7/27/15

How To Fake Being A Gentleman



Fake it till you make it.
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I know I have always mentioned the idea that Gentlemanly behavior isn’t something you should fake. Either you try to walk the path or you don’t. Faking it means you are lying about who you are and your intentions are probably not that honorable. You will probably end up being one of those guys who tend to give gentlemen a bad name as you are probably doing it for the wrong reasons. But a post I found online got me thinking that I should reconsider my views.

Buzzfeed posted an article about 15 Tips That Will Trick Your House Guests Into Thinking You Have Your Shit Together. It was basically how to make people think you, well, have “your shit together” based on how you decorate your apartment. At face value, you might think this article is about how to lie to your guests, but when you think about it, it starts teaching you what it means to have your shit together, makes you realize how people react to having your shit together, and sets up the foundation to getting your shit together. Without you realizing it, you’re actually on your way to having your shit together!

Can this strategy be used for other things in life? Of course! The best way to fake knowing about art is to actually start reading up on art. The best way to fake being a musician is to learn about music. The old adage of “fake it till you make it” is truer than most people think. Just make sure that “faking it” is just a step in the path of “making it.” With that in mind, how do you set out to fake being a gentleman?

Look The Part
First off, you have to look the part. I’m not talking about going out and spending a mortgage payment on a suit. I’m taking about putting away those stained sweat pants, ripped jeans, satirical graphic tee, worn out sneakers, trucker cap, etc. You get the picture. Dress to impress, to how you want to be treated, to be taken seriously… Again, you get the picture. Replace your gym sneakers with some leather dress shoes, or at least some casual dress shoes. Find a nice looking watch (nothing say’s grown ass man like a nice looking watch) and wallet. Wear ironed out clothing (nothing says you don’t care about yourself like wrinkled clothing).

Before I forget, GROOMING AND HYGEINE!!! Grooming is basically the same thing as shine is for shoes and ironing is for clothing, it shoes how much you care about yourself. You don’t have to go for the typical clean cut, short hair, clean shaved. What you do need is a general look that you don’t suffer from any mayor aversion to bathing and barber shops. What you do want is well-trimmed hair (if you still have it) and facial hair (if you can grow it), clean nails, and a nice odor. Pick some kind of slight aftershave or perfume, but avoid overdoing it, as assaulting someone’s senses with in bad taste, be it with stench or perfume.

Act The Part
Manners, gentlemen. MANNERS! This isn’t about knowing every single rule within the overly elaborate Gentleman’s code of etiquette. It’s about showing people you can behave with civility and that you care enough about them to treat them with respect.

Sure, some cultures might consider farting, burping, and slurping a complement to the chef. Last time I checked, this wasn’t one of those countries. Acting in public just takes simple common sense, so going into detail here would be a waste of space and word count. Now, gentlemanly details like opening doors for others, standing up when greeting someone, tipping your hat, all of this is also basic knowledge. Just be careful not to overdo it. Fake it enough to make it look natural, who knows. Someday it might become natural.

Speak The Part
Here’s a simple trick that will help you out when you are speaking as a gentleman, the ultimate language cheat, the only trick you will need to know… “Think about what you are going to say before saying it.” Impressive, isn’t it? Take the time to think about what you say and how it will be taken. Oh, here’s another one… “Let the other person speak and make them feel like you are paying attention to their words.” I’m full of wisdom today, right? Oh… and I have one more… “use proper grammar.” Nothing will invalidate whatever you say as improper language use. Gentlemen, it’s not that hard. Take care how you use your words and pay attention to the words of others.

Live The Part
Here’s the challenging part… you have to lead a life as interesting as your Facebook profile. This means you have to lead a life worth leading, or at the very least have plans to lead a live worth leading. Have big plans, live with passion, do more than simply exist. Realize that Carpe Diem can excuse almost any dumb decision as long as it produces a memorable story. (Note to reader… NEVER USE YOLO. Use Carpe Diem. Google the difference.)

In closing I want to make two thing clear. First, if you are faking being a gentleman, you probably have no idea what you are doing and why. When asked or challenged about your behavior, if you don’t understand why you’re doing it, you will probably end up putting your foot in your mouth. For that reason, I would recommend you to not explain it. Say you’re a gentleman because “your mother taught you how to behave and to respect others.” Anyone who sets out to questions what “your mother” taught you is simply looking to condemn your actions, no matter what.

Second and a lot more important still… NONE OF THIS MAKES YOU A GENTLEMAN. You are playing off other people’s prejudice and preconception. You are manipulating them as much as they are being judgmental of you. Sure, start off working the “gentleman gimmick” till you realize that faking it can only carry you so far, and that the real worth of a gentleman isn’t in the suit he wears or the shoes he has or even the ties he owns. A real gentleman is defined by his character and the respect he shows to those around him.