Ah, the Christmas gift that keeps on giving. My cousin Joe Crespo, one of the masterminds and the bassist of the great Indie band Hello Nurse, received from his brother Ray the updated version of the book “Rules For Gentlemen.” We had quite a bit of fun reading excerpts at my sister Nancee’s house on Boxing Day, the day after Christmas when a lot of our extended clan get together to sing Christmas carols and poke fun at one another. Why we celebrate Boxing Day is because Nancee’s married to Nick, a native born Englishman. The origins of Boxing Day have long been lost in the mists of time. It seems it’s either a remembrance of the first Christian martyr, Saint Stephen, getting stoned to death in Jerusalem a few years after the death of Christ, or a retail shopping extravaganza. 

While scholars and historians disagree, our family takes advantage of the day to extend the Christmas holiday for one more day and get to see siblings, children, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and others in grave need of a loud, raucous gathering. At any rate, Ray’s gift to Joe has sparked many a joke and a few wicked e-mails and beats the heck out of previous years’ novelty gifts like the singing fish and light-up reindeer antler hats. And the book is chock-full of surprises. Check these updated rules for gentlemen out:

A gentleman never forwards pornographic e-mails to a lady.

A gentleman doesn’t babble tediously about the capabilities of his iPod, laptop or Blackberry.

When spending the night at a lady’s house for the first time, a gentleman doesn’t deploy his handcuffs and leather toys unless specifically requested.

A gentlemen doesn’t use the term “bitches and hos” in mixed company.

A frilly shirt with one’s tuxedo is the mark of a coarse lout, and if one is not a member of a 1970s soul band, powder blue tuxedos are grounds for being asked to leave the premises immediately.

A gentleman never gets a fit of the giggles at a funeral.

A gentleman always knows how many roses to bring a lady. A single rose for one’s lover, a dozen for an apology to one’s wife. If the indiscretion is a major one, a piece of fine jewelry should be presented along with the roses.

A gentleman doesn’t play idiotic video games for hours on end when there’s va-jay-j to be pursued.

When shooting heroin with a lady, a gentlemen always ties his lady’s rubber arm strap gently but firmly before she injects herself. Only then is it permissible to inject oneself.

When at a nude beach, a gentleman does his best not to pop a woody. Should that happen, the surreptitious application of an ice cold beverage ought to remedy the situation.

When robbing a bank, a gentleman’s ski mask always matches his clothing. In these situations, non-descript dark clothing is recommended, no matter what the season. And remember, a gentleman never abuses his hostages should it come to that unfortunate turn of events.

A gentleman doesn’t claim to be an athlete just because he plays golf. Golf is a game, and one at which even portly gentlemen can excel. The same rule applies for bowling.

When a gentleman is running a multi-billion dollar pyramid scheme, he refrains from bragging about it at his men’s club.

When attending a sporting event, face-painting should be tasteful and never too garish. Exposing one’s buttocks to television cameras is very bad form.

When faking his own death, a gentleman never leaves loose ends that could lead to his prolonged incarceration. A gentleman is earnest and thorough in all his endeavors.

When attending the opera with a lady, a gentleman drinks a lot of Red Bull beforehand so he doesn’t sleep too soundly and begin to snore.

And finally, when a lady recounts her troubles to a gentleman, he is always skillful and convincing when pretending to pay attention to her interminable blathering. He makes it his business to learn when to inject noncommittal comments and a few “Oh, my!s” and “you poor dears” here and there. A gentleman is always cognizant of his lady’s comfort and goes to great pains to fake sincere concern with her petty little peeves. He is ever mindful of the fact that she is the one with the pussy, and a happy lady is a generous lady. A gentleman always acts accordingly.

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