The lies they tell about Gentlemen and Respectability

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You’re an internet savvy person right? So you’ve probably seen at least one meme that laments the disappearance of “classy” ladies, probably comparing women today to women of yesteryear unfavorable . The same bad faith comparison exists for men, but let’s be honest with each other about what these comparisons mean. The comparison of men with their peers from bygone eras generally laments the absence of skills we no longer need that we find to be traditionally masculine (when would chopping would come in handy in Brooklyn again?) or the absence of long-held chivalric traditions. I just want to be frank, and not speak in the coded language so many people like to use when they talk about “gentlemen” or women being “classy”, so let’s be real about what these comparisons are saying: Women if you’re promiscuous you’re a slut and sluts will never meet a gentleman nor should they ever expect to meet a man who wants a serious relationship. Men, in order to become a gentleman you need to do two things: first, treat the promiscuous women you meet like lepers, second, date the way people did in the 1950s (or maybe even 1750s?). It might sound less offensive, or more politically correct to say that if a woman wants to meet a man with value, she must first be modest and ladylike, and be sure to give him something to respect, but what they’re really saying is don’t be a slut.

For men, there is this treasuring of old school gentlemanly values romanticized by pop culture. For women, the focus is on maintaining virtue in the carnal sense, because if you’re promiscuous you don’t deserve happiness nor will you ever find it because you’ll always be dirty. It’s not just memes either. Some of my very popular peers, and I use the term peers loosely because if I’m being honest I’m not THAT popular yet nor would I want to break bread with a lot of these people, but I have some peers who focus on this idea that by maintaining virtue, women will attract quality men. For men, they should focus should on…holding open doors? Being sweet and caring? Picking up the tab on first dates with impossibly chaste women? Sorry, but I can’t keep all this hypocrisy in order but I’m pretty sure one of the things people never touch on is male promiscuity. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

Let’s be really, really, real here and cut through all the bullshit. We’re being told by dozens of prominent “experts” that women are undesirable to quality men if they are promiscuous, while men are undesirable if they, I dunno, don’t pay on the first date? Don’t call you as opposed to text? That seems a bit lopsided to me, but hey, I’m just a reasonable guy who holds everyone to the same standards of judgment. Is the promiscuity, or perceived promiscuity of women the problem? Or the propensity of some women to take a large number of selfies? Or is it what these women wear? If that’s the case, why not hold men to these same standards? Why isn’t there a focus on “self-respect” when it comes to men and their sexual values? Let me just spill my own tea a bit here and be honest, I’m what some might call promiscuous. You know what not one single person has ever said to me, ever, in my entire extensive sexual and dating history? That I need to be more respectable if I want to meet a good woman. Or that my total number of sexual partners might be why I’m having a hard time meeting someone looking for something serious. I definitely engage in all sorts behaviors that people wag their fingers at women about and yet, not one single person pulled the respectability card on me. That includes dressing provocatively, dating online using so-called “hookup apps”, being open to sex on the first date, not waiting 90 days for sex, and so on. And yet I can’t think of one person who said to me that I’d have better success in dating if I had more self-respect. Nor has anyone ever equated how I dress or who I choose to sleep with, with self-respect. No one has ever told me that my actions degrade me, and that degradation is why I’m single. It isn’t just me, and this may be anecdotal, but I can’t think of any time I’ve seen an “expert” tell men to be less promiscuous if they want to meet women. Be more open and communicative, become more accomplished, earn more, dress better, strive to be a better Christian, but never explicitly a mention around their sexual mores. Meanwhile, there are some very prominent people, with book deals, with syndicated tv shows, and sizable online followings, who tell women on a daily basis, that if they are not “classy” or “respectable” that they will not succeed in dating.

The thing is, the world does not work like that. How respectable you are means absolutely nothing when it comes to meeting quality people who will respect you. I hinted at it before, and even linked to it, but there is a meme whose entire premise is “Be like Princess Diana instead of the Kardashians”. That sounds cute and all, and it’s easy to mock the Kardashians as the embodiment of “not deserving of respect”,  but when you apply critical thoughts to these sort of ideas, you realize this sort of thinking is flawed. So many people say that if a woman is respectable, or classy, she’ll meet a gentleman and everything will be great. That’s bullshit. No matter how respectable, or classy, or lady-like you are, it does not guarantee that you’ll meet someone who will treat you with respect. Princess Diana, paragon of all things “lady-like” was cheated on and cheated on her husband. Jackie O, patron saint of the 1960s American ideal of what it means to be respectable, was cheated on. Beyoncé, Queen of the BeyHive, Mother of Blue Ivy, first of her name, was (allegedly) cheated on. Would I blame these women for the moral failings of their men? Of course not. The same way that I would never blame any woman for the moral failings of the men she dates. Continuing bad dating habits and trying to make excuses for them, sure I’ll blame anyone for that, not just women, but I’d never blame someone for something they are not personally responsible for. That extends to explicit condemnations, and those indirect condemnations that people make when they say things like “If you want to meet a gentleman, act with self-respect” when what they’re saying is “DON’T BE A SLUT, OTHERWISE YOU’LL BE SINGLE FOREVER“.

The point I’m trying to make in all this is that, no matter how “respectable” you are, whether it’s your own standards, your peers, or society at large, it wont suddenly mean that you’ll only meet people who will treat you with respect. I respect myself, and I always conduct myself in a respectable way, but that hasn’t prevented people from disrespecting me in dating or in life. Respectability isn’t some magical force-field, nor is it a silent way to convey that you deserve respect. The people who treat you poorly wont suddenly change their mind about you if you put on more clothes, or take a vow of chastity, because there isn’t some magical force that prevents disrespect that isn’t deserved. Some people will treat you with respect, some wont, and how much you respect yourself has little bearing on that. You can be married to the leader of the free world, an accomplished lawyer in your own right, Ivy League educated, and the mother of two daughters, one of whom is Ivy League bound, and you will be disrespected.You can be a Lady, quite literally having the title of Lady, then Princess, and be disrespected.

The world doesn’t treat you with respect because you’re respectable, nor do you deserve disrespect if you aren’t considered “respectable”. The reason you aren’t meeting gentleman isn’t because of your promiscuity (or perceived promiscuity), it’s because the men you’re meeting only respect women who conform to their preferences. There isn’t some signal that goes off in your city once you stop doing ANYTHING that would be considered “slutty” that tells all the “gentlemen” out there that you’re good enough to date. The world does not work that way. Self-respect doesn’t negate disrespect. There are women who’ve never had sex who’ve been called sluts, and there are men infamous for their promiscuity, who are highly esteemed and respected. You are being sold a bill goods about respectability on a daily basis and I respect you too much, whether you’re a “slut” or a “whore” or whatever bullshit you’ve been called because you make your own decisions about what to do with your body, to tell you the same lies.

The reason you aren’t meeting gentlemen isn’t because you aren’t respectable, it’s because some men wont respect you, no matter what you do. These same men will hold you to standards they do not hold themselves, or their male peers to. The best example of this is the great work being done by @CardsAgstHrsmt tracking the hypocrisy of shirtless men shaming women for posting provocative pictures on social media. Self-respect is all that matters, key word being self, and if you respect yourself, in whatever way that means to YOU, that’s what matters most.

Good Luck Out There.

2 Replies to “The lies they tell about Gentlemen and Respectability”

  1. You will have to command respect from others no matter what the relationship and thats just the truth. There is a double standard with men and how they can date or have sex to that of women. There are male hoes like women hoes. you set the tone on how you are treated. People who judge others to the extent based upon how ladylike they are makes no difference. I know folks that were virgins got married had kids and did it all by the book only to have a mate who cheated on them in the most horrendous of ways. To each their own. You are better off taking each situation one by one and holding yourself to a measuring stick and keep on chucking