28. October 2015 · Comments Off on A Brief Exploration of Shit that Comes With Age · Categories: Blog Miscellania, Gentlemanly Pursuits

It’s a rainy late-October evening, and after a bite and a pint or two at the regular watering hole, a few things occurred to me as essential as one attempts to age gracefully.

  1. A man over the age of 35 needs to acquire a local pub/tavern/bar. Where there is good beer, good conversation, and good whisk(e)y to be had. Where he tips well, comports himself in the manner of a grown man, and is known on a first name basis by the bar staff. If you can’t strike up a conversation over a sandwich and a beer at any random time, you’re doing it wrong.
  2. At said establishment, one must at the holidays drop a serious gratuity on your regular bartenders. Order a beer or a dram and drop a $20 tip with a hearty “Merry Christmas” and a tip of the hat. In general, treat service workers well – how you treat those whose job it is to serve you is a reflection on your true character.
  3. Speaking of which, at 40 it becomes acceptable to wear a classic hat in public without registering as a hipster asshole with unfortunate facial hair. However, if you’re still wearing a backwards ball cap at this age, someone needs to slap that shit off your head.
  4. Buy quality leather goods at this point. They’ll never go out of style, and they’ll last for a majority of your remaining years. Maybe beyond.
  5. If, by the age of 30-35 you haven’t learned to do basic repairs, turn a wrench when necessary, and pull out a power tool without everyone running for cover, you have failed at life.
  6. Also, if by this time you haven’t earned the love of a furry companion and/or endured the loss of a dear four-footed friend, you’ve likewise missed the boat. Shame on you.
  7. Real men know how to cook a meal. Not just grill a damned burger, but put together an actual full meal without panicking. This is not optional.
  8. If you drink, you should have learned how to drink for flavor. Not just to get hammered. If you’re pounding brewskis and Jagerbombs at 40, you need to examine your life. If you can’t pick out a decent wine at a restaurant, savor a whisk(e)y neat, or appreciate a good non-“lite” beer for its taste, maybe you should grow the hell up.
  9. T-shirts, jeans, and Nikes are not the daily uniform of a grown-ass man. Learn to dress up a pair of jeans and dress down a suit jacket. If you can afford it, have at least one foundation garment made to measure. In any case, always buy clothes that fit the size you are, and always aim to dress one step better than you would think normal.
  10. Know at least three skills that will get your ass out of a bad situation. Don’t be a helpless geezer. Be the tough old bastard on the block.
  11. Learn to appreciate art, music, the written word, and the live performance. A man with a clue doesn’t see culture as an uppity weakness. Knowing a Monet on sight as well as a 3-4 defense makes you a more interesting person.
  12. Eat everything, to the limit of your ability. Attempt to try everything at least once. Rarely does one regret taking an opportunity to expand one’s horizons, and missed chances are more often the cause for remorse. Food is a direct line to other cultures, and one of the easiest to share.
15. August 2014 · Comments Off on Quick Review: Imperial Barber’s Fiber Pomade · Categories: Gentlemanly Pursuits, Old School Shaving and Grooming · Tags: , ,

Imperial Barber Products Fiber Pomade jar on white surface

Imperial’s water-based fiber pomade is a moderate hold product that suits medium to fine hair just fine, but might not be enough for thick or wavy locks.

It comes out of the jar pretty thick and sticky, but applied to damp hair works in and combs through very easily.

Imperial Fiber is not a high-gloss pomade, but it’s not a matte clay finish either. It gives some sheen, but it’s not of the perpetually-wet shine variety.

It’s mostly water based, so it washes out fairly easily. It does contain some petrolatum and castor oil though, so it doesn’t get crispy and start flaking. Multiple dry combings will eventually break down the hold, but a wet comb will bring things back together well.

The scent is that of a salon product – that vaguely “watermelon Jolly Rancher” fragrance. Not objectionable, but not a classic barbershop aroma if that’s what you’re after.

At $20-22 for a 6-oz. jar, it is on the high end price-wise for its category. It does perform well, and appears to be a high-quality product for the money.

12. August 2014 · Comments Off on Quick Review: Jack Dean Eau de Quinine · Categories: Gentlemanly Pursuits, Old School Shaving and Grooming · Tags: , , ,

Jack Dean Eau de Quinine Bottle

I was looking for a tonic akin to Lucky Tiger with a more masculine fragrance.

Jack Dean Eau de Quinine does not appreciably improve the texture of your hair.

Jack Dean Eau de Quinine does not noticeably help to style your hair.

Jack Dean Eau de Quinine does not distinctly provide any hold to your hair.

Jack Dean Eau de Quinine does give the impression that your grandmother’s rose-scented bathroom air freshener has detonated on your head.


17. June 2012 · Comments Off on The Cult of The Best. · Categories: Gentlemanly Pursuits

Photo courtesy flickr user AlaskaTeacher under Creative Commons

I think it’s about time we abandoned the Cult of the Best.

Let me explain. A few days ago, our local community blog (catonsville.patch.com) posted about a new business that opened on our “main street”. Almost immediately, the internet critics grabbed hold.

“We went there the other night and I doubt we’ll be back. The one teenage employee was loudly talking to her friends while a woman was working behind the counter.”

“Sorry to say our experience was poor: fewer flavors of yogurt than most neighboring stores, half the amount of toppings available at, say, [redacted], yogurt was too soft, the syrup selection was a lonely bottle of Hershey’s.”

There’s no such thing as adequate or OK anymore. Everything’s either the best or the worst. Ever.

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07. June 2012 · Comments Off on How Not to Be a Laptop Cretin · Categories: Etiquette, Gentlemanly Pursuits

We spend a lot of our time connected to the digital world. Our phones are as powerful as our desktops used to be. Stylish tablets allow for full-color browsing and light computing in the size of an actual notebook. Ultrabooks and netbooks offer near full-sized computing power in very small packages.

But for Steve Jobs’ sake, put them away every once in a while. Or at least take some basic steps to stay aware of the outside world.

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