Every man is going to be something. Be a Southern gentleman.

Defining The Southern Gentleman, Part 1

Being a Southern gentleman is a state of being. It is not something that is put on to impress others and then taken off. It is a lifestyle based on the ancient code of chivalry. It is a mindset of putting others first and having a truly humble spirit. It is a respect for others – and for oneself. It is respecting the dignity of all men, no matter what their station in life may be. It is a deep and abiding reverence and respect for women, coupled with the manners and etiquette that outwardly demonstrate that reverence. It is the understanding that we are not self-made men, but we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. It is a reverence for the God who created us, and who is the source of all of our many blessings.

Southern Gentlemen can be found at every level of society from the janitor who cleans the toilets with the same pride in his workmanship as the finest craftsman, to the men occupying the highest positions of leadership in the land. It is not about money or occupation or social standing. It is about being a Southern gentleman.

Outwardly, the Southern gentleman can be identified as the man who always dresses well – not to impress, but out of respect for the dignity of those around him. He can be identified as the man who is at ease in a hut or in a palace – and always makes those around him feel at ease when they are near him. He has taken the time to learn the rules of social etiquette and practices them at all times, yet never points out the errors made by others. He understands the needs of women and accommodates those needs. The Bible speaks of women as “the weaker vessel”; the Southern gentleman discretely protects women and is prepared to actively defend them if no other options are available. He is quiet and soft-spoken. The Southern gentleman is seldom heard in a crowd unless he is speaking to you since his voice is kept soft and low so as to not call attention to himself; even when angry, his voice, like his demeanor, is kept under control. He never calls attention to his own success but points to the success of others. His leadership style is one of firmness and confidence such that others naturally look to him when leadership is needed.

Understand that no one possess all of these traits. Most of us are fortunate if we can successfully cultivate even a few of them. What sets a man apart as a Southern gentleman is that he understands the goals, knows that they are important, and strives with every fiber of his being to be a Southern gentleman. When he fails, he is determined to do better next time and never makes excuses.

Being a Southern gentleman is a journey. It is not a destination.

7 Comments

  1. Walter Bryan's Gravatar Walter Bryan
    September 30, 2015    

    I like this article, Stephen! I, too, am a born-again Christian living in the South.
    I really like your ending line; it is a journey, not a destination. The part about respecting women as the weaker (not inferior) vessel is so true!

    -Walter

    • Stephen Clay McGehee's Gravatar Stephen Clay McGehee
      September 30, 2015    

      Thank you for the kind words, sir – I appreciate it.

      I think it’s important for us to understand that this is not an isolated example of some sort of archaic culture – it is very real and there are still plenty of us who do our best to adhere to the culture that highly valued good manners and all that goes with it. Thanks for stopping by.

      • Walter Bryan's Gravatar Walter Bryan
        September 30, 2015    

        You are welcome! I found your website because I was watching Antonio Centeno’s (Real Men Real Style) live feed today regarding ties, and I saw that you joined. I was curious to what your website was, so i stopped by.

        I’ll be reading more of your articles!

        -Walter

        • Stephen Clay McGehee's Gravatar Stephen Clay McGehee
          September 30, 2015    

          Excellent! I just tried to contact Juan at The Gentlemen’s Brotherhood (he was on just after me). We have much in common. Different approach, but I think that readers of my blog would find his project quite useful.

          • October 8, 2015    

            Dear Stephen,

            I thoroughly enjoyed this post and agree with it wholeheartedly. I particularly enjoy that you make the clarification that no man possesses all qualities but instead thrives to incorporate them into his unique journey. We certainly have harmony of thought in regards to the importance we attribute to the effort of living life as a Southern Gentleman.
            Let’s please remain in touch and work together as possible to help stir in today’s gentlemen the longing for that lifestyle.

            My Best,
            Juan Sepulveda
            The Gentlemen’s Brotherhood

  2. Gonzalo Olveira's Gravatar Gonzalo Olveira
    July 8, 2018    

    Thank you for your inspiring words, I am not a southern gentleman by nature, I was born in Spain, and now I live in London (UK), but I have been all my life looking for a way to live, to behave, guidelines to be better, and all these I could find here. I am a Christian man, happy married with the love of my life, with 3 amazing kids, and I give all my life to them, because they are everything for me. I want to be an example to follow for them, and the southern gentleman way tick all the boxes.
    I always loved the southern culture, the food, the music,… so, regardless where I was born, or where I live, being a southern gentleman is my goal. Thank you again for your wisdom. Sincerely yours
    Gonzalo

    • Stephen Clay McGehee's Gravatar Stephen Clay McGehee
      July 8, 2018    

      Good afternoon, sir, and thank you for writing. As you said, being a Southern gentleman is a goal. It is something we strive for, but never quite achieve. I’ll point out here that there are Southern gentlemen living outside the South, and there are men living in the Deep South that are anything but Southern gentlemen. There is so much more than just a location.

      It’s inspiring to hear from you in your position since it becomes all too easy to take what we have for granted. Please keep in touch!

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A Southern gentleman never turns his back on his rich Southern heritage. What motives others may impose on the Confederate flag in their mind is their problem - not ours. Don't let anyone steal your heritage.

The Civil Right – Traditional Southern culture and civility, and the social/political system that results from it.