3 Old-fashioned Rules to Kiss Goodbye (and 3 to Keep)

Society’s expectations of men are constantly evolving, leading us to adjust our attitudes and behavior to avoid being glaringly out of step with modern times. In many if not most cases, societal relaxing of rules allows us to breathe a bit easier.

But if progress has a downside, it’s that it can be difficult to know where the new boundaries are. And thus we sometimes avoid all “old-fashioned” ideas when some were genuinely nice.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could agree on which to toss and which to keep? Here are some thoughts on both.

Toss: Real Men Don’t Cry

black-and-white shot of a crying man in a suit and tie

While fewer of us were raised with the idea that being completely bereft of emotion somehow equates to masculinity or strength, the taboo on crying has been slow to disappear.

Regardless of the front that some old school hardliners try to put on, men experience emotions on a profound level. So much so, that not expressing them can actually lead to anger and violence. Having a genuine reaction to something that is moving or sad is much more gentlemanly.

Keep: Your Word of Honor

A word of honor shouldn’t be something that only exists in a Hollywood film from the 1950s. When a gentleman says he’s going to be somewhere or do something, you can count on him to be there or to do it.

You can also believe what he tells you because a gentleman’s core characteristic is honesty and integrity.

Toss: Blue is for Boys, Pink is for Girls

picture of hanging deco and toys

There’s an increasing trend away from strict gender roles and many parents are opting for gender-neutral names, toys, and clothes for their children.

This means that anything you’ve ever taken an interest in that was once considered “too feminine” or “not for men” is now back on the table.

Men should know where to go if they want to dye their hair black or blonde, or if they want to understand how to knit, they can find out without judgement. Nowhere should be out of bounds.

Keep: Take Pride in What You Do

In the traditional “provider” role, a man gets a degree of his self-worth from doing his job well. This absolutely does not need to change.

Modern men may find that they earn less than their wives and they may have even taken on a non-traditional role as a stay-at-home dad.

This doesn’t change a thing about taking pride in your work and giving your best to everything you do.

Toss: Antiquated, Showy Chivalry

Opening doors and holding open your date’s coat is still very much appreciated when it’s a genuine help. But it can also be an imposition if it’s done in a way that interrupts her natural habits.

If she’s already made a move to put her coat on and doesn’t seem to be struggling, stepping in and making a show out of helping can feel awkward and aggressive.

Back when everyone agreed on the “rules,” women were taught to wait for a man to help, but as that’s no longer the case, if she’s two steps ahead of you, don’t lurch at the door just because you’re eager to play the gentleman.

Keep: Being Thoughtful and Kind

Just because women no longer expect to be fussed over, doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate courtesy. If you arrive at the door first, open it. Similarly, if there’s only one seat left on the subway, offering it to a woman is a kindness that will rarely be refused.

Knowing the subtle difference of being sensitive between others’ needs vs. showing off is the mark of a true gentleman.

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