Forget Original Gangsta! Gentleman’s Gentleman Is Where It’s At

louis-malleKeith and I were having a discussion yesterday about our dog, Freja, being “a dog’s dog.” What this means, we decided, is that she’s loved by dogs and humans alike just for her very unfussy, no-holds-barred “dogginess.” This stems from another ongoing discussion between us about being a “Gentleman’s Gentleman.” Just what is a Gentleman’s Gentleman? With kind regards to Mr. Grant Weeks (truly in the running to be a GG), here are some pointers Keith and I came up with.

1. Have a flask on your person as often as possible. The flask must be filled with good liquor, no rotgut. Whiskey is preferred but not required. A true Gentleman’s Gentleman would have an engraved flask, possibly with a picture of a bulldog.

2. Know the rules of decorum and etiquette, but break them most of the time. Frown upon other people breaking them, particularly if their breaking them involves tears or hysterics.

3. Carry a handkerchief, if possible.

4.  Grooming: It’s ok to look either fresh or disheveled, depending on your preference. The key is to make it clear that you mean to look the way you look and to own it. Sidenote: unless engaged in a sporting activity, shorts should be frowned upon. Unless they are madras or Bermudas. No Gentleman’s Gentleman should ever even look at a pair of denim cut-offs.

5. A Gentleman’s Gentleman should never work on his house or his car. You hire people to do this, although it’s up to you whether or not you actually pay them. It’s fine to know how to fix a house or a car, but don’t actually do it.

6. Be wry!

7.  It’s OK to have money or not have money, as your circumstances warrant. But a GG shouldn’t let money-status affect the lifestyle.

8. You don’t have to be threatening or go around getting in fights. But to be a true GG, you should exude a presence that would at least make you enter into someone’s calculations if they were thinking about starting a fight. Side note: if he were to find himself engaged in a fight, a GG would not be the first one to hit below the belt. A duel would be preferable to a fistfight. A sword fight would be preferable to a knife fight.

9. Never, ever drink rail. Sidenote: My personal motto, although obviously I can’t be a Gentleman’s Gentleman, is, “Life is too short to drink rail.”

10. Smoke cigars on special occasions and when at a cabin or beachfront property but for day-to-day, smoke a pipe. No, not a crack pipe. A GG doesn’t even know what crack is.

Who are some of the most noted GGs of all-time?
Abraham Lincoln
Patrick Stewart
Louis Malle
Ford Madox Ford
Tony Bennett
J.D. Salinger (Old School)
Aristotle Onassis
Hugh Grant (except for the part about being threatening in a fight)
Papa Hemingway (on-again, off-again)
Dominic Dunne
George Plimpton
Johnny Carson

13 thoughts on “Forget Original Gangsta! Gentleman’s Gentleman Is Where It’s At

  1. It occurred to me that a lot of the rules kind of involved being as much like James Bond as possible. So I guess James Bond would be an honorary Gentleman’s Gentleman. That might rope in Sean Connery, Daniel Craig, and Ian Flemming (but never, ever Roger Moore). That Zeppelin book I just finished makes me think that Jimmy Page fancies himself a Gentleman’s Gentleman, but might have spent too much of the 70s on smack to really qualify.

  2. Well, I think we’re going for real people here… not characters. Yes to Sean Connery, Daniel Craig and Ian Flemming though! Alas, Page is not a Gentleman’s Gentleman. Paul McCartney… probably.

  3. I just mean Bond’s the Platonic Ideal. He’s the unattainable archetype that gentlemen strive towards.

    Also: Paul McCartney is more of a wanker’s wanker.

  4. I’ve always thought of the GG as someone you’d go to war with, but then go out for cocktails at a Michelin Star restaurant with after-wards. Chad Cook usually fills that need for our crew.

  5. Dear Don Corn Ellus,
    Any guy with three names is automatically in the running to be America’s Next Top Gentleman’s Gentleman.

  6. Surely, Sting is too much of a pretentious douchenozzle to qualify. A lute album?

  7. Hmmm… a lot of backlash over Sting. Here are my reasons for including him: he dresses the part, I can see him enjoying a fine whiskey, he definitely knows all the rules but they don’t really apply to him. However, there’s the lute bit, the treehouse he built in Tuscany and the fact that the last person one would want backing one in a fight is probably Sting, unless he was wielding a box cutter. Sting is great with a box cutter. I withdraw Sting from the list.

  8. Yes, Mr. Weeks is in definite contention. Although he may not carry a flask with him currently, the next two baby classes may break him and change that.

  9. Is it possible to include wearing an ascot on this list, or is that too Higgins, from Magnum P.I.?

  10. Dawn – I’ve really gone back and forth on the ascot issue many times. A few men I’ve known have worn the ascot with such pretension, and are really pretenders to the Gentleman’s Gentleman throne, for me to fully embrace it, and yet I see that it could be an appropriate accoutrement for a G.G.

    I think we have to go on a case-by-case basis.

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