The Gentleman

International Men's Day

Nov 19

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

International Men's Day
The Gentleman
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Today's Musings, History & Folklore

"When Adam delved and Eve span,
Who was then the gentleman?"

~ John Ball, 1381

Men and boys ... Gentlemen. It's your day today! In modern parlance, a gentleman is any man of good, courteous conduct. However, originally, the term "gentleman" denoted a man of the lowest rank of the English gentry, standing below an esquire and above a yeoman. The most basic class distinctions in the Middle Ages were between the nobiles, i.e., the tenants in chivalry, such as earls, barons, knights, esquires, the free ignobiles such as the citizens and burgesses, and franklins, and the unfree peasantry including villeins and serfs. A relatively recent usage is that of using the tern gentleman is as a prefix to imply that a man has sufficient wealth and free time to pursue an area of interest without depending on it for his livelihood - gentleman scientist, gentleman farmer, gentleman architect, and even gentleman pirate! Whether you consider yourself a gentleman by rights or by nature, if you're a kilted or tartaned-trewed gentleman, all the better!

The Gentleman

With a broader and ultimate aim of promoting basic humanitarian values, International Men's Day is an annual international event celebrated on 19 November designated to celebrate boys and men's achievements and contributions, in particular for their contributions to community, family, marriage, and child care. 

During past years the method of commemorating International Men's Day included public seminars, classroom activities at schools, radio and television programs, peaceful displays and marches, debates, panel discussions, award ceremonies, and art displays.  This day is not intended to compete against International Women's Day, but is for the purpose of highlighting men's experiences and to promote healthy role models for young men and boys.  

In 2009 the following broad objectives were ratified as a basis for all International Men's Day observations (named The Six Pillars), and are applied equally to men and boys irrespective of their age, ability, social background, ethnicitysexual orientationgender identityreligious belief and relationship status:

  • To promote positive male role models; not just movie stars and sportsmen but everyday, working class men who are living decent, honest lives.

  • To celebrate men's positive contributions to society, community, family, marriage, child care, and to the environment.

  • To focus on men's health and wellbeing; social, emotional, physical and spiritual.

  • To highlight discrimination against men; in areas of social services, social attitudes and expectations, and law.

  • To improve gender relations and promote gender equality.

  • To create a safer, better world; where people can live free from harm and grow to reach their full potential

 

In modern parlance, a gentleman is any man of good, courteous conduct.

 

However, originally, the term "gentleman" denoted a man of the lowest rank of the English gentry, standing below an esquire and above a yeoman.  The most basic class distinctions in the Middle Ages were between the nobiles, i.e., the tenants in chivalry, such as earls, barons, knights, esquires, the free ignobiles such as the citizens and burgesses, and franklins, and the unfree peasantry including villeins and serfs.  

 

A relatively recent usage is that of using the tern gentleman is as a prefix  to imply that a man has sufficient wealth and free time to pursue an area of interest without depending on it for his livelihood - gentleman scientist, gentleman farmer, gentleman architect, and even gentleman pirate!  

 

Whether you consider yourself a gentleman yourself, by rights or by nature, if you're a kilted gentleman, all the better! 

Gentlemen, we salute you!

In 1880, the rules of etiquette for gentlemanly behavior included the following do's and don'ts (mostly don'ts): 

  • Never exaggerate.

  • Never point at another.

  • Never betray a confidence.

  • Never laugh at the misfortunes of others.

  • Never give a promise that you do not fulfill.

 

  • Never send a present, hoping for one in return.

  • Never speak much of your own performances.

  • Never fail to be punctual at the time appointed.

  • Never make yourself the hero of your own story.

  • Never pick the teeth or clean the nails in company.

  • Never fail to give a polite answer to a civil question.

  • Never read letters which you may find addressed to others.

  • Never fail, if a gentleman, of being civil and polite to ladies.

 

  • Never refer to a gift you have made, or favor you have rendered.

  • Never associate with bad company. Have good company, or none.

  • Never look over the shoulder of another who is reading or writing.

  • Never appear to notice a scar, deformity, or defect of anyone present.

  • Never arrest the attention of an acquaintance by touch. Speak to him.

  • Never punish your child for a fault to which you are addicted yourself.

  • Never answer questions in general company that have been put to others.

  • Never call a new acquaintance by their first name unless requested.

 

  • Never attempt to draw the attention of the company constantly upon yourself.

  • Never exhibit anger, impatience or excitement, when an accident happens.

  • Never pass between two persons who are talking together, without an apology.

  • Never enter a room noisily; never fail to close the door after you, and never slam it.

  • Never will a gentleman allude to conquests which he may have made with ladies.

  • Never fail to offer the easiest and best seat in the room to an invalid, an elderly person, or a lady.

 

  • Never send your guest, who is accustomed to a warm room, off into  a cold, damp, spare bed, to sleep.

  • Never enter a room filled with people, without a slight bow to the general company when first entering.

  • Never fail to answer an invitation, either personally or by letter, within a week after the invitation is received.

  • Never accept of favors and hospitality without rendering an exchange of civilities when opportunity offers.

  • Never borrow money and neglect to pay. If you do, you will soon be known as a person of no business integrity.

 

  • Never, when walking arm in arm with a lady, be continually changing and going to the other side, because of change of corners. It shows too much attention to form.

  • Never fail to speak kindly. If in any position where you exercise authority, you show yourself to be a gentleman by your pleasant mode of address.

  • Never attempt to convey the impression that you are a genius, by imitating the faults of distinguished men.

  • Never give all your pleasant words and smile to strangers. The kindest words and the sweetest smiles should be reserved for home. Home should be our heaven.

For more on rules for the modern gentleman, click the 19th century portrait of a Scottish gentleman.

And to see the dance performed by the Lyon RSCDS, at the Newcastle RSCDS Festival, 2015, see below.

The Gentleman
The Gentleman

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The majority of dance descriptions referenced on this site have been taken from the

 

Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary or the

Scottish Country Dancing Database 

 

Snapshots of dance descriptions are provided as an overview only.  As updates may have occurred, please click the dance description to be forwarded to a printable dance description or one of the official reference sources.

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