Monday, February 20, 2006

The Word of a Gentleman: Rule Six

A Gentleman will Dress as One.
He is obedient to his company.

The tuxedo does not make a Gentleman. A Gentleman is not a peacock intent on flashing the greatest degree of his dapper plummage but is a man who cares to ask himself, "What would my company expect and benefit from?" If working on a transmission, a Gentleman wears coveralls. If the hostess says semi-formal he will eschew the temptation to prove he can be better than she asks. And since he is in service to others, he will seek to meet each moment with a studied understanding. He must care for each society he enters and not be only on the mark when the moment calls for that which he enjoys, be it high or low. A blue collar laborer can, in this regard, be a Gentleman if he studies his obligations to the dress higher than his normal life and is able to achieve it when called upon. Conversely, if you can't wear the coverall as convincingly as you wear the tuxedo then you are no Gentleman, you are an eccentric. That which can honestly claim to be high will be able to accomplish sufficiently all that is below. A Gentleman is Better, not merely Different.


Andrew Michael Jacobs said...

It seems that a gentleman is very boring. He gears his life to blend in so well that we miss him except for his perfect blending. But if we consider chameleons to be interesting, we might find the gentleman interesting.

But seriously, what is desirable about being a gentleman when the point is to fit any given situation as well as possible? The only variety a gentleman provides is a perfected sameness. A gentleman gives all credit to society as it stands supposing that its current form is sufficient. Rather than pushing society toward higher goals, the gentleman dwells on the imperfect condition of society and tries to mimic it perfectly.

A gentleman seems to be merely the a sincerely respectful man. But I consider a gentleman to be one who is not concerned with whether he offends as long as he is truly helping.

The Oracle said...

And for the Christian, after I have found the Holy Spirit bringing "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control" should I find such boring? I mean, man, where's the passion? Barbarity and sin have the same claims of chaos and excitement. Civilization and Holiness have the similar claims to order. I am not making this a necessarily moral choice and if one does not want to be this kind of Gentleman, go in peace. But remember, "A tranquil mind gives life to the flesh, but passion makes the bones rot." Proverbs 14:30

Andrew Michael Jacobs said...

I think you missed part of the point. Our Creator is the ultimate Gentleman but He does not do everything He can to avoid offending. In fact, He does what He deems necessary to completely rearrange situations and destroy those who oppose Him. I am trying to argue that a gentleman ought to be more than civil and understated. He ought to push society out of its sloth and/or mundane ways into higher realms rather than blend in with it. But I haven't heard all of the Rules, yet, so it is hard to be sure you will miss this essential quality in the final analysis.

But I for one, cannot seem to be tranquil in any situation. I am ever on edge.

The Oracle said...

I agree with you about offense. It is said that "a gentleman never offends anyone accidentally". We are learning the grace of our language that our art of speaking not communicate something other than what we mean. If we are calling someone a whitewashed tomb and draw them to repentance, you don't wish that they think you are joking.