Centuries ago, you would be considered a gentleman if you were born into a certain position.
In fact, in the Middle Ages, the term “gentleman” was used to tell the two social classes (nobiles and ignobiles) apart.
Gentlemen were the gallant men who were often born of noble birth. After all, the word “gentleman” does originate from the word “gentilis”, which means “belonging to the same family.”
Over the years, the term evolved to describe the upper-class individuals who were members of the elite. They were well-educated and flaunted their refined taste in music, literature, art, and more.
They no longer needed to be born into a particular social position as they could now work their way up the ranks.
Today, the distinguished gentleman meaning isn’t to be born into a certain social class nor to be part of the “elite”, but rather, it is how you act that shows the world whether or not you’re a genuine gentleman.
A gentleman is no longer born into his title, but instead, earns the title after having embraced the gentleman’s way of life. In other words, modern-day gentlemen are made, therefore, any man can choose to be a gentleman.
What is the Meaning of “Distinguished Gentleman”?
Being a gentleman is one thing, but being a distinguished one is something else entirely.
In today’s day and age, to be considered a gentleman, you merely need to be well-mannered.
When a man opens a door for a woman, his act is considered to be gentlemanly, and while that’s good, that shouldn’t be your ultimate goal.
Being a gentleman is merely a “stepping stone” or the bare minimum – who you truly need to be is a distinguished gentleman.
If you’re wondering what the distinguished gentleman meaning is, in the dictionary, it is someone who commands respect. He is the kind of man who exudes excellence the moment he walks into a room.
Not only does he have to be well-mannered, but he also has to be well-informed, well-dressed, and well-established.
To be a “distinguished” gentleman is to be a cut above every other gentleman out there. It involves elevating the behavior that’s expected of you, and in turn, exceeding those expectations.
You need to be able to transform yourself into a man who doesn’t need to turn the “switch” on and off. You should be a gentleman at heart – not a man who conducts himself in a gentleman-like manner only when he wants to. In other words, it should be inherent in who you are.
Should You Be a Gentleman in the Modern Age?
Years ago, men had to behave in a gentlemanly way because it was the norm.
They had to stand when a woman stood at the table. They had to tip their hats to women on street. They couldn’t even sleep in the same room as a woman if they were unwed. To put it plainly, people were prudent.
The way we live now is certainly not the way that Victorian gentlemen lived. The distinguished gentleman meaning has changed.
In the 21st century, it’s undeniable that many men have said goodbye to gentlemanly behavior. In fact, a study found that 1 in 3 men do not think that sexual comments are considered sexual harassment.
In addition, women’s rights movements have made many men question whether or not they should still be gentlemanly towards women.
An example is benevolent sexism, wherein a man’s gentlemanly behavior can be considered damaging to a woman. They’re struggling to be gentlemen without going against feminism.
However, it’s important to note that being a gentleman does not mean your manners should be intended for women, but instead for everyone. In other words, you are a gentleman because of who you are as a whole – not only how you treat women.
How to Be a Gentleman in the Modern Age
Want to be a gentleman in the 21st century? Here’s how you can be a gentleman:
Define Your Fashion
When you think of the word “gentleman”, you likely imagine a man in a formal outfit.
Fortunately, the modern man doesn’t need to wear a suit and tie to be the embodiment of the “distinguished gentleman’s” meaning.
What you should do is to wear clothes that suit your style and lifestyle. Don’t force yourself into an outfit that isn’t you.
But that does not mean you should be messy. To embody the distinguished gentleman meaning, you need to be presentable at all times.
So, whether you’re wearing shorts or trousers, what’s important is that you don’t look unkempt. That way, you can still appear elegant even if you aren’t in regal garbs from the Victorian ages.
A man who isn’t well-groomed won’t exude the confident air that’s expected of a gentleman.
Don’t forget to shower, brush your teeth, and so on before you step out of the front door. When you look good, you’ll feel good.
Always keep a comb with you to make sure your locks look good all day long. You should also consider shaving your beard, as 43 percent of women would never go on a date with a man who isn’t clean-shaven!
Be Courteous at All Times
It doesn’t matter if you’re speaking to the ambassador or a store employee – as a gentleman, you should know that everyone deserves to be treated with respect.
Be courteous to everyone that you encounter, even when they’re not. As a gentleman, you should be the bigger person in the situation.
Never Be Late
Be fashionable, but not fashionably late. Remember that you are not above anyone, and that time is incredibly valuable.
Never be late if you do not want others to form a bad impression of you. If possible, wear a watch to keep track of time – make sure it matches the rest of your ensemble so you’ll still be well-dressed.
Do Not Flaunt Your Wealth
In the 21st century, you do not need to be wealthy to be a gentleman. However, the two often go hand-in-hand, as gentlemen tend to have successful lives due to their manners, mindset, and more.
If you’ve found yourself with fortune, make sure not to flaunt your money. This applies to how you dress, as well – there is no need to wear designer clothes, especially those that glaringly bear the brand’s logo.
In sum, to be a gentleman in the modern age is to be well-mannered. But to embody the distinguished gentleman’s meaning is to be more than a gentleman.
In short, you need to be well-mannered, well-informed, well-dressed, and well-established. It goes beyond saying and doing the right things at the right time but involves living a life that’s based on the traditional values of the gentleman.
You should be a gentleman in every aspect of your life, including how you conduct yourself, how you interact with others, how you build your career, what you wear, and how you wear it.