mauler's Rules for a 21st Century Gentleman

being rules based on one man's 33 years of experience on Earth.

Open doors for everyone, men, women, and children. But only if you are in position to do so. Barging ahead of someone just to hold the door for them won't win you any points.

Never split a check if there are only two people present.

Get a haircut already. And pay enough so that it looks good.

A gentleman doesn't drive fast. He drives smoothly.

Have a smartphone, but use it as little as humanly possible.

Own at least three suits. A dark one for serious occasions, a gray or navy one for everyday use, and a light one for outdoor events in summer.

Also own a tuxedo. Get invited to enough events where you need to wear it to make your purchase worthwhile.

When in doubt, always wear cuff links. They don't have to be fancy. They just have to be cuff links.

Get rid of your khaki pants. Either wear a suit or wear jeans. Go big or go home.

It's the 21st century, so pleated pants are only for suits and tuxedos. Everything else should be flat front.

Wear the slimmest fit of pant that is comfortable.

Speaking of which, lose some weight already. Start with simple tricks like drinking more water, eating more vegetables, and eating from a smaller bowl.

Exercise at least three times a week.

Brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day. Good teeth will take you far.

Look people in the eyes when you talk to them. Especially women.

If you use your real name online, behave on the internet exactly as you would in real life.

Only swear when it's truly necessary. Sometimes swearing is necessary.

Always under-promise and over-deliver. But always deliver.

Conversation tip: always ask people about themselves. Only talk about yourself when asked.

Don't talk about politics or money unless specifically asked.

Despite the temptation to indulge in a selective interpretation of gender equality, you have to face the fact that you are the man and most women like to be pursued. If you like her, get over your fears of rejection and ask her out already.

Always keep your word. If there is even a slight chance you can't, you must decline to give it.

Learn how to give a compliment gracefully. Better yet, learn how to receive one.

Practice random acts of kindness. And not so random ones too.

Tip more than you think you really should.

Never smoke anything but the occasional cigar.

When talking to a little kid, get down so you are at their level, and look them in the eyes.

Always talk to the little kid.

Learn how to appreciate jazz, tea, and single-malt scotch.

You don't have to love baseball, but you should know what ERA is and how batting average is calculated. Approach the rest of life similarly.

Limit your use of hashtags.

No selfies. Not ever.

A gentleman does not have visible tattoos.

A gentleman does not spread gossip.

Learn how to say "I'm sorry." and "You were right." Actually say them.

If you know you are going to break up with a woman eventually, break up with her now instead.

Read as much as possible. I don't mean the internet.

Feigning unpretentiousness is worse than being pretentious.

Be assertive and decisive.

You should always be the last person to acquire a seat on a bus or subway car.

Learn how to play poker. Rarely play poker.

Most people think money is about having things. You know that money is about doing things. Use your money to do things rather than have them.

Know how to cook at least three dishes extremely well.

When in doubt, choose red wine over white.

Always tell someone you love them, if you do.

Dry humor is the best humor. Learn the difference between dry humor and sarcasm. Avoid the latter.

Don't drink any mixed drink with a fruit in it, unless the drink is a screwdriver or the fruit is an olive.

When shaking hands, one firm quick shake is both necessary and sufficient.

Master the art of the impish grin.

Sometimes a touch on the back of the shoulder is worth more than a thousand words.

Never kiss a woman. Instead, go 90 percent of the way toward kissing her, and wait for her to kiss you.

Any suggestions or additions you may have would be most welcome!

Given my own orientation, this list is necessarily heteronormative. I would be even less qualified to write a list for gay gentlemen, which is not to say that they don't exist! Perhaps someone else can write such a list.

being based on one woman's 60 years of experience

(This is actually gender neutral, but from the perspective of someone who has learned a lot from making both small and grievous mistakes.)

Above all, in social circumstances, be it in person or electronically, be polite and kind. From the smallest child to the elderly, to difficult family members, and the neighbors. Wave to the garbage man. Smile at babies.

Refrain from nasty words, spoken in haste. Apologize, and none of this asking for an apology. Your mother and your grandmother would be appalled. So would Emily Post. "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me." Not true, words can hurt very deeply.

Learn to really listen without judgment or thinking of what you will say next.

Don't hold grudges; life is too fleeting. Forgive when possible. When forgiveness is not possible, put it on a back burner. Let it go when you're ready. I repeat, life is too fleeting.

I am tempted to write eat, drink, and smoke in moderation, however my best advice is DO NOT SMOKE. (Haven't you seen those anti-smoking commercials with people talking through their trach tubes or worse, kids with life-threatening upper respiratory disease because of exposure to parental second hand smoke?)

What you choose to eat and drink (soda, coffee, alcohol, whatever) has consequences. If you are intelligent enough to be reading this, you can look up the research on many reputable medical websites.

If you own a car, for the love of all things mechanical, know the basics of upkeep (either do them yourself or find a mechanic you can trust, or a combination of the two). For example, anyone with a modicum of common sense should know how to check the engine oil, transmission fluid, and the air pressure of the tires, as well as recognizing bad sounds that warn you of impending car trouble.

I'm not going to tell you what type of sense of humor you should have, but you should have one. Employ it often. Humor and laughter are best shared, although laughing alone is good too. I'm talking belly laughter, tears running down your face laughter.

Be grateful for small things.

Handshakes are important to me, although I've experienced people who don't like it (for cultural or personal reasons), people who crush your knuckles as if to prove something, as well as limp handshakers. Please don't use this as a gauge of character.

Be broad-minded. Be open to trying new things, then do them. As I stated earlier, life is too short; take a few leaps.

I won't comment on what you should wear or how you should choose your hair style. There are too many factors and I don't feel it's my business. I'm more inclined towards cleanliness and comfort and having a bit of fun with scarves and boots. I will say, when complimenting another person on their appearance, direct the compliment at how the person looks, not the article of clothing. Example: "You look great in that blue dress, really accentuates your eyes." Do not say, "Hey, sexy dress or nice cuff links."

Be encouraging. Honestly, this is not rocket science.

Keep up with local and world events, enough that you can have an informed opinion. Get your information from more than one source. Reputable sources.

If you can't donate money to charity or any one of the many natural disasters, donate your time and talents.

Buy a plant for yourself, then give it away to a neighbor. Know who your neighbors are and pick a few that you know you can rely on in times of trouble. Always return the favor.

Buy yourself another plant. While I'm on this topic, be good to yourself. Sometimes we are truly our own worst enemy.

Don't live beyond your means.

Read actual books, go to live concerts. If you are able, take a walk with Mother Nature, preferably a place with a river.

Don't litter. Don't expect other people to clean up your mess.

As far as cell phone useage, be aware of others around you. Don't be rude. Unless you are very important, like an ER doctor on call, please don't chat loudly while grocery shopping; turn your phone off in a place of worship, during funerals, at dinner, and when you are having a serious discussion in real life. There is nothing more annoying than someone taking a non-emergent cell phone call in the midst of a conversation or hearing obnoxious ringtones, as the person looks to see who is calling, then doesn't take it. Learn to press the mute button.

Be aware of boundaries, your own and others'. Respect them.

Know how to ask for help. Offer to help someone else, but don't be pushy about it.

We're all on a journey. Keep your chin up and your negativity down.

Play fair, whether it's a board game, cards, a computer game or a sport. I think everyone should know the basic rules of ice hockey, but that's just me. Root for the underdog. Even if the referee makes a bad call, respect the ref. Life is not always fair, but you can be.

Have some creative outlet. The possibilities are endless.

Grow a garden or have a few house plants.

Have more than one goal or one dream. Don't be afraid if on the way, you find different ones. Don't underestimate the importance of process over end product.

Wear your heart on your sleeve and keep one pocket full of hope.

Be generous.

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