The Modern Gentleman: A Guide to Essential Manners, Savvy and Vice


THE MODERN GENTLEMAN is a visually stimulating, rib-tickling, thought-provoking sourcebook of manners and mischief for the 21st-century male. The book offers a panoramic snapshot of the gentleman: witty and poignant, traditional but spontaneous, flirtatious yet courting. Discussions range from the classic (Motoring, Oenophilia) and serious (Secrets & Lies, The Good Husband), to the racy (Kink & Fetish, To the Power of 3) and silly (Bumper Stickers, Fonzarelli Moves & Legerdemain ). And since it is ...

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THE MODERN GENTLEMAN is a visually stimulating, rib-tickling, thought-provoking sourcebook of manners and mischief for the 21st-century male. The book offers a panoramic snapshot of the gentleman: witty and poignant, traditional but spontaneous, flirtatious yet courting. Discussions range from the classic (Motoring, Oenophilia) and serious (Secrets & Lies, The Good Husband), to the racy (Kink & Fetish, To the Power of 3) and silly (Bumper Stickers, Fonzarelli Moves & Legerdemain ). And since it is inevitable that a gentleman will dabble in the friskier areas of excess, trouble, and chance, the book's naughty nucleus, “The Potent Gentleman,” explores leisure and dalliance, from alcohol and snuff to recreational botanicals and sex.All men aspire to be perpetually dapper, fluent in three languages, and hit 300-yard drives off the blue tees, not to mention quote poetry by the stanza and win a back-alley scrap. However, there is a dashing plateau more desirable than Hollywood perfection, a level of gallantry that makes one stand out, even in the elevator. So knot up your ascot, pour a glass of sherry, and crack open the MODERN GENTLEMAN: your Man Cycle is peaking.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
All in all, authors Phineas Mollod and Jason Tesauro have given good taste a long-overdue upgrade, not to mention great martini recipes splashed throughout.
Publishers Weekly
Ladies and Gentlemen, How to Live You're a pretty slick guy who always says "please" and "thank you." But do you possess gentlemanly knowledge, such as the correct way to drink Armagnac, or how to make interesting conversation in elevators? And what about holding doors open for women? Phineas Mollod and Jason Tesauro have written The Modern Gentleman: A Guide to Essential Manners, Savvy & Vice to educate men on the finer points of life, from the barber shop to the opera. This thorough guide covers skinny-dipping, flirting, wine, card playing, sleeper trains, apologizing to lovers, e-mail, gift-giving and more, making it a must-have for every etiquette-conscious guy. Illustrations. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580084307
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2002
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.09 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

JASON TESAURO is a wine-and-spirits consultant and performance poet. As cofounder (with Phineas) of the Rhubarb Manor Croquet Club, he placed second in the first annual Memorial Day Croquet Soirée and recently betrothed the Fair Elizabeth, who finished first. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
PHINEAS MOLLOD received his law degree from Vanderbilt and is a member of the New York County Lawyers Association and the Kentucky Bourbon Circle. He lives in New York City.

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First Chapter


What better end to an evening of group revelry, romantic frolic, or solitary mischief than a refreshing rinse and spin? Breaststroke sans a slap in the face, the skinny-dip is the most laudable of swims. Here, group or dual dynamics are fortified by liberating nakedness and a tinge of naughtiness. Like a night at sleep-away camp, once a small band has shared a bare splash, all bonds are reinforced. Besides, you've always wanted to see your pal's girlfriend naked anyway.

Even without drawers, the after-hours puddle plash is no time for a gentleman to lose his shirt.

Here are a few recommended scenarios:

Oceanfront Foray: A moonlight jaunt is a must for any beach stay.

Disco Dip: After bouts of the Hustle, sweaty friends assuage the heat by dodging into a local hotel water hole.

Lakeside Isolation: Nobody's around, so it's a day or night treat (watch for snapping turtles).

Polar Drench: Have a warm robe and a hot toddy waiting.

Post-Love Lave: Beyond the bath . . . lagoons aren't just for Brooke Shields and seven stranded castaways.

Chlorine Nightcap: Why don't we all go back to my place for a float?

Solo Soak: Spiritual "me time" in quiet waters.

How does a gentleman maintain a polite personal space when the only thing between him and her is H2O? Casting off clothing doesn't signal the loss of manners. Despite primal urges to take to the bleacher seats with binoculars and peanuts, glance but furtively upon disrobing others. A callipygian lady should be allowed to slip languidly into the water without probing eyeballs keeping her in the crosshairs like a turkey shoot. Likewise, while assessment of fellow men's equipment is generally more open here than at the local YMCA, refrain from applause-o-meter-like responses. Like savvy investors, some chaps retain hidden assets.

While a quorum is necessary to begin, sometimes not all parties are eager participants. In this case, excuses like "It's too cold," "I'm too tired," or "There might be jellyfish" should be left unmeddled, even if deeper issues are clearly at stake. A skinny-dip is no time to coercively purge someone's genuine fears of murky water, incarceration, or physical insecurity. Do not reprimand a swimmer who retains skivvies-all levels of daring are encouraged. On the other hand, a small mob of friends may overtake a noisy flapdoodler or oafish bore and toss him gleefully into the drink.

Skinny-dipping already carries a badge of rascality. However, the more experienced rabble-rouser may up the stakes. When choosing a site, do not rule out private pools. The exhilaration of backstrokes in the buff is nearly matched by the thrill of scaling a neighbor's fence or tiptoeing into the hotel whirlpool. Be wary of consequences, but do not eschew a titillating round of Marco Polo just because "your parents might catch us." A dripping posse of scampering nudes is more likely to elicit giggles and envy than actual litigation.

When necessary, keep it quiet, fun, and light on the libido; chicken fights are more efficient without the hydrodynamic drag of an uninvited erection. Nice touch: It worked for securing that hot bistro table on a Saturday night, so slip an understanding security guard a ten spot to look the other way as the gang has a midnight swim.

Skinny-dipping etiquette translates to hot tubs, where the cloak of rising steam shouldn't cloud conduct. Normal rules of personal space are suspended when abutting another's nakedness. However, don't commit the post-tub flub of projected hot-water fantasies until a continued connection is proven on land.


Let's alight to the washroom. Do not disrupt the dignity of sparkling porcelain by behaving like an ogre in the bathroom. If character is what you do when no one is looking, Toiletiquette is a free personal-growth seminar. We provide a lavatorial primer from hand-towels and soaps to nomenclature and solace, both for home and on the road.


Neaten the restroom. Purchase only quality toilet tissue and don't store bare spares on the windowsill. Replace empty rolls during regular usage and still have time on the commode for daydreaming, humming, or reading. Moreover, blue toilet bowl inserts are unthinkable, unless you're operating an airplane lavatory. If the tub is ringed and clogged with filth and fallen hair, it has been too long since your last languid soak. Incidentally, like Schneider on One Day at a Time, be conversant in flush-mechanism repair and light uncloggings. Know when to plunge, jiggle the chain, manipulate the ball cock, or walk away and call the plumber.

Hand Towels & Soaps

Bathroom towels come in two varieties: functional and ornamental. Workhorse cotton models are to be used; ornamental towels, often found well hung on a brass rack, with frilly lace or holiday patterns, are for admiring, not manhandling like a dishrag. However, at times, the only hand towels available are worth more than your monogrammed gingham broadcloth shirt. Faced with this emergency, delicately pat your hands dry on the backside to preserve the neatly folded façade.

Similar rules apply to dainty European leaves, papers, and soaps carved like angels or flowers. Despite your faith, don't befoul a decorative toilet-top nativity scene. If no other cleansers abound, give the angel's wing a light swipe for minimum melt.


Little has been written on water-closet etiquette, leaving the gentleman to cope with such unnerving beasts as the off-the-living-room head or the dreaded everyone-can-hear-what-you're-doing-in-there half-bath. For rare times when decreased volume is desired, rim aim is vital. Further dilute decibels with wads of tissue or sit down to mum a tinkle's tintinnabulation. With more serious matters, make sure the fan is whirring, otherwise trickle the faucet for wet white noise when outsiders are in close proximity.


When a break in the action is desired, the bathroom is neutral ground; a sanctuary and solitary retreat to gather wits or collect loose marbles. Take a little "me time." Calm the mind, have a good long look in the mirror, and return refreshed, if not cleaner. Nice touch: Infrequently enjoy the freedom of al fresco toiletiquette, especially when taken hands-free in the countryside.

Naming It

A gentleman's broad vocabulary makes it unnecessary to invoke vulgar language when announcing a trip to the men's room. Must it be announced at all? A simple "Won't you excuse me " is rarely rude. Words such as "potty" and "little wrangler's room" are no better than "crapper" or "throne," and certainly no one cares that you "have to urinate" or "do number two." When asking for directions, stick to innocuous phrases: "Gentleman's room, please" or "Where may I wash my hands?"

The Hot Seat

Elimination at the inopportune moment is execrable. Scenario: you have stopped at a lover's house to meet the parents and have refreshments before dinner. Suddenly, you feel a tremor. What is the proper course of action? For pressing engagements, go; this is not fourth grade anymore. Yet, if there is wiggle room, a grave decision awaits you, much like Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Provided your business can be resolved expeditiously, quicker than an ATM "Fast Cash" withdrawal, proceed. The clock is ticking, however. If you sense an unpleasant, difficult half-hour logjam, grit and tighten up (like Archie Bell & the Drells).

In accordance with matched consideration, do not sit down unabashedly on a new lover's toilet until you have experienced this person in a congruent state of informality. Breaches of privacy force your partner to cross bridges of intimacy prematurely. Tinkle manners are generally more relaxed; the bathroom door starts out tightly latched but progresses to slightly cracked then utterly ajar as relations familiarize over time.

Incidentally, a word on the medicine chest. Avoid burrowing about the pharmacopoeia of another. Curious cats who can't resist a peer into an unlocked vault of vulnerabilities should at least avert eyes from prescription medication. Preserve privacy and enjoy the mystery-what's wrong with a little psychopathology these days?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2007

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2007

    Great for guys at work who, despite your setups, seem to crash and burn on every date...

    This book is amazing and would be a great gift for anyone who has been single for a long time (I wonder why)??? It could also be good for your husband!! I have a knack for setting up my single colleagues on dates with my girlfriends, and I always buy them a copy of this book before they set off on their first date! It really works!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2006

    The very definition.

    This guide is not just a compilation of well informed advise, but also caused me to laugh out loud on multiple occasions. I have recommended it to many friends and purchsed copies as gifts.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2005


    I was enjoying the book when I came across the chapter on clothes. Does anyone where an ascot these days who is not in a wedding party or has a penchant for being the oddball? This section caused me to reconsider other advise. Of course, much is tongue and cheek, but the ascot section sounds sincere.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2004

    Just WOW

    While giving helpful hints for your daily clothing or that important first date, this book keeps you wanting more with witty writing and new ideas. Instead of that bland lecture from father, the Modern Gentleman gives you an up to dtate version of the pep talk; giving you do's and dont's to help you be at ease.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2002

    Useful and HILARIOUS

    This is a fantastic book! It has a lot of utility, but more importantly, it is VERY funny! I was reading it on a plane and several people asked me about it because I was laughing uncontrollably through a bunch of the chapters. I recommend this to anyone with a sense of humor...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2002


    I picked up a copy of the Modern Gentleman for my brother for his birthday but I had to buy him another copy because I can't put it down. It is incredibly well written (I've had to look up a number of words) and has a lot of wit. Women can really use this book and I recommend it for them as much as men. It has great sections on literature, music, entertaining, the ins and outs of dating, alcohol, gifting (it's so hard to buy things for men that they really appreciate), exercise (a great section on yoga) and of course, things women have always wanted to know about the male psyche. It also delves into fun topics that Emily Post wouldn't dare cover like 'Kink and Fetish.' It's so much more than an etiquette guide and it makes a great gift. My brother loves it. Thanks Phineas and Tesauro!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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