A Fifteen Year Old Said

In case you’ve been living under a rock recently, Emma Watson has been in the news a lot lately. I will post more later about some of my thoughts on gender equality, but for now you should read this article on HelloGiggles and more importantly the letter a fifteen year old wrote (originally published in The Telegraph) because he says it right.


On Being a Gentleman (20 Rules)

1. Always make eye contact and always smile. Even if a bug flies directly into your eye and explodes and makes you want to vomit–you better be staring intently at her and smiling. People will always tell you to be confident and sure of yourself in every situation but they will never let you know that this is one of the easiest and effective ways to show that you are so.

2. When seated, don’t slouch. When standing, don’t lean. Your body will seem attentive and interested. Stand solidly on both feet as if you are purposely keeping yourself on the ground and gravity has nothing to do with it.

3. Don’t fidget or stutter or fumble nervously with any part of your body or an inanimate object. You will appear weak and unconfident and hesitant. Never cross a part of your body (legs, fingers, arms, anything)–subconsciously all humans love symmetry.

4. Always position your body to face the person with whom you are engaged. Unless you are purposely trying to be aloof, then do the opposite.

5. Watch for physical cues. This can be one of the most difficult things to do when you’re concentrating on providing some of your own for her to pick up on, you must also be aware of any cues that she might be sending you. Some of the most common, in degree of seriousness, are: touching you or placing a hand on your face, hair, leg, shoulder or arm, whispering in your ear, winking, smiling.

6. Beware the body. Don’t ever physically engage a woman who does not make the first advance into your immediate twelve inches of personal space. Watch out for body cues that ‘she’s just not that into you’, including: flipping or playing with her body or hair while you speak, rolling her eyes, frowning, turning her body away from you or to face someone else.

7. Speak clearly and succinctly. I don’t care if you have gonorrhea of the mouth, your words should sound like Morgan Freeman at all times.

8. Have a purpose before you open your mouth. Like any endeavor, it is vital to prepare for the end before the beginning.

9. Know your audience. Know how they speak, use their dialect if you can, and speak about their interests.

10. Keep an outward focus. Never talk about yourself unless you absolutely have to (like dinner with her parents). Always keep the topic of conversation moving forward and away from yourself.

11. It’s always about them, not you. Women love to talk about themselves and their friends. Your goal should be not to find out what she did Friday night or whether she’s wearing underwear, but to discover the name of her imaginary friend when she was seven and to know what’s the flavor of her favorite ice cream. Ask before you tell.

12. Never interrupt and always continue. Never interrupt a woman when she is talking about anything and if you should have to discontinue your conversation for some reason, the next time you meet remember what you were talking about last so you can bring it up again if necessary but don’t go straight to that as your next icebreaker ever.

13. Ladies first, gentlemen. Always let the woman do everything before you except stand. Chivalry is always acceptable and can never get old or worn out. The list of socially acceptable and expected behavior for a gentlemen includes: opening all doors so the lady can enter/exit before you, pull a chair out and have the lady sit before yourself, let the lady order and decide for herself (she’s not a child and will not appreciate you treating her like one), and for crying out loud let the lady talk and actually listen to what she is saying.

14. Avoid silence, use laughter and humor. If the two of you are alone and there is no conversation after 10 minutes and the two of you aren’t completely locking tongues, just smile, say something funny but not offensive about nothing in particular or ask a question. Questions will keep a conversation going, but too many of them will make her think you are trying to interrogate her.

15. Know her friends and make sure they like you. Do nice things for her friends but don’t treat them special. Always be polite when you are around her friends. Call them by name and always greet them individually and not as a whole (people like to be appreciated for their individuality). Remember at least 2-3 interesting things about each friend that makes them different from the rest of the group so you have something to discuss when alone with them.

16. Relax, remain present but silent if necessary. Sometimes, just being in the presence of her friends is enough to keep you in their memory and off their warning radar. Take the quiet approach when discussing topics you are unsure about (like birth control and menstruation–you can’t win there and will always be wrong if you say anything–always).

17. Know your boundaries. This one should be self-explanatory but sometimes people learn the hard way. Just stay twelve-inches from her friends at all times and never use your body language in any way that could be construed to seem like you are attracted to any of her friends at any time. This may seem difficult, but it’s not as hard as you think. Just focus your body language at the girl you’re interested in.

18. Do it for her if she wants you to and give her what she wants. If she wants the biggest stuffed teddy bear, buy it or win it by shooting ducks. If she wants to jump into a hot tub naked with you, just do it (strip from the bottom up). Obviously number 18 has a lot of sexual connotation but you get the idea. Women want a daring and adventurous man who’s willing to be whimsical and who’s willing to spoil her on occasion (in bed too).

19. Teamwork when necessary. Your bros should be willing to accompany you and assist you in your romantic endeavors by providing whatever services are necessary to accomplish your tasks. Bros will always be there for you to be a wingman, designated driver or chaperone, best man, cell mate or alibi. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you think you are outnumbered or you are in foreign territory (like a sorority house…scary place).

20. Carpe Diem. Never let a moment or an hour or a week go by without saying or doing what you want and what you are passionate about. If you live your life like each moment is your last, everyone around you will see that confidence in you too and it will awaken within them similar feelings and together you can accomplish anything.