Well it’s finally happening. You are getting older. You are no longer comfortable in your baggy threadbare jeans, your fast food drive-thru habits are becoming more apparent; particularly in the form of an extra level of midsection layering, and your acerbic snarl every time your girlfriend leans in for a hug is starting to become a little worrisome. You are finally coming into your own; ready to master the art of being a gentleman ; a better gentleman. Here are 12 tips to keep in mind from how to dress, to how to eat, and especially how treat your special lady friend.
“Throwing a pair of jeans into your shopping cart next to a gallon of milk is not OK…”
1. Start slow by introducing some extra color into your wardrobe. Use striking accessories for a low-cost entry level way of spicing up your look. Don’t worry about color coordination; a pair of turquoise waxed cotton laces will look good on any shoe against any pants. Just remember, when wearing colored laces, keep the sock action to a minimum and vice versa to avoid clashing. It’s all about the little “pops” of color.
2. Update your clothing fit profile with slimmer cleaner lines. Wide squared off shoulder pads don’t cut it anymore. Jacket sleeves reaching down to your knuckles is just sloppy. Go for a fabric and fit that cuts slim and clean. An unconstructed shoulder in a jacket shows your manly frame, and sleeves just skimming the top of your wrist means you are ready for attack.
3. Refrain from buying clothing at big box stores that do not specialize in clothing. Throwing a pair of jeans into your shopping cart next to a gallon of milk is not OK. Educate yourself on the differences between jeans and awesome jeans. Go out and buy the awesome jeans.
4. Upgrade your wallet: 1) Step on the scale. 2) Write down your weight. 3) Remove the giant heap of a wallet from your pants pocket and record the new weight. 4) If the difference between the 2 numbers is more than 1, something needs to change. Identify the top 3 components needed to be kept on your person and stow these in a slim card case. All other items in your wallet should be scanned and saved to the cloud. Should the time arrive when you need to prove you paid $42 for gas in April of 2008, Dropbox will have your back.
5. In the days of yore, man sported a gnarly beard, dirty hands from toiling in the fields, and a smell about as pleasant as a barn full of non-housebroken cattle. Today, not so. (Although the wild forest beard may be cool), pay attention to your scent. Nothing wrong with a little dab of Polo Blue Sport on your way out in the morning; keeping your environment at work safe for the masses.
6. Keep your hair neat, or carefully messy. There is an art to keeping a mess of hair in place. This art does not involve rolling out of bed and letting your hair stay the way it is until you roll back into bed 18 hours later. Be aware of what works for you and what does not.
7. If your passenger seat doubles as a repository for brown bags, balled up foil, and takeout ketchup packets, it’s time to clean up your act. Stop stuffing your gut with gallon drums of cola and open your eyes to a world of fresh and real food. Take the liberty of trying to cook a real meal (just once) and appreciate the details, taste, art, and color. Food is not just an instant-gratification-artery clogger but an actual real-life experience.
8. In college, it was perfectly acceptable to use any part of your arm; from your elbow to your fingertips, to eat with. Now that you do not live in a dorm room anymore, stop it right now. Sorry for sounding like your mom but seriously, get back to basics. Use utensils, stop talking with your mouth full, don’t take enormous wide eyed bites, and you see that square thing next to your plate? It’s called a napkin. See if you can figure it out.
9. Learn how to shake someone’s hand. From a simple handshake hello, to a deal closer with Donald Trump, it’s all about how to fully grip your counterpart’s hand and give it a firm confident double pump. No wild vigorous flapping and no limp “afraid to catch a disease” fingertip clutch.
10. While the use of excessive profanity earned you deep respect from your middle school colleagues, if you would like to become a better gentleman, we kindly ask you to dial it down. You can respectably pepper an animated anecdote with one or 2 bombs, but that’s it. Immediately switch gears back to “polite and refined”.
11. Stop calling your girlfriend Dude.
12. Buy your spouse, girlfriend, or partner, a special something now and again. Just Because. This shows you are still human; you are still capable of exhibiting an emotion from time to time. This shows you remember and value the love and the spark that brought you together in the first place. This also shows you have not experienced any conjugal satisfaction in a while and you are getting pretty desperate.
About the Author: Jack Fischman is the founder and visionary behind Salt + Dapper, a New York based menswear brand that’s dedicated to providing refined accessories (suspenders, hats, watch straps, neckties, pocket squares, bowties, scarves & much more) for the modern gentleman. The label’s offerings are guided by the “perfected nonchalance” of dressing and attitude that well-heeled Italians often refer to as sprezzatura. Be sure to visit the brand’s website – www.saltdapper.com – to find out more.