Recently I received this question: “What about cowboys? Cowboys are gentlemen, too.”
This is one of those “loaded” type questions. For one thing, I would hate to answer in such a way that I insult a cowboy, only to end up getting shot by an irate, probably Texan, cowboy. For another, their style of dress is truly of another culture—I may as well be giving advice on the manner of dress and etiquette of the Australian Aborigine. And for a third thing, and most important, my father asked this question, he’s a Texan, may have a gun, and he’s an Australian Aborigine.
No, wait! Scratch that last part. I meant he’s sort of like a cowboy. So how on earth does one answer such a question? Tell the truth I guess—cowboys appreciate the truth, I think.
So, the truth: Being a cowboy, or a Texan, or an Aborigine, does not rule out being a gentleman, like being a pirate would. What really differs here is culture. What's appropriate in London may be totally different on a ranch, or city out in the West, or with a group of Aborigines in the Outback. But the point is all cultures have their accepted etiquette and appropriate style of dress. It’s apples and kiwis*: Both great fruit, but kiwi is just not my cup of tea; ditto for Western, Cowboy-type style: bolo ties, cowboy boots, cowboy hats, definitely not for me—but they are for a gentleman cowboy or Aborigine.
As for etiquette, cowboys developed a rather Victorian/chivalric code, and put a good deal of emphasis on honesty. "One has one's honor," I think a cowboy would say. In essence, a cowboy's etiquette is a gentleman's etiquette, wrapped up in a somewhat different sartorial package.
So--a cowboy gentlemen? Indubitably.
There is one lingering question--would cowboys rather drink tequila/a Margarita, or a Martini? I fear it's the former. Well, no gentleman is perfect I suppose, strictly speaking.
*No actual cowboys, Aborigines, Texans or kiwis were hurt in the writing of this post.