I’ve always considered myself to be a perfect gentleman; I don’t, for example, drink tea directly from the teapot and I’ve never used a trowel to eat curry.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered that I may not be a gentleman at all; in fact I could well be diametrically opposite to the perfect gentleman. I could be an absolute blackguard. I’ve decided to test myself and share the results with you.
I have once more explored the internet on your behalf to find out exactly what makes a man a gentleman. Here’s what I’ve discovered. You can judge for yourself whether or not I am a gentleman or whether I am a fiendish cad. I’ve graded myself for each of them as follows:
A – Success. I am a perfect gentleman.
B – Partial success. I am sometimes a gentleman.
C - Average. I must try harder to be a gentleman.
D – Failed miserably. I need to go to etiquette school
A gentleman never slouches.
C – Sometimes I do slouch; it depends on how I feel. If I’ve had a pint or two I definitely slouch all the way home. And when I am at home, generally, I slouch all over the place. I am definitely a domestic slouch.
A gentleman is polite to everyone.
C – I am generally polite to older people. Well, when I say generally I mean sometimes. Well when I say sometimes I really mean rarely (it largely depends who it is – see below). As for younger people – I am a grumpy old git and I am impolite to most of the youth of today generally (mainly because they make fun of my age).
A gentleman pays attention to his appearance.
B – As far as dressing up is concerned, Mrs PM ensures that I don’t look like a sack of potatoes when I present myself to company. However, when she is not around, I tend to dress in the clothes that old tramps would reject as too shabby. For example, Mrs PM has been begging me for years to get rid of a classic leather jacket that I have worn to rock concerts for years. She says “It’s so scruffy! There are holes in it and it looks like you bought it in 1980.” Well she doesn’t know anything – I actually bought it in 1985.
A gentleman never wears the same clothes on consecutive days.
B – I don’t generally wear the same clothes on consecutive days, particularly in the summer when shirts tend to take on a life of their own. I have been known to wear the same pair of jeans for a week. It is possible to wear socks for two successive days, as long as you remember to turn them inside out. I’ve also considered wearing the same pair of underpants for more than a day; after all if you wear them the wrong way round for the second day and turn them inside out for the next two days they can theoretically last for four days. I say that if your clothes aren’t able to escape from your laundry bin on their own then are good enough to wear. I’m kidding of course – Mrs PM ensures that I am crisp and clean wherever I go.
A gentleman never swears.
C – Oh dear! I admit that I swear far too much, although I’ve given myself a C simply because I don’t swear in front of the kids, polite company or older people (if I can help it – see below). Nevertheless, I really do struggle sometimes at work though and am frequently having to apologise for expletives that escape when anger and frustration force my hand. Oh, and I swear in the pub as well. Oh dear – not looking good is it?
A gentleman is chivalrous to ladies.
B – Generally I am chivalry personified. Unfortunately I sometimes forget myself and impose aspects of my bizarre personality on unsuspecting women. Most of the time I get away with it because, even though I say it myself, I can sometimes be quite amusing. Unfortunately I have on other occasions made a complete arse of myself and offended some women. That said, I do generally hold the door open for ladies and assist them whenever I can.
A gentleman never talks down to anybody.
A – I treat almost all people I meet with the same courtesy and I rarely talk down to people. I enjoy making fun of them but that’s not the same as talking down to them, is it? Is it? Maybe I should give myself a D if that’s the case.
A gentleman never loses his temper.
B – I very rarely lose my temper. I rant almost all the time but mostly it is in jest.
A gentleman stands up for his lady.
A – I will always stand up for and defend Mrs PM (though she can certainly stand up for herself).
A gentleman respects his elders.
C – I try to respect my elders but they have to earn that respect. Unfortunately there are some older people who don’t deserve it (so I have to give myself a C for those nameless ignorant buggers). If you are older than me, please don’t be put off – I’m a nice person really and will try to treat you with respect.
A gentleman treats older women in the same way he would treat his own mother.
B – I will give myself a B for this because of one single occasion. I was out on a Christmas pub crawl and a little tipsy. A group of us were talking and a female friend said “You’re a real mate!” Unfortunately I switched my brain off and before I could stop the words from exploding out of my mouth: I said “I don’t regard you as a mate – I think of you more as a Mum”. Well, let me tell you this – that went down like a lead balloon laden with a ten ton weight; she didn’t speak to me for a week afterwards, and when she did finally get round to speaking to me she never let me forget it – nor anybody else for that matter. The fact that it happened about eight years ago and she STILL reminds me of it today means that I must have hurt her feelings pretty badly. But I can’t deny on this occasion that I truly did treat an older woman as a Mum. I just hope she doesn’t read this post otherwise I am in big, big trouble.
A gentleman will never kiss a lady socially unless she initiates it.
B – I’ve improved on this over the years. When I was young and foolish, I occasionally lunged at women and ended up with a big slap in the face for my trouble. Thankfully I have a modicum of self-control now, particularly since I discovered that a woman can legally bite off a man’s nose if he kisses her without permission.
A gentleman never wipes his mouth after kissing a woman.
C – I have been in trouble with Mrs PM for this disgraceful act so I am learning.
A gentleman removes his hat when indoors.
D – Why would a man wear a hat? The only time I would consider a hat is a woolly one in the winter. I’ve told Mrs PM that if she ever catches me wearing a cap or a hat she is to drag me home immediately, making sure that I take off the hat before I cross the threshold.
A gentleman never fights.
A – I hate fighting and would rather walk away than partake in a bout of fisticuffs.
A gentleman never gets drunk.
D – Oh dear! I don’t get drunk very often these days but that’s because my poor old body can’t cope with hangovers and nothing to do with gentleman’s etiquette
A gentleman never laughs at the mistakes of others.
D – I am the first to laugh at others’ mistakes. In fact, I am likely to constantly remind people of their mistakes, particularly if they are funny. Moreover, I am also very likely to post details about them on this blog. Marky Mark – you have been warned.
So how did I do?
I think that proves that I have what it takes to be a gentleman but I obviously need to improve, particularly when it comes to swearing and my behaviour when I’ve had a beer or two. I probably need to listen to Mrs PM more, particularly when going out unsupervised. Who knows, I might make her proud of my ability to dress myself properly one of these days.
I’d be interested to know how other guys rate themselves as gentlemen.
Now then, where’s my f*****g pint?