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The Gentlemen of San Diego want to be better versions of themselves

Dressing up to clean up and step out

It’s an odd feeling. I’m standing here at 12th and Imperial, waiting for my stretch limousine, aka the number 901 bus, when I spot these gentlemen. And gentlemen they are: they’re dressed in white shirts, ties, gray and checkered suits. And down here, you notice: their shoes are fine brown and black leather, nicely buffed. These gents are not from this part of the planet. 


I stop one: Trevor Spence. Like all dozen of his compatriots who are combing through the rubbish-dotted landscape, he’s armed with plastic gloves, a cherry-picker tool, and a big black plastic bag. “I’m an entrepreneur, in the medical device arena,” he says. “We’re the Gentlemen of San Diego. We formed last summer, more as a social organization for men, who are like-minded and successful and goal-oriented. We meet once a month, first Fridays, just to get together. It was very social at the beginning, then we thought about it and said, ‘Hey, why don’t we give this a purpose, and give it a service component?’ That’s what brought us out today. This is actually our first service meeting. We’re picking up trash in the streets of San Diego to kind of give back to the community, feel good about what we’re doing. And at the end, we’re going to have a good, fun time while we’re at it.”

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His buddy Erik chimes in. “We started off by Punchbowl Social on 14th street, and decided we’d make our way around this whole area, wherever we’re needed most. And then drop our trash bags off. And then we’re going to have a little happy hour at East Village Brewing after this. We just decided to do this ourselves. No official backing, except we organized through ‘A Clean and Safe San Diego.’” (It’s part of the Downtown San Diego Partnership). “They helped us with the trash bags. But it has shown me: anyone can get involved, and anyone can make a difference if they really want to. Just got to get out there and do it. If people want to find us, we’re on Instagram: @thegentlemenofsandiego. Some of us are entrepreneurs, some of us are nine-to-fivers. But at the end of the day, we’re all guys who want to be better versions of ourselves.”


I have to say, these patches of grass by the transit station have never looked more brilliantly green. Yes, it has been raining and that helps, but still, these guys, just doing it, not asking for anything back, or publicity. (Me meeting them is total serendipity.) Pretty cool. 


Okay, as they go picking on their way, I do have a couple of gnawing questions. Like, why the ties? By dressing formally like this, do they want to identify themselves as smart, middle-class people different from everybody else hereabouts? And also, the main question I should’ve asked: why no women?

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It’s an odd feeling. I’m standing here at 12th and Imperial, waiting for my stretch limousine, aka the number 901 bus, when I spot these gentlemen. And gentlemen they are: they’re dressed in white shirts, ties, gray and checkered suits. And down here, you notice: their shoes are fine brown and black leather, nicely buffed. These gents are not from this part of the planet. 


I stop one: Trevor Spence. Like all dozen of his compatriots who are combing through the rubbish-dotted landscape, he’s armed with plastic gloves, a cherry-picker tool, and a big black plastic bag. “I’m an entrepreneur, in the medical device arena,” he says. “We’re the Gentlemen of San Diego. We formed last summer, more as a social organization for men, who are like-minded and successful and goal-oriented. We meet once a month, first Fridays, just to get together. It was very social at the beginning, then we thought about it and said, ‘Hey, why don’t we give this a purpose, and give it a service component?’ That’s what brought us out today. This is actually our first service meeting. We’re picking up trash in the streets of San Diego to kind of give back to the community, feel good about what we’re doing. And at the end, we’re going to have a good, fun time while we’re at it.”

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His buddy Erik chimes in. “We started off by Punchbowl Social on 14th street, and decided we’d make our way around this whole area, wherever we’re needed most. And then drop our trash bags off. And then we’re going to have a little happy hour at East Village Brewing after this. We just decided to do this ourselves. No official backing, except we organized through ‘A Clean and Safe San Diego.’” (It’s part of the Downtown San Diego Partnership). “They helped us with the trash bags. But it has shown me: anyone can get involved, and anyone can make a difference if they really want to. Just got to get out there and do it. If people want to find us, we’re on Instagram: @thegentlemenofsandiego. Some of us are entrepreneurs, some of us are nine-to-fivers. But at the end of the day, we’re all guys who want to be better versions of ourselves.”


I have to say, these patches of grass by the transit station have never looked more brilliantly green. Yes, it has been raining and that helps, but still, these guys, just doing it, not asking for anything back, or publicity. (Me meeting them is total serendipity.) Pretty cool. 


Okay, as they go picking on their way, I do have a couple of gnawing questions. Like, why the ties? By dressing formally like this, do they want to identify themselves as smart, middle-class people different from everybody else hereabouts? And also, the main question I should’ve asked: why no women?

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Jazz, country, R&B, rock, and acoustic evenings in La Jolla, Little Italy, Ramona, and Solana Beach
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