What It Takes To Be A Gentleman



What It Takes To Be A Gentleman

“A gentleman is a person who is gentle with himself and with others.”


In my story last week, I wrote about “Don Quixote”, a book written in 1605 by Miguel de Cervantes. I also wrote that I discovered in the public library that the book has 549 pages in small print. (The librarian who found the book on the bookshelf asked me with concern in her voice, “Are you planning to read it?”)

“No,” I assured her. “I only plan to use it for reference since I have already checked out an audio version.”

“Don Quixote” is considered to be the “world’s best story book of all times” (The Guardian, 10/12/2013). The audio book I checked out is 40.5 hours long, and came with 35 compact discs, which I started to listen to in the car. The narrator, George Guidall, does a marvelous job and I’ve been enjoying listening to it very much.


The story begins with a description of the gentleman named Don Quixote, who spends a fortune to buy and read books about chivalry. After reading losing his mind, he decides to become a Knight-Errant, the occupation that was practical about 400 years later.

There is a word in Russian, “cavalier”, and though I am not a linguist, I thought that the word “chivalry” may have had some connection with the word “Caveleri”, which in Russian was used to indicate a person of certain standing in a phrase “Dami ee Caveleri”—similar to ‘Ladies and Gentleman’ (also used as an admirer or a dance partner). But it also connected with the word cavalry (soldiers who fought on horseback), which brings us back to our story where Don Quixote wanted to know how to be and behave like a knight.


According to the dictionary, a “cavalier”, or “chevalier”, means a gallant or courtly gentleman; a well-mannered man. It seemed that regarding how the word was used in the past, all definitions essentially lead to what today we call a gentleman. I proceeded to think about, what is a gentleman in today’s standards?  We’ve likely all heard the phrase, “he is a real gentleman”. Online, I found that one of the definitions of a gentleman is that it is “a man who combines gentle birth or rank with chivalrous qualities”. And what if I did not have a privilege of the gentle birth? Can I, like Don Quixote, learn how to be a gentleman without losing a sense of reality the way he did?

WikiHow tells us that there are at least 22 ways of how to be chivalrous. Apparently chivalry is not only about respecting women. It separates the “men from the boys”. I also found an article online by James Michael Sama, “The Art of Being a Gentleman” and of course there are more ways to learn. But first, start by practicing on yourself—before you can be gentle with others, be gentle with yourself. The word “Gentleman” can be used in different connotations, as well as in this story about a man who traveled to the countryside.


When he got to his destination, he found out that the only hotel did not have available rooms. He was told that there is a widow, who lived close by and who might rent him a room for the night. When he rang the doorbell, a woman answered the door. The man asked if she would let him stay for the night.


“I am not sure,” she answered. “I am a widow and am alone in the house.”


“Do not worry,” the man assured her. “I am a gentleman.”
In the morning when he came down for breakfast, he asked the hostess “I noticed that you have many chicken and quite a few roosters. Usually there is only one rooster.”


“You are right,” the woman answered. “Actually there is only one rooster, the rest are gentleman.”


One of the qualities of a Gentleman, or a man who follows 22 ways of how to be chivalrous, is to give flowers to the woman of his heart. I do not know if the men I photographed are gentleman, but they have the flowers. Enjoy!

Do Not Keep Me As A Secret!
Smile And Please SHARE It With A Friend!

Manny<br />