FORGETFUL GENTLEMAN [fer-get-fuhl jen-tl-muhn] n. a classy, sophisticated, modern man whose busy lifestyle often interferes with his well intentioned plans

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

7 Ways to be a Gentleman in the Next 7 Days

By Nathan Tan

With our busy lives, being a gentleman often requires being intentional about our interaction with the world around us. Here are seven quick and easy, yet thoughtful, ways to be a gentleman this week. Enter them in your calendar, jot them on a post-it note or write them into your to-do list to remind yourself. Try to do at least one of these each day and then share with us any stories of how this impacts your week!

1. Encourage or compliment someone unexpectedly.

Take the time to intentionally build someone up. Tell a stranger on the street you like their style. Tell a loved one how much a recent interaction meant to you. Make sure a co-worker knows how much you appreciate their effort. Let your boss know you think he's doing a good job (the top can often a lonely, unappreciated place). Make whatever you say genuine, specific and unexpected and you'll absolutely make someone's day.

2. Do a favor.

And don't expect anything in return. You might even do it anonymously and without prompting.

3. Cook for someone.

It could be giving your wife or significant other the night off to just relax. It could be asking a friend over for dinner. If you're bold enough you could even invite a complete stranger to share a meal. Either way, food is often a precursor to developing and growing relationships.

4. Dress up your look a notch or two for no reason.

How we dress is a sign of respect to the people and environments we come into contact with. If you don't normally wear a tie, wear one. Work in a business casual office? Throw on a sport coat for the day. Put on the best version of yourself when you walk out the door and who knows, maybe you'll feel more confident. Maybe someone will take you more seriously. Or maybe not. Either way, it'll show everyone that you care and that, after all, is very gentlemanly.

5. Ask questions. Listen to answers.

We all like to talk about ourselves. Be intentional about carrying on a conversation where its all about the other person. Try not to talk about yourself at all. It's harder than it sounds!

6. Become well informed about an important issue.

Educate yourself on something important and then engage in the ongoing discussion. A gentleman is a man of substance and its good to have a firm position on an issue as long as its well informed and thoughtfully arrived at. Make sure you consider both sides, if you keep an open mind you might surprise yourself!

7. Send someone a handwritten note.

Nothing makes an impression like a handwritten note. And if you have trouble following through, we know a company that can help...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

How to Be A Gentleman On Thanksgiving Day

Most men think of Thanksgiving as the glorious day each year when there’s unlimited food, family and football. But preparing for Thanksgiving is stressful, and too often the women of our lives bear the stress while the men reap the rewards.

We’d like to offer a few tips for the modern man on Thanksgiving Day. Half the battle is knowing how to make yourself useful. The other half is actually following through on your good intentions.

Tip #1: Know your role. The most difficult part of Thanksgiving is not the actual cooking, it’s managing the logistics and timing of the event. If you aren’t the head chef of the family, then Thanksgiving isn’t the day to try to show off. Get your job done early, so other people don’t have to worry about it.

Tip #2: Set the table. It’s easy. There are no excuses for making a mistake, just read our earlier blog post: “Setting the Table: A Life Skill.”

Tip #3: Prepare a “specialty dish.” Even if you don’t have a go-to recipe for butternut squash bread pudding up your sleeve, find a unique appetizer or side dish to prepare. Not only does it show off some of your multidimensional talents, it also serves as a great conversation starter. More importantly, people want to see others enjoying themselves, and if you come through with a home run dish, guests will love it! Here is the Food Network’s list of the 100 Best Thanksgiving Recipes:

Tip #4: Conversation starters. The goal of any gentleman is to make people feel at ease, whether they are hosting or guests. Spend some time beforehand thinking about topics you’d like to discuss with friends and relatives. Use this day as an opportunity to truly get to know your family. This list of conversation starters should get your ideas flowing:

Tip #5: Clear the table and wash the dishes. You know that big pile of dishes at the end of the meal? Tackle it! This is the most valuable thing you can do on Thanksgiving. Chances are the hosts have barely had the chance to sit and enjoy their own meal. They’ve delivered the food, now it’s your turn to help.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Setting the Table: A Life Skill

The modern gentleman plays an active role in all aspects of hosting a dinner party. Even if you aren’t as skilled as Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsey in the kitchen, you should help out in other ways such as setting the table for dinner.

Here’s how to set the table.

  1. How many people will be in attendance? If there are children coming, consider a separate children’s table.
  2. Where do you want everyone to sit? Consider a few matters of convenience such as the cook sitting near the kitchen door, parents sitting next to children, or which people would interact best with others. There are also matters of tradition to consider, such as a male guest traditionally being seated on the hostess’s right, and a female guest traditionally being seated at the host’s right. Often times people alternate between men and women, but this is no longer necessary.
  3. Do I use a tablecloth? It’s entirely up to the host, and depends what type of food you are serving and mood you hope to create. If you choose to use a table cloth, remember to have the middle crease run straight down the center of the table and it should hang about 18 inches off the table. If it’s a buffet dinner, it should hang to the floor.
  4. Where do I position the plates, glasses and utensils? Use the picture below to guide you:

A few things to remember:

  • Fold the napkins and place them in either the center of each diner’s place, under the forks on the left, in an empty water glass.
  • Place the large dinner fork to the left and the smaller salad for to the left of the dinner fork.
  • Place a knife to the right of the napkin, with the cutting edge toward the plate. This is an old custom to prevent aggressive behavior at the dinner table.

When do I begin clearing the table? When the last person if finished eating, you may begin to clear the plates. When the diner has finished, he/she signals this by setting the fork and knife parallel to each other, so they lie either horizontally across the plate or on the diagnol at approximately 3:30.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

A Gentleman's Guide to Tipping

Tipping. Should you? If so, how much – and when? Knowing the proper etiquette for tipping is one of most common dilemmas a gentleman will regularly face. Here is Forgetful Gentleman’s quick reference guide to tipping:

For Businesses and Professional Services


15% - 20% of the bill or $1.00, whichever is greater.

Massage Therapist/Spa Treatment

15% - 20% of the bill.

Grocery Delivery

Around $2.00 per delivery.

Takeout Cashier

A nominal tip is a nice gesture. They aren’t delivering your food but they are still working hard to get it ready quickly.

Food Delivery

About 10% of the bill but at least $1.00


Head Mover: $25.00 - $50.00

Crew: $15.00 - $30.00 each

Furniture/Appliance Delivery

$5.00 per person.

Garage Attendants

$1.00 per pickup with bigger tips every once in awhile; then offer a larger tip at the holidays.

Trash Collection

$10.00 - $15.00 per crew member around the holidays.

Lawn Care

If you have a regular caretaker, offer $15.00 - $25.00 at the end of the season.

Newspaper Delivery

$5.00 - $20.00 at the holidays in a personalized card

Mail Delivery Person

It’s against the law to tip federal workers monetarily but they can receive small gifts valued at $25.00 or less.

Household Help

A regular cleaning person or babysitter should receive a tip around $25.00 plus a small gift around the holidays.


If you have kids, give their teacher(s) a gift around the holidays and at the end of the year. Avoid body lotions, candles and apple themed knick-knacks. A gift card to Starbucks, Target or iTunes is usually much better received.

Residential Building Employees

Superintendent: $20 - $50 depending on services rendered.

Doorman: $20 - $50 each depending on level of interaction.

Other workers: $20 or less depending on level of interaction.


15% - 20% of the fare, rounding up to the nearest dollar.

Car Service/Limousines

If you are billed regularly you can ask the company to add 15% gratuity to your bill. Otherwise, tip as you would a taxi. If a 3rd party provides the car service, a $5.00 tip is a nice gesture.

Tow Truck

Tip $5.00 for services like jumping your car, changing your tire or towing your car to a mechanic or dealership.

Casino Cocktail Waitress

15% of the bill.

Casino Dealer

At your discretion but if you’re on a good run or take down a big pot, show your appreciation to the dealer and perhaps you’ll reap the rewards of continued good luck.

When Out on the Town

Coat Room Attendants

$1.00 per article checked including coats, umbrellas, packages and hats.

Bathroom Attendants

50 cents to a dollar.

Waiters and Waitresses

15% - 20% of the pre-tax bill according to the level of service.

Maitre d’

Usually unnecessary unless you frequent the same restaurant regularly in which case you may want to offer a $5.00 tip every once in awhile.

Sommelier/Wine Steward

15% of the wine bill, always in cash, usually at the end of the meal.


15% of the bar tab or $1.00 per drink.

Valet Parking

$1.00 or $2.00 when your car is returned.

When Traveling


$1.00 per bag checked.

Hotel Bellman

$1.00 per bag for help with baggage but not less than $2.00 total. $2.00 or $3.00 per fax, message or package delivery.

Hotel Doorman

$1.00 per bag (but not less than $2.00 total) if baggage help is given. $1.00 or $2.00 for hailing a cab, more in inclement weather or if extra work is required.

Room Service

15% of the bill, but not less than $2.00, in addition to the room service fee.


$5.00 for booking a reservation, getting tickets, etc. More if he/she goes above and beyond to secure what you ask.

Hotel Housekeeping

If you receive exceptional service, tip $2.00 to $5.00. Leave the tip in an envelope clearly marked: For Housekeeping.

On a Cruise

Check your cruise ship’s gratuity schedule, most provide one.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tips for a Gentleman On a Budget

Money may be a little tight sometimes, but a gentleman always finds ways to take care of that special someone in his life. Here are a few suggestions on how to save money without sacrificing the experience.

Free Movie Tickets: Go to to look for local showtimes. Next to the theater listing, there’s a blue button that says “Get Ticket Free!” To receive free movie tickets, all you need to do is sign up for a free offer such as online music,, or free online games. You can purchase a $25 gift certificate for just $10 to thousands of restaurants. Better still, type in the promo code “spork” and you’ll receive another 50-80% off. I just purchased $75 of gift certificates for $9. Amazing!

Monitor There’s a good chance your girlfriend already monitors this site, but you can always beat her to it! Groupon negotiates huge discounts on popular local goods, services and cultural events. You can get a great deal, learn about a new local business, and experience your home city without having to pay full price.

Rent a Movie: If you still go to Blockbuster, it’s time to move on. Use your local RedBox at the grocery store to rent a movie for $1 a day. Or visit your local library to find a huge selection of movies for free.

Visit a Museum: Many museums are free or ask for donations. Get cultured and save money.

Don't use a coupon on a first date. And be creative on how you plan the evening. You can surprise her or plan in advance for a date night. As long as you are focusing all your attention on her, you can just make a joke about using a coupon. After all, it's the quality time together that matters!

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Proper Technique for Ironing a Dress Shirt

The Proper Technique for Ironing a Dress Shirt.

The dry cleaner might be convenient but it’s also the equivalent of hell for your fine dress shirts. Harsh chemicals, extremely high temperatures and heavy mechanical presses can dramatically shorten the lifespan of your shirts by prematurely breaking down the fibers. And is there anything more disheartening than seeing your beautifully thick mother of pearl buttons come back chipped and broken? The horror! It’s enough to make a grown man cry.

Unless your shirt is seriously soiled, think twice before subjecting Mr. Thomas Pink or The Brothers Brooks to your local sartorial torture chamber. Launder your shirts at home and then follow these simple instructions to get the same pressed look you love and your shirts will thank you with years of service.

Step 1: Start with the collar

Flip the collar up and place it face down on the board. Iron the back of the collar starting from the center and moving out to the points to avoid creasing. Turn the collar over and repeat on the outside of the collar.

Step 2: Move to the shoulders

Drape one shoulder over the narrow end of the board and iron the shoulder piece from the yoke (where the collar meets the arm and body of the shirt) to the center of the back. Repeat on the other shoulder.

Step 3: Address the cuffs and sleeves

Unbutton the cuffs and pull the cuff over the narrow end of the board. Iron the cuff, removing and rotating it to each side to get to the underside. Repeat for the other cuff. Align the sleeves by pinching the shoulder seam and cuff before placing the sleeve flat on the board. Spread and smooth any overlapping fabric by hand before ironing.

Step 4: Iron the front panels

Drape one of the shirt’s front panels across the board with the collar at the narrow end, aligning the side seam with the edge of the board. Iron. Pull the shirt off and then stick the narrow end of the board into the armhole for better access to the area around the top few buttons. Repeat for the other side.

Step 5: Finish with the back

Drape the shirt over the board, aligning the side seam with the edge of the board. Iron as much of the back as possible then shift the shirt so that the other side seam is aligned with the opposite board edge.


- Start with a slightly damp shirt for best results. The easiest thing to do is hang your shirts after laundering them for 30 minutes or so before ironing.

- Invest in a good iron. Rowenta makes our favorite irons and once you experience how smoothly they glide across your shirts we guarantee you’ll be a fan as well. Buy a Rowenta iron here.

- Depending on the hardness of your water you may want to consider filling your iron with distilled water. The minerals in tap water can build up in your iron and on your clothes.

- Deal with stubborn creases with a quick spritz of water or steam.

- Always leave the largest areas for last. By leaving the front and back until last you reduce the risk of re-creasing the shirt while you iron the remaining areas.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

It's Football Season: Your Guide to Referees

We’ve questioned their judgment, their eyesight, and sometimes even their sanity. But have you ever wondered how football referees actually do their job? Or how much the gentlemen in stripes make? With the kick off to the NFL season tonight, it’s the perfect time to study the gentlemen millions of us watch, and almost always forget.

The Legendary Ed Hochuli

You can’t talk NFL officiating without Ed Hochuli. Ed Hochuli once had a staring contest with a scoreboard, and won. He once killed a defensive back with a stern talking to. The NFL must ask his permission to award the Super Bowl trophy. When he’s thirsty, he drinks a pint of peanut butter. His first down call makes him the only person who can punch a cyclops between the eye. And he has counted to infinity – twice.

Who is Ed Hochuli? Google “Ed Hochuli” and you’ll see 40,600 results. Watch an NFL game in which he is refereeing, and you’ll never forget. He kicks off the 2010 NFL season as the head referee in the Colts vs. Texans game on September 12 at 1pm.

There are two things you should watch for when watching Ed Hochuli. First is his physical presence. As a former college football player at UTEP, he’s the only referee that looks to be the same size as the players. In fact, many players joke to him during games that he should be playing on their team. NFL player Tim Dwight once challenged him to a bicep measuring contest and lost.

The second thing to look for Hochuli’s long winded explanations on the field. Famously in a 2007 game while nullifying a holding penalty, he announced through his microphone, “There was no foul on the play. It was not a hold. The defender was just overpowered.”

Here are a few YouTube favorites:

Hochuli leads an exemplary personal life as well. He’s a trial lawyer in Arizona and partner in a law firm. He has six children and lives in Phoenix. Despite this size, Hochuli runs marathons in his spare time, having completed thirteen races. Hochuli is truly a forgetful gentleman.


NFL referees currently earn between $42,295 to $120,998 per season. That’s $2,643 to $7,500 per game. Not bad for a weekend job.

NFL referees are the only major sports officials to not be full time salaried employees. The NFL hires them on a contract basis, which allows the league to eliminate unqualified officials without having to show cause as is the case of full-time employees. Many referees are partners in law firms and CEOs.

How does this compare to the other major sports?

Major League Baseball umpires earn $100,000 to $280,000 per season with a $50,000 expense account and free first-class air travel. That’s $617 to $1,728 per game.

National Basketball Association referees earn $90,000 to $225,000 per season, $1,100 to $2,742 per game.

National Hockey League officials earn $115,000 to $220,000 per season, $1400 to $2,683 per game.

The Officiating Crew

During NFL and college football games, there are seven officials on the field.

Referee: This is the head honcho, the one who announces penalties, flexes his biceps on first downs and sticks his head into the replay booth. He wears a white hat, while all the others wear a black hat. He sports an “R” on the back of his uniform. Ed Hochuli is a referee.

Umpire: In 2009, there were five major injuries suffered by umpires (including two concussion and three knee injuries), so the NFL moved the umpires from behind the defensive linebackers to the offensive backfield. This move has created some controversy, so you may hear announces and players mentioning umpires throughout the season. Look for the “U” on back of the uniform.

Head linesman: When a team is close enough to a first down that it requires a measurement, it’s the head linesman who leads the “chain gang” over from the sideline. He also is responsible for keeping time.

Judges x 4: The line judge, field judge, side judge and back judge. For field goals, it’s the field and back judges that get to make the heroic “field goal is good!” signal. All the judges wear numbers on their uniforms, along with the initials LJ, FJ, SJ and BJ.

The Officiating Theme of the Year

Video technology is changing the game of officiating. Imagine making a judgment decision in front of millions of people, seeing a video replay proving you made the wrong decision, then announcing back to the millions of people that you were wrong. It takes humility to do this job. It’s thankless. And it requires one to be trustworthy, responsible, articulate, and having good judgment, the characteristics of a gentleman.