The Network of enlightened Women at UVA is pleased to announce to TOP 2 Gentlemen in the March Madness: Gentlemen’s Edition bracket. This week NeW received almost 600 votes to arrive to the last two gentlemen in the competition. These two gentlemen are class acts and have impressed us each week. For the last round, NeW asked them to answer the following question:
“How is being a gentleman different today than it was in Mr. Jefferson’s time?Do you think gentlemanly behavior is a threatened trend? If so, what can be done to re-establish it in the college environment?”
Here are the responses from the final two gentleman:
“The idea of being a gentleman certainly has transformed from Jefferson’s time and has been refined in many aspects, particularly by a more accommodating approach to viewing women as enlightened individuals and not simple china dolls with pretty faces. Yet, the same tenets of good manners, respecting the views of others, and aiding others whenever possible are timeless virtues of a gentlemen that have remained steadfast throughout history. The gentleman of today may not wear a top hat or evening wear as in the days of Mr. Jefferson, but his adherence to such values that perpetuate a willing spirit and a benevolent demeanor in all actions still define him as a true gentlemen. Sadly, though, many have forgotten these tenets in the modern world as the idea of outward reflection toward others has transformed into an inward and self-centered pursuit. Many claim that chivalry and the classic “gentleman” are dead, and perhaps they are right of the whole. There may indeed be less “gentlemen” today than of years past, but the admirable aspects that define a true gentlemen are still seen in those who continue to believe that there are greater pursuits than self-fulfillment. How then do we reverse this trend? — simply, by not giving up and acting in the appropriate manner we know to be correct. Manners and good form are contagions for change. Opening doors for others, walking ladies home at night, these are actions that cannot be forced but only encouraged by positive example. A “gentleman” is not a title but a way of life, and only those who truly believe its tenets will adhere to its dictates. So, the next time a modern gentleman opens a door for you, make sure to thank him. Let him know that his action meant something to you and undoubtedly the other men around him will take note. The only way to reverse one trend is to encourage positive change in the opposite direction. Gratitude goes a long way, and gentlemanly behavior relies wholly on the acknowledgment of others for it to make a concerted effort toward a better future.”
“I would contend that a gentleman should be defined entirely by character and actions rather than perceived class or social status, whereas in Mr. Jefferson’s time this was not necessarily the case. A gentleman must be courteous and polite, caring more about the comfort of others than about his own comfort. A gentleman needs to treat all other people with respect and dignity no matter how the other person has treated him. It should be his duty to aid those who are in need and protect those who need protection. A true gentleman does not yearn to appear suave and sophisticated, but rather earnestly desires to better the world him without drawing attention to the fact that he is doing so.Partly because previous conceptions of gentlemanliness have focused on social status, the ideal of “being a gentleman” is frowned upon and threatened today in many spheres. Some believe that gentlemanly behavior is unnecessary and even belittling towards others, but I could not disagree more. I would want people to understand that this ideal is intended not to bring others down, but rather to elevate them. A gentleman is supposed to recognize the inherent dignity and worth in others, considering them all his equal or his better, and his actions towards them reflect this recognition. I think that this behavior should be the opposite of pretension or self admiration. Instead it ought to be selflessness that defines a gentleman, and recognition of this would help re-establish the idea in the college environment today.”
Chris and Rick are such wonderful examples of humble, chivalrous, and respectable men. NeW at UVA is thrilled to share with everyone the caliber of men we have on Grounds.