They’re the most supportive partners
A common misconception about Southern men is that their traditional upbringing and old school romantic ideals mean they treat their women like property, or maids. When you think of “Southern gentleman”, you think “old school”, and when you think of old school in a gender roles context, you immediately think of this expectation of women to stay home and do nothing but cook, clean, and raise babies. As understandable as this thinking is, in reality, it is simply untrue. Today’s Southern gentlemen were raised with a sense of tradition and respect – not raised in the 19th century. In modern relationships, the sum of what Southern gentlemen have been told about how to treat women comes out to one main point: Be good to them. Be as good, loving, and supportive as possible. That’s how you be a good man. You can trust that whatever is important to you – whether it’s finishing grad school or getting a big promotion at work – your Southern gentleman is going to be a loving, encouraging platform of unbridled support. It’s just how he was raised.
Sometimes it feels like an unfortunate side effect of more men starting to respect women as equals is that they are just a little less considerate because they’re afraid that any act of manly chivalry will be read as demeaning. But really, being thoughtful about another person’s needs and wants and generously trying to take them into account in little ways isn’t supposed to be a thing you do in a condescending, sexist way – it’s just how you treat folks. Southern gentlemen know this. They know how to open doors and give you their coat without making you feel like a less capable human. Like, of course you can take care of yourself – a Southern gent just wants to make little considerate efforts because it’s a lovely gesture of his respect for you.
They have excellent manners
You know those guys who are brilliantly smart, and sexy, and completely supportive of your career, and not needy, and respectful of your boundaries as far as wanting your independence, and generally are excellent boyfriends – but you can’t take them anywhere? It’s like, they have the most incredible brains with so many good things to say, and are ridiculously great when it’s just the two of you, but once you set foot out in the world, it’s like they have no idea how to behave correctly in normal society? If you’re a woman who likes to go to social and professional events, this can be a tricky thing to deal with. Southern gentlemen have no such issues. Learned good manners practically came before learning the alphabet. You will never have to worry about this guy being anything less than the perfect date to any occasion, whether it’s beers at a bar with your friends, or a black-tie work event.
They make amazing dads
Developing diligent and unwavering senses of responsibility and commitment are pretty much the first chapters in the Southern Gentleman Handbook. There is nothing more important to them than family. The day a Southern gentleman meets his first kid is when all of the good things about him get even more pronounced and amazing. Becoming a dad is when these guys go into beast mode.
Southern gentlemen are raised with the understanding that their job – arguably their most important job – is to protect their women. At first glance, this can seem like an outdated, sexist idea, but in its present day form, this thinking manifests as Southern gentlemen being protective of more than just their ladies’ physical safety. Real Southern gentlemen aren’t going to go around punching out dudes for looking at you. In real life, it means they are protective of all of your needs – they will give you the time and space to pursue your career, or take time for yourself, or nurture your relationships with friends. They will listen and actually, sincerely care about your well-being in all areas.
They value tradition
“Valuing tradition”, in some darker parts of Southern culture, is code for “being super racist and sexist”. That’s true, and it’s awful. But when I talk about “Southern gentlemen”, I mean “educated, non-ignorant, awesome men who happen to have been raised in the Southern way”, so those horrible, bigoted “traditions” do not hold weight with them. But the idea of tradition still resonates very powerfully with these guys. They will not only carry on things from their parents (and grandparents, and great grandparents…) in how they do holidays, or marinate a steak, or what they do with their kids on their 10th birthday, but they will invest in creating new traditions with you. It’s the stuff that forms and then continually reinforces bonds between people. It’s creating your own family culture. It’s a beautiful thing, and no one does it as well as Southern gentlemen.
They love women
Above all else, this one. They love their mamas, they somewhat fear their grandmamas (as damn well they should), and from birth, have likely been surrounded by strong, admirable women. Hitching yourself to a man who was raised in an old school Southern way ensures you are going to be treasured and tremendously beloved for the rest of your days.