Guys, I have a challenge for you this week. (Ladies, you still have a role to play in this though, so don’t go anywhere.)
The other day I saw another single man complaining on Facebook about how nice guys always finish last.
“Wait a minute,” I protested. I used to fall for this same thinking when I was a self-proclaimed nice guy. But the premise is false. Being nice is not the reason you’re still single. Being self-serving instead of a gentleman is usually to blame.
If you’re a single man and you’re falling into this nice-guys-finish-last mentality, here’s my challenge for you: Come up with a gentleman’s code that defines what it means to be a “nice guy” and hold yourself accountable to it throughout this week. Let it frame your interactions with every younger and older lady you meet, and how you talk and think about women when they’re not around.
To do this right though, you have to follow a few simple guidelines. Here are three easy steps to help you build a gentleman’s code to follow this week.
1. Ask your grandma what’s wrong with men these days.
I don’t know about your grandma, but my grandma isn’t shy about telling me what’s wrong with people these days. The obnoxious music we listen to, our infatuation with our phones and don’t get her started on fidget spinners.
She admires old-fashioned, traditional values, and she holds everyone to a higher standard, including herself. For example, every time I visit her home, everything is immaculate. I kid her and ask where she’s living because her home never looks messy or lived in.
When I take her out for dinner, I do things I don’t normally do. I open doors for her, pull her chair out at the dinner table and escort her arm-in-arm as we walk.
I’m a different man around her. I’m more considerate, service-minded and gentle with her. You might say I’m a gentleman around her.
I know, times have changed and chivalry is dead. That’s not entirely true, though. It’s dying, and it’s completely our fault, guys. Women have never stopped wanting to be treated like ladies. They’ve just grown tired of waiting for us to get our act together.
If I’m not at the door before she is, my wife won’t wait for me to open it for her. She has better things to do than wait for me to get with the program. My grandma will always wait, on the other hand. She holds me to a higher standard and she won’t let me forget how to treat her like a lady.
So as you work on your gentleman’s code, consider your grandma’s standards. How does she expect to be treated? Commit to treating all women with the same standard. More than this, commit to being prompt. Expect no one to wait for you to be polite — especially a lady.
2. Watch a film adaptation of a Jane Austen book.
One of my favorite movies is “Pride and Prejudice,” and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Yes, I have read the book, and I learned a lot from it.
Guys, you’ll never learn what women enjoy or look for in a man by watching sports, playing video games, reading science fiction books or playing poker with your guy friends.
Women can be mysterious, yes, but they’re not as mysterious as single men make them out to be. There are countless opportunities for men to explore what women want in a relationship but most of us are too manly for our own good.
Don’t worry, guys. You can watch girly movies and read a Jane Austen novel without losing manliness points. In fact, if you pay good attention and take mental notes, you can be better off for it.
I don’t know what it is about guys these days, but we don’t like being romantic. As a man, you don’t feel manly when you do something considerate for the lady you love and people respond with, “Aw, how sweet.”
It feels like your “mandrometer” drops dangerously low into “sissy-boy” territory. I know from personal experience.
I, however, cannot think of a more manly thing to do than to consider your girlfriend’s, fiancée’s or wife’s need for affection above your pride.
Over the years, I’ve learned to care less about what others think of me and focus instead on treating my wife well. Though I still have a ways to go. I’ll graduate when I dance with her at a wedding without worrying about people seeing how bad of a dancer I am.
As you create your gentleman’s code, stop and consider ways you can give more of yourself to the one you love and less of yourself to the rest of the world. Are you willing to discover and give what’s desired of you, even if it doesn’t make you feel tough and strong all the time? If you do, you’ll discover what it means to be a true gentleman.
3. Read the book of Ruth.
Ruth was an extraordinary woman of faith. She could have abandoned her mother-in-law, Naomi, after her husband died. Instead, she gave up the opportunity to return home and pledged the rest of her life to take care of Naomi.
Boaz discovered Ruth, heard about her unfortunate situation and discovered her loyalty to Naomi. He provided for her needs, protected her from harm, redeemed her as his wife and restored her late husband’s family name. There’s not a modern equivalent, but it’s kind of like marrying and taking your bride’s last name instead of her taking yours.
It’s telling that the book is named after Ruth and not Boaz. Boaz sacrificed a lot for Ruth, but not as much as Ruth sacrificed for Naomi. Things worked out, but Ruth took an enormous risk staying with Naomi and taking care of her. She had a home back in Moab where she would have been much better off, but she sacrificed that and so much more to come alongside Naomi in her time of need.
As men, we often want to be the hero of the story. We want to be the knight in shining armor that swoops in and saves the princess from the fiery castle. That’s what Boaz did for Ruth and Naomi, and yet, the book isn’t named after him. He didn’t do it for fame and glory — he did it because it was the right thing to do.
So as you come up with a gentleman’s code and you commit to keeping it this week, don’t stop there. Keep it the rest of this month. And after that, keep it some more.
There are plenty of self-proclaimed “nice guys” out there that think they’re single because they’re nice. I think they’re single because they’re self-serving, just like I was. Instead of being nice, hold yourself to a higher standard, put yourself second, serve women with respect and consideration, and let her be the hero of your story.
It won’t make you less of a man. It will make you a gentleman. And gentlemen don’t finish last — they put ladies first.