Remember When Gentlemen Existed?

Ten tips for men who aspire to do better

Barry Davret
7 min readOct 11, 2021
Licensed from Shutterstock // Kiuikson

In 1710, an obscure British politician wrote, “The appellation of Gentleman is never to be affixed to a man’s circumstances, but his behavior in them.”

Translated into 21st century English, it means that the mark of a gentleman is not his birth parents, finishing school, or other cultural markers, but how he behaves within his given circumstances.

Judging by the behavior of men in society today, a significant percentage of us fail to measure up to gentlemanly standards. In the last several months alone, we’ve seen thugs attack our capital, crazed parents abuse school-board members, and general decay of decorum across our communities. Granted, not all transgressors are men. But I am a man, and I’ll leave the judgment of ladies to a lady.

Men of modern society have succumbed to the scourge that made us warlike, brutal, and controlling for most of human history: an inability to control our primal impulses.

It wasn’t long ago that if a hateful thought crept into our head, we’d take a deep breath, collect ourselves, and let the feeling pass. But no more. Now, it’s okay to surrender to our urges and value the emotional satisfaction of acting on emotion over the hard work of promoting civility.



Barry Davret

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