For years I’ve looked like a ‘punk’. I’ve bought worn-out t-shirts from Goodwill, grew my bangs over my eyes, stretched my earlobes, and pierced my lip. Apart from liking the aesthetic, I did it as a challenge to myself. Because everyone else saw a derelict teenager, I had to be intelligent and ethical. It was meant as an assault against the status quo.
Now I’m in my late-20s, married, and beginning to makes plans for a career and family. While my priorities have matured I still have the same tastes and ideals. And for that reason outside opinions of me have not changed.
Most see ‘punk’ as nothing more than a contrary disposition, but the roots of true rebellion go much deeper. What isn’t understood is that ‘punk’ is ultimately about self-expression and equality.
Every generation rebels against the one that came before. The ultimate rebellion is to assume the characteristics those our parent’s generation rebelled against- their parents. Our grandparents have been termed “The Greatest Generation” for good reason. They lived humbly, loved loyally, & worked hard. Most fail to see the similarities in the two cultures, but I see gentleman as rebellion.
Who is The Alternative Gentleman?
He respects himself and is courteous of those around him, even if the feeling is not reciprocated. He is loyal; a staunch defender of friendship. He speaks truth and values honest expressions of emotion. He takes pride in his community and prescribes to the DIY ethic- supporting local venues and artisans. He has strong opinions about life and the arts, yet is unwilling to bend in the name of social conformity.
Why am I speaking on behalf on The Alternative Gentleman?
While I am strong-willed and confident in my opinions I often find myself feeling insecure in social settings. Too many times I noticed disappointment, mistrust, or outright disgust set into the face of those around me. I’m stared at, mocked, followed around stores to make sure I am not shoplifting, and treated like a junkie while seeking medical aid. I feel the need to apologize for being myself; I shrink into the background so as to not inconvenience those around me.
In many ways the Alternative Gentleman is about me trying to better myself. Respect is such an important part of the gentleman culture and I can’t expect it from others if I don’t get it from myself. It has given me the opportunity to fight my sense of isolation and expand my community, and invite others to grow with me.
It’s a call to give up your self-doubt, to take pride in your unique perspective, and to grow-up without selling-out.
What is your definition of The Alternative Gentleman?
Is there a topic you’d like me to address?