Am I the last gentleman? Seriously, are there any men other than me who still treat women with respect, kindness and consideration?
The issue of sexual harassment has exploded on to the public scene with revelations of experiences from women all over the country. Their allegations and accusations are being made against men from all walks of life. Cops, movie/TV stars, producers, directors, model photographers, corporate executives, agents, politicians and yes, even your exalted leader have been caught up in this tsunami of disclosures.
The revelations by these many women are astounding and quite profound if even some of them are true. It has caused me to alter my own views about some of the accused. I grew up with Bill Cosby’s comedy mirroring my own life and I considered him a comic genius. Now I don’t think he’s one bit funny any more. I just see a worn out, half blind old man who spent his life trying to get into the underwear of many beautiful women by drugging them. (Really, Bill? How much fun could a drugged and incapacitated woman be?)
When I was a kid, I used to think Joe Paterno was a god and the Penn State institution was a model of decorum, morality, sportsmanship and education. That would be destroyed by the revelation that he spent years covering for his friend and subordinate, Joe Sandusky, while he sexually assaulted boys and young men.
Kevin Spacey was a favorite actor of mine. His roles in American Beauty, K-PAX and Pay It Forward were fine examples of great acting. Now all I see is a bully who can’t seem to keep his hands to himself and doesn’t seem to understand unwanted advances.
Apparently, predatory sexual harassment is far more prevalent than I ever knew and involves victims and predators of all types and both sexes. I find this amazing, in part because I never behaved this way and never will. I am a gentleman, possibly the last gentleman. I treat women like ladies until they behave otherwise and then I walk away.
I hold doors for women. I help them with their groceries at Costco, lift heavy things for them, move their furniture and reach things on shelves for them. I give them compliments for no reason, sincerely meant and sincerely given. I bring them flowers, hand picked and with no motive behind them other than to see them smile. I talk to them respectfully and listen in the same manner.
I do all this with no expectations, no ulterior secret motives, no bad intention. It would be nice to get a ‘thank you’ all the time but that happens with less and less frequency. My new rule is expect nothing.
I am trying to figure out why this sexual harassment and ungentle man-like behavior is so prevalent. This is just the publicly reported stuff too. Can you imagine what must be going on among the not-so-famous remainder of the population? Worse yet, how much more of this stuff is going unreported? My logical brain wants answers. Why are men behaving this way and why is it such a common thing? It’s difficult to wrap my head around this because I don’t do it. But they do. Many of them do. Why?
The only logical reason I can come up with is that, even occasionally, it works. It works in that they get what they want, which is sexual contact. wanted or unwanted. I don’t understand this either because if I even sense that a woman doesn’t like me, doesn’t want to talk to me and certainly would never go out with me or be friends, I walk away, period, end of story.
I very well might be the last gentleman. I know this because I live on Rejection Street and because I live there I think I can see why all these men do what they do. I’ll tell you what I get for being the last gentleman. I get to be alone all the time. I get slammed shut every time I think I might have met someone worth spending some time with. I get dirty looks, scowls, looks of astonishment and the rare expression of gratitude. I get to go on Match and watch while TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY SEVEN women can’t/won’t even say a polite ‘no thank you’ to my gentlemanly and oftentimes humorous, witty and intelligent queries. Yes, I used humor, wit, intelligence, romance, poetry, courtesy and a partridge in a pear tree. (I can do all that. I’m the author of six books.) Obviously none of those matter if you’re ugly as a bridge troll. Meanwhile, millions of men are having some modicum of success in attaining their goals by sending the women naked shots and lurid messages. It must be working because they’re doing those things and Match has millions of members and the largest market share of any dating site. In my opinion, it just doesn’t pay to be a gentleman there.
I can tell you from decades of experience that being a polite gentleman gets you nowhere in life. Not anywhere near where I live anyway. Example; I have a neighbor across the street who is an attractive girl in a violent relationship. I have watched her greaseball boyfriend assault her. I have watched them scream at each other and I have watched him or her leave for days only to come back. Go figure. I will note here that this is not an uncommon phenomena. It’s not pleasant to see the dysfunctional choices many women make in relationships when you know you would treat them so much better than that. It doesn’t matter.
I am a gentleman, possibly the last gentleman. It is now clear to me why I don’t hang around other guys and why I disavow those I used to look up to or admire. I never did like the way most guys talk about women when they are in packs and I have a really tough time not taking some jerk down when I see how he treats his wife or grilfriend.
I will not alter my behavior despite the complete lack of success in finding what I am looking for and the profoundly solitary life I lead. I will not send naked shots of myself for fear that you will send me $20 and tell me to go buy a pair of pants at Walmart. I will not walk up to you and say lurid things in the hopes that you and I will immediately drop our groceries in the produce aisle and start making some ‘produce’ of our own. I will not try to peer up your skirt, besides the women around here don’t wear them. I will not go to bars and pick up the local bar ‘ho’ and I will not go next door to Nevada so I can ‘git me some’ for hire.
I will continue to be a solitary gentleman, maybe not the last gentleman but a solitary one.
Ethan Holmes is the author of six books, all in ebook format and four in paperback.
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