The Civility Code circa 2017

  1. A gentleman always removes his hat inside; even when eating fried fish and drinking ice tea. Your mother should have taught you this.
  2. Be aware of yourself by exercising an awareness of others. Civility is marked by an ingrained sense of humility.  They are indivisible. Civility uses an inside voice, asks more questions, and listens intently. Gentleman are civil and humble.
  3. Keep a handkerchief or clean tissues accessible.
  4. Business cards should be simple and elegant. They should include your name and relevant contact information.  If insulted and invited to duel with another gentleman, you may exchange cards with the other gentleman’s servant.*
  5. Duels, affaires d’honneur, should be fought with pistols at no less than 32 paces.
  6. When a gentleman has been offended, a second must be appointed to settle the further rules of engagement: the time and place of the duel, weapons to be used, and the disposal of your remains.
  7. A gentleman doesn’t use a technological device during a meal, service of worship, or other public event. This is rude.
  8. A gentleman doesn’t use the term “fake news” in polite conversation. Gentlemen will do their own research and withhold their public opinions.
  9. A gentleman doesn’t need to decorate his automobile with bumper stickers to express aspects of his personality. His mere presence should free up the need to use these visual preoccupations.
  10. A gentleman acknowledges his mother, his wife, and grandmother on Mother’s Day. Even if they are no longer living, an acknowledgement of some form is appropriate and required.
  11. Tipping is a mark of respect for the work of others. Gentlemen tip.
  12. Gentlemen always say thank you. A gentleman recognizes the role of gratitude in forming the bonds of western civilization.  Without gratitude, society collapses.
  13. Writing, with pen and paper, matters. Despite the preponderance of electronic devices, the well-timed hand written note means something in times of joy and sorrow.
  14. Gentlemen look up and around. They appreciate their surroundings.
  15. Always go the funeral.
  16. Learn to tell a story and tell it well.
  17. Give more than you take; spiritually and materially.
  18. There are words you should remove from your vocabulary. You know what they are.  Erase them now.
  19. A gentleman should give a strong handshake. Handshakes matter.
  20. If you’re going to shave, do not shave with plastic toys. Use a razor made to last.

*Of the 322 duels fought in Russia between 1894 and 1912, only 15 had a fatal outcome.  Fate is on your side.  Should you live, remember to thank your opponent, tip your second, and buy a round of vodka for all involved.