The problem with men

… or the gentleman’s guide to life (as seen by somebody who isn’t one).

               I’ve checked. There are lots of problems with us, not just one, and it’s getting worse by the day. But the single most important problem I’ve faced myself is the lack of role models. We don’t know how to behave, we don’t know how to think and we don’t know why we have to think and behave like real men. This word, real, is only a prop that’s way too overused in today’s media, because the real life examples aren’t there anymore. It used to mean something and the closest synonym I can find is gentleman, though they only intersect. A “real” man is also a subjective account prone to changes and mutations, like in fashion, nobody knows exactly what to think of it. However, I may have a few ideas that aren’t that popular and won’t actually involve the age-old war of sexes. I won’t look at males versus females, I’m looking at the actual unspoken identity that has both behavioral and visual components – because nobody’s actually going for both (that I know of).

               Women have it worse, actually, but that’s not for me to describe (because I can’t). Men, on the other hand, rely too much on the end-result and in doing that they lost themselves. Think about it. Men usually want to attract women therefore they went with what they thought women wanted and, like an avalanche, the competition actually made us go past the tipping point of the efficient results with minimum effort – we went all in, full retard. You remember the past two decades? Ever since the turn of the millennium, we embraced our feminine side and described the rest as Neanderthal (closest approximation I could find, also the smallest insult). Men looked like women, behaved like women and they’ve been told it’s good for them. Unisex, remember that one? Metrosexual I believe the word was but I’d rather go for sexual ambiguity. No body hair, no muscles, weird hair, insecurity through the roof. That isn’t a typo because it’s quite true – men didn’t feel good, they felt confused and they felt insecure. Most of them anyway. I managed to sidestep that one thanks to heavy metal but still… those were confusing times for me. Even so, they were told this was the way to a woman’s heart and they accepted it. Most of them anyway. Even me. These last few years marked the return to the roots but those roots were long gone. Rugged looks are in, now. Beards to shame a lumberjack, muscles, all that may look good in pictures but reality hits like a truck. How does one kiss a woman without giving her a taste of his beard? Yeah. Women decided effeminate men were out, so we went the other way like a tornado but in doing that, we went full retard, again.

               Nobody’s heard of middle ground? I don’t care what women think now, they change their minds over how men should look and behave every two years, as far as I’m concerned my identity isn’t a fashion. No, that’s not sexist. Think about it. Everything men do they do it because A.) Women and B.) Power (ego). Only power has to be shown and what’s the best way to show it to other men? Use beautiful women as visual cues. Yeah, we’re morons. But that’s the point – we lost the gentleman identity somewhere around Nixon’s presidency and we didn’t get it back. Now we rely on the media, on movies and various “famous people” to get that definition. Same thing works for women too. So much cloning, not much thought. But the media has to sell a new look to the masses every couple of years because otherwise we’d stop buying – we aren’t making products to last a lifetime anymore. So what has to go? We have to go, our old selves, our looks. We change every 2 years, we “reinvent” ourselves and .. well, confusion is understandable. If everything is negotiable, nothing has inherent value.

               Look, the gentlemanly behavior isn’t sexist despite what the media and some idiot feminists want you to think, it’s derived from respect and courtesy, hell, it is a form of respect and polite behavior. If you think opening a door for a woman to pass through is all there is to a gentleman, you don’t know shit about that. And if a woman is giving you trouble for doing it, she’s either dumb or brainwashed and not worth your attention so don’t waste a single breath for a reply. A real man knows exactly who he is. Unlike myself, apparently. But it’s true. Good manners define a gentleman’s behavior, they are a part of who he is and if you don’t know that, pick up a book on manners and refresh your memory – you’ll actually learn something. I know this because I’m reading them myself and I am learning new things every day – things that never actually crossed my mind before. But I’m not done in that area so there’s way better sources for such information than yours truly.

               The other part involves looks but it also derives from good manners. A real man isn’t obvious, he’s not necessarily dressed in Prada or Armani or Hugo Boss – but he dresses well. He takes care of his body as his image in the mirror is a reflection of his identity. No, stubble isn’t manly. Big beards aren’t manly. A real man chooses how he looks based on utility and personal preference, so if you have a beard, groom it and if you don’t, then shave every damn day. Clean your fingernails. Cut your nose hair. His clothes aren’t wrinkled or dirty, his hair isn’t pointing all the cardinal points, his shoes shine and by Jove, he surely matches his outfits (a feat I’m not accustomed to, just like daily shaving). You see, there’s a point to all of this – just like what’s on your desk reflects your thought processes, desk clutter indicates confusion and lack of discipline as surely as dirty shoes or wrinkled clothes. You think you know how gentlemen look like? Well, you’re probably wrong. Go for the Pierce Brosnan look or, if you need a facial hair role model, try Tom Selleck or Sean Connery. Clean, color matched, steamed/pressed clothes that fit you should be chosen over everything else, with emphasis on choosing the ones that make you feel good about yourself and are apropriate to the task at hand – not on marketing gimmicks or this year’s fashion. Go with the classic look, it may not make you stand out that much but it also never goes out of style. There’s tons of manuals on how to pick clothes. Remember to choose good shoes, shoes and mattresses are the two things you’ll be standing on more than 70% of your life, so choose them well.

               Groom yourself. I can’t emphasise this enough. Shower, shave, brush your hair, groom your beard and moustache (if you have them) every chance you get. Use good soaps, shampoos and body lotions. Hell, relearn how to shave. Use balms with no perfume in them and find perfumes that work with you – however, there’s a point I’d like to make in choosing perfumes that you should know. Try to use long lasting, moderate sillage eau de parfum, like Hermes Terre d’Hermes. If you don’t go for that (hard to imagine why not), find something that feels good on your skin but never, never ever go for something that’s bound to make those around you dive for open windows or make the pets you encounter suddenly start sneezing or gagging, that’s not the way to go. Also, try to let overpowering smells, nauseating sweet scents or any perfume under 40 quid to the aspiring stock brokers, they aren’t for you even if you like ‘em.

               A real man does not stand out. He knows his value and he tries to outperform himself, constantly pushing his limits without drawing too much attention on himself. He’s got style and class, not swag – swag is for kids who don’t know who they are. A gentleman may appear arrogant because he is confident in his abilities, appear being the word of choice here because any insecure individual thinks of confidence as arrogance. That is why good manners, respect and politeness matter in social issues, they soften the message. I may not be a gentleman myself but I sure want to be one, I’ll tell you that. Do your reading. If you still aren’t sure why you should, then don’t – you have to want it or there’s no chance of you succeeding. Look alive me boy, if you know hipster and MTV looks aren’t appealing, there’s hope for you yet.

Post scriptum:

               It’s still weird for me, now, as it is. Bieber style just makes me grow a beard. But what do I know, right?

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