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New attributes that maketh a gentleman...

Any man out there, who owns a cat, says, "please and thank you", or holds doors, we have news for you...These attributes no longer maketh the man!

Apparently dressing well and having the above traits are no longer enough to denote a true gentleman. Being on time, never tweeting or stalking on social media and replying to emails, on the other hand, do.

A list of rules for the 21st-century gentleman by Country Life's Gentlemanly Commandments, published recently, contains advice on coloured trousers, pre-tied bow ties and an outright ban on tweeting.

The list, developed after consulting public celebrity figures, also includes a no-no on writing with a Biro, which I tend to agree with.

I remember my English teacher used to always write her notes with a fountain pen. She corrected our literature essays in red, but the notes at the bottom of the page were always in black fountain pen.

She made it a point for us to do the same as she said it was 'good manners and showed those reading it that you actually care'.

Novelist and former second lieutenant in the Brigade of Guards Tom Stacey says gentlemanly principles are timeless.

"I always tell my children everything they write, including a letter to the milkman, should be written with style because the milkman matters. He cares about his profession," he says.

The new rules published in the magazine, outline the ideal attributes of men, including guidance on hair styling, social media and a non-negotiable ban on pre-tied bow ties.

While some, such as being punctual, honest and dress to suit each occasion, may not have changed in the last century, others focus on more modern concerns.

The 21st century gentleman would not be seen wearing Lycra, or finishing his food before his dining companions or walking out of the theatre before the final curtain falls.

But rather makes companions feel at ease and curtails his drinking before he becomes disorderly.

In an interview to the Telegraph, Mark Hedges, Country Life editor, is quoted as saying 'it was time to update the idea of a gentleman from the stereotype of the 1940s'.

"Being a gentleman is Britain's greatest export to the world. Forget an OBE, CBE or anything else; to be told you are a gentleman is the highest compliment you can get," he says.

"Deep down, we all know that but we don't make a fuss, because gentlemen never make a fuss. So it is down to us."

Gentlemanly behaviour is something that sets one human apart from another. It is a way of life and about making others feel better when they are in one's company.

My husband still opens the car door for me years after our first date! It puts a smile on my face and yes it does make me feel special.

Being polite and gentlemanly is an instinctive behaviour. It is not a profession.

And as British actor Richard E Grant rightly puts it 'courtesy costs nothing - rudeness is exorbitant and never forgotten'.

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:May 15, 2014
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