This column will cover the major aspects of living large, loving well and looking good. The true gentleman is a dying breed of man. They do exist, mind you; but in today’s everything’s-got-to-be-had-online-world, it’s just harder for them to come out. So hopefully, this will be a helpful guide for those chaps who always thought that living the life of Errol Flynn was actually romantic. If you don’t think that I have any business writing about it, don’t pay attention. I’m sure that the girls that you like don’t want to be treated right anyway. This is for those who want to appreciate the finer things in life, and for those who want to spend their life with someone who does too.
The key to living large is not fearlessness. It is not rare knowledge or even that elusive je ne sais quoi (though dropping in French phrases certainly does help).
To live large, you must connect with others while remaining true to yourself. It is finding that delicate balance between the old eye for an eye and having the confidence and security enough to know when to turn the other cheek. If you live large, you know that knowledge is power, but you’re acutely aware that "in much wisdom is much grief; and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow." It means to go through life with a sense of purpose, but more than willing to accommodate despair. Living large is adopting a personal code and sticking to it. That code must not only be simple, but multidimensional as well.
Loving well: If you get this, you should be writing this column. But there are some helpful hints to help a gentleman in this most elusive of all games. The bottom line: feel her pain, touch her heart and yes, rub her feet.
This is the most important aspect of a gentleman’s life. A gentleman is truly a gentle man when his girl feels like a lady. The reason gentlemen are such a rare breed is found in the duality of a man’s nature. A gentleman is attuned to the needs of others and sometimes willing to subordinate his most basic desires and impulses in order to put others at ease. He is giving, generous and honest, except in cases where those attributes put a serious damper on sleeping with as many women as possible, because a gentleman is, after all, still a man no matter how gentle.
Most important of all is the fact that a true gentleman knows that the excruciatingly painful but sweet rituals of courtship and love are hopelessly simplistic and absolutely incapable of embracing the infinite number of thoughts and feelings, and actions that make us who we are. They require more – a card on file at the local flower shop, a romantic restaurant where the maitre d’ treats him like a regular, condoms. Unfortunately, society has bred a number of women who value shallowness over depth, and this saddens the gentleman. When it comes to matters of love, the gentleman knows that it’s not what you do, but why you do it. If one can’t answer the why, there is no point in trying to figure out the how.
The last part of this triad is looking good. Perception is more important than reality, and if a gentleman cannot convey that he is one, then he isn’t. It’s that simple. Al Pacino had that great line in Devil’s Advocate: "Vanity is my favorite sin." We are all in love with ourselves to some extent, and it’s the ones who exude the Polo commercial without looking like they do it on purpose are the ones who get the looks at parties. But there’s a reason why so many fashion and grooming "experts" earn enough money these days to sit at home in baggy shorts, sipping pineapple juice and telling the rest of us how to put on our pants and wash our faces. It’s because appearances mean everything. There is simply no substitute for good hygiene. Clip your nails. Wash your ears. Comb your hair. Believe me, women notice.
Finally, a gentleman knows when to buy his girl flowers, how to avoid gaffes in the sack, what wine to order and when to make the move.
With apologies to Thomas Paine, these are the times that try men’s souls. Lucky you, guidance is on the way. This column will be for the man who wants to live large, love well and look good. Want that? Of course you do. And I’m going to tell you.
Learn it, use it. And above all, forget about your girlfriend’s little sister.
Matthew McMillan senior history and political science major.