A Gentleman Handles Conflict

Despite our best efforts to get through each day with minimal hassle, conflict is an ever present entity that manifests itself in many forms. Whether it’s traffic, forgetting to put the toilet seat down for your significant other, or a coworker that’s unhappy with his own life so he takes it out on you, conflict will always be in a gentleman’s life. How he chooses to deal with it, however, is his own decision. Here’s what I recommend:

1.  Always keep a cool head in the situation.  Letting emotions take control is not what a gentleman does.  Emotions cloud judgment and inhibit rational thinking patterns.

2.  Remove yourself from the situation.  While it seems easy to simply address the problem then and there, it will be hastily addressed, further complicating matters.  If need be, find a facilitator that can act as a mediator between you and the other person.

3.  Listen to what the other person is saying.  Too often in our culture we find ourselves simply waiting for our turn to speak.  If you sincerely pay attention to the concerns one is expressing, you may realize something about the situation that you hadn’t before, as well as why this altercation arose.

4.  When it is time to speak, do so without ad hominem attacks (insulting one’s character).  That does nothing but make matters worse, and makes you appear childish.

5.  Offer a sincere apology if you are the offending party.  If not, accept the apology of the offending party.  The key goal of any conflict resolution is to deal with the problem swiftly, and in a way that both parties can coexist peacefully once a resolution has been reached.  It does you no good to hold grudges against another person, nor does it benefit them.

Conflict will always be present in your life.  Use of these techniques should make it more manageable.

From the Ground Up – A Gentleman Knows Shoes

I had always read that the first thing a woman notices about a man is his shoes. It wasn’t until my own significant other confirmed this that I actually believed it.

“If you’re wearing white Jordans, you better look and act the part.”

As someone that spends three days per week on a college campus, I see hundreds – if not thousands – of different people each day. Most people don’t take pride in their appearnce, which is unfortunate, as a college education is something to be taken seriously. There are a few people who attempt to make an effort in presenting themselves well. However, the quickest way to ruin an outfit is by wearing the entirely wrong footwear. Covering your feet with the appropriate shoes is the best way to improve your entire look, so here are a few basic pointers:

1. Gym shoes belong in the gym – that’s about it. A few weeks ago, I saw I student wearing a blazer and jeans with New Balance running shoes. I don’t care how comfortable you are in them, if you’re wearing the wrong shoes in the wrong context, it will ruin your entire get-up.

2. Match your shoes to the rest of your clothes. I will almost always advocate brown (or other colors) over black dress shoes – black is too played out (and often entirely too formal). Stick with brown unless the rest of your outfit is predominately black.

3. Familiarize yourself with different types of shoes. There is nothing more masculine and demonstrative of confidence than a guy who not only looks good, but knows he looks good, and is comfortable in what he’s wearing. And since shoes are the first thing a woman notices about a man, it is important to know your different types, as well as when to wear them. Each shoe severs its own purpose, and should be worn accordingly.

  • Boat shoes (Sperry, Sebago, Dockers) have roots in boating and marine activities, and are regarded as one of the most casual loafer-style shoes. Wear them with just about anything, except a suit. As any fraternity guy can tell you, you simply don’t wear socks with these shoes. If they begin to smell (which they will), put them in a grocery bag and store in your freezer overnight. This will kill the bacteria which causes the odor, and your shoes will be good to go (although probably cold).
  • Oxfords/Wingtips/Brogues (Bass, Allen Edmonds, Florsheim) can be worn with just about anything, from jeans to suits. From suede to full grain leather, wearing these is a great way to dress up any outfit and set yourself apart from the guys rocking their running shoes with their jeans.
  • Driving moccasins (Aldo, Sperry, Ralph Lauren) were designed for driving a car, as their name implies. If you look at the bottom, you can see how the sole is broken up into individual pads which are designed to give the driver more feeling for the pedals. These look great with shorts in the summer, and depending on the size of the shoe, go well with khakis and jeans. Like boat shoes, these are not meant to be worn with socks, and the same treatment method can be used to get rid of odors.
  • Loafers (Bass, Allen Edmonds) were once considered too casual for office wear, but are now a staple in the wardrobes of many corporate employees. They’re a great  for both work wear and casual attire. Putting the penny in the tongue is optional.
  • Boots – If you live in an area where snow is common throughout the winter, having a study pair of boots is invaluable in getting through the season. Look into Frye and Red Wings (Iron Rangers are a good start) – they carry a somewhat hefty price tag, but they’ll last forever and only improve with age.

4. No white dress shoes, under any circumstances. For one, they get dirty very easily. Two, they only look good if you’re a Cuban drug lord by the name of Tony Montana, or one of those clowns from Jersey Shore.

5. Regarding socks – they’re important in most cases, but in others you can do without them. I typically recommend wearing them based on your outfit as a whole. Job interview? Definitely. Dressing casual? No. And definitely not with Sperrys. If your shoes start to smell, wrap them in a plastic grocery bag and throw them in the freezer over night. When you take them out the following morning, they’ll be fine, albiet a little frozen. However, when colder weather arrives, socks are a great way to add some individuality to what you’re wearing. Target and Gap have some interestingly colored and patterned socks that are usually inexpensive. Pick up a few pairs next time you’re there.

There’s a reason the saying goes, “G’d up from the feet up.” Your shoes are the foundation upon which you stand, and looking good starts from the ground up.

A Note on Chivalry

Chivalry isn’t dead. It’s just been largely absent in the actions of our generation. As an aspiring gentleman, it’s your job to bring chivalry back to the forefront of manly behaviors.

How? Simple.

1. Hold doors for people. Possibly the easiest act of chivalry. If you prioritize your life correctly, you should never be in too much of a hurry to hold a door open for someone.

2. Respect your elders. While I do believe respect should always be earned, never demanded, older people have typically been through more than you have in your two decades of existence. More often than not, they’ve earned their respect.

3. Help those less fortunate than you. You never know where you may end up someday, and I firmly believe karma rewards those who help others in need. While this doesn’t mean give money to every panhandler that asks for it, you should donate clothes you no longer wear and volunteer for something for which you have a passion.

4. When walking with a female companion on the sidewalk, walk closest to the street. This may seem old fashioned, but trust me – they will take notice. However, this does not apply in all cases. “[I]f the two of us are walking down a sidewalk full of people, or in the hood where men pray on women from their corners or stoops, I’ll take the inside. When a man walks side by side with a woman, he should always be standing on the side closest to the danger.” (UntilIGetMarried.com)

5. On a date with a woman, never drink more than she does. If something goes wrong, you will be able to handle it, thus protecting her.

6. Do the majority of the driving. “I don’t think women are bad drivers (although most of them are). It’s just to say there are risks involved with driving, more risks than riding, so, as a man, it’s my responsibility to take those risks, not hers.” (UntilIGetMarried.com)

7. When meeting someone, ask for their name, learn to pronounce it, and then use it in conversation. It is a great sign of respect when you do this, so make it a habit.

I’m sure there are some I haven’t mentioned. Feel free to post them as a comment.

Sources: http://untiligetmarried.com/2010/01/21/5-new-acts-of-chivalry/

Dressing Like A Gentleman

As a young man gets older and progresses through his years of higher learning, he begins to consider his career path and future job opportunities. And, while the majority of his peers may put little (or no) effort into their own personal appearance, the young gentleman knows that practicing proper dress habits today can lead to a promising career tomorrow. With only a few minor tweaks to your daily attire, you can begin looking (and being perceived) as someone that has respect for themselves and knows how to look sharp in any situation.

Here’s are a few recommendations that’ll make you look your age, and not like a 20-something who’s stuck in high school.

1. Ditch the cargo shorts. Let’s be real for a second – have you ever had to carry so many miscellaneous items that you really needed to stuff them in your pants? Doubtful. So, get rid of them. As it was said in SuperBad, “No one’s gotten laid in cargo shorts since ‘Nam.” True story. Instead, try flat front shorts in any solid color (the most common are khaki, navy, black, yellow, red, blue, etc.) that fall from 2″ above to 1″ below your knee. Anything shorter will look odd, anything longer will look like man-pris.

2. No graphic tees. Wearing one is like wearing a sign that says, “My parents did not give me enough attention as a small child, and now I’m trying to get yours by wearing an ugly shirt.” They don’t belong on you, or anywhere, except maybe on the set of Jersey Shore. And that’s just to more easily identify the d-bags  from the normal people. Instead, invest in a few colorful – but plain – t-shirts. V-neck, Crew neck – it’s all a matter of preference.

3. Wear clothes that fit. If you’re wearing pants that are falling off of your waist, you need to reevaluate a few things, including the idea of walking out your door. Don’t buy pants that are too big in the first place, and you won’t have this problem. The fit should be trim, but not so much that it looks like you stole them from your girlfriend.

4. Start from the ground up. Make sure your shoes match your clothes. This is basic, but a lot of people still can’t manage to do that. I can’t count how many clowns I see on my campus wearing the T-shirt / Blazer / Jeans combo… with New Balance running shoes. You look ridiculous. I recommend owning two pairs of loafers (brown and black), two pairs of dress shoes (brown and black) and some more casual items (boat shoes, driving mocs, etc.), and a pair of solid gym shoes. These will match virtually anything.

5. All leather accessories should match. Brown with brown, black with black. This is basic.

These are the basic five rules. Follow them.

A Few Rules

I’ve seen this posted in multiple blogs and websites, but no source is available. Regardless, these are 26 rules to live life by, and definitely worth a read.

1. Never stop thinking. This is important. If someone ever says to you ‘You need to stop thinking so much,’ call them ignorant in your head and keep thinking deeper. It is this mentality that breeds stupidity. Your mind is the most important tool you have, if you stop using it, it will atrophy. Question everything.

2. Stare into space blankly and don’t mentally punish yourself for doing it, even if it is for that split second. If you have a problem with staring blankly, think of it as daydreaming.

3. Root Beer sucks after having spicy food.

4. Everything is going to be just fine. If you worry about acne, you’re going to get a fucking pimple.

5. Don’t be afraid to talk about anything. You shouldn’t be afraid of reality.

6. Everyone is a hypocrite.

7. You are all original. Every life experience is case sensitive and unique. Every time you wake up or go to the bathroom or quote someone else, you are becoming more you than anyone has ever been.

8. Do pointless things. Don’t actively restrain or hide yourself from the redundant.

9. Stop rushing. Shut up and embrace the sound of silence.

10. Religion shouldn’t be taught, it should be found. No one should tell you what to believe except you. And while were on the subject…

11. Don’t be restrained by one religion. People change every moment of everyday. Minds grow and evolve. Religion has no law so feel free to mix and match. Make your own.

12. Going to the bathroom is not a right nor a privilege. it’s an act of nature.

13. Talking to yourself is healthy. Is there anyone that you have more in common with?

14. There is no such thing as time. The sun never sets or rises. Days and years don’t exist. There is only your life. Earlier today you were born and death is predicted later in the evening.

15. We will always be in a transitional phase. Look outside and know that everything will be replaced at some point. This existence is temporary.

16. Its not half empty or half full. Its half a glass.

17. Every now and then take something that you see everyday and try to see it in a different light. Renew its existence.

18. Be happy, but don’t force it.

19. You will always succeed in trying.

20. We are all crazy. Every person you read about in the history books had some kind of ‘disorder’, they just knew how to use it.

21. We are all about as similar as we are different.

22. Ideas are just as valuable as people. Why do you think we keep making people?

87. Numbers don’t have to go in order.

24. Words will always be just words. Love is just another four letter word, only the feeling is real.

25. Ask a child for advice. They may not know much, but they know what is important.

26. Prove you’re alive. Do anything from dancing in the supermarket to screaming ‘Fuck’ during a moment of silence. Remind the world you are still here.

Have your own rules to add? Write them in as a comment.

-R

Welcome

Welcome to the new blog.

I knew I’d eventually get tired with CC, so instead of satirizing certain subcultures of university life, I’ve created this to help younger guys reach that next level of personal potential.

Bookmark it and stay updated.

-R