Private clubs are centuries old and was first introduced in Great Britain. Over a period of time this practice spread to the colonies held under the British rule. These clubs were characterized by their members’ interest or education.
The private clubs were originally places where a gentleman could be himself and network with other likeminded men. They aimed at providing a luxurious ambiance for its members and included libraries, entertainment rooms, game rooms, resting rooms and as such. It was also common that fresh graduates would stay at the residences in the private clubs till such time until the moved to their own living quarters.
Most gentlemen would be patrons of one club. However there have been cases such as that of Earl Mountbatten who was a member of 19 establishments.
While initially they were limited to only gentlemen members, over time gender bias was done away with at these clubs.
Many clubs today still continue to have either financial and/or collegiate prerequisites for entry while others many have specific requirements. For example, there is a club in London which insists that their members are of Scottish descent.
While the concept of these clubs may be outdated, the behaviour expected is not. Below are a list of commandments the gentlemen were expected to adhere to:
Always be presentable. Your clothes are your first impression. Avoid flashy clothes and fashion faux pas.
Gentlemen greet other men with a handshake. Ensure yours is firm without being overpowering.
A gentleman always has control over his actions and emotions. Avoid getting overtly drunk and embarrassing.
Avoid being self-centered. A private club is where others come to relax. Do not consider this your own private bragging arena.
Two topics to avoid at any cost are religion and politics. Conversations around these never end well.
Being polite is never overrated. Believe everybody deserves respect and treat them accordingly.
In conclusion, being a gentleman is not only the way you dress but also being thoughtful, polite and respectful.