My cousin Joe got a good book for Christmas called “How To Be A Gentleman.” It is a handy little tome we had a lot of fun with at our holiday gathering. It’s an updated version that covers things like text-messaging while crossing busy streets and gym etiquette as far as not hogging the exercise machines or grunting excessively. The proper etiquette for handling annoying tele-marketers is discussed. There’s even tips about how to be a gentleman while shopping. There’s all sorts of useful tidbits of information to help modern man behave like a gentleman and thus contribute to a more considerate, responsible and kind world. There were, however, some surprises. For example:
A gentleman always takes the wet spot.
A gentleman is always circumspect when stalking, and carefully maintains the hundred-yard distance from the lady in question that is recommended in the restraining order.
In the event of his getting arrested, a gentleman doesn’t waste his one phone call dialing a sex line.
When crossing the street to avoid a particularly annoying acquaintance, a gentleman does so with subtlety and grace.
When someone starts a war with you, a gentlemen never invades the wrong country in response. Instead, he attacks those who attack him, no matter how much oil other countries may have.
When playing cards, it is permissible for a gentleman to cheat only when the money at stake is substantial.
When employing the services of a prostitute, a gentleman never charges the bill to his company’s expense account. He pays in cash from his own funds and tips generously.
When faced with the choice between an admission of guilt and evading responsibility for criminal conduct, a gentleman always lies with a straight face and a calm demeanor.
When escorting a lady out on the town a gentleman never frequents the same clubs and restaurants he patronizes with is wife.
While it is an accepted maxim of the true gentleman to never steal anything small, a gentleman never steals 50 billion dollars from those who trust him with their life savings and charity endowments.
When seeking a fresh boutonniere for one’s tuxedo after business hours, one’s neighbor’s rose garden may provide a gentleman with a satisfactory alternative to the florist.
A southern gentleman never wears a white sheet after Labor Day.
When the subjects of religion and politics arise in social settings, a true gentleman limits his derogatory remarks to those not present.
A gentleman does not kiss and tell. Receiving oral sex, however, is a whole different story, and other gentleman may be regaled with such tales to one’s social advantage, but only when no ladies are present.
A gentleman does not cut the line at an open bar, unless of course he perceives that the bourbon is running low. In that instance only is it permissible to exert one’s gentlemanly prerogatives, perhaps with some deft footwork and a subtly placed left hook.
A gentleman never shoots his friends in the face with a shotgun, especially when a small-caliber pistol is handy. One shot to the knee will deliver the same message without the inconvenient blood spatter. Always exhibit consideration for those who launder your wardrobe.
When refusing to give up his subway seat to an elderly lady, a gentleman always affects a limp when he gets up to exit the train.