Tag Archives: Don Draper

be quiet.

30 Jan

One of the phrases that drives me bananas during the course of day-to-day conversationis…  Well, actually I have to set it up properly to have the full effect.  Here’s the setup:

Manager:  Sales are down – way down.  Skippy, we’ve got to come up with some exciting new marketing strategy.  How about hiring a homeless guy to hold a sign? It’ll be perfect!

You (Skippy): Great idea, Mr. Manager.  I’ll head down to the shelter.

Manager: Hazaa!  [HERE COMES THE PHRASE I HATE] So like I said, we’ll hire a homeless guy to hold the sign. It’ll be perfect!

You (Skippy): Right, that’s what we just… anyhow, great.

Here’s the issue gentlemen: you talk too much.  It’s clear when guys use phrases like, “So like I said…” to not only say something, but also introduce the fact that they’re going to say it again.  Unnecessary.  Any man worth his weight in bow-ties needs to have the confidence to know that when they speak, they’re heard.  And they need to have the courage to know that if they don’t have anything to say, the world won’t stop, and they’ll still be significant.  Speaking more doesn’t equate to being more – it equates to lack of temperance.

Be quiet. Here’s why:

1- It gives you time to listen.  The coolest men ever are the ones that lean back, make eye contact, and listen to what you’re saying.  They don’t do that thing where they kind of pre-breathe/start a word as a verbal cue, indicating that it’s time for them to talk.  They just listen, and they communicate your value to you by not stepping over what you’re saying.  Additionally, they are smarter because they up the ratio of importing information to exporting yada yada yada.

2- You’ll have a voice when you do speak. As a man, when you say something, you want to be heard.  It makes you feel valued, and that, in turn, helps out with ye olde pride.  When you talk all the time, people tend to average out the time they listen to you and catch every ninth monologue. You don’t want this.  You want it all to count.  Be disciplined.

3- It’s cool.  Don Draper, Clint Eastwood, 007.

So like I said, be quiet.  I promise you, it’ll work out in your favor.

You’re a Grown Man, be quiet.

carry cash.

23 Aug

The more I write this blog, the more I realize my grandfather may be the coolest Grown Man I’ve ever known.  And, even though he has an aversion to wearing a tie, eating any form of bean, and The Pope (I don’t share his disdain), he is typically my go-to Draper-in-residence (without all the skirt chasing and domestic violence).  So today, I’m thinking about my grandfather as I begin to talk about Grown Men carrying cash.  Why?  Because that old dude typically has a wad of cash in his sweat pants pocket that would make even the most seasoned of Chamillionaire jealous.  For real, I’m pretty certain that he’s been to K-Mart a number of times with a grand in small bills — not kidding at all.

So, why should you carry cash?  Because, like the Boy Scouts say, you’ve got to be prepared. Young men reading this blog, imagine the following scenario:  You’re on a date with a lovely lass when she spots one of those awesome Catholic (sorry Tilt-A-Whirl Of Lovegrandpa) church carnivals in the distance.  Without warning, your plans for a movie and some making-out have been thwarted and your evening will now look more like funnel cakes and Ferris wheels.  Bummer.  However, she wants to go and you quickly realize that you might be able to get some of that sweet kissin’ action on the Tilt-A-Whirl, so you concede. But wait, you’ve hit a snag, the movie theater is more than willing to accept credit cards for purchase, but the carnival is doing some serious IRS dodging and will only accept cash or cigarettes for rides.  Oh the embarrassment!  Oh the Tilt-A-Whirl!

Our society has become completely plastic (no offense to Joan Rivers) and we no longer require cash for a majority of our transactions.  I believe this shift came in 2004 when our greatest national export began accepting credit at all 1.8 quad-trillion golden arch locations.  Yep, that’s the year that McDonald’s got sick and tired of subjecting their 14-year-old register kids to men fumbling around in their wallets and holding up the line while begging money off their friends.  Until that time, we knew that even the most basic of American needs (Big Macs and those awesome apple pies) would necessitate even a dollar-menu’s worth of green.  But when they jumped ship, so did the fat country.  Now, we’re stuck at the carnival with a pissed off girlfriend and an ATM walk of shame.

Gentlemen, you’ve got to be ready for whatever comes your way. From carrying a pocket knife to having at least $30 in your wallet at all times, there are just some necessities for navigating this concrete world.  Back in the day, and I mean really back in the day, a man wouldn’t have left his cabin without a gun, some water (whisky), and a hat.  He knew that with these three things he could eat, sleep, be safe, and look tough as hell.  It’s time for us to reclaim that duty as men and make sure that we’re always well equipped with the bare minimum.

But Grown Man, what if I get robbed?  If they steal my wallet and I don’t have cash, all I have to do is cancel credit cards!

I love the “getting robbed” excuse for being ill prepared.  Because truthfully, most people don’t get pick-pocketed.  If you live in Compton or something, maybe you should consider not carrying a grandfather-wad of money. But most of you live in Generic City, USA and carry a $250 mini-computer in your pocket without giving it a second thought.  Are you really that nervous about not carrying anything valuable? I don’t think so.  Additionally, $32 bones given to some armed bandit isn’t going to break the bank — hopefully.  If it is, you’ve got bigger fish to fry and should probably consider becoming an armed bandit yourself.

That’s all for today, go to the ATM on your lunch break and enjoy the Tilt-A-Whirl.

You’re a Grown Man, carry cash.

wear a watch.

10 Aug

That’s it, I’m throwing in the towel…I literally can’t take this anymore.  For the last week, I’ve been writing about feelings, weddings, love, relational dynamics, et cetera, et cetera – and I’m going crazy.  I’m a sensitive man, but if I spend one more moment trying to wrap my head around the etiquette and emotions of a wedding, I’m going to cry (irony?).  So today, we’re gonna rock this post like it’s March of 2010 and I’m going to get hella-specific about one issue.

You’re a Grown Man, wear a watch.

But Grown Man, I have a phone that gives me the time!  And it’s not just any phone, it’s a freakin’ jail broken iPhone 4 – sucka!

Here’s why you shouldn’t be using your phone as your primary time keeper.  It’s just not polite, when sitting with a person, to slyly pull out your brick-of-an-iDroidBerry, push a button, and check the time.  Everything about that transaction screams of you not giving a crap about the conversation.  And though that may be true, is not the way a man presents himself.  For real though, I trust that you’re only checking the time, it just appears as though you’re glancing at the recent Words with Friends updates.  Oh my god, I can’t believe the word PacManFever was accepted!

Alright, so hopefully you get the point that your phone isn’t your watch.  But why should Grown Men wear watches at all?  There are a few reasons:

-Grown Men are punctual. There will be a full post about this later in the week, so I’m not going to go into it.  For now I will just leave you with this little adage: Early is on time, on time is late. That just happened.

-Watches project confidence. A watch has a very subconscious effect on the people who see it.  There’s something about the small accent that tells people you value punctuality and fashion.  Conversely, seeing a man without a watch doesn’t scream of immaturity, but it doesn’t help your cause.  Without a watch, you get closer to confidence-neutral, which won’t bode well with potential lady-friends, colleagues, or other Grown Men.

-They look cool. The “Don Draper” factor can’t be ignored. And, as there are very few acceptable pieces of jewelry that a man can wear (cuff links, cool tie clip, wedding ring, glasses, that’s it), a watch is a small exclamation point on a well dressed fella.  While I’ll leave it up to you to determine what’s classy and what’s not, I strongly suggest, nay, demand that you pick a watch that’s timeless (snicker) and appropriate.  Bright yellow bands and Mickey Mouse are out.  Here’s a rule: Picture your watch on Clint Eastwood.  If if looks cool on him, it’s a winner.

And that, my good men, is the end of the post!  No feelings, no love, just good old fashion advice and judgment.  That felt good.

Grown Men, synchronize Swatches!

give a proper toast.

13 Jul

There are a number of things I love about writing You’re A Grown Man: getting to be obnoxiously sarcastic, women emailing me saying that they’re going to “make” their boyfriends read the blog (sorry, man), and resurrecting nuances of etiquette that are being discarded.  Today, my good men, we’re bringing back a good one – the toast.

When I say toast, most of you mentally head to a wedding where the best man gets up  and brings the reception to a grinding halt .  “Oh man, you remember that time we said we’d marry the hottest girls ever!?  We were so drunk, bro! Anyway, I’m really glad you’re marrying Jenna – she’s very wholesome.” Nice one, chief.  And while the best-man toast has become abhorrent, that’s another 600 words for a different day.  Today however, we’re talking about the good-old-fashioned, couple of beers with a broseph on a Monday night, toast.

courtesy Life.com

Here’s what happens right now when you go out.  Your drink comes, somebody mumbles something, and the trough is open for business.  What we’re missing is the formality, the class, and the recognition that comes with replacing the mumble with a sentence or two that expresses warmth and gratitude.

“But Grown Man, I’m not as funny as you!  You would know the perfect thing to say! I’m just a dumb animal.”

You all know I make up these quotes, don’t you?  Anyhow, here’s what you do,  think of someone or something you’re grateful for.  For example, last night I did a toast for my friends newborn son.  I had just held the baby before we went to the bar and the little guy was on my mind.  So, I raised my glass and said “To Hank”, and my friend said, “Yep, to Hank” and we both had our first sip and thought for a moment about how pleased we were to know that baby.  The whole moment changed for us and a trendy craft beer became a shared experience between friends.  That’s what a toast does, it acknowledges that the time together is paramount and worth having a drink over.

Because I know you need structure and order, here are the rules:

1- Make the toast short.  We’re not doing a long, rambling, monologue about the finer points of life – we’re honoring someone or something.

2- Make eye contact.  If you’re with one guy, look him in the eye.  If you’re in a group, scan the table.  Go here if you forget why you should do this.

3- Spill away.  It’s supposed to be good luck if you spill a bit o’ the drink during the clank.  And, while I think there’s no such thing as luck, it’s just right for guys to bang the glasses.  Much like a hearty handshake or good slap on the back – guys aren’t meant to be ginger with each other.

4- Have a default toast prepared.  Sometimes, there isn’t someone or something that pops into your head when you raise the glass.  For just such an occasion, have one in the bag.  I usually use, “Eat, drink, and be merry” or “To good friends and good spirits”.  Or, if it’s the holiday season, I use “God rest ye merry, gentlemen.”  Oh man, guys love that one! It never fails to sound über-classy.  In any event, just think of one and share it with the class in the comments below.

5- The toast isn’t as vital on the 2nd, 3rd… 19th rounds – but it’s still a good move and will get progressively more amusing as the evening carries on.

Gentlemen, that’s all for today.  Give this one a try, I can assure you it’ll garner respect and admiration from those who you floor with your Grown Manliness.

“To Hank!”

get your facial hair under control.

28 Jun

I’ve gotten more emails about this topic than anything else.  And guess what, most of them are from women!  I wonder if that means anything?  Huh.  Maybe our lady-friends are trying to tell us something? Oh no, it must be a coincidence.  Anyhow, here’s a typical email I receive:

“Dearest Grown Man,  I imagine that you’re smooth like Barry, and your voice has bass, you’ve got a body like Arnold with a Denzel face. Anyhow, my boyfriend has this terribly scraggly beard, can you tell him he has to shave it?


Gentlemen, your follicles are becoming your foe.  The woman in your life are telling you so, Don Draper’s telling you so, and now – I’m telling you so.  Facial hair is not a means of self-expression, it’s one of the few options your body gives you to subtly manipulate an otherwise lackluster appearance.  It’s time to learn the rules:

1- You must give your face daily attention.  Many of the men I know go a week, or tragically a month, between giving their face any mind.  They seem to think it’s subtly growing out and nobody notices.  Let me assure you, we notice.  The reason you don’t see it is the same reason you don’t notice that the trash is full, the dog hasn’t been fed in two days, and the children appear to not be wearing pants as you’re driving to the store.  You, my good men, have a one track mind.  On a typical day, you have a very narrow focus:  get up, coffee, work, soccer practice, food, History Channel, sleep.  What I’m telling you is that somewhere between “get up” and “coffee”, you need to check a mirror and manicure your mug.

2- Mind your fads.  Back in the day, when Magnum was chillin’ with Zeus and Apollo, mustaches were awesome.  I’m not going to mock the mustache as, at a point in our history (key word: history), it was acceptable to get married, interview, and live life with a caterpillar on your upper lip.  However, times have changed, and you need to progress.  While I can’t begin to name all the fads in mens facial hair, I will say that a few of recently deceased are:  goatees, soul patches, and fat-guy-neck-beards.

3- Febru-hairy, no-shave-Novermber, etc. are not going to get you a job or lady-friend.  Now listen, I’m not going to get intense on this point and say you can never do it.  I’ve got some really respectable friends who take to growing a handlebar mustache once a year or stop shaving for a period of time to get a laugh.  Believe me, I get it.  However, these are periods of time – not the default.  By default, your facial hair needs to be tidy and unnoticeable.

4-  If you’re dating/married, ask her opinion – her honest opinion.  If she says something like, “Oh, I guess, um, yeah, I like your beard the way it is. It’s really cool how you can tuck it into your belt when we go on roller coasters.  I’d just love to see what it might look like if it was just at your chest though.  I mean, you could still tuck it into your ZZ Top t-shirt when we go to Six Flags.”   I’ve said this before, but when you decide to pair-up with someone, you’re representing them.  You don’t have to lose your individuality, but you do need to find a balance.

5-  Really, the only facial hair options are a full, well trimmed, beard – or nothing.  At the end of the day, everything else is just a look that’s really not helping your cause.  Just suck it up already and do what you know you need to do.

Hair today, gone tomorrow.

give up your seat.

21 Jun

We’re going to start the week out with an easy little tidbit of wisdom.  I know you’ve had a big weekend with the awkwardness that only a holiday dedicated to your father can offer – so we’re going to take it slow.  Ready?

When you’re sitting anywhere and a woman enters your space with the obvious intent to sit, look around the area and see if there’s a free seat.  If there is, don’t do anything (something you’re already a pro at).  If there isn’t an obvious chair for her to sit in, GET UP and politely offer her your seat.

While the post should end here and you should just trust me and do it, I feel as though I must take a moment to explain why.  However, I don’t really know why.  In fact, I’ve realized lately that I don’t understand the motives behind many chivalrous acts that I try to reinstate (standing when a lady enters the room, etc.).  Because really, when you think about it, women are typically smarter and more resourceful than even the most well refined Grown Men.  When a woman walks on a packed subway car and is forced to stand because no guys rise up and do the right thing, she’s going to be fine.  If a woman walks in a conference room and notices there aren’t any seats, she’s perfectly capable of forging for her own chair or simply standing – she doesn’t need your help.

Um, Grown Man, you’re kind of digging yourself a grave here.  I’m about to quit all this being polite junk and start keeping it real again.

Get ready to be schooled like game 6 Celtics.  Here we go…

It’s important that people know they’re respected.  Giving up your chair isn’t really about aiding a damsel in distress – she doesn’t need the help – it’s about communicating that you respect her presence enough to make the next few moments a little easier, even at the risk of your own comfort.  I would argue that giving up a seat for another man isn’t a bad idea either.  However, societal norms don’t dictate that to be a common form of respect between men, so we find other ways of communicating respect like firm handshakes and dreadfully boring drinks after work.

And one more thing, I feel as though men have gotten the impression that chivalry is merely for purposes of wooing women into dating them.  While a relationship may be an unintended benefit of being polite, it certainly shouldn’t be the motive.  Having etiquette is just part of being a man.  Any woman, and I mean old women, your mom, your random coworker, your wife, a stranger, is worth your utmost respect and chivalry.

Whew, enough big words, I’m going to make it simple for you.  Woman in room? No seat! Get up.

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