriching life

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Enjoy your life and explore some unique experiences - riding a helicopter, flying a plane, horse riding, solo traveling, dining at the most unique restaurant - the possibilities are endless. These are the memories that you will remember as you grow older. Life is short, have a rich life.

Image: Rashid Hasnan

7. A gentleman actively pursue gentleman's sport

Partaking in some of the world’s most important sports is something that every gentleman should aspire to do, regardless of your ability. Polo, Equestrian, Tennis, Fencing, Sailing, and Motorsport. These are the gentleman sports that promote competitive nature, peak physical condition, and good temperament. 

Image: Tun Dr. Ismail Abdul Rahman

8. A gentleman means what he says and says what he means

No doublespeak, no having to read between the lines – while never being rude or insensitive, a gentleman finds a tactful way to be open about his thoughts and feelings.

Image: Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah and Tun Dr. Mahathir 

9. A gentleman strives to make his lady happy

Affection, respectful attitude, and constant romance are the keys to to a woman’s heart  - and a gentleman strive to provide excitement to his partner consistently.

Image: Y.M. Tunku Dato’ Mohamed Alauddin Tunku Naquiyuddin

10. A gentleman has refined etiquette & manner

The manners of a gentleman, as expressed in etiquette books, do contain many elaborate social rituals which seem a bit quaint to us moderns, but the vast majority of their space is devoted to what would seem to be common sense rules like "Don't chew with your mouth open" or "Don't interrupt people" or "Don't be a lot of bother when you are a house guest". 

Picture: Danial Deen Isa Kalebic & H.R.H. Prince Abdul Mateen

Bonus point.....

11. A gentleman  makes everything he do seems effortless

There’s a rarified group of people who always look put together without looking like they’ve spent the whole day in front of a mirror. Italians call this blessed quality sprezzaturaa kind of “studied carelessness,” “careful negligence,” “effortless ease”.

The idea is to appear so naturally chic and smart. It is an art, which does not seem to be an art. While the point may be to look effortless, sprezzatura requires even more work than, well, just doing the work. It is the epitome of elegance and grace, one every gentleman should aspire to be.

No one is perfect. It is hard to follow every rule and law ever made, but then again, that is not what being a gentleman is about. It's about becoming the best version of yourself. Think about setting an example for everyone affected by your life. Make sure to treat others as you would like to be treated. Even, if it sometimes means taking the high road. 

A man is only as good as his actions, and gentlemen represent the men who belong in the top tier in this category. Anyone can be a gentleman if they put their mind to it and try hard enough.






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