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Dancing With the Stars: Where Did Rob Kardashian Really Learn How to be a Gentleman?

Rob Kardashian (yes, of those Kardashians) is a contestant on the new season of Dancing With the Stars. After his first dance, the commentator pointed out that he must have learned how to deal with strong women (alluding to his dance partner, Cheryl Burke) by growing up in a house with his five sisters and his mother. He responded by saying, “I learned how to be a gentleman from all those beautiful women.”

At that point, I threw my hands up in exasperation.

To help you understand why I was so befuddled by this statement, I will present an alternative scenario.

A woman is on a TV show and she appears to be very “ladylike” in her behavior. The host of the show says as much, and she responds, “I learned how to be a lady from my five brothers and my father.”

No one would ever say that because it would be silly… at best.

So then why is it “acceptable” for a man to say he learned how to be a gentleman from his sisters and mother? Even more, Kardashian has a stepfather, Bruce Jenner, and a biological father (Robert, who was divorced from his mom and passed away when Rob was 16).

Now, I can understand the notion that women can demand or expect gentlemanly behavior from a man. But they can’t possibly model that behavior for them; only another man can do that.

Besides, don’t you think that if a young man is being “instructed” by his sisters and mother to treat them nicely that, in the absence of a responsible father, it could actually backfire? He may resent being told what to do, especially when he becomes a teenager and is looking for male guidance and answers from men about what it means to be a man.

I am not debating whether or not Rob Kardashian is a gentleman; I have no idea if he is or not. However, I do not believe that any young man can learn gentlemanly behavior from just watching women’s behavior.

For Rob Kardashian, if he is in fact a gentleman, my guess is that it was not from his mother and sisters, but his stepfather and his biological father (for whom Rob just did a tribute on Dancing With the Stars) from whom he learned how to be a gentleman. Why he did not credit those men in his statement is a topic for another blog post…

Why am I writing any of this at all? While, in the grand scheme of things it does not matter where Rob Kardashian learned how to be a gentleman (if in fact he did), it is important for our culture to recognize the unique and irreplaceable role that fathers play in their children’s lives. And one of those roles is to model gentlemanly behavior for his sons, and to show his daughters the gentlemanly behavior they should expect from men. I guess thinking those lessons will come out of Dancing With the Stars is a bit too much for me to expect. Oh, well.

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