Standard Recommendations – The Nose Hair Trimmer

Panasonic TrimmerA gentleman’s grooming regimen usually entails the obligatory cadre of routine bathroom rituals: the fundamental shower or bath, the brushing and flossing of teeth, hair management, and the required application of moisturizers and deodorant. However, there are certain grooming requirements that largely go undetected or ignored. And as a gentleman ages, these grooming requirements can become problematic if left neglected. Case in point: A few months ago, I was experiencing a slight tickle inside my right nostril. Quickly surmising that I needed to blow my nose, I proceeded to relieve my nose of any mucosal debris, but alas it did not resolve the issue. Further inspecting my nose in the mirror, I was horrified to discover a long strand of hair swaying back and forth like a kite in a gentle wind.

Panicking, my mind raced – how many people had I spoken to with this unsightly, giant hair hanging out my nose? The resolution was simple: Go forth to a department store and purchase a nose hair trimmer. Sure, I incorrectly thought only men that served in World War II required the use of such a device, but now was not the moment to be prideful. No one would have to know what goes on in my bathroom – although now you do – just as long as I didn’t have hirsute nostrils come the next morning.

So there, I present to you an embarrassing moment in my mid-adult years. If you have this issue, trust, it only takes a few seconds to address, maybe once a month. The investment – the money and time – pales in comparison to the notion of having Cousin It camping out inside your nose. A gentleman can go all out and spend up to $50.00 for one or be frugal and procure a trimmer from a discount department chain such as TJ Maxx. I remember my electronics instructor from 11th grade, he had hair protruding from his both ears and nostrils. Not to mention that his chest hair was on a jail break from his dress shirt, but that is another blog post. But, anyway, I cannot allow myself to go out like that. You should not either.

Brotherly Love – Samuel L. Jackson – The Rake Magazine

samuel l jacksonSure, on a superficial level, Samuel L. Jackson gracing the cover of Rake Magazine may appear as business per usual to the general public. However, from the perspective of an African-American male, namely my own, this cover represents something more powerful than its elementary purpose. Due to its dearth in the mainstream media, the illustration of the black male, regaled in style and distinction, is always a welcome sight. That being stated, I wanted to list a few personal thoughts on contemporary style choices that stand in contrast to the illustration above. Caveat: These are just one elder gentleman’s opinion that has to dress in the business world. So if these statements don’t apply, then let it fly. Nevertheless, some gentlemen are out here doing too much.

  • Nowadays, some gentlemen are compelled to engage in an orgy of accessory adornment; it really is not necessary. Less is certainly more. If you find yourself rocking 6-7 bracelets on one or both wrists – you’re doing too much.
  • In recent years, the endorsement of the skinny or slim aesthetic has pervaded the gentlemanly landscape of style, and the results have been pretty much hit or miss. Some men are simply going too small and the presentation just isn’t working. Thankfully this trend is shrinking – pun intended – and style is gravitating back to clothing that fit appropriately. If you’re shopping in the boy’s section for a pair of jeans that “fit” – you’re doing too much.
  • Style is all about freedom of personal expression through the medium of clothing. However, if all of a sudden, you decide to rock a woman’s blouse or dress just to appear edgy – you’re doing too much.
  • Sometimes a gentleman will have to reach a little deeper into his wallet than desired to procure a stylish item. However, if you are purchasing a myriad of designer brands with no rhyme or reason, no purpose or cohesion – you’re doing too much.
  • Tattoos are fine. Hell, I have tattoos. However, tattoos on one’s face is – with all due respect – ridiculous. If your employment prospects are severely hindered because you look like a serial killer awaiting execution – you’re doing too much with the face tats brother.
  • If you are a gentleman of a certain age, say, 35 years or older; dressing like the latest hip hop, one hit wonder is not in your best interest. The wrinkles, receding hairline, and grey hairs belie your youthful, hip hop attire. From one aging gentleman to another, we’re not Jay Z – you’re doing too much.

Black Thought

paul-robeson“Having been given, I must give.”

-Paul Robeson

Sometimes, when sequestered within moments of quiet solitude, thoughtful ruminations reveal how incredibly fortunate I am. Fortunate, not in regards to monetary value, rather, fortunate in regards to the many blessings I have reaped tremendous benefit. Yes, I have been given much. Now, I understand that some individuals hold fast to the belief that they earn everything with no, if not minimal, assistance required. Well, sometimes success acts as a vanity whose reflection never grows tiresome to the person looking at it. Look, one cannot be merciless, yet expect mercy. One cannot embrace avarice, yet expect generosity. One cannot espouse hate, yet expect love. Only speaking for myself, I have been granted favor and opportunity. I have been afforded mercy and forgiveness. I have been given love and grace. And because of those realities, it is of the utmost importance that I give back. Giving back – it could arrive in the form of your time, an inspirational word, a much needed hug, or an important professional opportunity. No one ever truly does it on their own. Someone, right now, needs you. And you may need someone. Go ahead, give of yourself and surely you will be given.

Standard Recommendations – The Long Handle Shoe Horn

Long Handle Shoe HornRegarding our footwear, at one moment or another in our lives, we have probably committed the same sartorial shoe sin: haphazardly cramming one’s feet into an unsuspecting pair; unfairly treating them like worn, downtrodden slippers. Nothing can ruin an otherwise dapper presentation more than a dubious association with run-over kicks. So, in the spirit of simplifying a gentleman’s life, along with maintaining the appearance extending the life of his shoes, I highly recommend purchasing a shoe horn. Well, not just any shoe horn, I am espousing the virtues of a long handle shoe horn – preferably one with an ergonomic, rubberized handle and spring-aided, flexible head. Excellent for gentlemen with compromised ranges of motion, one can slip in and out of his beloved wingtips without crushing the counter and beating up the quarters. Relatively inexpensive, a long handle shoe horn can be procured at any reputable retail store or fine men’s department store. Definitely a wise investment, your back and your shoes will thank you immediately.

Review – Zirh – Prepare Botanical Pre-shave Oil

Zirh PrepareFor all intents and purposes, a gentleman’s shaving regimen is seemingly relegated to the application of a chosen shaving cream to the face, closely followed by customary hair removal, courtesy of a series of meaningful strokes from a safety razor. It is a relatively standard practice, free of affectation and complexity. However, as my education in the art of shaving advanced, I soon became exposed to grooming details that were wholly unfamiliar. And one of those details: pre-shave oil. Coordinating with a gentleman’s shaving cream, pre-shave oil is designed to assist your razor with an easy, fluid glide across your skin. Today, we are looking at a pre-shave oil offering from Zirh, their Prepare Botanical Pre-Shave Oil. Did I escape with no cuts, razor burn, or nicks. Let’s see how it performed.

Observations

  • Packaged in a small silver squeeze container, Zirh Prepare arrives with a clear appearance and clean, odorless fragrance.
  • Given that this product is oil based, it is pleasantly light with a non-greasy touch. It does not leave a greasy residue and absorbs into the skin at a moderate pace.
  • Depending on the thickness of one’s beard, only a small amount is necessary to prepare the area that is being shaved. I estimate that perhaps a dime-sized amount is sufficient enough to cover an area an inch in diameter.
  • Regarding performance, Zirh Prepare does reduce the friction that may arise when shaving. My shave was noticeably smooth and easy. But aside from aiding my safety razor with an effortless glide across my skin, it was the post-shave feel that really stood out. Not only was there an absence of burn & irritation; my skin felt incredibly soft and supple. So, Zirh Prepare not only provides a smooth shave, it also helps moisturize and calm the skin. Please note: A Gillette Fusion safety razor was used during shaving.
  • Given its moisturizing qualities, I even employed Zirh Prepare as a beard moisturizer. My hair is slightly coarse, so Zirh Prepare really helped in softening up and providing a healthy appearance to my beard. Only a smaller amount is required if you choose to utilize Zirh Prepare in this capacity.
  • Now, I have to exercise a measure of honesty, the price point of $18.50 for just 1 fluid ounce will surely frighten some gentlemen away, especially with less expensive alternatives on the market. Nevertheless, if your shaving regimen is infrequent and your wallet can sustain the financial commitment, Zirh Prepare is a great product to have stocked in your medicine cabinet.
  • As mentioned above, retails for $18.00 at 1.0 fl oz (30 ml). Zirh offers a unique payment plan. A gentleman can choose a one time payment, or an auto-replenishment is available in bi-monthly or quarterly intervals. If anyone has any experience with this replenishment program, please feel free to comment.
  • For more details, please visit http://www.zirh.com/men-shaving-products/prepare-preshave-oil.html for information.

Product Specifications

Zirh Prepare Botanical Pre-shave Oil

Zirh Prepare is formulated for all skin types. Designed to lubricate the beard area and improve glide while shaving. Provides a protective layer that can help prevent razor burn as well as making shaving easier and more comfortable.

Key Ingredients

  • Safflower Seed Oil: Emollient plant oil that contain beneficial fatty acids that help to repair the skin’s barrier and re-moisturize dry skin
  • Carica Papaya Fruit Extract: Has exfoliating properties to provide for a smoother shave.
  • Mango Fruit Extract: Antioxidant.

The Standard #36

Mountain

To be sure, it is certainly not common for self-esteem issues to be discussed in respect to adult males. Surely, any deeply rooted issues regarding self-respect and self-worth should have been addressed and resolved during adolescence and early adulthood. At least that is what some people hold to be true. However, this misguided belief is not grounded in reality. Being a male does not preclude one from experiencing tribulations that weigh heavily on the heart and mind. If there is a certainty that a gentleman can rely upon; it is the certainty that life will continue transpire as long as he continues to live. And as such, there may be a myriad of life events that may call into question the value of a gentleman’s worth, well, at least within his own psyche.

Nonetheless, please understand, a gentleman should never allow adverse circumstances or another individual’s profound insecurity to diminish or corrode his worth. Life is stained with imperfection and no one has been granted immunity from its reach. What a gentleman may perceive as flaw or failure; there is fertile opportunity for triumph and happiness. Embrace your imperfections. Welcome your flaws. And then proceed to put in the work to be a better you. However, do not act to please another individual or individuals. This is for you. Your worth is not predicated upon the integrity of someone else’s opinion. Your worth is predicated upon the fact that you are your own unique individual: confident, strong, happy, successful, and great. You just have to believe. I believe in your greatness, and so should you.

Style & Substance – The Medium Brown Oxford

Edward Green Brown OxfordBecause, when the severity of a black oxford threatens to compromise the sanctity of a fresh spring day, an alternative pair in a warm shade of brown will enable a gentleman to properly complement the day in style. Trust, as a gentleman’s presentation gradually adapts a lighter hue, the loyal employment of the black oxford will lessen more and more. Now, this is not a call for a complete excommunication from your shoe rotation. Rather, this is a thoughtful regulation of your trusted pair of somber kicks to specialized duty: overcast mornings, job interviews, funeral services, special events during the evening, etc. So, in other words, with the exception of moments that beg darker attire, a sprightly pair of brown shoes will marry perfectly with almost any lighter shade of trouser. Light to medium gray. Of course varying shades of brown or khaki. Earthy sage. And even softer hues of blue can coincide beautifully with your brown shoes. Now, whether you rock a cap-toe or wingtip, the selection is solely your own. I humbly suggest adding two pairs – more if you can afford it – to your footwear arsenal if you haven’t procured said pairs already. And with that – happy spring gentlemen!

Heritage – James Baldwin

James-Baldwin

  • James Arthur Baldwin was born August 2, 1924 in Harlem, New York
  • Novelist, essayist, activist, playwright, poet
  • Graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School in 1942
  • Awarded Eugene F. Saxton Memorial Trust Award in 1945
  • Go Tell It on the Mountain published in 1953
  • The Amen Corner published in 1954
  • Notes of a Native Son published in 1955
  • Giovanni’s Room published in 1956
  • Nobody Knows My Name: More Notes of a Native Son published in 1961
  • Another Country published in 1962
  • The Fire Next Time published in 1963
  • Awarded George Polk prize in 1963
  • No Name in the Street published in 1972
  • Professorship of Literature and Afro-American Studies at the Five College Network in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1983
  • La Légion D’Honneur, France’s highest honor, awarded by President François Mitterand in 1986
  • Died December 1, 1987 at the age of 67

Black Thought

Frederick Douglas“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

-Frederick Douglass

As a parent, it is absolutely paramount that you ensure your child’s maturation is nurtured and cultivated for maximal, positive growth. To be certain, there are a myriad of unfortunate realities that work tirelessly to undermine and hinder your child’s development. Harsh realities such as poverty, crime, low self-esteem, bullying, and poor academic performance can lead to self-destructive behavior that regretfully transitions into adulthood. Moreover, if that adult decides to have children, there is a high risk that self-destructive behavior will be consciously or subconsciously transferred to the subsequent generation.

Truth: Some of the biggest bullies, critics, and abusers live right in the household. And that is a reality that we cannot tacitly accept. We have to do better. We must become increasingly more active by protecting and educating our youth, ensuring that they are intelligently prepared for the life that awaits them. We have to encourage. We have to impart meaningful wisdom. We have to enlighten them. We must unconditionally love them. We must fortify the integrity of their spirit and reinforce the foundation of their character. They deserve our parenting best – let’s get to work.

Gentleman Essentials – Brooks Brothers – Umbrella

Brooks Brothers Umbrella

Brooks Brothers

As unusual as it may seem, it is not uncommon to observe a certain breed of  gentleman, seemingly oblivious to the weather conditions around them, forgo the necessary accoutrements that grant protection and comfort from Mother Nature. Residing in Michigan, where the winter season is frigidly unflinching, I have spotted many men commuting to and fro, absent the requisite gear such as a hat, a pair of gloves, and even a coat. My humble opinion: That practice is simply insane. So, with spring headed our way, I am here to endorse a gentlemanly essential that should not be ignored – the gentleman’s umbrella. Yes, I have even spied gentlemen, leisurely strolling without a care as they are completely drenched by pouring rain. Don’t be that guy. Perhaps an umbrella is too old-fashioned nowadays. Well, I’ll just be old-fashioned, and comfortably dry. Maybe you will join me.

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