April 5-12

McKay Hatch

Founder of the No Cussing Club

 It would be real easy to talk morals and all of that when you bring up the subject of cussing.  Or cursing.  Or as we say in the South–cussin.’ 

But I don’t want to go the moral route today.  For one reason, I am so far from perfect when it comes to what comes out of my own mouth.  To say otherwise would be a lie.

What I do want to talk about is what cussing has to do with being a gentleman.  One thing that John and I write about is that an aspect of being a gentleman is making others feel comfortable when you are around them.  I was recently walking down the street in New York and was amazed at the number of times I heard the F-bomb dropped by men and women as they were talking in casual conversations–very loud casual conversations.  And this was done in the vicinity of people of all ages.  And I am not trying to pick on New Yorkers.  I have also heard the same thing in the “genteel” south as well.   

Here’s the thing.  Wouldn’t it be nice if all of us tried a little harder to watch what we say when we are within earshot of others?  This may be a little simplistic, but maybe we could all start with not saying things out we wouldn’t want out mothers or children to hear.   So it is simple.  It’s about respect.    

I admire the 14-year old McKay, and congratulate both him and his parents on this young gentleman who can teach all of us to stop and think about what we say.

Check out his web site at



February 22-28, 2010

Evan Lysacek

When Lysacek arrived at Athletes Village in Vancouver last week, he taped  a “Mind Your Own Business” sign on the wall of his room.

He wasn’t merely telling the press to stay out of his life. He’d already pretty much stopped them from building up an imagined feud between him and Johnny Weir. He was getting on with his life. He was focused on one thing.

He went on to win the gold medal.

Right away, he gave credit to his coach and his family for helping him make his Olympic dream come true in such a big and golden way.

Better yet, when Evegeni Plevshenko, who was left with the silver — by just a sliver of points — kept slicing away at the Olympic judges, Evan kept his balance.

In an interview with Larry King, in which he expressed his admiration for Plevshenko, whom he’s even described as an idol, Evan admitted that he was wounded by the Russian’s carping. “It just stings to me a little bit,” he told King.

Then, in a gentlemanly, but perhaps unnecessarily humble, bow to personal and international relations,  he added, “I give the guy the benefit of the doubt.”

For sure, they’ll meet on the ice again. Let’s see who’s the first to extend a hand of greeting. Evegeni ought to go first. Our money is on Evan.

(You can nominate your own “Gentleman of the Week,” at either gentlemanners@gmail.com or www.gentlemanners.wordpress.com.)

January 10-16, 2010

Joe, a Plumber

I let my pipes freeze up during a recent cold snap. (I was not a total victim in this instance; I didn’t leave my faucets dripping, the way I was supposed to do; I should have known better.)

That’s the bad story; but here’s the good story, with its gentlemanly ending:

The first plumber I called hooked up something like a battery charger to my pipes with the intent of thawing them out.  After an hour and a half, the water still wasn’t working. All I got was a bill for $545 and an estimate for $4,300 to get a new water system. (My house was built in 1929.)

When I went down to the basement a couple of days later, I heard a gurgling noise — the sound of water trying to run through the pipes. All it took was a turn of a faucet, and the water was running freely. (I am no plumber, but I know you have to turn the water back on.)

So, after a gentlemanly pause, I called the plumbing company that evening. I talked to Joe (that’s his real name); he listened patiently to my story, and offered to stop by the next morning (a Sunday!)

And he actually showed up, on time, complete with a “Joe the Plumber” name tag. Joe checked out the work; admitted that his company had made a mistake and, a week later, I received a refund check from the plumbing company.

Of course, I’m glad to have the refund check; but I’m also glad to have worked with an honest guy, a gentleman in any guise.

— Bryan

(You can nominate your own “Gentleman of the Week,” at either gentlemanners@gmail.com or www.gentlemanners.wordpress.com.)


January 3-9, 2010

Jimmy Wayne, rising Contemporary-Country star

A lot of Country musicians lie low during the winter months. (That’s the slow time for touring, when it comes to stadium shows.) But Jimmy Wayne, whose hits include “Stay Gone” and “I Love You This Much,” is spending a lot of time, this winter, on the road. Literally.

Jimmy has set out to walk from Nashville, where he now lives, to Phoenix Arizona. He set out from Nashville this past Monday night, when the temperature was below 10 degrees.  He’s walking the walk to raise funds and awareness for young adults who are leaving the foster-care system with almost no resources to support them. Jimmy knows the story, first hand. When Jimmy was a kid his mother spent time in and out of prison, so his sister and he spent a lot of their youth in and out of group homes and foster homes. He even knew what it was like to be homeless, as a teen, until a caring family took him in, at 17. He spent four years as a guard at a correctional facility; so he knows what life looks like, from all sides.

Now, with his career on the rise, and his dreams becoming a reality, Jimmy’s on his own again. With no entourage on hand, and with no tour bus in tow, he’s committed to sleeping in the open, the whole trek through.

It’s a tough choice. Sometimes, that’s the choice a gentleman chooses to make.

December 13-19, 2009

Doc Hendley, bartender, Blowing Rock, N.C.

Doc hosts wine tastings. (Lots of bartenders do that, of course.)  Doc, however, has created “Wine Into Water.” A part of the proceeds from his wine tastings brings safe drinking water to more than 25,000 people living in refugee camps — and directly into hundreds of homes through the installation of bio-sand filters. It’s a small idea, but Doc makes it work. “You can be a bartender in Raleigh, North Carolina; you can be just a regular anybody,” Doc says. “And you really, really can change the world.”  (A fresh recyclable napkin, along with every new cocktail, Doc, would also be a nice place to start.)

November 29-December 5, 2009

Mr. Fox (a.k.a. “Foxy”)

More than once, over the course of Wes Anderson’s wonderful new animated feature “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” his eponymous hero stands and lifts a glass to the friends and family around him. Although he may still have the taste of stolen chickens on his breath, Mr. Fox is always deliciously eloquent. (It doesn’t hurt that he’s voiced by none other than George Clooney, who’s this era’s best-possible Cary Grant clone.) We’re reminded that a fine toast may be both tasty, and tasteful, at the same time. One does not have to be smart as a fox, to say the right thing.

November 15-21, 2009

Sen. John McCain

Thus far, when it comes to the hoopla over the Sarah Palin autobio, the senator is remaining calm and dignified. Seasoned soldier that he is, he’s keeping himself well above the

fray, and well away from the flak. Indeed, he’s even wishing his former running mate well, at least when it comes to book sales. Maybe Sen. McCain’s handlers deserve a lot of the credit, but there’s no question it’s the senator himself who has no interest in “he said/she said” talk shows. In fact, he’s kept his public statements simple: “I think it’s just time to move on.” Sen. McCain has survived much heavier ammon. For him potshots like this are like the breeze.