Decent guys are difficult to come by, as noted by author Kay S. Hymowitz in her Wall Street Journal piece, “Where Have The Good Men Gone?” — but perhaps they can be found at the Network of enlightened Women’s (NeW) Gentlemen’s Showcase.
“We wanted to do something positive to promote gentlemanly acts on [college] campus[es],” NeW founder Karin Agness told TheDC in March. “This is a great way for us to encourage mutual respect between the sexes.”
As stated on NeW’s website, the event sought to “restore dignity and respect between the sexes by honoring and recognizing gentlemen.”
Agness and NeW seem to have accomplished what they set out to do, and more.
“During the showcase, I did notice more gentlemanly acts,” Agness told TheDC. “This is probably partly because I was more aware of the acts. One of the goals of this whole campaign is celebrating respect between the sexes, and I appreciated gentlemanly acts more when I saw them this month.”
The showcase, which awarded and paid tribute to males deemed gentlemen, experienced more success this year than in 2010, as the number of visitors and participants increased and the event received over 1,000 more voters.
Bryant Condrey, a junior at Patrick Henry College, was named NeW’s 2011 Gentleman of the Year. University of South Florida student Matt Smalbach took second place. Unsurprisingly, Condrey is in a committed relationship, and his girlfriend Alyssa Richardson was the one to nominate him for NeW’s contest.
“I didn’t really think about … being honored for being a gentleman, I had always assumed this behavior was right and expected of men,” Condrey said in an ABC News interview.
Though she knows classy men exist, Agness is aware that not all guys embrace their chivalrous capabilities. In a column for The Daily Caller published last week, Agness wrote about “The Bachelor” star Brad Womack, a man pushing 40 who finally decided to settle down when the reality television show rounded up a bunch of single ladies and essentially did all the work for him.
“Brad hasn’t grown up, “Agness wrote. “He’s used to living alone, without the responsibility of providing for others. During the show, his family nonchalantly said he was finally ready for a family of his own, as if it wasn’t unusual for someone to take 38 years to reach that point. And, sadly, today it’s not unusual. One of the most damaging legacies of the second wave feminist movement is that it taught a generation that independence, a life comprised solely of the individual, is one of the greatest goods. Brad has achieved independence, but has realized that he doesn’t just want independence, he wants a wife. The challenge now is finding a partner compatible with the self-centered lifestyle to which he has grown accustomed.”
Gentlemanly behavior comes naturally to some males and misses others, but Agness told TheDC that NeW inspired certain men to dig their shining armor out of the back of their closets.
“In March, I spoke on a campus about NeW and mentioned the gentlemen’s showcase. I asked the students what they thought about it. One male student raised his hand and said it was encouraging him to do things he had been taught, like open doors for others,” Agness told TheDC. “He said he was doing more gentlemanly acts after he heard about the Gentlemen’s Showcase. It is great to see the Gentlemen’s Showcase making a difference.”
Agness attributed some of the participants’ enthusiasm to the quality men of the world.
“NeW was excited to have five nominations within the first day,” Agness told TheDC. “It speaks volumes for our organization that there were young women from college campuses across the country who couldn’t wait to nominate a certain gentleman.”