The Rain In Spain: IV

A Recurring Study on the Etiquette of a Gentleman Through Examples in Modern Cinema
Lesson #5: "That's What He Said." 
A wiser, older friend of mine told me the other day that his definition of a gentleman was a man who always seemed to put people around him at ease. The kind of guy who listens intently, charms his way through a conversation without any hidden agendas or motives and never ceases to leave a smile on people's faces even after he's left the room. To be honest, it's one of the best definitions of the refined, modern man I've ever heard, and it never mentions style or etiquette at all. Instead, this particular interpretation accents merely one characteristic--the gentleman's mastery of the conversational arts.

Now despite my new revelation I assure you I will no wise try to relate a comprehensive list of modern conversation etiquette.  Undoubtedly, such an endeavor would merely serve to provide your dearest blog writer with a wicked case of carpal tunnel syndrome and you, my dear readers, with a heavy dose of bewilderment:

But what I will do is hastily give you two tips to ensure you not only stroll the stroll and swag the swag, but you also talk the talk.

#1:  Shut Up.
Remember that guy?  You know the pathetic, narcissistic, completely-sober rambler that seems to grace every social gathering in the solar system with his mindlessly arrogant, yet eye-gougingly unimpressive "war" stories of the good ol' days and his Midas-like touch of golden success?  Yeah. Don't be that guy.  If someone around you is having a patch of bad luck, for the sake of all that is good and holy DO NOT see it as the perfect opportunity to share how amazingly happy you are and/or how their "obviously flawed" worldviews and values got them to a place you so wisely and prophetically warned them about.  Please. Just shut your mouth. Be the guy who's smart enough to glean from the wiser gentlemen in the room.  Act interested even if you're not, and go out of your way to be as selfless and compassionate as possible in a friend's time of need.  Be a gentleman who puts people at ease no matter what the circumstance.

#2: A "Personal" Note:
I think this tip may just be for me, but I seem to have the foot-in-mouth curse when it comes to asking people about their relationships.  I honestly can't explain it, but if you're in a relationship I would seriously recommend never letting me know about it--since it seems as soon I make an inquiry, it's all over.  Ashamedly, this has happened more times than I can even possible recollect.  From engaged couples, to couples dating 5+ years, to newlyweds, as soon as I casually inquire about the well-being of one's significant other, I'm instantly rewarded with the awkward silence, tear-filled eyes, and an uncontrollable desire to cram any solid object within a reachable distance into my gaping, stupefied pie hole.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go drown myself in the punch bowl. Cheers.

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