Lads, would you still hold open a door for a woman? Or are you content in the knowledge that she has two perfectly good hefty arms of her own. Do you cleanse, tone and moisturise twice daily, or give yourself a belt of a musty flannel when you remember to? Do you log on to social networking sites to find a date or lean on the bar in Muldoons and hope for the best? Ultimately, how do you perceive yourself as a member of the male race – are you a Metrosexual, a Retrosexual or a Modern Gentleman?
Aside from the myriad economic and professional challenges our menfolk face these days (and our women, never let it be said), the vexing minefields of style, manners and office politics must surely be exhausting them. Given that the Metrosexual seems to be on the way out and the Retrosexual probably doesn’t care less, the Modern Gentleman must surely be all a quandary. [Retrosexuals, by the way, are the real men who are determined to banish the Metrosexual for ever and return the modern man to his former status as a simple, masculine being who knows what he wants. Committed retrosexuals are not allowed to know the meaning of words such as manicure, pedicure, facial and exfoliation.}
Help is at hand for those baffled Modern Gentlemen: a new book by etiquette specialists Debrett’s is offering a miscellany of aspirational information on work, home, time off, women, sport, food and travel in the 21st century, from what underwear to choose to how to chat up women…and bullet proof your car (should the date not go according to plan, I presume).
And according to Debrett’s Guide For The Modern Gentleman, it is indeed still considered courteous for a man to open a car door for a woman, that men should not be afraid of skin products and that there’s nothing wrong with a little internet research before a date.
The ‘compendium of masculinity’, as it has been billed, covers ground from buying the right type of shoes to basic cookery and has tips ranging from chat-up lines to how to get an upgrade on a flight. The book suggests never answering calls or texts during a date, which is sound advice – I remember being instantly smitten when a date turned off his mobile phone, telling me “everyone I want to speak to is already here”.
The basic advice when it comes to picking up women is what your mother has been telling you for years: a decent haircut, smart, ironed clothes and well-polished shoes go a long way. Don’t go tucking your tie into your trousers, though. When it comes to your crowning glory, think Steve McQueen, Elvis Presley or Peter Fonda – that’s short, medium or long…and nothing in between. The book says that by the time you hit your Thirties you should know how your hair behaves. I wish someone would tell mine. Anyway, that’s the time for you boys to work out whether it’ll fall out, go grey or stay much the same as the years go by. The advice is to get it right…it’s the outfit you wear every day.
It was interesting that Debrett’s book came to light this week as very recently I had a discussion with someone (a male) about whether radical feminism had displaced the ‘gentleman’ as we once knew him. Okay, so it wasn’t as high-brow as all that. But we both came to the same conclusion: that fellas are scared of acting like the old fashioned gentleman in case they’re ridiculed or told to back off.
Several men I know would shy away from holding a door open for a girl, for fear they’d think him sexist. Now I hope I don’t need to overstate the fact that I’m all for equal rights for both men and women. But how could there be anything wrong with a man showing me common courtesy and good manners by holding a door. It’s surely preferable to it swinging closed in my face.
Male readers, here’s some honest advice: I think the age of the metro-sexual is nearing its demise. Women are more or less over men looking prettier than them. But that’s no reason to let yourself go. Trust me, us girls notice basic hygiene. Perception is more important than reality so even if the piles of dirty socks have acquired a life of their own at home, try to put on a clean pair when you go on a date. If dishevelled is part of your ‘thing’ than make sure you are purposefully dishevelled. There is a difference between rugged and pure filthy, despite what the Retrosexual will have you believe.