How to Be a Gentleman: A Contemporary Guide to Common Courtesy

( 26 )


Being a gentleman isn’t just being a nice guy, or a considerate guy, or the type of guy someone might take home to meet their mother.
A gentleman realizes that he has the unique opportunity to distinguish himself from the rest of the crowd. He knows when an email is appropriate, and when nothing less than a handwritten note will do. He knows how to dress on the golf course,
in church, and at a party. He knows how to breeze through an airport ...

See more details below
Hardcover (Revised)
$13.37 price
(Save 21%)$16.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (19) from $7.03   
  • New (14) from $7.03   
  • Used (5) from $7.08   
How to Be a Gentleman Revised & Updated: A Contemporary Guide to Common Courtesy

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.99 price


Being a gentleman isn’t just being a nice guy, or a considerate guy, or the type of guy someone might take home to meet their mother.
A gentleman realizes that he has the unique opportunity to distinguish himself from the rest of the crowd. He knows when an email is appropriate, and when nothing less than a handwritten note will do. He knows how to dress on the golf course,
in church, and at a party. He knows how to breeze through an airport without the slightest fumble of his carry-on or boarding pass. And those conversational icebreakers—“Where do I know you from?” A gentleman knows better.
Gentlemanliness is all in the details, and John Bridges is reclaiming the idea that men—gentlemen—can be extraordinary in every facet of their lives.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401604738
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/3/2012
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 91,601
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

John Bridges, author of How to Be a Gentleman, is also the coauthor, with Bryan Curtis, of seven other volumes in the best-selling GentleManners series. He is a frequent guest on television and radio news programs, always championing gentlemanly behavior in modern society. Bridges has appeared on the Today Show, the Discovery Channel, and CBS Sunday Morning, and has been profiled in People magazine and the New York Times.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt



Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2012 John Bridges
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4016-0474-5

Chapter One


A gentleman knows how to make others feel comfortable.

* * *

If a gentleman has a cold, and especially if he is running a fever, he declines all social invitations. If it is possible, he even stays away from the office.

* * *

Even if he lives alone, a gentleman never drinks milk directly from the container.

A gentleman knows that unseemly habits, although they may seem innocuous, can easily become hard, or even impossible, to break.

A Gentleman and his cell phone

Although cell phones have become ubiquitous in the modern world, a gentleman does his best to use his cell phone in the most unobtrusive manner possible. He knows that, while many may consider a cell phone to be a necessity, there is no reason he should be obnoxious when using one. In fact, cell phones, and even wireless headsets, have become so common that no one is likely to be impressed by the fact that a gentleman owns one. He need not flaunt his newest gadgets, no matter how expensive or cutting-edge they may be, in hopes of impressing others with his social or professional status. A gentleman who seeks to shore up his self-image by the use of gadgetry, especially among strangers, is a very needy gentleman indeed.

A gentleman knows that incessant use of his cell phone can only make it clear that he values the person on the other end of the telephone conversation far more highly than the persons who are in his company. Such behavior is, at its best, ill mannered and irritating. At its worst, it grows tedious and may well lead to unpleasant confrontations with total strangers, theater ushers, train conductors, or airport security.

A gentleman's telephone calls—whether they concern business or private matters—are still his personal affair. He does not force others to listen while he negotiates a real estate deal, while he makes plans for a Saturday-night outing, or while he recreates, in vivid detail, every play of the past weekend's rugby game. Other people, after all, are probably no more interested in the dealings of his day-to-day existence than he is interested in theirs.

If a gentleman finds that he truly must initiate, or receive, a phone call while he is in a public place, he moves to the place where he is least likely to become a nuisance to others. He knows that it is virtually impossible to conduct a quiet cell phone conversation—especially when he is in a crowded restaurant, the aisle of a grocery store, or the lobby of a theater. If the person on the other end of the conversation can hear him, a gentleman had best assume that every other person within earshot can probably hear him, too.

Even in a business meeting, or when he is conducting business at mealtime, a gentleman still says, "Excuse me" before answering a call—even if it is related to the business at hand. He does not make phone calls during a business meeting, unless they are pertinent to the topic that is currently on the table and unless it is appropriate for the content of the conversation to be shared with everyone else within hearing distance.

A gentleman would never be so rude, or self-important, as to cover the phone with his hand, turn his head away from the rest of the table, and mutter, "Excuse me, folks, but this isn't something everybody here needs to be in on."

A gentleman who happens to be a doctor checks his pager with an usher or changes it to the silent setting. However, if he is a real estate agent out for an evening at the theater, he turns off his pager and his cell phone entirely. A real-estate closing is not a life-threatening emergency.

* * *

A gentleman does not switch on his cell phone and launch into a conversation the moment his plane has landed, simply because a flight attendant has told him it is safe to do so.

* * *

If a flight attendant tells a gentleman to turn off his cell phone, his MP3 player, his laptop, or any other electronic device, he does so immediately. He does not behave childishly, attempting to stay on the phone until he has been singled out for having ignored the safety instructions.

Although a gentleman may be enjoying music, by means of his personal sound system and with his earbuds plugged in, he still keeps the volume turned to a reasonable level, knowing that an earth-shattering sound level may well be shattering the nerves of the persons seated near him.

* * *

A gentleman does not assume that, because his wireless headset is inconspicuous, his conversations are inconspicuous, as well.

* * *

Whenever a gentleman uses his cell phone or his headset on a crowded sidewalk or in the aisle of a grocery store, he still keeps track of where he is going. No matter how important or intriguing his conversation may be, it still does not justify his ramming into another shopper's grocery cart.

A gentleman does not use his camera phone in ways that intrude upon the privacy of others.

* * *

A gentleman understands that if the taking of photographs is prohibited at any concert or other performance or in an art gallery, that prohibition also includes camera-phone pictures.

* * *

A gentleman does not attempt to walk and send a text message at the same time.

* * *

A gentleman does not send text messages, or check for text messages sent to him, during a movie or a live performance of any kind, much less during a worship service. He knows that the glow from his hand-held device, no matter how discreetly he attempts to conceal it, will almost inevitably distract others.

A gentleman understands that, should he elect to send or receive text messages during a performance or a worship service, the people around him may assume that he has little interest in the activities at hand. In more than a few cases, unfortunately, their assumption will be right.

* * *

A gentleman understands that, for good or ill, as he walks down a sidewalk while engaged in a conversation via his wireless headset, passersby may understandably take him for a paranoid schizophrenic.

A Gentleman Goes to the Theater

Because he respects other people, a gentleman always shows up on time for any performance, whether it is a concert, a motion picture, or a stage play. If he arrives late, he does not attempt to be seated until there is a suitable break in the performance. (In the case of a play or a musical comedy, his tardiness may require him to wait until intermission.) In every case, he follows the instructions of the ushers. If he behaves himself, a gentleman knows, a kindly usher may quietly slip him into a seat on the back row.

A gentleman never forgets that watching a live performance is not the same thing as watching a TV show in his own living room. He does not talk during the performance—even during the very loudest music or sound effects. He does not shift about in his seat unnecessarily.

If a gentleman has a tendency to cough, he always carries a mint or throat lozenge. Should he find himself surprised by an uncontrollable coughing fit, a gentleman leaves the auditorium—both for his own good and for the good of others.

At a concert or any other musical performance, a gentleman does not applaud until the end of a complete musical number. If he is unsure, he is well advised not to start an ovation alone.

Without even being asked to do so, a gentleman turns off his cell phone, or any other electronic device he is carrying on his person, as soon as he enters the theater. (He also understands that, in this case, "off" means the phone is completely silenced—not simply switched to the "vibrate" mode.) Because he knows others may be wishing to study their program notes or simply to prepare themselves, mentally, for the performance ahead, he does not engage in cell phone chitchat once he has settled into his seat.

When a gentleman makes his way down a row in a crowded theater, he faces the people who are already in their seats. A gentleman never forces others to stare at his backside.

* * *

A gentleman does not hum along, sing along, or beat time to the rhythm at any concert, unless the performers have invited him and his fellow audience members to do so.

* * *

If a gentleman has left a telephone message for, or sent an e-mail to, another person, he does not leave badgering follow-up calls or insistent follow-up e-mails, especially if no deadline is involved.

* * *

A gentleman does not hesitate to screen his calls.

A Gentleman Goes to a Wedding

Although it is true that any wedding is technically a public event (since it recognizes the legal union of two people), a gentleman only shows up at weddings to which he has been invited. If his invitation does not say "and guest," he attends alone, even if a reception follows. He arrives on time and sits on the appropriate side of the aisle (the left side, if he is a friend of the bride; the right side, if he is a friend of the groom; if he knows them both, he sits on the side with the greater number of empty seats). During the ceremony, he stands when everyone else does, and he does not chat during the music. At the reception he speaks to the bride and groom and to their parents (no matter how many divorces are involved). If there is dancing, he does his part, partnering as many bridesmaids as possible.

If he is not invited to the wedding reception, he is not obligated to give a gift; however, he does not consider it an undue obligation, in any case, to help the couple start out in married life. The gift he sends may be as simple, or as elaborate, as his finances will allow.

A gentleman does not bring his gift with him to the church or to the reception. Instead, he has it sent or he delivers it himself, well ahead of the wedding. If he is unable to send his gift ahead of time—because of his schedule, his financial situation, or his simple forgetfulness—he does not fret about sending it late. He may send a gift at any point during the year following the wedding, knowing that a well-mannered bride and groom will appreciate his thoughtfulness and generosity, at any time.

If he is invited to the reception, a separate reception card will probably be enclosed with the invitation. That card, if it is correctly worded, will indicate whether or not he is expected to wear black tie. If the wedding takes place in a very large church or a hotel ballroom, and if the invitation is an extremely formal one, engraved on heavy stock, he may assume that black tie will be appropriate. If he does not own black tie and does not wish to rent his formalwear, he can always feel at ease wearing his best dark suit, black shoes, and a conservative tie.

If he remains uncertain as to the dress code for the festivities, however, a gentleman goes ahead and contacts the mother of the bride, telling her straight-forwardly, "I'm looking forward to Betsey and Hayworth's wedding on the nineteenth, but I was wondering: Do you think most of the gentlemen will be wearing black tie?"

In no case does a gentleman ever wear black tie before five in the evening, no matter what the invitation requests.

A Gentleman at the Pool

Not every gentleman has a private pool. He may live in an apartment building, in a condominium, or in a subdivision, where any number of people may have the right to share the swimming pool, all at the same time. If all the residents of the building, the condominium, or the subdivision are adults, a gentleman may assume that the accepted rules of poolside behavior will be respected. He does not snatch the last chaise longue, unless he is certain no other sunbather has established ownership of it. Nevertheless, a bath towel, casually slung across a chaise or a pool chair and left lying there for more than forty-five minutes does not establish ownership of that chaise or pool chair, and a gentleman may claim rights of abandonment, simply by asking, "Does anybody know whether somebody is using this chair?" No matter what the response, he may simply fold up the abandoned towel, in a respectful way, and assume ownership of the chaise or chair. If the affronted sunbather returns, a gentleman simply says, "The chaise had been empty for so long, I simply folded your towels and set them here. I hope I kept them in good order."

A gentleman never borrows another person's sunblock—unless it is offered. And he never offers to share his own sunblock or to slather down the back of a fellow sunbather, unless he has been asked to do so.

If unruly children are disrupting the pool, a gentleman may call this behavior to the attention of 00-01_How to Be Gentleman.indd 22 11/2/11 10:26 AM the children's parents or their temporary overseers. If nothing else seems to work, and if the children are old enough to understand simple English, he may say something frank, such as: "If you're going to splash people in the pool, please go down to the other end and splash people you know. Please do not splash me."

It is astounding the impact such a remark can have on undisciplined children, especially coming from strangers.

A gentleman knows that the gym is a place for working out, not merely a place for socializing, and certainly not a place for finding a new a love interest or attempting to impress others.

* * *

In the workout room, a gentleman does not hog the weights.

* * *

A gentleman waits his turn before using the workout machines.

* * *

A gentleman respects the time limits set for the use of cardiovascular equipment.

In the midst of even his most strenuous workout, a gentleman does not grunt more loudly than necessary.

* * *

If a gentleman tends to have athlete's foot, he wears shower shoes at the gym.

After he has finished with an exercise machine or with a weight bench, a gentleman wipes it down with a towel and uses a spray-bottle cleaner, if such is provided.

* * *

A gentleman may do as he pleases in his own shower, but he does not shave in the shower at the gym. He never takes another gentleman's towel.

* * *

If a gentleman shaves at his health club, he always rinses out the sink.

A Gentleman Attends a Funeral

A gentleman recognizes that a funeral is a time for paying respects. He wears a dark suit, a white shirt, a somber tie, and a pair of black shoes. If there is a wake, a reception, or a visitation with the family of the deceased, he arrives on time and waits quietly in the receiving line. He keeps his remarks simple, out of respect for the grieving person's overwrought emotions. A statement such as, "I am sorry about your loss, Mrs. Magnuson. Your husband was a wonderful person," is appropriate. During the service, a gentleman does not engage the other mourners in conversation. He sits where the ushers tell him to sit. He always signs the book.

A gentleman may attend the funeral of anyone he has known personally or professionally, at least if they have been on speaking terms. If the deceased person has shown him particular kindness—especially if he has ever been entertained in the deceased person's home—a gentleman makes it a point to pay his respects and offer his condolences.

If the family of the deceased person requests that flowers not be sent, a gentleman does not send them. (He knows that, in Judaism and in some other religious traditions, flowers are never sent to the funeral.) Instead, he makes a contribution to an appropriate charity in the departed person's memory.


Excerpted from HOW TO Be a GENTLEMAN by JOHN BRIDGES Copyright © 2012 by John Bridges. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents


The Fundamental Things Apply: 10 Eternal Truths of the Gentlemanly Life....................4
Chapter One A Gentleman Experiences Real Life....................7
Chapter Two A Gentleman Gets Dressed....................55
Chapter Three A Gentleman Goes to Dinner....................77
Chapter Four A Gentleman Says the Right Thing....................95
Chapter Five A Gentleman Gives a Party....................121
Chapter Six A Gentleman Goes to a Party....................137
Chapter Seven A Gentleman and His Friends....................155
Chapter Eight A Gentleman Goes to the Office....................179
Chapter Nine A Gentleman Gets Equipped....................199
Chapter Ten Extreme Etiquette....................209
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 26 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 26, 2012

    Must Read

    The insight in this book is timeless and classic. I would definately recommend it for any man looking to better himself regardless of his age. The codes, tips, and rules that John Bridges spells out are very direct and often have a touch of humor to boot.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 19, 2012

    Good information, nicely written

    This book has concise bits of advice that would be good for someone wanting to improve their manners, or just as a refresher to someone already versed in the basics. I believe almost anyone would take away something positive from reading this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 30, 2010

    Excellent book for young people

    I bought copies of this book for each of my four grandsons. One is thirteen and other three are seventeen. Two of them have read it and said they learned a lot. I also read it and think it is an excellent guide for young people growing up in today's world.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 13, 2009

    Excellent "how to" for young men

    My son requested this book after using his college roommates' copy extensively during the last school year. It contains excellent tips and pointers for social and business situations that young men encounter.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 8, 2009

    How to be a Gentleman, Indeed

    Excellent reading for young men. Describes in simple terms a "proper" way to handle many social situations

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2007

    Attention all mothers and grandmothers

    Attention all mothers and grandmothers I happen to pick this book up at a friend's house and started browsing through it, just so grateful that there is such a book. This is a something I have to have for all my male grandsons. Though their parents try hard in raising their kids to be responsible and law abiding, no one is really teaching them to be gentlemen. Being someone with poise, manners, and class never goes out of style and I want people to say 'What a gentleman he is' about each one of my gransons. And I know that some day when they grow up, they will say 'grandmother, you don't know how helpful this book was to me even though I thought it to be korny or silly when you first gave it to me'. My youngest is 11 and he is getting one too, even if he lets it sit on his dresser til he's 21! Our oldest is 24 and in real need of this. Hopefully, it's not too late.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2004

    A Must Read for Any Modern Man...

    I read this book 3 years ago and it had a significant impact on my life socially and professionally. You may initially disregard the book as nonsense, but if you give it a chance, you will be pleasantly surprised at what you discover inside. I am buying a few copies for friends just to share the wisdom inside.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2004

    Perfect for men of all ages!

    Great book! I should give it some of my friends to read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2002

    Great Guy Gift

    Great book on how a guy should behave and conduct himself around others. I've read other etiquette books but this one is the best. Simple and to the point. Every guy should read this one!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2002

    Great Teaching Tool.

    This book is perfect as a gift for any boy entering his teens. Old-Fashioned rules of etiquette and common courtesies are easily explained. I wish we all acted more like gentleman in today's society.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2002

    My Son thanked me for visiting!

    My husband and I recently visited our Son at college. I had given him this book as a Valentine gift and he kind of laughed when I gave it to him, yet he took it back to school with him. Anyway, I just got an email thanking us for visiting this weekend, and how much he enjoyed the visit! I like to think he's becoming a 'gentleman' and this book helped.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2000

    A 'must-have' for any modern man

    I read this book a couple of years ago. Its filled with very helpful advice. This book is key to impressing the woman of your dreams.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)