I have a friend named Socrates. (His name is actually Steven, but I’m obligated to call him Socrates because of this blog’s time-honored traditions.) Socrates and I met during our freshman year of college, and we became housemates in later years.
Socrates is a gentleman: a fedora-wearing, tea-drinking young man who looks good in a suit, knots neckties effortlessly and opens doors for ladies. He’s chivalrous, affable, old-fashioned and awesome.
The world needs more gentlemen.
I’m not speaking of outward appearances. It’s well enough for someone to look dapper in a suit, fedora or necktie, but anyone can wear nice clothes. I’m not referring to sophisticated tastes. Drinking tea is sometimes considered a sign of refinement, but anyone can sip hot liquid.
No, I’m speaking of the things that mark a true gentleman.
A true gentleman respects himself, taking pride in his personal appearance. A true gentleman respects other men, putting their needs before his own. A true gentleman respects ladies, listening patiently and serving humbly.
A true gentleman is a paradox: refined and sophisticated, yet humble and unpretentious; confident and assured, yet modest and gracious; patient and kind, yet strong and brave.
I know a number of true gentlemen. Most of them don’t fit the gentlemanly stereotype. Few wear nice clothes. (At least one gentleman of my acquaintance despises neckties.) Many play video games, watch Disney films and enjoy other unsophisticated pursuits. Some even dislike tea.
Their attitudes are what matters. They are gracious, sensible, kind, cheerful, chivalrous, humble and selfless. In the end, a fedora is just a hat, a necktie is just a noose and tea is just a hot beverage. Defying stereotypes and outward appearances, these men modestly serve those around them.
They are true gentlemen, and the world needs more like them.