Courtesy suits you

Courtesy suits you

It's still Brovember, the month of men and, if you're lucky, good manners

A gentleman used to be a term that described a man's social rank in Britain. It meant someone from a good family, often with a large house and money. But today, it means someone who is well-mannered and considerate. People especially associate it with men's behaviour towards women.

Some people believe that being "gentlemanly" is unnecessary and old-fashioned. Some think that, as women and men are largely equal (at least in the developed world), men shouldn't do chivalrous things to help women. Some women are even offended when a man offers to help them.

However, as Kristine Stewart, an etiquette expert and founder of the Hong Kong Institute of Etiquette, says: "Being a gentleman is not just about being polite to women. A gentleman is also well groomed, does not speak in a vulgar manner, and never solves problems by fighting."

A gentleman respects other people, and himself. He acts in a way that makes other people respect him, too. He does this by being considerate, thinking of other people's needs before his own. But his physical appearance also demands respect: how he's dressed, good grooming and posture, and positive body language.

Being gentlemanly can also work wonders when it comes to dating. Only the most resolutely feminist girl will object to someone holding the door open for her, being offered the better seat, or being lent a jacket if she's cold. The majority will be impressed.

Above all, a gentleman is courteous, considerate and thoughtful. He is aware of when someone - even a stranger - needs help, and instantly offers a helping hand; he has good manners; he listens when someone is speaking, and is always ready to find a way to make a difficult situation better.

Stewart says Hong Kong guys are on the right track to being a gentleman. "I'd say overall ... Hong Kong men are quite polite. Most are well groomed and rarely do we see men behaving aggressively," she adds.

Yet she says: "I think that in the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong, it is easy to forget about common courtesies."

This is a problem common to guys and girls alike.

Far from being an old-fashioned notion, being a gentleman is a way to make friends, gain respect and get ahead in the world. When you respect others, they will respect you. And the more respect there is in the world, the nicer a place it will be.


Our top 10 tips to being a gentleman

- Hold doors open - not just for a girl you fancy, but for anyone coming in behind you.

- Offer your seat to elderly people, parents with babies, pregnant women - anyone with a physical disability, or anyone carrying a lot of luggage.

- Don't use your mobile phone when you're out for a meal, or leave it on the table. Keep it in your bag or pocket.

- If you see a stranger struggling with heavy bags, offer to help carry one.

- On a first date, offer to pay for dinner (this means planning ahead, so that you know you can afford it). There's a huge chance the girl will not accept, but a gentleman offers.

- Be punctual. Showing up late for meetings is disrespectful.

- Be aware of how you can make someone more comfortable, eg offer a jacket to someone who's cold.

- Don't gossip.

- Don't swear.

- Don't discuss sensitive topics, eg politics and religion, with people you don't know well

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