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Definitions - Gentleman

Excerpt from March 18, 1978 Workshop in D.C.*
(*Audience participation is in parentheses--notations in brackets have been added for clarification )

We join the tape as someone asks:

(Please define a gentle man. I feel certain my mother's definition of a lady and a gentleman would differ in many respects from yours.)

I bet it would too. Mama's probably said that you would be a gentleman if you were very good. Good meaning what she defined as good [each person has a different idea of "good" behavior].

My definition of a gentleman would be one who considers other people's feelings, thoughts, situations and how what I do may affect them--that would determine whether I consider myself to be a gentleman--that I would be considering others. Not that I would live by any little set of rules that mother laid down. She told me I had to wear a certain kind of clothes at a certain time. Use a certain kind of language and live by the Emily Post book. That is not in what I consider a gentleman.

I consider a gentleman or lady that person who would consider the other person's feelings, the other person's reactions to what I do.

Now what I do probably doesn't bother me at all; but if it bothers you, I would not want to do it.