10 things that make a man a gentleman

In our book, you’re not a true gent until you can do these 10 things.

Peter Iantorno June 19, 2014

Icelandic strongman Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, or The Mountain from Game of Thrones  as he's better known, is probably a lot of people's definition of a real man. At more than two metres tall and weighing a whopping 190kg, you certainly wouldn't want to run into him in a dark alley. But at EDGAR we don't define manliness by height or weight; we believe a real man - and by that we mean a gentleman - is someone who can honestly say that he does all of the following things:

 1. Control your temper 

Even if you're completely in the right, there is no conceivable situation where you could say, "That was made better because I lost my cool". No matter if your boss has just dumped a pile of work on your desk at 6.30pm on a Thursday evening, your wife has overspent from the joint account on a ridiculous pair of Louis Vuittons, or the belligerent guy in the queue for the club is getting in your face, losing your temper and lashing out - whether it be verbally or physically - is never a smart move.

2. Appreciate art

We're not saying you need to spend all your evenings and weekends trekking round Al Quoz in search of that elusive hidden art gallery you heard about from a friend, but simply showing a bit of appreciation for a piece of art will broaden your horizons tenfold. Buy something original, meet the artist, and suddenly that pretty picture hanging up on your dining room wall takes on a whole new meaning.

 

3. Support your partner

It might surprise you to hear this, but generally whatever your wife or girlfriend does, she has a reason for it and would value your support. You might think it's pointless that she's putting so much effort into a presentation at work while she knows it won't be appreciated. Or you might think her expensive fitness classes are a waste of money and she should workout the old-fashioned way like everybody else. But these things are clearly important to her, and it takes a real man to stand by his partner even if she's doing something he doesn't necessarily approve of.

4. Take care of your parents

It's always nice to know that you have your parents to fall back on when you need them, but an inevitable fact of life is that they are getting older and, eventually, will need to be taken care of. They're the ones who brought you up, kept you fed and watered and gave you help whenever you needed it. So when they need your support, be ready to step up and take control.

5. Be honest

Sometimes it's easier to avoid the hassle of telling the truth and let things slide. You're not happy with the way your boss treats the intern at work, but saying something might cause an issue. You're worried a friend is neglecting his marriage, but you know he'd be annoyed to hear it from you. In these kinds of situations - if you're a real man - you pluck up the courage to speak out, even though you know it would have been easier for you to just keep quiet. You think of the greater good and know that ultimately, what you're doing is for the best.

6. Be good with children

We're not telling you to settle down and have babies right away - perish the thought. But being good with children - if not your own then your nieces and nephews, friends' or colleagues' children - is a quality that should most definitely be present in any real man. Not only is it thoroughly rewarding to add something to a young person's life, but it's also good training for when the time comes and you want to have children of your own. And anyway, do you really want to be that guy who is so freaked out by the sight of a dirty nappy he runs for the hills?

7. Manage your money

Yeah, yeah, we know, your money is yours to do with how you please. By all means enjoy it - you work hard enough for your cash, so why wouldn't you? But saving something for a rainy day is vital for anyone who has even half an eye on the future. It might mean not splashing out on the latest car, or ditching an evening out in favour of a chilled night in once in a while, but you'll be the one who is reaping the rewards in the long term when you're relaxing in the south of France with your family after an early retirement.

8. Cook a decent meal

We find it absolutely unbelievable that, in this day and age, any man can not do any cooking at all. It's not like the old days when cooking was assumed to be the woman's job; today most of the world's best chefs are men, so there's no shame in doing your fair share in the kitchen. Far from being a feminine pursuit, most women are actually more attracted to a man if he can cook. And if you don't cook because you don't know how, then just watch a few of the thousands of cooking tutorial videos on YouTube. There really is no excuse.

9. Take the blame

An overworked and overstressed colleague has messed up his half of the new client deal. You know he's going through a difficult divorce and is struggling for money to pay the legal fees, and his job is the only thing keeping his head above water. The guy is on his last warning, and if the boss finds out it was him who made the mistake, he'll undoubtedly be fired. What do you do? Well, if you're a real man, you'll sympathise with your colleague and realise that you're in a much better position than he is to take the heat. Step up and save his skin - just this once - and he'll be eternally grateful.

10. Volunteer

Do some voluntary work, not because you think it's morally the right thing to do and it will look good on your CV, but because it's for a cause you believe is worthy of your time. And once you've done it, don't go shouting from the rooftops, bragging about how generous and selfless you are. Just quietly go about your business, safe in the knowledge that you made a difference when you didn't have to.