A Gentleman's Guide

JANUARY | 2018



T H E  E I G H T Y - T W E N T Y  R U L E

The Eighty-Twenty Rule is a rule that many reading this may be familiar with. This rule asserts that we’ll “only” get eighty percent of what we want out of our partners. Meanwhile, the remaining twenty percent consists of traits, characteristics and qualities we feel our Beaux is missing and can range from superficial to complex in nature.

The trick to understanding the Eighty Twenty Rule is to focus on and confront the issues that are preventing our relationships from being the beacons of happiness we so desperately want them to be.

Let’s start with the easy stuff; the superficial. The superficial issues can be more annoying than anything else. For example, maybe your Beaux is a Beyoncé fan who doesn’t immediately wash the dishes after every meal and on top of all of this, he takes forever to get ready whenever the two of you go out!

Meanwhile you, a member of Rihanna’s ‘Navy’, believe in the importance of not going to bed with dishes in the sink and you pride yourself on always being prompt. Perhaps your Beaux prefers to text while you prefer to talk on the phone on account of your fat fingers making it more difficult to text-which is the main reason you prefer to talk.

No, you don’t want to end the relationship because your Beaux has questionable taste in music, leaves a sink full of unwashed dishes and takes too long to get ready. But you do want him to understand that Beyoncé is not infallible, sitting food may attract ants and that the movie starts at 10:30 and you want there to be enough time to visit the overpriced concession stand and to be able to sit through the previews.

You’re not willing to break up with your Beaux because he prefers to send text messages whose lengths rival the breadths of Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, but you do want him to understand that you’d like to come up with some kind of solution to prevent these annoyances from hindering the progress of your relationship.

Transitioning to the more complex concerns we may encounter when considering our partner’s twenty, we’re often left to decide about whether or not the twenty percent we feel our partner is lacking is worth the eighty percent that we’re getting. Remember how about a paragraph ago the pronoun “you” was italicized? Well that’s where the majority of your issues with your Beaux stem from; you.

The trick understanding the Eighty Twenty Rule is to focus on the issues that you have within yourself and the way that you could be projecting them onto your partner who, in all actuality, is giving you one hundred percent of who he is. The Eighty Twenty Rule isn’t a scale, it’s a mirror.

Since childhood we’ve been coached on which behaviors are acceptable and which behaviors aren’t. We learn these things from our parents, our mentors and society, alike. As a result, these relationships have shaped our existences as they are the guidelines we follow for no other reason than they’re all we’ve ever known.


Our parents taught us the importance of playing nice with others, our mentors gave us a framework under which to operate in order to follow in their footsteps when and if we chose to do so, and society has done its best to tell us where we belong. Our norms, values and world views are birthed from these people, places and things.

Such, the twenty percent we feel our Beaux is missing comes from us, not him. Within the confines of this perspective we can admit that we don’t particularly care for Beyoncé because she steals. Yes, she’ll give us a hit and a good visual, but she steals and we have the receipts to prove it. Taking this approach may remind us of the scolding we received from our parents because we didn’t wash our dishes when we were done eating and the result of this is that we frantically wash every plate before the last crumb hits it.

Additionally, this view may help us to realize that our father’s military background is the reason you believe that early is “on time” and that “on time” is late. One thing that we can consider when evaluating the origin of what we can now identify as

Our missing twenty is our compatibility with our Beaux.

For example, if you hold intimacy and companionship in high regard but your Beaux is reclusive and values solitude, then your relationship is sitting on the precipice of disaster. In a situation such as this your partner will inherently behave according to how he’s always behaved*.

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These circumstances  can (and will) inevitably lead many of us to attribute our partner’s reclusiveness and disinterest in showing affection in ways that work for us to his missing twenty. This is why compatibility is key.

We don’t want to make the mistake of assuming that we’ll be one hundred percent compatible with our partners one hundred percent of the time because we won’t. However, we do want to make sure that our Beaux is meeting the vast majority of our needs and vice versa.

Many of us believe that the Eighty Twenty Rule gives us a mathematical estimate of what we should expect from our partners, but in reality it places us in front of a mirror to give us a chance to examine the relationships we have with what we perceive as being our Beaux’s missing twenty.

Jeremy CarterComment