At a difficult time for the modern gentleman, when the vulgarian seems to reign supreme, Country Life has confused things further. On Wednesday the magazine published its list of 21 candidates for Gentleman of the Year - the winner to be chosen in 2017 - and they are a very mixed bunch.
I've met Sir David Attenborough and can confirm his manners are impeccable but he doesn't fuss about etiquette. Could one say the same for Sir David Beckham or the model David Gandy?
Usefully, Country Life also tells its readers in the same issue how to spot a bounder - he has more than two phones, buys diamonds for his mistress and a Dyson for his wife, goes clubbing in his thirties, and so on. But since there is no corresponding advice on how to behave like a proper fellow in the modern world - we have undertaken to provide it here.
Lana Turner said that "a gentleman is simply a patient wolf", and if a man is interested in a woman he should politely let her know it, with compliments along the lines of "you look lovely" rather than "phwoar" or "get your coat, you've pulled".
Today, gentleman may use dating websites but not hookup apps such as Tinder. In the bedroom, a gentleman should always give as much as he gets, preferably more, if you know what I mean, but shouldn't indulge in displays of athleticism, contortionism. And as boyband singer Harry Styles said, "a gentleman never kisses and tells". He did not, however, make it on to Country Life's list. One is born a boy, and becomes a man, but becoming a gentleman requires not only a conscious choice but time and constant practice.