Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Country Life / The Modern Gentleman / The 39 steps to being a (modern) gentleman

Gentlemen then and now

Clearly, he must have manners, humour, humility, talent and courage, but there will always be more materialistic giveaways, too

Country Life / October 28, 2015

A member of the Athenaeum once put up a notice after his umbrella was taken from the cloakroom. It read: ‘Will the nobleman who has taken my umbrella please return it.’ A friend asked: ‘How do you know it’s a nobleman?’ He replied: ‘The rules state that this club is for gentlemen and noblemen, and no gentleman would take my umbrella.’

According to Somerset Maugham, the only value of being a gentleman lay in the fact that it wasn’t a pretence (he also said it was almost impossible to be one and a writer), but with the world changing faster than a baton handover in an Olympic relay, is it possible to have a definitive picture of one? Clearly, he must have manners, humour, humility, talent and courage, but there will always be more materialistic giveaways, too.

Gentlemen then and now

1912 2012

The Proms Glastonbury
The Quorn Duke of Beaufort’s
Rolls-Royce Land Rover Discovery
Baden-Baden Rock
Royal Ascot Glorious Goodwood
Guinea fowl Venison
Bloomsbury Group Hay Festival
Norfolk Dorset
Henley Henley
Shooting at Elveden Shooting at Alnwick
Belgravia Fulham
Moustache Clean-shaven
Cigarettes Nicorette
Rudyard Kipling Antony Beevor
Tobogganing in St Moritz Skiing in Val d’Isère
Rectory Old Rectory
Ballroom dancing Strictly Come Dancing
Claret New Zealand Pinot Noir
Epsom salts San Pellegrino
Wisden Wisden
H. M. Bateman Matt
Fagging Counselling
African grey parrot Buff Orpington
Scotland in August Scotland in August
Manservant No servant
Kedgeree Muesli with blueberries
Bread-and-butter pudding Sticky-toffee pudding
Fob watch Diving watch
Gertrude Jekyll Arabella Lennox-Boyd
Dining room Kitchen
Herbaceous border Wildflower meadow
Royal Yacht Squadron Royal Yacht Squadron
Arthur Conan Doyle Sebastian Faulks
The Savoy Grill The Wolseley
Nightshirt Turnbull & Asser pyjamas
Ironed newspaper Today
English setter Black labrador
Whist BBC Ten O’Clock News
White tie No tie
12-bore 20-bore
New pair of Purdeys Grandfather’s Purdeys
Catching lots of salmon in Scotland Catching no salmon in Scotland
Polo in India Polo in Midhurst

Five perfect gentlemen

Sir Walter Raleigh for courtesy

The Light Brigade for heroism when facing certain death

Beau Brummell for exquisite dressing

Ernest Shackleton for rescuing his men

Lord Carrington for knowing when to resign

Five gentlemen of literature

Lord Peter Wimsey

The Scarlet Pimpernel (Sir Percy Blakeney)

Mr Knightley


Richard Hannay

Five things a gentleman would never do

Holiday in Florida

Own a yacht without sails

Wear fuschia socks

Order Cristal Champagne

Plant a hanging basket

The 39 steps to being a gentleman

Which manners maketh the (modern) gentleman? Rupert Uloth has the definitive list.

Rupert UlothOctober 28, 2015

A gentleman…

1 Negotiates airports with ease

2 Never lets a door slam in someone’s face

3 Can train a dog and a rose

4 Is aware that facial hair is temporary, but a tattoo is permanent

5 Knows when not to say anything

6 Wears his learning lightly

7 Possesses at least one well-made dark suit, one tweed suit and a dinner jacket

8 Avoids lilac socks and polishes his shoes

9 Turns his mobile to silent at dinner

10 Carries house guests’ luggage to their rooms

11 Tips staff in a private house and a gamekeeper in the shooting field

12 Says his name when being introduced

13 Breaks a relationship face to face

14 Is unafraid to speak the truth

15 Knows when to clap

16 Arrives at a meeting five minutes before the agreed time

17 Is good with waiters

18 Has two tricks to entertain children

19 Can undo a bra with one hand

20 Sings lustily in church

21 Is not vegetarian
22 Can sail a boat and ride a horse

23 Knows the difference between Glenfiddich and Glenda Jackson

24 Never kisses and tells

25 Cooks an omelette to die for

26 Can prepare a one match bonfire

27 Seeks out his hostess at a party

28 Knows when to use an emoji

29 Would never own a Chihuahua

30 Has read Pride and Prejudice

31 Can tie his own bow tie

32 Would not go to Puerto Rico

33 Knows the difference between a rook and a crow

34 Sandals? No. Never

35 Wears a rose, not a carnation

36 Swats flies and rescues spiders

37 Demonstrates that making love is neither a race nor a competition

38 Never blow dries his hair

39 Knows that there is always an exception to a rule

Agree? Disagree? Let us know on Twitter

This article features in our Gentleman’s Life magazine, out today with Country Life

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