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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

And I Guess I’m No Lady

It’s bill-paying day, one of many, and it’s making me cranky, so I’m going to set these aside for a bit and explore my non-cranky side.

I have to admit I’ve been feeling a little more “rant-ish” than “rave-ish” lately; and I’m going to let go of one of them, one of my rants, right here and now, a bit of verbal purging that I trust will put this bit of foolishness, at least, to rest and allow me to live in peace – on this subject anyway.

What’s my problem?

Hey, lady, I’ll tell you what my problem is!

My problem is with the word “gentleman”.

Nice enough word, right? “Gentleman”. Yep. Nice word. At least in the U.S., the use of the word “gentleman” implies honor, integrity, trust.

But that “gentleman” that stole your purse? The “gentleman” that was arrested on assault charges?

How many times have you heard someone describe a thief, a felon, a scofflaw as a "gentleman"?

None of those people are gentlemen. Gentlemen do not ask for your spare change. Unless they’re working for the government – and then it’s not your spare change they want. They want your money.

The spare change you can keep.

So tell me: When did the word “gentleman” become synonymous with “criminal suspect”?

Oh, wait. Did I just answer my own question? If I’m okay with the word “gentleman” being used in a governmental connotation (even when we suspect their character is anything but honorable) but not in a blue-collar crime aspect, where does it end?

“The gentlemen in the expensive suits raised my property taxes for the sixth year in a row.”

“The gentlemen in the alley are looking in garage windows.”

I feel like there’s a connection here, but what is it…

23 comments:

CJ said...

The connection is....man.

Lee the Hot Flash Queen said...

Rant on!

Mobius said...

The more crooked they are the more qualifiers they have to add.. "the honorable gentleman from the state of Disgrace has the floor."

Prefers Her Fantasy Life said...

Crime. Rape. Murder. The word is an oxymoron.

Linda said...

Here in Maine, our papers and newscasters rarely, if ever use the word gentleman, and never in connection with a crime. At least not as far as I remember...which is at least yesterday.

mapstew said...

It's not used in that context here either.

And I like to think that, like my Father before me, I am considered to be one .

XXX

Mary Anne Gruen said...

I hadn't noticed this term being used in New York for the criminal element. Or anyone else for that matter. In fact, I thought the term had kind of gone out of style all together.

I'll have to listen for it.

Douglas said...

One should worry about the more egregious use of the term "lady" and its variants. A "lady" used to denote a certain level of sophistication and breeding. Not anymore. Not since certain women became known as "ladies of the night". Or when the sloshingly drunk Lothario at the overcrowded singles bar, slurs out "Hello ladies!" with the intent to impress them with his uber-coolness.

I look askance at anyone who calls me a "gentleman." He either wants to sell me something I do not want or otherwise pick my pocket.

Pearl said...

Where have I been that I hear the word "gentleman" being used like this?!

Douglas, I have to agree with you about the "lady" bit. I've always loved words and their meanings, and the older I get, the more I think we are too lax with what the word really means and what we're using it for...

Secretia said...

Let's throw the word "gentleman" out of the dictionary!

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

true! I can't think of any instance when a news reporter used the word 'gentleman' for a convict! And, true again that the word 'lady' is probably also used too loosely!

Carol said...

Bring it on!

Daffy said...

I wouldn't mind stepping back in time when gentlemen WERE just that and Ladies were just that...alas, before y'all blast me, I know that would require me to forfeit much in the way of modern aminities and rights....still....why can't we have both?

mrwriteon said...

Oh, I so agree. Big kiss for writing this. I just had this discussion (ie disagreement) with my wife about the ubiquitous and invalid application of this word to virtually every scumbag on the planet, thus destroying any meaning. Cops now use it all the time to describe felonious suspects: "yes, we believe the gentleman in question slashed and then sexually assaulted the lady." Christ,if the gentleman did that, I'd hate to think what a non-gent would do.

Pat said...

I, too, have long had the same annoyance with the word "gentleman" used for a criminal. The lofty and noble meaning of the word has been usurped.

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Gentleman should be used when someone legally is working to steal your money. I think Individual should be used more often for the more honest criminals that just break a window and take what they want.

Kevin Musgrove said...

The definition is available in our public toilets: "Gentlemen lift the seat."

otin said...

Never really noticed that before! Very good observation!

Happy Hour...Somewhere said...

I tell you what I find annoying..when one of my doctors dictates, "The patient is a very pleasant, 65-year-old gentleman" and the next report will be "The patient is a 52-year-old female." Happens all the stinkin' time.

Incidentally, I like the word gentleman...I just don't know to many.

Kavi said...

Oh yes. Gentleman is a misnomer ! I realise !

SweetPeaSurry said...

Oh my goodness ... I was laughing so hard at this, I had to show my peeps at work your blog. That was brilliant. I SEE the connection!!!

Now ... about bill paying day. Just pick a few bills out of the hat ... pay them, then go buy yourself something pretty. It's always worked for me!!!

Nezzy said...

Down here in the Ozarks we call 'em as we see 'em . If he is a cattle rustler that is just what the media call him. Same goes with repast,murder, drug lord 'cause those guys ain't no stinkin' gentlemen. Now for legal reasons the word alleged is way overused!!! Heeeheehe!

Have a terrific day rantin' and catching up on bills!!!

Brian O'Mara-Croft said...

I have no criminal record. I, madam, am a gentleman. Oh, or a douchebag. No, I'm a gentleman. Oh, or..