no chivalry

Understanding the species Gentleman


You hear it everywhere these days: the term “gent” or “gentleman” has become ubiquitous in men’s magazines, blogs, and conversations. Videos welcome “gentlemen” and everybody seems to use the word for a wide range of men.
Some say that anything other than the traditional definition of a gentleman is a disappointment. Other claim that a gentleman must have staff and would never cook for himself.
Well I couldn’t disagree more – the definition of a gentleman has changed and for the better. Since the definition of a gentleman is so fundamental to what Gentleman’s Essentials stands for, I thought it was time to explain the way we understand what a gentleman is. For this excursion, I’d like to take you back…

The Origin
Hundreds of years ago, a gentleman was a man of high social position and wealth. Even dictionaries today point to this definition, as well as several others:
1. A chivalrous, courteous, or honorable man.
2. A polite or formal way of referring to a man.
3. A man of noble birth attached to a royal household
4. A man of good social position, especially one of wealth and leisure
5. A courteous title for a male fellow member of the House of Commons or the House of Representatives

So what does it really mean? There is much more to being a gentleman than mere courtesy; traditional acts of chivalry can come off as condescending, and “honor” is a highly relative concept.
These days, the title “gentleman” is no longer relevant as an indication of one’s refinement and character, as it was once assumed to be for men of wealth and title who didn’t have to work for a living.
In our opinion, the term is far more egalitarian, and these days, to say you are a gentleman means you have to earn it. Wealth and power are no longer enough, and in fact, they simply aren’t a relevant part of the modern definition. 

Money and position can’t buy you class or respect.

The Definition of a Modern Gentleman
The term is far more complicated, and we think it’s important to shed some light on why and how we use it, and why the definition of the modern gentleman matters.
We firmly believe any man can be a gentleman if he wants to be, but it’s not a small undertaking. It’s a journey, something that a man continually strives to be, rather than a destination. A gentleman is/ has:

1 A Gentleman Has Good Manners: Here, we agree with the dictionary. A gentleman is courteous, polite, and respectful. He says please and thank you, waits his turn in line, and treats others as they wish to be treated. He is an equitable conversation partner.

2 A Gentleman Has High Standards. High standards push people to do the best they can, and gentlemen set them for themselves. A gentleman expects a high standard of quality, value, and functionality from the things he buys to the things he does. He expects as much of himself as he does of other people.

3 A Gentleman is Well Dressed: This one shouldn’t be a surprise. A well-dressed man is appropriately attired based on the season, the occasion, and his own style. Dressing well isn’t a matter of money for a gentleman, but rather of careful curation of clothing and accessories based on his means, the occasion, and his tastes. His dress demonstrates that he recognizes the power of clothes the impression they make, and the role they play in society. Clothes are used to convey a gentleman’s respect for his host, his office, or for the host of an event, but not to shock, evoke jealousy, or show off. Dressing well is a point of pride for a gentleman because it demonstrates his personality and taste.

4 A Gentleman is Imperfect. This may be the most important characteristic on the list. The term “gentleman” isn’t meant to be an unattainable ideal; it takes into account basic human nature, in which we all make mistakes, choices, and judgments every day. The difference lies in that a gentleman does not believe himself to be perfect, but instead takes ownership and responsibility for the things he can control: his actions, knowledge, and approach to the world.

5 A Gentleman is Open Minded: A gentleman does not believe that his opinions and knowledge are complete and unquestionable. He strives to learn, is open to new ideas, accepts constructive criticism, and welcomes failure as a path to growth and self-awareness. A gentleman does not argue purely for the pleasure of being right but focuses on is able to put himself in other people’s shoes for the purposes of understanding an alternate perspective from his own.
he person who cut you off on the highway may have received bad news; a friend may not respond to your call because they are behind at work – a gentleman tries not to jump to negative conclusions about other people.

6 A Gentleman is Interesting and Informed: These days it is easy to get lost in the cycle of sleep-work-netflix-repeat that deprives people of anything interesting to say. An interesting man can successfully carry a conversation about a number of subjects, is interested in the world around him and how it works, and actively seeks to grow his knowledge for his own character building and enjoyment. Hobbies and personal interests reveal his passions and his engagement with activities that are meaningful to him.

7 A Gentleman’s Actions Match His Words. Quite simply, a gentleman makes promises that he intends to keep.

8 A Gentleman Treats People with Respect: When we say people, we mean everyone – women, colleagues, superiors, waitstaff and customer service people. This reflects a gentleman’s belief that all people are created equal; he does not claim to have more or fewer rights than those around him. He is compassionate with those less fortunate than himself. He doesn’t believe that the world is a zero-sum game, nor does he believe that putting someone else down will lift him up.

9 A Gentleman Recognizes the Difference Between Arrogance and Confidence. If an arrogant man who believes himself to be of superior importance relies on his opinion of himself relative to others. A gentleman believes in himself and his abilities independently of other people. An arrogant man must always win to feel validated while a gentleman self-validates from within. 

10 A Gentleman Wields Power Purposefully. Though there are many potential sources for the statement “with great power comes great responsibility,” there is an inherent truth in it for a gentleman. If he is in a position of power, he combines all of the above traits to utilize that power purposefully and not selfishly. Not for revenge, not for his own personal gain, and not in a way that tramples the rights of others.

So why does this all matter? It matters because being a gentleman sets a high bar for men, us included, to actively work towards every day. Rather than being a destination, it’s an aspiration that comes from the lifetime pursuit of personal betterment, self-awareness, and motivation.
The highest achievement is to be recognized as a gentleman by those around you, since at it’s core it is an honor conferred only by other people. We use the term gentleman frequently, and we think it should mean something. It’s not just a way to address other men; it’s a statement about who we are and who we want to be.

The Challenges of Being a Gentleman in Everyday Life
While all of this sounds admirable, living up to those ideals day in and day out can become quite challenging at times. When a man is in a bad mood, stressed or tired, he may say or do things that are out of character. In those situations it is important to apologize to others and if it is sincere people will accept it. I know what I am talking about because I certainly have my fair share of ungentlemanly failures.

What “chivalry” should be: “I want to do this good thing for someone else because altruism is awesome.”

What “chivalry” should not be: “I’m gonna do this ‘nice thing’ for a woman because she is a woman, but if she doesn’t respond in a manner which I deem appropriate I’m gonna call her an ‘ungrateful b****’ because I’m a petulant child who doesn’t understand historical gender dynamics.”

The Modern Gentleman

The Rebirth Of The Cool

“Every once in a while you come across someone whose style is so clean and manners are so refined that you realise the power of the word Gentleman, in the most classic sense of the word.”

His style is the personification of cool and elegant sophistication; an unapologetic embrace of discreet polish and natural confidence. Shrouded in a tapestry of unpretentious swagger, the long awaited re-emergence of the distinguished modern gentleman is almost upon us.

We are living in a cold, digital and cynical world, where values, virtues, manners and behaviour don’t seem to matte anymore. The reality is that even human interaction is overwhelmingly supported by and through digital technology. Human kind seems so bent out of shape, where facts are no more relevant and are considered optional, where black is white and where up is down. People seem to know the price of everything and the value of nothing. -Oscar Wilde
Celebrities who stand for nothing and everything run and influence the world.
Society has become so fake that the truth actually bothers people. 

The interesting thing about human society is that whenever - lets call it a phase gets out of control a so called counter movement arises. In this case it is the rise of the gentleman and with it the resurrection of virtues, values, manners and behaviour. In a society without role models who reflect for what humanity stands for and by what it’s normally kept together, the call and the search for a deeper purpose in life gets louder and broader. 

The rebirth of the cool is also the birth of the modern gentleman who is not defined by birth or age but rather by choice. It’s a conscious and personal decision made by individuals to frame their way of life with gentlemanly values. In my opinion there is no higher accolade than to call a man a gentleman. 

It is also displaying diversity in terms of preexisting stereotypes and the perception of gentlemen in general. A gentleman is not perceived anymore as a monolithic block of people. Not every man in a suit and tie is a gentleman and not every gentleman wears suit and tie. The modern gentleman is no longer defined by the content of his wallet or the cut of his suit, he is defined by his manners and the content of his character. Never forget, a monkey in a suit is still a monkey.

In every aspect of life respect yourself enough to know that you deserve the very best. Never wake up to be mediocre. The mindset of a modern gentleman in terms of business, lifestyle and sports.

A gentleman takes pride in how he presents himself.

Whether it is how he dresses or how he speaks, a gentleman understands the importance of a first impression and how he is perceived. No, this does not mean he lives his life on other people’s terms or is always looking for validation from them. What it means is, he understands the importance of making a good impression and expanding his personal and professional network. A man who takes pride in who he is and how he presents himself will find more opportunities coming his way, as he is desirable to spend time and engage in conversation with.

A gentleman treats everyone with respect.

Regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other involuntary characteristic a person can have, a gentleman does not categorize. He sees those around him as human and treats them with the respect that he would expect them to treat him with. Since a gentleman does not discriminate, there is no basis for unfair treatment towards others in his mind, everyone is equal.
He understands that his kindness towards others is not based on who they are, but on who he is. Because of this, it is unwavering.

A gentleman does not allow himself to be walked on.

There is a difference between showing kindness towards others and letting yourself become a doormat. Part of having respect for others is also having respect for yourself. A gentleman who has respect for himself will never let himself be taken advantage of. Give others the benefit of the doubt and the gift of your kindness, but if they do not do the same, a gentleman will understand they do not meet the standards of those who he accepts into his life, and he will move forward.

A gentleman will always be improving himself.

As an extension to the previous point, in order to get respect from others, you first must have it for yourself. This means taking care of both your physical and mental well-being. In a photoshop-ridden society, our generations certainly appear to value surface over substance, but a gentleman understands the importance of what goes beyond the outer shell. Whether it is reading books, listening to lectures, watching documentaries, or any other education medium he prefers, it is important to not lose sight of improving the mind while also working on improving the body.

A gentleman values his family and relationships.

More important than professional accomplishment and success, is cultivating the relationships with the people whom you will share it with. A gentleman will understand that no matter how far he makes it in life, it is better to be in a cottage with people he loves than it is to be in a mansion by himself.

A gentleman isn’t afraid to be wrong.

Many people in today’s day and age seem to have an incredible avoidance to being wrong. They will take a stand on a position and never allow new information or evidence to change their mind. This puts up a stone wall around your current base of knowledge and allows no room for expansion beyond it. The only way to learn or grow, is to be wrong. Only when you are wrong do you absorb new information, change your stance, and subsequently become “right.” Without the ability to admit a mistake, there will be no lessons to take from it.

A gentleman is cool, calm, and collected.

In a fast paced, constantly-changing world, it is an asset to be able to slow down the mind and keep things in perspective. A gentleman will have (or work to develop) the ability to not be perpetually stressed out. He will take life’s ups and downs in stride, and understand that night is always darkest before the dawn. Even when problems arise, he will work through them with determination. This will prevent him from becoming overwhelmed and making poor decisions or treating others badly.

A gentleman always keeps the woman in his life happy.

It is important for a gentleman to hold high standards for how he acts when he is in a relationship. This includes never mistreating her or taking her for granted. Always valuing her and showing her that he does (not just telling her). He will understand that the effort it took to get the type of woman he wants, is the same effort it will take to keep her, and that a lady would never accept being taken for granted any more than he would. He will never lose sight of doing the small things that make her happy.

Gentlemen are a rare breed and an endangered species in today’s society. It is important for men to strive for these ideals as well as for women to show the men their efforts are appreciated and recognized. While many men reach for these qualities without any need for outside influence, I can also assume that more would put in effort if they knew how much of a difference it would make in their life.

But if they don’t, gentleman cannot be afraid to separate themselves from the crowd. The effort they put into living the best life they can comes with a reward that many others will never receive: The accomplishment of that goal.

GROOMING 2017

These days, becoming a modern gentleman isn’t easy. It goes far beyond the simplicity of what clothes we wear. Something has to be said about men’s grooming and its importance in achieving the gentleman look we strive for.
Times have evolved and getting hold of that look has now become not just desirable, but believe it or not, there’s an art to it.
Brushing your teeth and splashing some water on your face just won’t suffice anymore, we got away with it long enough. It’s time to go the extra mile!

Healthy skin, maintaining the beard, manscaping and don’t be fooled manicures are manly.

The way men look after their appearance has undergone a revolution in the last twenty years. Where once a moisturiser might have been considered outré, it now seems to be the bedrock of every man’s grooming regime. It’s easy to fall prey to anxiety and insecurity on these fronts, especially in the face of advertisements and Photoshopped media icons.

So yes, it helps enormously to enjoy your grooming routine; but our long term aim is to use the confidence that comes with looking good to feel completely at home in our own skin.

BE WELL GROOMED, NOT OVER-PREENED

Good grooming is like a magic trick: people should be impressed by the results, but in the dark about how you achieved them. Overdo the fragrance, teeth whitening or eyebrow taming and you just show the world your sleight of hand.

CREATE YOUR OWN RITUAL

Many cultures (from the ancient Greeks and
Jews to the modern Japanese and Scandinavians) practise bathing as a ritual. Hot water is relaxing, yet invigorating like little else – that’s why some of our best thoughts can come to us in the shower. But take the time out from here on in to really ‘be’ in the shower, to quell the monkey mind and to really feel the water on your skin and the scent
of the products you use. It’s not just the female of the species that’s worth it.

Health And Wellbeing

Todays modern gentleman lives his life holistically. He understands that how he treats his body affects his mind, and vice versa, that there’s no real separation between the two. An improvement in one area is often what unlocks improvement in another. Some say that exercise is the new religion – that gyms are the new cathedrals. Perhaps this is a bit extreme. But it reveals a larger truth: physical fitness can be very important, partially because it’s always a subset of a much bigger theme: living a good life.

PRACTICE YOUR OWN SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY

Playing sport doesn’t just build muscle and lung capacity. It helps you to refine your ability to strategise and practise collaboration and fair play. By observing your knee-jerk emotions and choosing to respond rather than react, you can change your behaviour on and off the field, court or mat.

KEEP MOVING

It seems odd that we often stand on the escalator on the way to a gym class. Exercise begins the moment you get up in the morning. The ‘active living’ movement helps us to understand this. Man was never meant to be sedentary. Walking up the stairs, washing the car, and having sex can all increase our fitness without a sweaty gym bag in sight.

The 30 steps to being a modern gentleman

  1. Negotiates airports with ease.
  2. Never lets a door slam in someone’s face.
  3. Is aware that facial hair is temporary, but a tattoo is permanent.
  4. Knows when not to say anything.
  5. Wears his learning lightly.
  6. Owns one well-made dark suit, one tweed suit, and a dinner jacket.
  7. Avoids lilac socks and polishes his shoes.
  8. Turns his mobile phone to silent at dinner.
  9. Carries house guests’ luggage to their rooms.
  10. Rises and says his name when being introduced.
  11. Breaks a relationship face to face.
  12. Is unafraid to speak the truth.
  13. Knows when to clap.
  14. Arrives at a meeting five minutes before the agreed time.
  15. Is good with waiters.
  16. Has two tricks to entertain children.
  17. Can undo a bra with one hand.
  18. Can sail a boat and ride a horse.
  19. Never kisses and tells.
  20. Cooks an omelette to die for.
  21. Can prepare a one-match bonfire.
  22. Seeks out his hostess at a party.
  23. Believes in chivalry. 
  24. Has read “Pride and Prejudice”.
  25. Can tie his own bow tie.
  26. Sandals? No. Never.
  27. Wears a rose, not a carnation.
  28. Swats flies and rescues spiders..
  29. Demonstrates that making love is neither a race nor a competition.
  30. Knows that there is always an exception to a rule.

Chivalry alive
Is chivalry dead?

Chivalry isn’t dead, but it’s certainly in shorter supply these days. Likewise, gentlemen still exist, today, although they may appear slightly different. The  “old school” gentleman, who pulled out chairs and opened up car doors, has since been replaced with the “modern” gentleman, who can maintain a stimulating conversation outside the realms Facebook Messenger. Given the social norms of today’s society, being a gentleman will prove itself to be quite difficult – but not impossible. And while media outlets love to glorify the male icons who tend to mistreat women, and ignore the more chivalric ones who don’t generate headlines, this should have no bearing on how you choose to conduct your own lifestyle. Just because certain behaviors aren’t considered “cool” or “popular” by mainstream standards doesn’t mean they’re correct by societal standards. Being a gentleman is timeless, and mainstream trends will phase in and out. Notice this, and focus on the long-term.
While being in your 20s and carefree may discourage all intentions of acting “gentlemanlike” – recognize the longevity of certain good habits. These will never “go out of style,” and are telltale signs of maturity.

Everyone can be a gentleman. That title is earned, it’s not something you’re born into.

Knights and Rogues – How to design a knight using a Rogue oriented build

Originally posted by monthofloveart

So you want to play a Knight, but you don’t feel like being super Lawful Good or sacrificing reason over honour? Maybe you like the way you play an assassin/ninja over a clunking plate armoured god of war?

Well, not to worry – far from being purely locked into a fighter/paladin figure, a knight can be a bit free in the way they are played, and contrary to more popular culture of being utterly locked into a rigid code of conduct, knights can be fairly free in the way you play them. Here’s a few ideas on knights and rogues, and how you can do them.

Originally posted by zechs

What Makes a Knight?

We can call a lot of things as making a knight; a code of chivalry, a plate armoured warrior following a cause, following a liege lord, heavy cavalry, some noble figure, etc. But to make it more simple, it’s worth remembering that a Knight is a social class, not a profession. A warrior knight is actually what is termed “man-at-arms”, and this term is used by Knights themselves to refer to both Knights as a class, and the commoners that have training and equipment like a knight (basically being knights in all but social standing). Geoffroi de Charny saw no distinction between Knights as a class and men-at-arms, referring to them in the same fashion, and holding them to the same standard of chivalric ideal as he held himself to, and his book on Chivalry constantly refers to ‘knights’ purely as “men-at-arms”. So, in this regard, we have two forms of ‘knight’, the actual social class of noble that is inclined toward warfare, and the men-at-arms that lack social status but are otherwise equipped and trained. And here we have some space to play:

-        Knight as a social Class are nobles, and the Elite of society, particularly in warfare. If you are playing a rogue or stealth based Knight that fits this base, there is space for the ‘gentleman thief’ archetype, the noble-assassin whom uses his status to procure contracts and execute his marks by duel of by waylaying, the special forces stealth type that might be more stealth oriented through means of combat, than outright facing their foes in open battle. Equally, they may well challenge their opponents to fixed duels to maintain honour and appearances while clearly ensuring they cannot lose.

-        Another part of being a rogue can be the use of subtly and guile. A Knight as a noble does not by any means have to be an armour-clad warrior, but can be a courtly figure with good connections, that uses their status to maintain both royal and baronial ties in court, and equally employing underworld bandits, assassins, and spies. The game of politics runs deep in any court, and a knight that favours words over blades may well be a master tactician, as well as a cunning schemer.

-        A well-trained special forces tends to have elite soldiers that are, simply put, skilled at whatever they are needed for. If a Monarch commands their finest knights to learn the arts of secret killing, espionage, spying, theft, or stealth, then it is the place of the knights to learn. Perhaps the knight already possessed these skills, as part of their House’s creed; a line of warrior nobility dedicated to conflict through less open tactics. While many knights take the arts of war to perfection, some knights may choose the methods by which wars are halted before they begin…or by paralyzing the methods by which to wage war, once it begins.

Background-wise, there is a lot to play with here. Knights by class and skills can easily work as bandits and assassins in all manner of ways, from the armoured horseman that runs down a mark, to the courtly type that fixes a duel between peers, to the more secretive shadow-knight that retains skills subversive to a common man-at-arms (possibly under orders from their liege), there is freedom in how one manages things here.

Originally posted by kelgrid

Build Ideas

Do we play a straight Knight (armoured warrior) that works as an assassin or bandit?
A more courtier-type Knight that uses diplomacy and bluff, sleight of hand and outright lies, in conjunction with their Noble status to make them more trustworthy, or more intimidating, more legally entitled, etc?
Do we play a Rogue, with more emphasis upon skills in combat, to become a flurry of weapons and agility to overcome towering men of steel, an unorthodox but highly talented warrior that stands with their more stalwart friends, while acting more as a skirmisher?
Perhaps a Rogue that is socially a Knight, yet has for some reason has learned arts far different from their fellows. They may wear armour on parade, joust in a tourney, but all other knights know and quietly whisper that the lady of that particular House is far better at unlocking doors in dark places where treacherous nobles gather, who seems to have the ear of the Monarch and knows the darkest secrets of their peers, as if they had spied upon them all this time…
Even more strange, perhaps a Rogue that has employed their talents while adopting a looser form of the code of Chivalry – defending others even through misdirection, never actually LYING, demonstrating enormous courage and loyalty to their fellows, and maintaining humility despite their talents and guile?

Ultimately, the choice as to how the Knight-Rogue is played is down to the player…however…


Originally posted by degrassi

ALIGNMENT

A knight is bound by a code, Chivalry being the most common. Even a bandit or assassin knight must have some rule by which they are bound. A rogue that is a Knight might well break into a house to steal an item or information from another Noble, but they will generally be doing so for some greater purpose than simply for their own vanity and greed. Perhaps the Monarch ordered them to discreetly conduct a search? Perhaps the bandit knight will not kill innocents? Maybe the assassin will not slay any but their mark? Maybe the Courtier will not act directly outside the rules of law or Chivalry?

Regardless of how the Knight-Rogue operates, they will never be outright Chaotic, and more normally will be Lawful, following a personal code of ethics, or adhering closely to the Law or rule of their liege. A code of conduct is a major marker between a knight and a common thug in armour, and even a base-born ‘knight’ will keep closely to it, perhaps even more zealously than a noble.

Adherence to Chivalry will likely be key here. You should agree with your DM what your Rogue-Knight can and cannot do within their code of conduct, before building one in their game.

Originally posted by i-am-roadrunner

Final Notes

As @we-are-rogue herself has mentioned before, knights and rogues have a lot in common, more often than not, and I agree. I also feel it worth mentioning that, both in Europe and Japan, knights and samurai would often fill the roles of spies and assassins (most ninja retained by the Shogun were of Samurai class, and in Europe many knights would be hitmen for hire), making it not uncommon for figures of war to become killers for pay, information gatherers, and perhaps because of their educated background would often end up being ‘skill-monkeys’ of their time.

Do not be fooled. Honour among thieves and assassins may very well exist.
And they that know are in a far better position than those that do not.

Originally posted by samurai-spirit