Editor’s Note: This was first featured in November 2015, but humor is never dated, dear gentlewomen.
Country Life Magazine recently released the 39 steps to being a modern gentleman. It included tips like, “Negotiate airports with ease,” and “Would not go to Puerto Rico.” The modern gentleman also “knows when to clap,” “sings lustily in church,” and “is not a vegetarian.”
And while all of this is fascinating, it pales to this very serious list of how to be a modern gentlewoman. While some of their suggestions translate (“Can undo a bra with one hand”), others are much different. We also have a few less rules because, well, we trust you more.
Here are the 28 steps to being a modern gentlewoman, whatever that means to you.
1. On a busy street, walk your lady on the inside of the sidewalk. This tradition is old-fashioned, but it is the mark of a true gentlewoman. This way dirt stays where it belongs—on your ex’s FB page.
2. If a homeless person is lurking ahead, place your body in-between the beggar and your date. Have no fear by channeling a Republican.
3. If you are the one driving during the date, first open the passenger door for your lady. Then walk around the front to get into the driver’s seat until the time that she honks the horn to scare you, in which case she can open her own car door because she is rude.
4. If you are wearing a ball cap, remove it when you sit down at a table. Then offer to pray—loudly, so her mother hears you.
5. Bring her mother on the first date.
6. Stand up every time your woman tells you she is on her period. Pretend you are Moses and raise your staff in the presence of all who heard and strike the water glass until all the water has turned into blood to defend her honor.
7. Or don’t do that. Feel it out.
8. When dropping her off for the night, always, always wait to see if she has gotten into her front door safely. Never drop her off and drive away immediately, leaving her to her own devices–do you not watch CSI? Be careful of the creeper that is lurking, because she is thinking about it too even if she thinks its you.
9. Offer to walk your friends to their car. This is doubly true if they are being harassed by a dude who has zero idea how lesbianism work. He often is large and in charge, but never named Charles.
10. Know how to tie a bow-tie, and a regular tie, and also your shoes. At the very least, your shoes.
11. Own a good pair of boots, a good pair of jeans, a good pair of blazers. You need to be the lesbian Mr. Rogers. In other words, Ellen DeGeneres. Open your closet and enjoy a rainbow of blazers for every occasion.
12. At a restaurant, have rudimentary knowledge of a wine menu, the basic pairings. Don’t bore your date with all your wine knowledge unless you are drinking something literally from Biblical times. If you’re talking about the “five s’s”, do not do that. You’re 30. Stop it. Congratulations on knowing how to drink wine.
13. Speaking of ordering wine, instead of saying “MMM, it’s good!” to the waiter (and, trust me, the waiter does not really care if its good or not, its open and so its yours!), give the pour a quick swirl and a sniff and put down the glass with an “it’s clean” (unless it smells like a wet cardboard, then taste and send that puppy back because it is CORKED). But assuming it’s in good shape, give a quick nod to the waiter, with a sincere “it’s clean, thank you,” then look to your date and change the subject immediately to something far less ostentatious, a simple, “I’m thinking of going vegan, you?” will do.
14. Order an appetizer. Appetizers are seriously sexy. They pretty much make you wife material. IF you choose to order, like, three or four appetizers, split an entree and a bottle of wine and be prepared to be married the next day, you PRINCE OF FUCKING ENGLAND IN GENTLEWOMAN FORM!
15. Have basic working knowledge of current events. You should talk about how much Facebook sucks at least three times to appear above the fray.
16. Update your Facebook status immediately about how great your date is going when she goes to the bathroom. Reference a reference about love.
17. Leave that cell phone out of sight. The less distraction the better. If you’re a smoker and have to leave your date, try texting her while you’re outside. She won’t expect it and it’s sweet. Also, stop smoking.
18. Have a basic working knowledge of history. Or, at the very least, drunk history.
19. Have critical thinking skills. Do not say #AllLivesMatter. #AllLivesMatter is the new “if-they-don’t-own-books-don’t-fuck-them” meme. Please understand why #blacklivesmatter can be a thing without competition.
20. Own books. At the very least a thick coffee table book with something far too esoteric for your taste. Perhaps it is a book about coffee beans. Or maybe, Famous People’s Last Words. This is your chance to surprise her! A book on puppies will work as well, know all the benefits of rescuing by heart.
21. In a conversation (and this is a BIG ONE!) be sure to return questions. After you talk return it with a, “How about you?” Don’t be a douchebag and monopolize. “Wellnowthativetoldyoueverythingaboutme, thiswassofunwasn’tit? Letsdoitagainnexttime.” HEY! STOP TALKING. Care about other people.
22. Memorize a poem. Never recite it a loud, dummy, you sound dumb. Just carry yourself like you know a poem. And make sure its not Plath. Grow out of Plath. And if you’re offended by that you’re probably 20.
23. Have an exercise program. Of some sort. Be active. Even if it’s not consistent, just be consistently trying to be more active. Nike Fitness App–look it up, it’s free, it’s foolproof, it’s great. Just a warning: It is NOT pizza.
24. Send your girlfriend’s mother flowers on your girlfriend’s birthday. Stole that idea from a Kennedy. The mother MELTS. DO IT.
25. Seek to be well rounded and polished. Take an art or cooking class, keep your brain sharp, be a “YES…and!” person.
26. On the subject of religion: Spirituality is like a cupcake. Yes, it’s covered with enticing sugar but too much of it can make you fat. (I’ll leave that metaphor right here because I just made that up.)
27. Support a local coffee shop. Take aerial pictures and post on Instagram with a filter. Use an emoji but pick wisely, because you’re being judged by it.
28. Tip well. Know how to tip. It says more about you than it does about the service. I know that’s controversial, but #alltipsmatter.
Peace, good luck, and shower often.