Anne Morrow Lindbergh
After writing The Old-School Gentleman and the Modern Independent Woman, the reaction it caused caught me by complete surprise. I expected people to like it, but being such a niche topic I assumed it would get the usual reaction from the usual people. Apparently there are way more Classic Gentlemen attracted to modern Women and Modern Women looking for Gentlemen that what I expected. And I was happy and content with the world for a moment, till I came to the realization that I should do a follow-up. But about what, what is that great divide between the “The Casanova and the Bitch”, as one of my readers so eloquently put it?
And it was clear. Before we could continue, we need a set of guidelines, of ground rules so that everyone is on the same page. The biggest issue I have seen with both, Gents and Ladies, is how set they are in their ways, because it’s exactly those ways that define them. So understanding each other will lead to a better relationship.
To achieve that common empathy, I have developed a series of ten guidelines for relationships between The Old-School Gentleman (here on referred to as Gents) and the Modern Independent Woman (here on referred to as MIW); four are common for both although for different reasons, and three for each person. Keep in mind that these are only guidelines and not rules. Use common sense when considering how these apply to your own personal situation. That being said, let’s get started.
General guides for the relationship in general:
- You are equals.
Too many relationships out there are based on one person being the protagonist and the other person being a supporting cast, one is the Alpha and the other the Omega, the Leader and the Follower, the Giver and the Taker. Not here. Both are equals and they should treat each other that way. If one starts viewing the other as a “follower”, it will be treated as an insult to their character.
- Don’t try to change the other person to suite you wants.
Both, the Gents and the MIW’s have dealt with a world trying to get them to stop being who they are. Instead of deterring their ways, these challenges have actually made them stronger in who they are. What defines them as who they are is a result of overcoming these very challenges. So you think that trying to change their core character is a good idea? Then you have never seen stubbornness to an extreme.
- Never assume the other person “needs” you.
As I mentioned in the previous article, relationships based on the idea that one person needs to be with the other breeds contempt and codependency. You might think this is a pretty common concept that applies to every relationship, but it actually is more acute here. The self-confidence both of these people have means they are not frightened of getting out of the relationship.
Ladies, there is a phrase the man you are dating holds dear, “A gentleman makes other women jealous of his girl.” It defines how he will treat you, how he carries himself, and why you don’t have to be jealous. The flip side is there are plenty women who have seen how he treats you, and are more than willing to take your place the moment you drop him.
Gentlemen, the reason why these women are called Modern Independent Women is because they are “Independent.” They’d rather be alone that in a bad relationship. They have no fear of being on their own, and know just how strong they are. Some even prefer to be alone than in a relationship.
- Trust each other to have your back.
One of the biggest relationship killers are the inability of one person to count on another. This is not so with the Gentleman and the Modern woman, but for completely different reasons.
Ladies, every gentleman out there searches of the moment when he can drop everything and rise as the Gallant Knight for our Paramour. Daemons tremble at the sight of the righteous man marching to battle. We live for days like that, the days where we are confronted by a challenge and by the strength of our virtue, we emerge victorious. (Yes, we are all melodramatic Warrior-Poets at heart.)
Gentleman, nothing is more frightening, and in a strange way alluring, as a Modern Independent Woman with her Bitch Switch flipped into overdrive. “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” Keep in mind she is not “defending her man”, but has taken the problem as a personal offense. And we all know what happens to anyone who attacks a Modern Independent Woman at a personal level.
Trying to call back the dogs of war you unleashed by bringing in your partner is not an easy task. Although neither will become violent and crass, they have too much class for that, what will happen is they will become cold, and calculating, and will not stop till they are victoriously standing over the dead carcase of a defeated opponent, whoever opponent it might be. Remember this if you ever get any funny ideas.
General guides for the Old-School Gentleman:
- Don’t try to solve her life.
This will be one of the biggest challenges the Gentleman will face when dealing with the Modern Independent Woman. One of the main characteristics that define her is her ability to handle herself. Sometimes “helping” her out is actually insulting. As I mentioned before, she is not a Princess who needs saving but a Queen to rule by your side.
- Don’t “buy” her affection.
Gentlemen, I know we try to show our affection with details. And they will show these affections as much as possible. We live for that. The problem is that these women are tired of dealing with guys who have tried to “buy” them before, with drinks or dates or gifts. She doesn’t need your gifts, just your attention and loyalty.
- Give her space.
Again, as Gentlemen we pride ourselves in the attentions and affections we might give our lady. And again, this sounds a lot nicer in theory than it does in practicality. The Modern Independent Woman enjoys her autonomy, so overdoing the attention aspect might smother her.
General guides for the Modern Independent Woman:
- You don’t always have to be right.
I understand that you have fought most of your life for respect, to have your voice heard. The unfortunate side-effect of this struggle is you view most discussions as a conflict, where the line between being right and winning is rather thin. Remember, the gentleman was smart enough to want to be with you, he might be smart enough to be right about some other things as well.
- Chivalry is so rare today, sometimes it’s confused with Flirting.
One of the most important characteristics of a Gentleman is his loyalty. So if he holds a door open for another woman, he offers a woman his coat, or maybe he simply behaving like he usually does, it’s not that he is flirting. He is and will always be a Gentleman. People today are just not used to someone being a Better Man.
10. Recognize his actions.
This is somewhat tricky to explain. Being a gentleman usually causes some kind of reaction, be it from people approving or criticizing such behavior. We don’t do it for praise, but because it is who we are. It’s not that you “need to let him be the man”, like so many people advice women. It’s that dismissing his actions and not recognizing his efforts can be viewed as indifference in your part. And indifference is actually the worst offense you can offer a Gentleman.
this post first appeared on Being Caballero.