Okay, so you’ve read the Fierce Gentleman Manifesto, and it’s not bad, so far as rhetoric goes.
But what does it mean?
How would you know a Fierce Gentleman walking down the street, and how would you tell him apart from just another Joe Schmoe (excuse me — a Man who has not yet come to the realization that the current global situation was calling him urgently to become a Fierce Gentleman)?
Below is the sure-fire ways to tell if the guy you’re seeing is, in fact, a Fierce Gentleman: the ten characteristics that set the F.G. apart from other blokes.
- He takes care of his physical appearance & style. No matter what industry he is in, or what his station in life, the Fierce Gentleman is dressed for success every day. He takes no days off from excellence, and this is reflected in his dress as well as in his attitude. He has cultivated a personal style as a manner of creative self-expression in the world and navigates by his own compass, without waffling in response to “fashion trends.” By itself, this is a necessary but not sufficient condition for a Fierce Gentleman (which we shall abbreviate henceforth as F.G.): plenty of men dress well and take good care of themselves, but not all of them are gentlemen, nor are all of them particularly fierce.
- He’s considerate. None of this fake-Alpha machismo crap: He doesn’t cut in line or steal cabs from other people at the end of the night. To the contrary, he holds doors for people (not just women, although he does hold doors particularly for women), lets others cut in line at the grocery store if they have fewer items than him, and generally goes out of his way to accommodate others and pay them consideration in matters big and small.
- He’s chivalrous. His approach to women is an mixture of respect, adoration, and cherishing amusement. He will hold doors for her, doff his hat on her approach, rise if she approaches when he is sitting, take her coat, offer to seat her, push in her chair as she sits. An entire group of F.G.s, seated together when a woman approaches, make for a stirring sight as they all rise simultaneously and offer to take her things or provision her with a seat. Although this may seem old-fashioned and unnecessary at first (and many do say so) women as well as men enjoy it.
- He understands that his life is about service to others, not serving himself. This goes beyond being polite and considerate: those are just rules of etiquette and polite society and as such, are meaningless without a deeper conviction. For a F.G., service to others is that underlying conviction. He understands that all ego-gratification plans are scheduled for failure; and, similarly, that his efforts to enrich the lives of all those around him are destined for eventual success. He understands that Nature provides resources to the individual in direct proportion to the scale of the role they have undertaken in the ecosystem; thus, to be about as big an idea as he can possibly manage, he will naturally command resources commensurate with the bigness of his role. You can detect this element in conversation, or by reputation, if the man is very well known and publicly seen to be achieving great things, with great resources (Elon Musk is an example. Sal Khan is another.)
- He has done, and is doing, his work. A F.G. works diligently and consistently to improve himself in all ways, and to continually remove the limits on his degrees of freedom in all aspects of life: physical, mental, emotional, financial, sexual, social, spiritual. In this endeavor he is not ashamed to consult experts, enlist aid, invest time and energy and money, and ask for help. Because of this, a F.G. can almost always be seen to be: athletic or working at some physical pursuit, self-aware and introspective, emotionally mature, mentally sharp, knowledgeable and worldly, calm and imperturbable, in control of his financial situation, present and aware, a competent-to-exceptional lover, with both breadth and depth of friendships and relationships, and with a deeper metaphysical perspective on life, the Universe, and everything. Such Qualities are greatly to be desired in a friend, lover, partner, father, husband, and son, and consequently. . .
- He is in demand. “If you need something done, ask a busy person to do it.” A F.G. is notable by the pace and volume of his output and throughput and does not seem perturbed or winded by what others would consider a blistering pace. This ability to conscientiously and thoroughly execute makes F.G.s highly desirable in any business, even in government bureaucracies, and more precious than gold in new businesses startup where the workload is inhuman and the labor must be born with a maximum of charisma. The F.G. does not become conceited about this ability, however, and will smilingly offer to help others if they are becoming swamped, even if his plate already seems full. Despite all this. . .
- He has backbone. Despite being accommodating, considerate, helpful and fundamentally of service, the Fierce Gentleman is the farthest thing possible from a doormat. Because of his intimately awareness of his own limits and his constant striving to live and playing at his edge, he knows what he can and cannot do, and has no qualms about saying “No” or laughing off unreasonable requests or onerous expectations. Because he has done and is doing his “work,” he knows his own weak areas and trigger points, and is very careful to avoid them altogether or navigate around them. Because he knows what he is about in life, he follows his own strong compass with integrity, and categorically refuses to be pulled off-mission by this or that influence or request. A Fierce Gentleman is so consistent and trustable in this regard that a person may set their own compass by his.
- He has access to, and follows, his inner wisdom. He may call it God or the Divine Mind Within or insight or intuition or any other name, but the Fierce Gentleman has cultivated it, has regular access to it, and minds what it tells him. He also realizes that within him is an inexhaustible fountain of creativity, and therefore he has laid aside all fear of ever “running out of ideas.” (This may be particularly evident of he is involved in the arts or other creative pursuits.)
- He follows his own passions, wherever they may lead. Living in an age of near-perfect access to information and know-how, the Fierce Gentleman takes time to pursue his passions ardently and in a way that expresses his innate creativity. Because of this, he is often a fount of knowledge on an obscure topic you may have never heard of, or have a special skill or talent refined over years of practice that may or may not be valuable or desirable as the world defines such things (and little does he care for the world’s approval!) Or he may have dabbled in a variety of diverse areas, jack of all trades and master of none. A true F.G. may well oscillate through periods of intense focus on a single idea or business or purpose, forsaking all hobbies and passions in the meantime, and it is natural and proper that he should do this: he will return to his passion(s) when a cycle of rest and relaxation follows his next great triumph or achievement.
- He is a fierce warrior. Why call him a Fierce Gentleman? So far, his qualities seem to involve a great deal of service, gentleness, and consideration for others. How can such a one be called fierce? Isn’t this word to be reserved for menacing & dangerous wild animals, the violently intense, the threatening and the savage? Well, while all those descriptors could apply to a Fierce Gentleman whose loved ones have come under threat or attack and who realizes that he is the sole line of defense in the preservation of their persons, the word fierce also and equally means: “resolute or strenuously active” “of exceptional quality, exhibiting boldness or chutzpah” and “very, excellent.” These are the meanings we apply when we say a man is a Fierce Gentleman. Although he has principally banished violence from his life, this man is nevertheless a warrior, confronting the biggest and baddest dragons that plague the modern world, brooking no cowardice, shrinking from no challenge, stepping through his own fear and staying brave “5 minutes longer” than the ordinary man, as Emerson said. You will be able to tell this from your dealings with this man. You will be able to feel his strength, unafraid, in each moment. It is impossible to fake.
There you have ten ways to discern a Fierce Gentleman. If even a few of them are present, he is surely on the path towards becoming a full-fledged F.G., and you ought to point him to this blog, that he may more actively cultivate himself along this path.
If all ten are present, then you are lucky indeed to have made his acquaintance. Treat him well, for he will certainly treat you well, regardless of who you are.
The effects of having a Fierce Gentleman join an organization or group are of particular interest. Most commonly his presence will serve to sharpen the ambition (and improve the behavior) of men who witness his conduct. His treatment of the women in particular can cause initial confusion, and sometimes brings derision, until others see the results that come from a man treating a woman as a cherished, unique equal from a position of self-respect and without supplication.
In this way, the 11th characteristic of the F.G. may be that he inspires others to live better, by his mere presence. This inspirational / aspirational aspect of the F.G. is part of what makes them so powerful in a world so bereft of role models.
Now that you’ve read the overview and the practical markers of the Fierce Gentleman, go deeper down the rabbit hole of how to cultivate these qualities in yourself, by reading How One Becomes a Fierce Gentleman.
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Also published on Medium.