Tucked near the end of Peter Cetera’s post-divorce album “World Falling Down” is a defiant but melodic album track co-written by longtime Elton John collaborator Bennie Taupin called “Dip Your Wings” that has long expressed my own dissatisfaction with the immoral expectations placed upon honorable gentlemen with regards to their love lives. Just before the chorus of one of the verses of the song, Peter Cetera laments, “If I was half a man, I wouldn’t sleep alone.” Throughout my life, going back at least to middle school, many of my interactions in strictly male company (with the notable exception of my brethren in the various congregations I have attended) have involved locker room conversation where others bragged about or exaggerated their sexual prowess. Not having much to brag about, and being an honest person not inclined to lie about such matters, I have generally silently endured the braggadocio of those around me, without any particular enjoyment in the matter. Those who know me are well aware of the fact that my own attempts to find relationships have been far from laughing matters or bragging matters, but have often been extremely stressful at best and absolutely calamitous at worst. If there has been anyone laughing about my love life over the course of the last two decades, it certainly has not been me.
At work, I tend to manually clear my junk mail, and often there is a message that was sent between closing time and when I arrived at work the next morning. The vast majority of these messages are highly upsetting, being pornographic excerpts with likely virus links or requests for booty calls. It is upsetting even to receive a mass targeted message assuming that I would be interested in such a thing. I am similarly upset when my driving is bothered by billboards promoting so-called gentlemen’s clubs that no gentlemen would enter. After all, if one is an honorable gentleman, one will refuse to exploit or take advantage of anyone else to gratify one’s own desires. To be sure, overgrown boys who want to be thought of as perfect gentlemen certainly frequent such places and enjoy the way that their money induces young women to do that which they may not do for free, but I am not that sort of man. What I want from a woman is that which can only be freely given, without pressure and without coercion, her heartfelt love and respect and honor, and when the time is right I would like to marry and start a family. It is this I have desired, and this which has often been withheld from me in my interactions with others. I should also note that none of this is secret, and both my honorable standards of conversation and conduct and my ultimate aims if they are mutually desired by a lady ought to be plainly obvious from the way that I live my life under fairly heavy scrutiny from other people.
That said, even though I have no wish to violate either the laws of God or man  with regards to my own relationships, and despite my total lack of interest in seeing anyone else suffer pressure from me or about me in any matter of intimacy, I find myself completely unable to influence those around me to treat me like the honorable gentleman I am and to interpret my conversation and conduct accordingly. To be sure, I appreciate those friends of mine who recognize my continual struggle to not only avoid evil, but avoid even the appearance of evil, and the heroic efforts I have taken to seek honorable and friendly relations with others despite the fact that my motives and conduct have been monstrously twisted and misinterpreted and slandered without remorse or repentance. Nor has this been an isolated experience, or for only a short time, but has been the source of continual difficulty for the last three years or so. I am at a loss as to what to do to improve matters, to clear my name, so that I may be treated as I deserve. Even mere justice would be vastly more gracious than the way I have been treated, and the way that it has been impossible for me to be treated with the honor due to me, much less be treated with the graciousness and love that is the obligation of every Christian.
Part of being an honorable gentleman is treating others with graciousness even when they are entirely unworthy of it. Likewise, part of it is acting with restraint. All of this I do, regularly, despite continual provocation. Yet a good example is only attractive to others if that example is rewarded. To the extent that people are rewarded in this life for wicked conduct, people will seek to imitate that conduct. When good is rewarded, people behave good in the hope of receiving good things. How do we go about rewarding the good we see around us so that example is followed? How is it that we work proactively to give the benefit of the doubt of others, to prevent situations from developing where an absence of communication and an absence of public support and endorsement allows the miasma of wicked interpretations of conduct to arise that putrify the reputation of an honorable gentleman such as myself? I am at a loss as to what I can do for myself without outside assistance. After all, being a gentleman and a man of honor is not merely about individual conduct in isolation, but also about the obligations that such status places on the behavior of others to act in kind. To be sure, we would all like to be treated with grace, as that is the example we are set by God and Jesus Christ. Before grace can enter into the picture, though, we must first be just, for that places the baseline from which we can be gracious. Where there is no justice, we do not even approach the higher calling of grace. Even justice would be an improvement from where things are now, though. And may those who hate me tremble at the thought that troubled Thomas Jefferson so, that God is just and that His justice will not sleep forever.
 See, for example: