Top 10 rules on how to be a gentleman and woman in 2014
Two writes share their rules on the dos and don't of good behaviour for the modern age.
Don't show off, don't stalk on social media, do reply to emails and don't over do it on the wine and chocolate - rules for men and women on how to behave with impeccable manners in the modern age.
John Meagher: Be chivalrous and don't get drunk
Thevenerable British magazine Country Life has offered its recommendations for the modern-day gentleman – he should always be on time, never tweet and not own a cat.
Don't know about you, but this chronically tardy, feline-loving Twitter user reckons they've got it all wrong. And the less said the better about their assertion that a gentleman should always make love on his elbows.
Here's my take on how to be a gentleman in 2014:
1 Be courteous to others, always. For me, that has meant abandoning my once fearsome road-rage tendencies, responding to every email I receive and not getting into abusive arguments on Twitter. It also means looking shop assistants in the eye, not conducting loud mobile-phone chats on buses and curbing the temptation to soak bystanders by driving into large pavement-side puddles.
2 Avoid expletive-strewn language. A difficult one for someone like me who used to use the f-word as often as young folk use the word "like". It's not the most becoming of conversational terms and nor are words associated with female genitalia.
3 Be chivalrous. It might mean holding the door open for others, or surrendering your seat on the Luas for someone who's elderly, disabled or pregnant. My large-bumped wife, who's entering her third trimester, can attest to the fact that many men are oblivious to her condition on public transport.
4 Don't get drunk or disorderly. The same could apply to women, but it's especially true for men, because it's they who tend to put other people into A&E after imbibing one too many. Don't associate with bad drunks if you can avoid it.
5 Don't boast about money. Most thought the species had died with the Celtic Tiger, but this boorish male is making a comeback. Hearing one such specimen loudly bellow into his phablet about how well his investments are doing, made a recent visit to a beloved café especially unpleasant.
6 Don't boast – full stop. Banging on about how many followers you have on Twitter or how important you are in work is wearying for everyone around you – and very, very uncool.
7 Be charitable. That doesn't extend to chuggers (obviously), but should apply to those charities who don't harangue you for money on the street. St Vincent de Paul does wonderful work – and not just at Christmas – and there are fantastic organisations such as LauraLynn Children's Hospice.
8 Don't join the anonymous band of abusers who stalk social media and comment boards. Do you really want to sink that low?
9 Don't strip off when the sun comes out. Anybody would think the recent flush of decent weather was a record-breaking heatwave considering the enthusiasm to wear shorts and vests and – in the case of some optimistic souls – go topless and reveal some really bad tattoo art.
10 Do own a cat. Don't mind those strange people in Country Life. Cats have been a feature of my daily life for six years now – and their calming presence is not to be sniffed at. Trust me.
Chrissie Russell: Don't ever share post coital selfies
The latest 'Gentlemanly Commandments' in Country Life got me thinking, and rather than the specifics of steering clear of lycra or making love on one's elbows, it struck me the most important thing in being a gent, or a lady, comes down to acting in a way that demonstrates respect – both for yourself and other people.
With that in mind, here are my musings on what it means to be a modern lady.
1 The modern lady values herself. Not in a L'Oreal 'Because I'm worth it' therefore-I-shall-cave-to-ridiculous-consumerism-and-buy-expensive-merchandise-I-don't-need way, but in a way that she'll happily invest in herself, declining unwanted invites in exchange for 'me time' and believing in her own abilities.
2 She may indulge in a few well-mixed gins and tonic but never a few bottles of wine. Public drunkenness (and all that it brings with it – swearing, belligerence, kebabs) is neither a gesture of respect to others or one's self.
3 The modern lady is not a person of extremes. She is at peace with herself enough to dodge the 5:2, the Dukan, the 3:4 and eat and exercise in moderation. If she fancies a chocolate fondant or a wedge of oozy camembert, she'll have it, but without guilt texting all her female friends to confess this gluttony. Her skirts and heels are never too short or high, and her accessories are understated. Timeless tailoring matters, trends do not.
4 Unlike the doe-eyed, demure ladies of Jane Austen's era, the modern lady is an equal in relationships. Which is why K-Middy – despite her poise – falls short of meeting the Modern Lady Role Model credentials. Waiting eight years for a man to pop the question has too much of a whiff of 'doormat' about it.
5 While she has well-formed opinions, the modern lady doesn't feel the need to force her ideas on others. If she ever appeared in a reality TV show (which she wouldn't), the other contestants would accuse her of 'not being real' and stand-offish, when actually she just has no interest in shouting down others.
6 She's also a big fan of 'do unto others as you would have them do to you', so she replies promptly to emails but signs off with 'kind regards' rather than 'TTYL' or xxx (*see also Point 9). She treats ancillary staff and CEOs the same, holds doors open, and remembers names.
7 The modern lady owns guest towels, napkins, thank-you cards and always has good biscuits on standby for unexpected callers (although she would never drop in unannounced). Good hosting is the cornerstone of good manners.
8 She is neither a limelight seeker nor glory hunter. To this end 'Lady' Gaga is a misnomer.
9 The modern lady believes in boundaries and never overshares. You will never catch her talking on her phone on public transport about a gynaecological problem or indulging in look- at-me behaviour on Facebook or Twitter.
10 Bedroom etiquette be damned. Between the sheets the modern lady acts with abandon . . . but she doesn't indulge in bawdy gossip about her liaisons and she never, ever posts a post-coital selfie.