Death of the Gentleman


Opening doors, listening and always knowing the right thing to say, are some of the qualities that distinguished gentlemen from the rest. It was not uncommon I African society for the men to delicately handle the women in their lives as if they were precious artifacts of unimaginable value.

Meetings between the sexes were closely monitored by elders, family and society which ensured that they occurred in group settings. This included wedding ceremonies, funerals or just dances; this was done to avoid cultural taboos like pre-marital sex to protect the family’s pride and honor.

This practice was not only common in African culture but people of other parts of the world did this too; they include the Indians, Asians, Arabs and many more others treated virginity as sacred. In many traditional practices a lot of virgins were notably regarded as ‘pure’ enough to appease the gods for the ultimate sacrifice.

Fast forward a few centuries and modernity has had its fair share of victims, African culture is on the brink of extinction, save for a few practices that we hold dearly. Technology has extremely altered the cause of our people to a great extent.

A look at TV shows being aired by local stations, it is not hard to conclude that love, infatuation, lust or whatever name you decide to give it, is a key ingredient on offer. I rarely watch TV, but after a lot of convincing by family and family, I can confidently say that I am now a keen ‘follower’ of the numerous dating shows.

Seduction is an art that many have failed to master. After watching countless episodes with both male and female companions and conducting numerous social experiments through observation, questionnaires and countless dates myself, it is now safe to say that the gentleman is dead save for a rare few.

A look into most dictionaries, define the gentleman as a man of good courteous conduct. Often it is misunderstood as a ‘man of means’, the title cuts across social class and singles out a man’s character more than anything else.

There are myriad points of reference I could use to distinguish the gentleman from other men but I will choose the most obvious and one which you will always be tested or examined.

Conversation  skills

In all my years on this world, I have found that no matter how much money you earn, whichever exotic or luxurious destination in mind or no matter the looks nothing beats the ability to entertain and excite through talk.

The easy access of communication has adversely impacted our social lives in turn, almost restricting face to face meet ups with phone calls and video chats. I personally bear no ill will towards these devices and gadgets but at what cost is the price too much?

The only way I know of asking someone out on a date is through or by talking. Eyes might meet, smiles exchanged but words express and try to explain the emotions felt or being experienced.

With that said it is no wonder many young men fail when attempting to woo. The parameters that clearly define boundaries on a date are clear, keep it polite and not too personal unless she wants you to play detective. Educational and professional matters are always a good starting point.

It shows you have an interest towards her outside the bedroom, if she is reluctant to disclose doesn’t push steer the conversation elsewhere. Ladies it seems nowadays are more into talking through the phone than to an actual person. Walk into any bar, eatery, party or even matatu, the scene is always the same. They are glued to their screens babbling their way via text.

Now men I know it seems like a challenge but as long as your confident and interesting am sure after a while you might be the one on the other end of the line. Your talk should vary from one subject to another as something interesting must have happened or read somewhere along the line. Incase not don’t worry listening is also a prolific tool which shouldn’t be used sparingly as women love to talk about anything and everything, just steer them to the right direction.

Conceal your dislikes and disgusts just because she misses Sunday service due to hangovers doesn’t mean she is not a good sport. Only offer sincere compliments but don’t over do it, remember men, simplicity is key. Flattery is to be avoided at all costs until her relationship status is revealed.

English and Kiswahili are encouraged but limit the use of slang to a few popular words. Never interupt5 her speech unless only to tell her she is beautiful, show or at least fake concern in what seems dear to her this beats her hearing you brag about yourself and your hero complex.

So next time your out try the few tips out and give us and talk sensibly yes it is all it takes to be a gentleman.

Ogano Otieno