Please Join Us

We’re building a recognizable community of guys who aren’t afraid to show VALUES STILL MATTER…

Are you comfortable defining yourself as a “gentleman” or is the term too old fashioned and out of place in today’s world dominated by guys vying for attention on television reality shows, on-line profiles and social media? That’s the central question Gentlemen’s Cap Co is asking.

I would argue the term gentleman transcends the generations and is as relevant and necessary now as it has ever been. In fact, embracing yourself as a gentleman will help you stand out at home, at work, on line, and in any situation your life takes you.

I work in the construction industry—and am on job sites everyday interacting with our tradespeople in the field. I’ll never forget one day when a concrete finisher came up to me and simply said—you don’t cuss much do you? I really don’t remember my exact response, but it was something along the lines of –No, I don’t feel the need to.

When I thought about his comment to me, I realized I actually stood out and made an impression simply by not cursing where cursing is common. That was a powerful moment. Believe me, I know (and have used) every curse word in the book, and in the right situations, there may even be a biological NEED to curse, but if you ask me, those situations are few and far between–and rarely come into play on a daily basis.

Please don’t misunderstand. The ten tenets of Gentlemen’s Cap Co are not in place as absolutes, and if you fall short, you’re a failure—and no gentleman. The tenets are simply a guide to help keep these simple, but important values as close to top of mind as possible on a daily basis. If you fall short today, tomorrow (or next hour) is an opportunity to try harder.  One less F-bomb a ten-year-old (or a twenty-year career concrete worker) hears tomorrow is a victory. Can anyone disagree with that?

Building a recognizable community of guys who aren’t afraid to show VALUES STILL MATTER is why Gentlemen’s Cap Co won’t let you buy our caps, hats, shirts, and other logoed accessories unless you pledge to try your best to uphold our Ten Gentlemen’s Tenets. Do you need to wear a logo to prove you’re a gentleman? Absolutely not!  But it’s kind of cool when you run into another guy somewhere in public who is also wearing the GCC logo. He may even be on the opposite side of your political, religious, or social spectrum, but immediately you both know that you share a common bond of ten simple but important values, and that’s a great place to start a conversation.

Everyone Deserves Your Full Attention

Look around next time you’re anywhere in public (or at the dinner table).  It’s happening and most of us aren’t even aware we’re doing it.   Someone’s having a face to face conversation with someone and an alert or other sound goes off from the cell phone. Like Pavlov’s dog, we’ve been conditioned to immediately take out the phone and check it. It seems innocent enough, but if you really think about it nothing says, “I think I’m more important than you are” like not giving the person you’re with your full attention. Even worse is when people check their phones WITHOUT an alert—wow, could you seem any more detached?

I’ll admit it–I’ve been guilty, but I’m actively working on keeping the phone in my pocket until the conversation is finished. I usually keep my phone on vibrate, but many times the person I’m talking with can still hear the buzzzzzzzz…I’ve had people ask me “aren’t you going to answer that?” My answer is simple—“not while I’m talking with you—that’s what voicemail is for.”

In any setting, ignoring that buzz, ring or ding makes the lasting impression that you know the true value of focusing full attention on the person you’re with. In a business setting with other things being equal, that could be a game changer.

However, it’s not just business. Are you guilty of it at home with your kids (or wife, or girlfriend) at the dinner table? If we ask for their undivided attention—we owe it to them to give them ours.

A gentleman will try his best to remember everyone deserves his full attention—it’s not an official tenet, but maybe it should be.

17 Great Quotes On Being A Gentleman

A Gentleman isn’t defined by how he dresses, what part of town he lives, or that he strives to consume only the finest things in life. He’s defined by his everyday actions. That’s the common theme in these seventeen great quotes. Ordinary guys become extraordinary by simply doing the right things, especially when no one is looking.

-Rich

 

“A gentleman is one who puts more into the world than he takes out.”

-George Bernard Shaw

 

“A gentleman knows his actions carry more weight than any words spoken.”

-Unknown

 

“Courtesy is as much a part of a gentleman as courage.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

 

“Being male is a matter of birth. Being a man is a matter of age. But being a gentleman is a matter of choice.”

-Srinivas Shenoy

 

“Anyone can be heroic from time to time, but a gentleman is something you have to be all the time.”

-Luigi Pirandello

 

“A gentleman is someone who does not what he wants to do, but what he should do.”

-Haruki Murakami

 

“Look at how a man behaves with the women in his life and you will know if he is a gentleman or a scoundrel.”

-Avijeet Das

 

“One gentleman does not rejoice at the misfortune of another in public.”

-William Golding

 

“Gallantry is gentlemen’s quality.”

-Toba Beta

 

“We have only one rule here – to act like a gentleman at all times.”

-Robert E. Lee

 

“A gentleman can live through anything.”

-Oscar Wilde

 

“The final test of a gentleman is his respect for those who can be of no possible service to him.”

-William Lyon Phelps

 

“A gentleman is a man who can disagree without being disagreeable.”

-Unknown

 

“A gentleman would be ashamed should his deeds not match his words.”

-Confucius

 

“And though it is much to be a nobleman, it is more to be a gentleman.”

-Anthony Trollope

 

“A gentleman doesn’t have one set of manners for the house of a poor man, and another for someone with an income incomparable to him.”

-William Maxwell

 

“Gentlemen respect the rights of others. They are honorable men.”

-Ellen J. Barrier

 

So Long Ginger

We had to say goodbye to our family dog the other day. Believe me, I don’t want to go through that again for a long time.

We adopted Ginger as a rescue dog around eight years ago. She was five at the time. She hadn’t been abused or abandoned—her owners were moving and for some reason simply didn’t want to take her with them. Their loss was our gain. She was a friendly Golden Retriever with a beautiful ginger colored coat that people complimented her on most every time we took her for a walk.

Ginger gave us eight years of love and loyalty that truly made her part of the family. She brought a calming influence to a house with two growing boys during their most formative years.  The boys would easily get mad at their parents, but Ginger would dutifully follow them into their room and help overcome the latest injustice we had inflicted upon them.

Thirteen plus years is a good lifespan for a Golden. She was comfortable to the end. In her last couple of weeks she lost her mobility, so my wife got her a pad to lay on and we would carry (or drag) the pad with her on it into whatever room we were in—Cleopatra style. We’d compliment her like crazy every time we carried her outside and she pooped or pee’d (I think you have to have had an old dog or young kids to understand that mentality).

She died peacefully soon after my oldest son went back to college following his spring break. I think she had waited for him to come home so they could see each other one last time. Dogs are amazing.

Defining Success

Having just watched the 2018 Winter Olympic Games I find myself reflecting on how athletes define success.  Most seem to base success on either 1) winning a medal or, 2) playing their best.

Now I’m a long way from the definition of an Olympic athlete. My claim to fame consists of playing collegiate tennis on the Division III level at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter MN (I’m firmly entrenched in the Hall of Average). However, I was fortunate enough to play for Steve Wilkinson– the winningest tennis coach in NCAA history.

“Wilk” had a theory that once it’s all said and done, the only real way to define success—on the court or in life, is to be able to say you “tried your hardest.” Now think about that—the winningest tennis coach in NCAA history didn’t define success by winning. That’s mind-blowingly counterintuitive.

From Wilk’s perspective, you can’t always count on winning, or even playing your best—there are too many things beyond your control for that to happen. If Tiger Woods plays his best every round on the golf course he’s unbeatable, If Roger Federer plays his best every time on the tennis court, he wins every major every year. If Michael Jordan played his best every time he was on the basketball court he would have never missed a shot. In fact, Michael Jordan has a quote that’s a favorite of mine: “I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something.  But I can’t accept not trying.”

The only thing you can control when it comes to most anything in life is how hard you try. You’re not going to win every game, win every deal, or have the perfect family. Trying your hardest will give you the best shot at the best outcome under whatever circumstances you’re facing at that time. Best of all, trying your hardest is completely within your control. Give it a try—your hardest.

If you’d like to read more about the remarkable out of the box life lessons Steve Wilkinson offers up, please pick up his book “Let Love Serve” available on Amazon.com and the book store at Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter Minnesota.

It’s A Luigi

I just had a great haircut.  An almost “Seinfeldesque” experience.  It was a step back in time—and the barber (eighty-something year old Luigi) was such an old school gentleman with a love for what he does that I just have to write about him.

In some ways I feel guilty. I’ve been going to the same barber for at least fifteen years and have been perfectly happy with him, but when I went to his shop today it was unexpectedly closed with a hand-written piece of paper on his door that simply said “Medical”. I hope he’s OK and I’ll go by next week to see what’s up, but in the meantime, I’m going out of town in a couple of days and I need a haircut.

If you haven’t guessed, I’m a barber guy. Give me a black and white tile floor, an old-fashioned barber chair, a barber with a clippers and scissors, and I’m good. Actually, I’ve been wanting to try Luigi’s for a long time. He’s located in a predominately Italian neighborhood in St. Louis known as “The Hill”. My office isn’t far from his shop, and I’ve driven by his friendly storefront many times.

It was kind of a nasty weather day…rainy and unseasonably warm, but the temp was starting to drop and freezing rain was due to hit in a couple of hours.   He’s on a quiet side street and I parked directly across from his one chair shop. I could see he didn’t have other customers in the shop at the time. I walked in and declared “I’m here for a haircut please” and he smiled and said, “you’ve come to the right place” in an Italian accent so thick, I couldn’t have cut it with a pasta knife.

He showed me to the chair and asked my name—I told him Rich and he shot back “nice to meet you Ricardo”. He asked how I want my haircut and I gave him the numbers of the clipper guards I use (3 on top, 2 on the sides). Once he got me situated and covered, he put the first guard on the clipper and showed me it was indeed a number 3. He fired up the clipper, I heard the familiar and comforting hummmmm and he then proceeded to run it across the top of my head. After each pass he ran his other hand across what he just cut several times—I didn’t ask him why, but I could tell that was his way of staying in tune to how the cut was going, the texture of my hair, etc. –real old school stuff.

We talked about the usual things: the coming ice storm, the neighborhood, our families. The haircut ended too soon, but that wasn’t the end of the experience. Next thing I know he pulled out the straight razor to finish off the edges. I don’t mind saying I was nervous at first— (remember I put his age at eighty-something), but his hand was as steady as could be and my neck line ended up as straight as it has ever been. But that still wasn’t the end of the experience—after he blew off the excess hair, he used tonic on my neck to cool any razor burn, made sure I was 100% satisfied, pulled the cover off, and lastly, thanked me for my business. Truth be told I didn’t want to leave.  Maybe it was his accent, maybe it was his age, but I knew I just experienced something that’s getting harder to find and may end up disappearing completely.

So, I’ll leave you with this… when the opportunity presents itself, find your own “Luigi’s” and revel in the experience—before it’s too late.

Let’s Resolve To Stay Connected

Happy New Year everyone.

New Year’s night my wife went around the dinner table and asked my two son’s and me what our New Year’s Resolutions are. First son—silence, second son—silence, me—silence (ouch).

My wife shared a meaningful resolution and we had nothing. Typical of guys? Probably so.

Now that I’ve had time to think about it, I’m going to throw out a New Year’s challenge. Let’s resolve to help each other stay connected. I’m also going to suggest a fairly easy way to do it—if you run across an article that relates to an interest of a friend, relative, business contact, acquaintance, etc., take a second and email or text it to them. Nine times out of ten there’s a share link at the end of the article. It’s not hard to do, and it shows you value the connection you have with them.

For example, my high school senior is very interested in crypto currencies. The other day I came across an article titled “Understanding the Cryptocurrency Boom”. No brainer.

On the flip side, if someone takes the time and effort to send you something—acknowledge it! Completing the circle by replying with a simple ”thank you” is an important way to recognize and reinforce the connection you have with that person. Don’t leave them, and your connection to them hanging….

18 Great Hat Quotes

There are quotes for just about everything, and hats are no exception.  Some of these are deep, and some are just plain fun…but they all help tie our Gentlemen’s Cap Co. community together (the first one is one of my favorites).  If you run across others, please send them my way and we’ll keep adding to the list.

-Rich

  —  “For no matter what the world, men who deal in headwear are men to be trusted above any other”

– Frank Beddor


  —  “Cock your hat…angles are attitudes”

– Frank Sinatra


  —  “May your hats fly as high as your dreams”

– MIchael Scott


  —  “The whole shadow of Man is only as big as his hat”

– Elizabeth Bishop


  —  “Honor’s a good brooch to wear in a man’s hat at all times”

– Ben Johnson


  —  “Be like Curious George, start with a question and look under the yellow hat to find what’s there”

– James Collins


  —  “How a hat makes you feel is what a hat is all about”

– Philip Treacy


  —  “And all your fortune lies beneath your hat”

– John Oldham


  —  “Seems hats have been on top of all the stages of comings and goings…helping us remember our heroes and idols”

– Richard L. Ratliff


  —  “Everywhere you hang your hat is home.  Home is the bright cave under the hat”

– Lance Morrow

 

—  “Every day’s an adventure when I step out of my door.  That’s why I usually wear a hat and keep my head low”

– Steve Buscemi


  —  “And everyone…men and women seem inordinately fond of hats”

– Stephen Lawhead


  —  “America brought us the baseball cap…it’s one of my favorite hats”

– Philip Treacy


  —  “I know everything about Ty Cobb except the size of his hat”

– Pete Rose


  —  “You can’t have two faces under one hat”

– Jamaican Proverb


  —  “My aim is to change people’s perceptions of what a hat can look like in the 21st century”

– Philip Treacy


  —  “If he takes off his hat to kiss you…he’s a keeper”

– Unknown


  —  “With a great cap…comes great responsibility”

– R. Hughes

The Story Behind Gentlemen’s Cap Co.

Hi–I’m Rich.  I’ve been married to my wonderful wife for over twenty-three years.  We have two boys–ages 17 and 20 (who are helping with GCC). I live a pretty ordinary life–and that’s just the way I like it.  I’d say starting Gentlemen’s Cap Co. is the most out of the box thing I’ve ever done.

I grew up during the time the majority of men in this country stopped wearing hats. Think back to photos of men in public from the 1960’s back. If there was a picture of a group of men, most were wearing some kind of cap.

My Dad was never one of those guys who abandoned hats.  Anytime he went out—even if it was just to get the paper, he put on a cap.  As quirky as that was—I admired it and it made what’s proven to be a lasting impression on me.  Dad always told me “a hat keeps you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter” but I never took that advice to heart —until he died, and I started wearing his collection of “gentlemen’s caps” as a way to honor his memory.

My Dad was an ordinary guy too–who raised a great family (with the help of my Mom of course), and provided a wonderful, middle class life for my three sisters and me.  He went to work each day, was a man of his word, loved and treated my Mom with respect, and never met a stranger. Through my Dad’s example, I came to realize that ordinary can be extraordinary–simply by doing the right things and being a positive influence on those around you.  He is the true inspiration for Gentlemen’s Cap Co.

So the idea behind Gentlemen’s Cap Co. is to help guys embrace and emphasize these simple but important values that seem to be slipping away (all we’re asking you to do is try).  I don’t claim that the ten tenets of GCC are the definitive values a man should live by—but I think they’re a good place to begin.  What IS important is if being mindful of these values leads you to do just one thing better today than the day before, the world and those you touch, will be a little better for it.   If you don’t succeed as well as you hoped today—well, tomorrow’s another day.

As our community grows, I’d like this portion of the website to be a hub for thoughts, discussion, and articles on what it means to be a modern gentleman.   If you want to contribute to that discussion, you’re more than welcome to—it can be as easy as emailing an article you find interesting (rich@gentlemenscapco.com), or contributing your original thoughts.  This blog, like us, will always be a work in progress.

I can honestly say when I’m wearing something with the GCC logo (it doesn’t have to be a cap), I’m more mindful of these values.  I can also say I mess up one or two of those values on an almost daily basis, but luckily–tomorrow’s another day.  And by the way…caps do keep you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.  Thanks for everything Dad.