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Opinions of Saturday, 29 October 2005

Columnist: Ayiku, Charles Nii

Who Is A Gentleman In Ghana?

When I was a little boy, my mother used to tell me that, ? being a gentleman goes beyond just putting on a shirt and tie but involves a complete good character and mannerisms. She also said that, if you want to marry the best woman, you need to be a gentleman?. Since then, I have been asking myself these questions, ?who is a gentleman, do we have gentlemen? And how can we men be gentlemen so as to marry the best woman? Because, I always wanted to marry the best woman.

In my several discussions and research on this topic, I came across very interesting points. Some of these points have been relaxed by our own Ghanaian men, making them ?incomplete? gentlemen. I am glad to share these points with you today.

According to the Oxford Advance Learner?s Dictionary, ?a gentleman is a man who is polite and shows a consideration for the feeling of other people, a man who always acts in an honor way? This definition revealed to me that what my mum said was really true?.

It also tells me that, a quick glance around shows that there are very few true gentlemen remaining in Ghana today. In times past, a gentleman was much appreciated and being gentlemanly was a noble thing. It is true that things have changed in today's society; some for the better and some for the worse. I am not saying that Ghanaian men should act like robots and be slaves to etiquette, but some basic good manners will go a long way in building them as gentlemen. In other to be a gentleman, one needs to observe these points, This first point is respect; you should show respect to people, especially to your elders In fact, you should respect others as you would like them to respect you. I am specifying elders because it seems that today, young men in Ghana today think they know it all. Well, they don't. Just think of yourself some few years ago... you're much smarter and experienced today, aren't you? Of course, yet you thought you knew it all some years ago. Just as the definition goes, being polite is very important Even if you don't like someone; there is no need to lower yourself to their level. Be polite and courteous; show that you are the better man.

Whenever you are angry, do not lose your temper, when you do, you are showing everyone that you can not control your emotions. If you can not even control yourself, then how can you possibly control anything else? Keep your cool at all times (it won't be easy but it is worth the effort) and people will take positive note of your level headedness. Refraining from swearing is very important. When you swear, It shows that you don't have the vocabulary to express your thoughts appropriately. Furthermore, it is always very crude and impolite to be vulgar. In public, a lot of Ghanaian men almost subconsciously spit, this is very crude and not too pretty to look at. Do not spit in public; try to carry yourself with grace in all places and at all times. It is always important to remove your headwear upon entering a building. Also, never keep your headwear on while at the dinner table. It reflects very poor etiquette. During meals, wait until all the guests are properly seated and ready to commence the meal before eating. Everyone should start dining at the same time; this is a subtle but very important rule. How about putting up your best when you are in the presence of a lady? Most ladies are very smart and would be watching you especially on a first date. Most Ghanaian men are very good at impressing ladies for the first time, but then you have to be able to maintain your composure as a gentleman throughout your relationship with the lady as this would go a long way in giving you a head start over a lot of other competing men. In the presence of a lady, you should not forget the basic rule of male etiquette. That is, opening the door for a lady. It is also one of the easiest to follow so you have no reason to forget it. Whether she is about to enter your car, restaurant, club, or anyplace with a door, you should always hold it open. If there are many doors, then hold them open one after the other. It is also important to help a lady with her seat, for example, if an unaccompanied lady is closer to you, it is important that you help her be seated by pulling her chair out for her and gently pushing it back into place, with the lady seated of course. Also if a lady arrives at a table and there are no available seats, you should stand up and offer yours to her. These are simple but powerful actions.

Finally to complete the gentleman in you, make sure to ask the lady if you can get her something to drink (or eat, depending on the event). Show her that you care about her comfort and needs.

So, my fellow Ghanaian men, these are the points, try and observe them in your everyday life and display the mannerisms of a true gentleman. The world will appreciate such a rarity and your career will most definitely benefit from your good manners. Also remember that a gentleman has too much good sense to be affronted at insults, he is too well employed to remember injuries, and too indolent to bear malice. He is patient, forbearing, and resigned, on philosophical principles; he submits to pain, because it is inevitable, to bereavement, because it is irreparable, and to death, because it is his destiny. If he engages in controversy of any kind, his disciplined intellect preserves him from the blunder. GOOD LUCK!



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