Saturday, March 10, 2007

mice and men

With both of us not having planned anything terribly exciting for our Friday night L and I went to see a movie. We saw Hot Fuzz which was funny and I highly recommend it for people who are as dorky as me and adored Shaun of the Dead. Our post movie talk did not focus on Hot Fuzz though.

L has just started seeing a new guy. She has been looking for a while and in her travels has unfortunately come across a string of not so nice guys (some of you will remember the 'dress more like a slut for me' guy). It's made her a bit wary but new guy sounds like a winner. He is sooooo amazing! she said with her eyes all sparkly and a big smile on her face. She hasn't had that look in a while. I wondered what made him so amazing.

He's just lovely to me. He's sexy. He's so nice to his friends. He introduced me to his family and he's just interested in me. After our Saturday night we spent all Sunday in bed *talking* and then he called me again on Monday and we talked for another 3 hours! Wow. She's known him a couple of weeks. I agreed he sounded amazing. The point was, he wanted to spend time with her that wasn't only focused on sex and he made her feel special. L just felt like she was important to him and a priority. I mentioned that he sounded like a gentleman. L laughed.

What's so funny? I asked.

L's brought up A. Remember him? she asked? I never met him but I remember the story. A DJ, never committed to anything, would break plans at the last minute, called all the time but never actually followed through with anything. But, he looked great on paper.

* Called when he said he would. Called her a lot actually.
* Paid for dinner.
* steady employment
* nice car
* opened doors for her
* good looking.
* Acted respectfully and wasn't rude.

Textbook, right? Wrong.

He told her that he was a gentleman. He said something like There aren't a lot of us left these days, but I'm a real gentleman and on paper he really was. He didn't let her forget it actually.

But actually he wasn't. L brought this up last night. She said that her new guy was a gentleman and it didn't take paying for dinner for her to realise this. Their dates had been casual sort of outings, she had been for dinner at his house and the one night they went out for dinner on the town they ended up at the same restaurant as his family so they all had dinner together. When alone, he paid sometimes and she paid other times. He paid on the first date but it wasn't an issue. I asked how L knew that new guy was a gentleman and L said that he treats me like I'm important. He's a great guy to everyone. A, the last guy treated her like "Sometimes Girl" and even though he presented like a gentleman, he wasn't because a real gentleman wouldn't be so selfish and self serving.

This as extremely poignant to me at the moment because there has been so much talk lately on the blogasphere about gentlemen and how opening doors and paying for dinner is gentlemanly. I've read it on about 3 different blogs lately. I had a problem with that definition because it sounded too simplistic. It never quite seemed like a true definition though I couldn't put my finger on why that was so. It's like those guys who always say they're nice and then complain about how their niceness doesn't get them anywhere. I mean, if you were really nice, you wouldn't be reminding everyone about how nice you are all the time would you and you certainly wouldn't expect that your niceness is deserving of a date?

In talking to L we nutted out that a man is a gentleman when he makes someone else feel like they are worthy of all the special things he does. He doesn't just do them to get somewhere with one person. He does them because that's who he is. L noticed that from what she had seen new guy was good to all people and that was defining too. Hell, he had an ex-wife and never said one bad word about her. They were too young, they didn't take heed of the warning signs, they didn't talk anymore and he was happy with that arrangement but he never said one bad thing about her. He never mentioned what a gentleman he was, it was just apparent. Of course it's early days but it was already sounding good!

What is a gentleman?

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