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The Gentleman’s Expo: Defining, Refining, or Declining “Manliness”?


Two weeks later and the cyberspace is a-buzz with reviews of the first annual Gentleman’s Expo (TGE). The results have been tallied and it would appear that the audience – comprised of attendees, exhibitors, and general cyberspace commentators – are mixed and divided. While it received praise by many, others showed no mercy when it came to voicing their disdain for the event (anonymously in cyberspace, but I digress).

While some lauded the event for its lack of focus, others appreciated its range and variety. It certainly prompts us to question, what does it mean to be a true “gentleman”?

I think in the landmark case of “Gentleman” vs. “Manly-Man”, there is a disconnect largely fueled by our own predetermined stereotypes.

Let’s take a look at the jury according to TGE:

THE WELL-KEPT MAN/THE STYLISH MAN
Known aliases: The Businessman, Mr. GQ, The Trendster, The Suit
Where to find him: Brokering a deal at the office, out on the town with a date or the boys, anywhere there’s stylishness to be had
Last seen wearing: a well pressed suit with a bright accent; tailored jeans, fitted shirt, casual blazer to match, polished shoes.
TGE Vendors of choice: Dove Men + Care, Got Style Menswear, Blue Industry, g-Lab, Macro Nils, Mombacho Cigars, Paul Betenly, Saxx Underwear & Co., watching the guest panels for Dragon’s Den

THE SPORTING MAN
Where to find him: Bars, pubs, best friend’s living room watching the game, or on the field PLAYING the game
Last seen wearing: Runners (in varying degrees of newness), denims or joggers, an article of clothing showing off his fave team (most likely in the form of a jersey or t-shirt)
TGE Vendors of choice: Headrush Apparel, Golf Town, The Toronto Raptors, watching the UFC Fighter interviews

THE WORKING MAN
Known alias: The Average Joe
Where to find him: Anywhere a job (usually one that requires a little elbow grease) needs to be done, from pushing papers to manual labor.
Last seen wearing: Jeans, sweater or T-shirt, jacket. *This man is usually dressed for comfort, or for whatever the job entails.
TGE Vendors of choice: Cassels Brock Lawyers, Agent Royale, Agnite Cigar, Investors Group, Man Up Products, Toronto Police Services

THE CULTURED MAN
Different Variations include: The Hipster, The Techie, The Chic Geek, The Artist
Where to find him: Plugged in to a wireless device, attending a concert, watching a movie, sipping a trendy beverage at a cafe, any given show or expo
Last seen wearing: A wide range of styles and fits, but he’ll definitely be sporting paraphernalia of his favorite show, movie, band or artist, or mimicking the look of any of the above.
TGE Vendors of choice: AFGI (Auctions), Cineplex, Christ German Leather Fashions, CityKey VIP, Streets.TO, It’s Just Lunch Toronto, Wildcard Experience, LG Electronics, ASUS, Lenovo

THE TRAVELLING MAN/THE MAN ON THE MOVE
Known aliases: The Adventurer, The Outdoorsy-Type
Where to find him: Doing upwards of 100 mph down a scenic highway; hanging off a rock in full-climbing gear; kicking back on a tropical beach; on an historic walking tour
Last seen wearing: dressed for function, be it weather or activity appropriate; typically a comfortable pair of cargos or linen or cotton slacks for vacationing, or durable denims for protection or high-octane fun; something leather to match his sweet ride.
TGE Vendors of choice: Grand Touring Autos, Maple Volkswagon Performance, Plug n Drive, Tesla

THE INFILTRATOR
Known aliases: Girlfriend, Wife, Kick-Ass Female Friend, Undercover Hunter
Where to find her: Hiding in plain site alongside the boyfriend, husband, group of guys, or fellow infiltrators
Last seen wearing: Less than sensible shoes; other attire items vary from casual and stylish to full-on suit-up
TGE Vendors of choice: GOTSTYLE Menswear (’cause girls in guys clothes is awesome), anything and everything else that sparks their guy’s interest

Now I ask, why can’t a guy be free to be any number of these things? Why can’t he hop on his motorcycle and get dirty out on the open road, come home to an impeccably furnished condo, clean himself off with Dove for Men essentials, don a finely crafted suit to take out a date after which, he’d come back to said condo and kick up his feet and throw back a brewsky while watching Sports Central? Because all men can’t be Isaiah Mustafa of the Old Spice campy campaign fame? Just kidding. Forget the particulars for a second. Sporty, chic, hip or geek, a good attitude and classy nature are always in style.

Final verdict: I think despite the mixed reviews, we should all applaud the efforts of the event creators and co-ordinators for attempting to give guys a forum to be, and aspire to be, any guy they want. I, for one look forward to seeing what they have in store next year.

Weigh in people; let us know what you thought of the show and what you think it takes to be a modern-day “Gentleman.”

CHECK THE SWAG BAG!

For those of you that opted to “man-up” for the event, here’s what the extra $20 got you:

  • EXCLUSIVE SWAG BAG with over $75 worth of awesome freebies
  • Double the number of complimentary drink tickets (6 extra tickets)
  • Express line VIP entrance into the show
  • 1 extra entry ballot for on-site grand-prize give-away at the show

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