How to Spot a Gentleman

When contemplating gentlemanly traits, who better to offer insight than those who know real-life gentlemen? So what does today’s gentleman look like? Does he hold the door, or dress a certain way? Actually, we found that several local ladies identify a gentleman less by grand gestures of chivalry or fashionable taste, and instead by something a bit less perceptible.

Frank and Dottie Brock in their home with their dog

Dottie Brock

Dottie, pictured here with her husband Frank, lives on Lookout Mountain and devotes her time to her family, church, and community.

“You can easily spot a Southern gentleman in a crowd. He is the one intently listening to someone – not having to dominate the conversation or win the argument. He truly wants to put others first with a humble, appreciative ear and heart. He is not a vain flatterer, but rather an encourager of others. He is honest – a man of conviction. He is a man of few words – but when he speaks, others listen. There is no brashness or ego as he is truly a “gentle” man. Since he respects others, his demeanor is subtle. His attire is not flashy, calling attention to himself, but he is handsomely dressed as befits the occasion. As he enjoys life to the fullest, he wants others to do the same, not missing any of the gifts around in nature or people. He believes in giving back to the community that has given him so much.”


Betsy Brown

Betsy Brown

Betsy is president of Pendleton Square Trust Company and a partner in the JumpFund.

“A true Southern gentleman walks with a humble spirit. He is loyal to family and friends, honorable in all activities, and confident in his faith … and of course loves his truck, his dog, and the great outdoors!”

Teresa Dinger

Teresa Dinger

Teresa is the administrative director of marketing and referral relations at Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation.

“The traits I recognize in a true gentleman are mostly intrinsic. He is kind in word and deed. He treats everyone he encounters the same—whether they are a business associate, a spouse, or employee —everyone is treated with kindness and respect. He also possesses strong, uncompromising character and values. He is open-minded, yet holds firm to his beliefs. He knows what he stands for and remains steadfast in his convictions. A true gentleman possesses a solid work/life balance and manages both emotionally and spiritually. I believe that being a gentleman is a process and it is ever evolving, much the same as being a lady.”

Jennifer Nicely

Jennifer Nicely

Jennifer is the foundation president and chief development officer at CHI Memorial.

“Growing up in the deep South I was taught from an early age that a true Southern gentleman shows respect for a woman, as seen in actions such as holding a door, walking on the street side of a sidewalk, and standing when a lady enters the room. Today, I believe the idea of being a gentleman goes beyond just chivalrous behavior. In my opinion, the best indicator of a gentleman is someone who shows respect in both words and actions to all people, at all times.”

Angela Ballard

Angela Ballard

Angela is a media specialist with experience in radio hosting, graphic design, writing, and teaching.

“I can spot a gentleman by how he treats others. If he’s kind, thoughtful, and genuinely interested in people, it shows. A true gentleman puts others first and doesn’t feel that the only way he can win is if others lose. He knows that his value increases when he makes others feel valued.”

Photo by Meghan Campbell of Soli Photography

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