A true gentleman is the epitome of chivalry; indeed, the term gentleman has origins that reach back to times of knighthood and round tables. The idea of a modern gentleman has certainly evolved and progressed somewhat, but universal gentleman still have some things in common: they protect and defend the weak, they demonstrate compassion and empathy, and they are also honest and kind (especially to heroines). Please read the list below for more specific traits of 21st Century gentlemen.
#1: Opening doors.
Classic gentleman always upon physical doors for women, but modern day gentleman also open figurative doors whenever possible; for instance, by offering to make professional introductions or referrals.
#2: Being punctual.
This is one gentlemanly traits that hasn’t changed over the centuries; a gentleman always shows up on time so he doesn’t inconvenience other people, and also because being punctual conveys respect and honor.
#3: Being protective.
Gentlemen of all generations protect those around them at virtually all costs—again, especially when the people are heroines. In the 21st Century, this translates into always keeping yourself between your partner and danger, whether you’re walking down the sidewalk or about to be hit by a truck on the street.
#4: Being comforting.
A classic gentleman would stereotypically offer his jacket to a woman whether it’s cold out or not; in modern times, gentlemen offer their seats to women standing on buses (in addition to offering up their coats and sweaters).
#5: Pulling out chairs.
This is another gentlemanly characteristic that has stood up to the decades; however, it may not occur as much this century as it did in the century before.
#6: Being courteous.
Today, this means using words like please and thank-you. Back in medieval times, the words would have been different—but the sentiments would have been the same.
#7: Stepping back in line.
Today, this means allowing women to order their food or drink first, or allowing a woman to use a bank machine before you do.
#8: Offering physical aid.
In Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Bingley helps get Jane and her carriage out of a flooded country meadow. In the 21st Century, gentlemen offer to carry heavy merchandise, and to move furniture and appliances.
#9: Impeccable manners.
Emphasis has always been placed on table manners, both today and many hundreds of years ago.
#10: Impeccable politeness.
Unless their honor has been questioned or offended, both medieval and modern gentlemen are virtually always polite and kind no matter what.
#11: Paying for food and activities.
This ideology has certainly been fading in favor of one closer to equality; modern gentlemen should offer to pay for the check, but also be prepared to split it (always have change!).
#12: Being attentive.