I hate to reveal my age here, and I especially hate reflecting on the past — citing how things “used to be.” It’s a common theme with old stunads who sip their brandy at the bar alone, and I don’t intend to become one of them. However, as far as men have come over the years, there are some habits we’ve lost along the way. I’m not talking about holding the door open for some lady; as far as I’m concerned, she can push or pull her own way through any opening she likes. I’m talking about the little habits that made us men. Not fighting, not womanising — I’m wise enough to know these misconceptions of “manliness.” Here’s a list of what I’m talking about.
Drinking like a man
Too many men these days drink like the cast of Sex and the City. A spritz of this and a spritz of that, you might as well get your fix at Xovar Lounge. Going to the bar used to mean getting a stiff drink and letting the alcohol linger — it was a single malt Scotch, an Irish whisky or bourbon. You knew what you drank, and you knew the only kicker was a splash of soda or a couple cubes of ice. When you were at the office, you didn’t complain over a cup of coffee, you pulled the bottle of the Glenlivet from under the desk. It was never for the sake of getting drunk, but because you knew the day would be so much better after those few sips.
Getting a shave
With every added blade to a Gillette razor, men are finding a professional shave less and less necessary. The well-groomed elite will still find a straight-blade salon, but the trend doesn’t have the reach it used to. Professional shaves weren’t reserved for the aristocratic, and it wasn’t because you couldn’t do it yourself. It was for the experience of sitting in the chair, busting balls and turning a mundane habitual act into an enjoyable experience. Now a guy is content with a Gillette and a can of cold Barbasol — stunad.
I don’t literally mean laying brick. I don’t want some stunad ditching his desk job to go work at a construction site. But I think it’s pretty clear that men have lost their handiness, especially when the first step to fix a leaky faucet is to call the plumber. It’s important to be wrench-savvy and to occasionally take the Philips head into your own hands. Back in the day, it didn’t matter if you were a stockbroker, surgeon or wise guy; on Sunday afternoons, you were the handyman.
There are a few more habits men have lost and need to get back pronto
A lot of kids these days talk about having a “guy’s night out.” The guys I used to hang with wouldn’t have considered Jager bombs and keg stands suitable for their weekly affair. What happened to booking a reservation for 10 at the Marquee with a few bottles of wine and a few tons of porterhouse? It’s nice to pencil in one day a week to have a classy dinner with the crew. Back then men would tell the women “we’d be back”, and button up the suit. You’d start with drinks, proceed to dinner and end where ever the night took you.
OK, fight — but like a man
I know I said no fighting, but throwing a right jab is often inevitable. When that time comes, and the challenge has been laid on the table, fight like a man. Too many “men” at the bar don’t know the meaning of a fight; they only know six guys pouncing a helpless dude in dark alley. But before these street mauling became popular, it was a rite of passage to take part in a dignified physical altercation: one man against one man, and over something worth fighting for. Some guys always won, some guys always lost, but no one expected anything less than a fair bout.
You can try to dismiss my nostalgia, making the case that I’m a schlub trying to impose the habits of an older generation. But trust me, they are worth resurrecting. With all the nonsense going on, and every other facet of a man’s life morphing, it’s nice to keep some of the time-honoured traditions alive. Sitting down to a shave, grabbing a stiff drink, a night out on the town; they’ve been man’s pastimes for ages. But maybe you’d rather stick to the new ways, sipping a Cosmopolitan as the painter does the living room for you…