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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Friday, August 20, 2010

How to Improve Your Handwriting

In today’s technological age, we don’t use handwriting as much anymore. We send emails or text messages or gchat. Even the need to scribble directions is lost with GPS phones. When you finally sit down to write a thank you note or a birthday card, chances are you may be a little rusty.

Don’t let your bad handwriting keep you from the thoughtful gesture of sending a handwritten note. Remember that it’s the act of sending a note that’s most important.

There are handwriting coaches that you can pay $75+ an hour to, or you can work on your handwriting yourself. Here are a few tips for having your handwritten notes look better:

General tips:

  • Write less. Cramming more words onto a note will never look good. You are in control, and your writing should reflect this.
  • Use a thin pointed pen. Thick pens look sloppier, and bring more attention to poor handwriting. Heavier pens help too.
  • Angle the paper slightly to create a gentle tilt to your writing style.
  • Stay on line. Use a second piece of paper as a guide to ensure your words are consistently on line.
  • Indent the body of the note. Put the Dear/To and Sincerely/Regards on the far left hand margin, and indent the body of the note.
  • Be succinct and articulate. That’s why we include “Forgetful Gentleman’s Guide to Articulate Writing” in every set of cards.

Handwriting tips:

  • Avoid finger-writing. Focus less on moving your fingers, and more on your forearms. Fingers just serve as a guide.
  • Hold the pen lightly.
  • The fastest legible handwriters avoid cursive letter-shapes and use only the easiest joins of connecting letters.
  • Finish each letter before you start the next. Especially with letters t, I, j and x…which people tend to connect.
  • Make the long letters bigger…t, f, l, y. This adds character to your writing.

Improving your handwriting is a constant challenge. Even William Shakespeare struggled with it.

"I once did hold it, as our statists do,
A baseness to write fair, and labour'd much
How to forget that learning, but, sir, now
It did me yeoman's service."
--William Shakespeare, HAMLET, Act 5, Scene 2

If you want to learn more, check out the following YouTube videos:

How to Improve Handwriting

Improve Handwriting Secret Tip

How to Fix Common Handwriting Problems

Now pick up a set of cards and start writing to family and friends. After all, it’s the gentlemanly thing to do.

Go to our website at for more information.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Forgetful Gentlemen of the 2008 Presidential Election

A forgetful gentleman just finished reading Game Change, the #1 New York Times Bestseller about the 2008 presidential elections, and was struck by the way in which our nation’s leaders epitomize the definition of a forgetful gentleman: a classy, sophisticated modern man whose busy lifestyle interferes with his well-intentioned plans.

Every candidate's actions were constantly in conflict with their intentions.

Run for president because it’s best for the country, and eventually it serves to feed their massive egos.

Pledge to run a clean campaign out of the gate, then start throwing mud when the poll numbers drop.

Build personal relationships when raising money or working with the press, then throw these people under the bus when something goes wrong.

The behaviors listed above were common among all candidates. I’ve outlined below a few more of the everyday characteristics among the ’08 candidates that describe this common discrepancy between good intentions and execution.

The Good Intentions

Do what’s best for the country – Each candidate, to their very core, felt like they would be the best person for the job. In fact, that was the one piece of advice Bill Clinton shared to Hillary before running.

Work hard – These candidates were campaigning 18 hours a day, 7 days a week. They wanted it bad! McCain’s herculean efforts at his age were impressive. Hillary’s refusal to quitwas inspiring. But then again, Guiliani and Fred Thompson were lazy, which led to their quick concessions.

Articulate – The candidates re-engaged America through the spoken word. That’s a tough thing to do these days. By the end of the campaign, Obama was giving speeches in front of 80,000 people around the country. I think the best speech of the election was Obama's "race speech" in Philadelphia.

Knowledgeable – With a 24 hour news cycle, these candidates were remarkably well versed about the world. Hillary’s experience and Obama’s meticulous preparation stand out.

The Faults

Swearing – Given how articulate and knowledgeable these candidates are, can’t they find other words? It was shocking how many curse words were commonly tossed around. Especially McCain’s bitter fights with his wife, in front of dozens of people, when they'd be swearing at eachother.

Mudslinging – When the going gets tough, the mud starts flying. It’s not very gentlemanly. Consider McCain's ad comparing Obama to Paris Hilton. Every campaign was guilty of this to some degree.

Ego – These candidates devour the media attention that is given them, especially Palin, who would spend her "prep time" before major debates and speeches reading blogs about her instead.

Tardiness – Thousands of people waiting around at campaigns for the candidates to arrive. In fact, Obama’s staffers were especially pleased when the secret service began travelling with Obama because it ended his terrible habit of being tardy.

I definitely encourage anyone interested in politics to read the book. At the very least, you get to read about high profile leaders be forgetful gentlemen.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Gentlemen Open Doors

“Courtesy is the cornerstone of civilization.” Generation after generation, common courtesy prevails. So when was the last time you opened the door for someone?

Many etiquette rules came to be established in Victorian England (1837-1901) to protect or shield a woman from harm or discomfort. But over time, these rules have evolved to apply to all types of people, old and young, sick and healthy, male and female. In today’s world, being a gentleman is about understanding the context in which you interact with others, not just women.

As women outnumber men in the workforce, as college graduates, and in sheer numbers, the independence of the modern woman has caused many of these traditional rules of courtesy to be reconsidered. Some men fear that opening a door for a woman can be considered demeaning, while others feel it’s the gentlemanly thing to do.

Here’s a quick primer on the etiquette of opening doors:

Front Doors. All the time. No excuses. Hold the door open to allow a woman, kid or elderly to walk through before you.

Car Door. This is an area where etiquette is changing. Gone are the days when men drove the cars and women rode in the passenger seat, when few roads were paved and stepping out of a car could land you in a huge puddle.

Definitely make your best attempts to open a car door on your first date or anniversary, as this gesture is not lost on today’s modern woman. But should you be opening the car door all the time? For many couples, that’s excessive.

Revolving Door. Give it a push to start the contraption moving then allow the lady to enter first, and alone. One person in a revolving door pie slice at a time please.

Heavy Door. If it’s a big, heavy door, then you should push through before her and hold it open until she passes. You can hold it open on either side of the door frame, whichever allows you to clear the doorway and physically keep the door open.

Other Walking Rules:

When walking on a sidewalk, the man should walk near the curb (or left side) when strolling with a lady.

When crossing a street, the man should be on the left side of the cross walk.

On a staircase, a man is supposed to walk behind the woman on the way up, and in front of her on the way down.

If the lights are off in a room, or if the space is unfamiliar, the man should walk into the room before a woman.

When two service members are walking together, the junior walks on the left of the senior.

How did this tradition start?

There are many theories about how this tradition started:

“When men started opening doors for women, the doors were often spike studded and ram-resistant, and they weighed hundreds of pounds. A man’s strength was needed to open the door.”

“The tradition of men opening doors for women probably dates from the period when women used to wear dresses with skirts so long and wide, that it was difficult for them to squeeze through the doorway, not to mention opening the door for themselves.”

“It goes back to the days when the women of nobility wore ornate gowns and outfits. In a full formal outfit, she probably could not reach the door if she tried - at least not in a fashion that conveys the grace she is portraying. And the doors at the time were especially large and heavy. Her escort thus opened the door for her.

“The real history of this act is not so chivalrous. The Vikings put the women first so their heads would get chopped off if there was an attacker in the room (or when re-boarding a boat).

Today, most men do it because they believe it to be the courteous and the majority of women approve. Ultimately, someone eventually must open a door, so it might as well be you, the gentleman.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Good Guys Gone Good

Rihanna made tens of millions of dollars, won a Grammy award, and embarked on a two year international tour under the slogan “Good Girl Gone Bad.” Why is the bad girl/boy image so fascinating? After decades of the bad boys setting the rules as to what’s cool, times are changing.

Brooke Miller at Primer Magazine recently wrote an article entitled The Modern Day Bad Boy: Introducing The Good Guy. Ms. Miller’s premise is that historically “bad boys” have made a different set of rules that have gone against the prevailing status quo. A combination of fearlessness and a “we make our own rules” leadership makes “bad boys” attractive. Think James Dean, Eminem, Pete Doherty, P Diddy, Russell Crowe or Colin Farrell to name a few.

Ms. Miller’s solution is to have “good guys” break the bad boys’ rules. This allows “good guys” to exhibit the same fearlessness and leadership that has worked for bad boys for so long without “good guys” having to break the rules that they normally abide by. Sounds easy enough.

What a forgetful gentleman likes about Ms. Miller’s article is two-fold:

1) She suggests that a man acting consistent to his character is the right way to go.

2) Building awareness of many of the social customs swirling around us allows men to improve the quality of interactions with people.

So go out and break some of the “bad boy” rules rather than your own…or just wait until your late 20’s when women start appreciating the consistency and selflessness of the modern day gentleman.

Friday, August 6, 2010

You’re Hosting a Dinner Party – Do You Open That Bottle of Wine?

We’ve all been in that situation before. You are hosting some sort of party and a guest presents you with a bottle. You of course say “thank you.” But are you supposed to open the bottle that night?

There are two different schools of thought:

1) Either you must open it that night, and serving it is a sign of appreciation for the gift, so it would be impolite to do otherwise.

2) Or you let the bottle sit because you’ve already planned the evening pairing the appropriate wine with food.

Etiquette dictates that the option is entirely up to the host. When this question was raised at the dinner party last night, the room was split. Most women felt that the bottle should be opened immediately. Most men wanted to let the bottle sit. The men reasoned that they typically waited until the last minute to pick up a bottle at the corner convenience store, with little time or thought invested in the food pairing. A forgetful gentleman in every essence of the term!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Stationery for Social Media Fans

In today’s digital world, it’s easier to reach someone than ever before…which makes it harder to truly connect with someone.

With this premise in mind, I find the growing trend of incorporating elements of social media into handwritten notes fascinating. Why would anyone mail a personal invitation with their Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin accounts written on the card? You can just click a few buttons online and be done with it in seconds.

To standout of course! The handwritten note differentiates you from the dozens of other friend requests, followers, and connections arriving in your inbox each day. In this sense, this new style of stationery is genius.

Katherine Rosman of The Wall Street Journal offered an interesting piece of consumer insight in This Tweet Requires Pen and Ink:

“People who email a lot, tweet a lot, and update Facebook a lot, like to write a lot. The paper-peddlers are trying to woo these big stationery buyers, fans of the cute impulse purchase.”

But isn’t taking the time to hand write your Facebook information the opposite of impulsive? It’s tedius. It doesn’t have immediate gratification. It prolongs the “friend request.” Clearly people have different habits of spending than in managing personal relationships.

When it comes down to it, people enjoy communicating with others. These new “social media note cards” are just another way to try to truly connect with someone that blends passion for technology and the handwritten word.

Write on…