As A Gentleman Would Say is one entry in a larger series called Gentlemanners. Bryan Curtis authored or co-authored several of them. I am not aware of Mr. Curtis’ manners training, save that the dust jacket mentions he once asked a non-pregnant woman when her baby was due. Presumably, that was a key event in his origin story and his interest in helping other guys avoid putting their collective feet in the mouth of the modern American male.
I bought this book in college. If I remember correctly, I bought it because I was starting to get in more wine and dine situations with work and my social life. It was important to me to look like I knew what I was doing. This book isn’t about which fork to use so much as what to say and what not to say.
The central thesis is that being a gentleman is about (1) making the world a nicer place for other people and (2) making others feel better about themselves. While etiquette and social mores change over time, I believe these two principles hold, for everyone, across time.
The book is divided into hypothetical conversations based on subject. For example, there are sections on offering condolences, hosting a party, and tense workplace situations. Each hypothetical conversations have examples of what not to say, what to say, and why.
While I didn’t agree with every suggested response and rationale, I heartily agree with the central thesis. If we all did our best to act with grace and to extend grace to others, we would be living in a fantastic culture. The book earned three stars from me at this point in my career and life. I found it useful in its essence if not in specifics. However, this book may be very useful for young men in their teens or in college. Well-mannered young men would likely be a step ahead of others when applying for jobs or schools.