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Top 10 Lessons for (Fraternity) Gentlemen

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For the past year, my goal has been a revival of American chivalry with a little bit of swagger. We fraternity men get a bad name: the press villainize us and we’re portrayed as drunken idiots on TV and in movies. The truth is we are Gentleman, in the truest sense of the word. As rush kicks into full gear, here are ten lessons to live by, ten standards by which to measure future pledge classes, current brothers and yourselves. Let the haters judge us, we’re definitely not sorry. Here are the Top 10 Lessons from the American Gentleman for 2010:

1. Lesson No 22: Work Hard, Play Hard

It has been a long week but now you have nothing else to do but kick back, have a cocktail, and enjoy the company (which usually includes quite a few sorority girls.) The value of hard work is unmatched, but don’t forget to blow off some steam regularly.

2. Lesson No. 59: A Gentleman is philanthropic

Philanthropy is a great endeavor for Greek organizations. It also keeps Nationals, IFC/PHA and the 75 percent of the school who couldn’t get bid cards off our backs. We raise millions of dollars annually for philanthropic causes around the country and the world. The least they could do is let us have a few beers afterward.

3. Lesson No. 4: If you can’t remember her name, it’s Sweetheart.

This may be my favorite lines of all time. We forget womens’ names on the regular. It’s hard to hear them in crowded bars; it’s hard to remember them after a few cocktails. Sweetheart is always the go-to line. It’s like having an All-Star closer on the mound. She’ll love it, and you can breathe easy (and have a few more drinks).

4. Lesson No. 34: A Gentleman does business on the Golf Course, at a Three-Martini Lunch or at the Country Club.

The office is where “work” is done. The real business is done outside the walls of your corner office. This is also another instance of really getting to know people. You don’t get to know them in business meetings, but beating them soundly 18 holes in a row and then having a few drinks at the Country Club afterward will bring out their true character.

5. Lesson No. 76: A Gentleman is not concerned with others’ opinions of him.

Seriously. We don’t give a damn. If you don’t work for us now, you likely will later.

6. Lesson No. 84: No Pierced Ears.

You know who has pierced ears? The Boise State Kicker.

7. Lesson No. 68: The American Gentleman knows all the right people.

To the Yale girl criticizing fraternity men and fraternity life (and TFM), we don’t care if you went to an Ivy League school. We play golf with the District Attorney, have steak dinners with politicians and judges and play poker with the board of directors for a company you could only hope to work for. It’s all about who you know.
Remember these lessons and use them as guideposts to distinguish yourself from those who choose to act, dress and portray themselves as idiots. They can usually be found in an Affliction tee. We are a breed of winners – socialites with swagger. We can work any room and conquer any situation. No matter what always remember the Gentleman’s Golden Rule.

8. Lesson No. 7: Unless you’re in the military, cargo shorts and pants are strictly forbidden

As the old saying goes, the only thing you can’t put in cargo shorts is a bid card.

9. Lesson No. 13: The American Gentleman is a Socialite. People should know your name.

Especially: the bartender, the doorman, the maître d’, the golf pro, the judge, the best doctor and the attractive woman across the room. Simple enough.

10. Lesson No. 1: It’s All About Confidence.

Fraternities breed confident men. The world may perceive this as arrogance, but we know better. We know that while there may be a tinge of arrogance in our actions and words, we are just genuinely confident; Confident in our selves, friends, brothers, families and futures.

We may get a bad rap, but we produce some of the most successful and confident Gentlemen in America. Keep up the good work and in everything you do, be an American Gentleman.

For more lessons and insight from The American Gentleman visit

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