It was recently reported that a 24 year old marriage was dissolved on the grounds that the husband lacked ‘gentlemanly behaviour’. Specifically, the frustrated wife said her husband was not responsible enough and did not look after her and their 6 children properly.
This begs the question: what exactly does it mean to be a gentleman in Lagos? Can a struggling teacher, low-income earner or start-up hustler really manage to be a Lagos gentleman? What really is a Lagos gentleman? Or any gentleman for that matter?
Attributes of a Lagos Gentleman…
…where better to learn the attributes than from the Gentleman’s Journal, home to all things ‘gentlemanly’.
A gentleman keeps his word, and more importantly, keeps mum. He doesn’t tell others about his love interests or conquests and keeps secrets secret. Another angle of dependability is keeping time. No, being late is not fashionable, at least not for a gentleman.
You don’t need to be rich to be clean. Clipped nails, clean cut or trimmed beard, nice haircut and neat ironed clothes; ‘the clothes maketh the man’. It’s almost irrelevant what you want to say or sell, if you come off with dirty shoes or shabby clothes, nobody will buy. Not even out of pity.
This is easy to do yet can have strong positive returns. Say hello to everyone you meet during the course of the day. Do the basics – say thank you, say please, say sir or ma’am, especially when you’re not sure of status. Now for the secret weapon – if you’re sitting, stand up to greet EVERYONE you are introduced to you. Or at least, make like you’re trying to get up. The gesture alone paints you in truly excellent light.
Remember the line from a famous poem ‘if you can keep your head while others around you are losing theirs…’, and if you can control your tongue even under provocation, you qualify as a true gentleman. So avoid swearing, and avoid physical conflict of any kind.
Be considerate. Be kind. It is probably one of the most difficult attributes to imbibe as a Lagos hustler, where everyone seems to be trying to push you aside or cheat you. From the bus drivers to okadas, gatemen who want to ‘park’ you, runs girls and 419 boys hoping to ‘gba’ you, it’s endless. Yet you have to be considerate but on your guard. Let your cool demeanor stand you out as different. It will pay in the end.
He’s The Best He Can Be:
We cannot all be ice cool like Idris Elba, rumoured to be the first black James Bond. Especially not in the searing Lagos heat. But we can learn from him. What are the best things about you? Improve on them. What are the habits you have that need breaking? Break them. Do you smoke? Then do so only after work hours. NEVER during the day.
You must continuously improve the version of you that exists, and you can only do that by recognizing your own traits, and choosing who to learn from for self-improvement. Read widely. Be a man of the world. There’s more to Google than checking football results.
Now, this is where it all comes together. What stand-out trait do you want to develop? Do you want to have a signature smell? A unique dress style? Particular drink, walk, laugh, smile? Every gentleman holds dear to a personal attribute and gets known for it. Be shaken not stirred…if possible.
Yes, Lagos is hard. But a cultured man will always win the hearts of women and the respect of his peers. Remember that, and the hustle will be easier for it.