As we get older, it's important for us to help hand back some of what we've gained as we've grown older. It should be one of your responsibilities - it's almost like being a mentor.
While in the process of determining whether to self-publish ‘Being Caballero: A Conversation About Gentlemen’ or go down the path of a Literary Agent, I went ahead and submitted a proposal to a couple of Agents. One Agent actually made a content specific reply explaining why my proposal was denied. They weren’t interested, not because of the topic or the content, but rather the format didn’t fit their publishing style. The fact that I don’t list a series of steps, checklists if you will, on how to become a Gentleman, meant that my book didn’t fit their formula. And this is not the first time I have heard a similar comment.
Many people have actually asked me if I ever plan to write up a step-by-step guide to ‘Gentleman’ing, something I have refused to do and will probably avoid doing. You see, a step-by-step guide or a set of rules means that I believe that a gentleman isn’t about his personal values or even his character, but rather about just following a bunch of rules that have worked for me specifically. And assuming that what worked for me will work for every other guy is a pretty arrogant assumption on my part and a true disservice to the cause of Gentlemen and to the men trying to follow the Cammino, the Path. Everyone has to work on their own strengths and weaknesses; not on mine.
If I had any doubt of the damage these kinds of articles and book do, a couple of weeks ago a friend asked some dating advice. He was frustrated because he was doing everything ‘right’, doing the proper steps and social intricacies expected from men, yet found he was getting nowhere in his romantic life. After talking with him for a while, and mulling it over I came to a simple realization. He was trying to socialize and date based on his preconception of what the dating process is and not on what he found comfortable or actually enjoyed. My advice was simple, work on your strengths while understanding your weaknesses. (Ok, it was a bit more than just that, but you get the general idea.)
If checklists work, why am I not seeing any results?
Because checklists worked for the guy who wrote them, for magazine filling content, and as a comfort blanket to the person trying them out. And when it doesn’t work, the author usually blames the reader while the reader blames the author. And in a way both are responsible for the success and failure of the list.
A mentor can only be as good as a student willing to think on his own, and a student is only as good as he is willing to question what is taught to him. For that reason, the best I can do is explain why things are done in a certain way, give examples based of experience, and offer the tools available for a person to use. It is the reader’s obligation to understand what tools work for him and how these lessons apply to his own life. That way they become their own Gentleman, and not simply try to act like a clone of my own.
In case you are wondering what’s going to be covered in the book, here’s a quick breakdown.
Prolegomenon: A Gentleman Defined
An introduction to the concept of the Gentlemen as a universal archetype of the exceptional man, a concept found in every culture throughout history. It’s meant to address and challenge some of the general myths and misconceptions about what a Gentleman is.
Cammino: Pursuit Of A Better Man Reborn
The first section is lessons and concepts a young man should consider when starting on the path of a Gentleman. The second section is to help men who have strayed refind the Gentleman they lost along the way.
Destino: The Social Gentleman
The last section deals with how a Gentleman interacts with society. It deals with how to handle your role as an example to others and a mentor in the first part. The second part deals with social and romantic relationships based on respect and dignity.