On Being A Modern Gentleman:
Guideline 10: Join a Club
I’ve written before that becoming a part of a group of like-minded individuals is important for continued growth, and I still believe that; in fact, I believe it so much that joining a club is Guideline #10 for being a modern gentleman.
Intellectual, moral, and physical growth is less likely to occur when you go it on your own. Bringing a companion along on your quest usually isn’t enough, as they have their own goals and fears to strive for and against, respectively. What’s a modern gent to do? Join a club. Hell, make one.
Some of the greatest men and women in history have belonged to clubs: Teddy Roosevelt considered himself a member of two, the Rough Riders and the Tennis Cabinet; most have heard of Tolkien’s order, the Inklings; the leading Russian Romantic composers of the mid-1800s often gathered together and came to be called The Mighty Handful. Look about today, it’s difficult to turn a corner without coming across a men’s fraternity or women’s organization.
I have never felt so well, so appreciated, so productive as when I was a part of several groups in academia. I was a member of both formal and informal organizations: Honors College, English Honors, Dr. Carter’s misfits and smartasses, guys who had burritos every Thursday at 1, literature students who hunted for peer-reviewed journals every Wednesday morning. . . It felt great. I belonged.
I challenge you to find a group. Become a member in something, be it bowling league, tennis club, book club. Joining others and allying yourself to people other than your close friends and family will help you to make new friends, to grow in confidence, and might just teach you something about yourself and others. Do it. It can’t hurt. (Unless you join some strange BDSM club. That will probably hurt.)