International Men’s Day 2019: The Modern Man’s Guide
Not too long ago, a man who spent most of his time in front of a mirror was probably frowned upon by society, a man who disliked sports raised eyebrows, and a man who talked about his feelings most likely didn’t garner as much empathy as he should. Luckily, the world we live in is slowly evolving and a man can now groom himself and have his own not-so-manly interests without judgment. Changes are also slowly being seen in the average man’s lifestyle.
This blog post is for the aspiring modern man, who agrees with the notion that being a man in today’s world is much more complicated than looking ‘fresh’, having ‘swag’, and smelling like sandalwood or rosewood.
Here’s my take on how to get with the times and attain the ‘modern man’ status in today’s world.
Have a gentleman-ly presence
This is probably the most important form of masculine etiquette, and also the easiest to master. It honestly makes all the difference.
A gentleman is confident and doesn’t need to speak at length about himself. He doesn’t cut others off in line and he realizes that his actions can have an impact on the people around him and the society at large. He introduces himself with a firm handshake, makes eye contact, and doesn’t let himself stray into negative conversations, as complaining isn’t a good look.
The modern man is thoughtful and makes this apparent by his actions, not just words. He remembers to hold doors open for people walking through behind him when appropriate, greets people with a polite smile and doesn’t stay glued to his phone during social interactions. He addresses acquaintances professionally by their correct titles and only does otherwise with permission.
Have a Passion/ hobby
The modern man has a hobby he enjoys and activities he is passionate about. Whether boxing, hiking, playing various sports, or engaging in art, he recognizes the benefits of having a passion that takes up his free time as opposed to constantly sleeping or watching television shows.
Studies have shown that engaging in hobbies you enjoy can result in reduced stress levels, improved mood, improved memory, and have the potential to minimize symptoms of depression. This is all due to the release of chemicals in your brain that make you feel good.
Start off by making a list of all the things you have always wanted to try, and set out time to try them out. Don’t delay it, start now, regardless of your age, or how busy you might be. Allocating time for a hobby can have a positive effect on your self-confidence.
Never be caught un-fresh! There are many grooming products out there. You don’t have to break your bank account to look good. You also don’t need to spend hours on end in front of a mirror to look good. However, if this makes you feel good, go ahead and do you! The key is to ensure you keep yourself looking presentable at all times.
Schedule periodic appointments with your barber for a fresh haircut/trim. Ensure your barber is someone you can talk to if you need inspiration and understands the style you are going for at every given appointment. Oh and men, please stick with the one barber! It’s best just to avoid all that drama of constantly changing barbers.
Other ways you can look after your appearance is by choosing a perfume or cologne that is matched to your personality and going to the gym often. Consider following some fashion influencers on social media to keep up with the latest fashion trends, and embrace your inner Idris Elba with confidence.
A lot of men I’ve come across often state that they have no time to make friends due to their work commitments, or when in a recent relationship with a partner. However, the modern man ensures he doesn’t neglect his friends and loved ones regardless of how busy he is.
Studies conducted by the Harvard Medical School and other institutions have shown that there are health benefits associated with building strong relationships with friends such as increased longevity, strengthening your immune system, and improving your physical and psychological wellbeing.
Oh, mobile phones and social media doesn’t make up for good quality social interactions with people, so do make the efforts to reap the benefits.
It is important to remember that being a modern man is not all about how you look on the outside. It’s also about the mind, body, and soul. He always aspires to be his best self.
He is aware that this is not always easy and learns from his mistakes to avoid repeating them.
Have respect for yourself, those around you and the world at large. This will have a positive effect on your life, as you work towards being your best self.
If you have any other tips you feel would be helpful for men reading this, please do share down below. We can all learn from each other.
Ola is a medical student at The Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI).