— Pope Francis
I dislike it when being a gentleman is defined or identified with wearing a suit, dressing up or getting a sick haircut. Those are things I definitely approve of, and I think they are ordered in beauty and dignity, that they definitely mesh with what it means for a man to be noble; however, being a gentleman is much broader and virtuosic than appearances. You can’t talk about “being a gentleman” or even mention the concept without digging deeper than being dapper.
Good manners and respectability are also at the tip of the iceberg. Being a gentleman means tapping into what is properly the male genius: being a rock of social justice; in our power and (some might say unfortunate) privilege actually fighting against all forms of oppression; willing to lay down our careers, our pride, our vanity, our idols, our lives for the good of our families and communities; given to the intensely human task of self-giving through being good stewards of the earth and the poor; and helping our fellow woman and man realize their potential, and safeguard their dignity.
Without these things our striving for “culture” becomes vapid - a metaphor for nothing - anything but spiritual. We become, to re-appropriate C.S. Lewis’ metaphor, “men without chests”. Art is the signature of man (GKC), but virtue must undergird everything we think and do (Aquinas).