Black Thought

esq-james-meredith-0113-lg“What any human being can do in life depends upon the foundation laid between birth and age five.”

– James Meredith

We are teachers – in some form or another. Now, perhaps a majority of the reading audience are devoid of the appropriate formal certification, but we are indeed teachers nonetheless. Knowingly or unknowingly instructing through our behavior, language, and actions; we shape and mold young, virginal, and formless minds. That cannot be taken for granted. We are, first and foremost, the foreman of fashioning intellectual promise, building emotional stability, and framing principled character. During those early formative years, our guidance and instruction is needed – no – it is desperately crucial to a child’s development. Their future hinges on what we teach them in the present. And that is where we should be – present; never absent from their growth and maturation. It is time for us to lead by example. We are the models of morality. We are the cultivators of character. We are the installers of integrity. We enable enthusiasm for education, and we advocate the accrual of astounding accomplishments. The foundation is ready to be laid. Let’s not wait any longer.

The Standard #25

responsibilityThe responsible gentleman understands the principles of accountability. Ownership. Culpability. Obligation. Any attempt to avoid or avert responsibility is not entertained. If his conduct is unbecoming or offensive, he does not contort his face with surprised expressions of coy denial. No, he exhibits the correct amount of sincere compunction, and he actively searches for a viable resolution to atone for his actions. He is not seeking total absolution, as he understands the act of forgiveness is a process – a sometimes complicated process. His only objective is to acknowledge his guilt, offer an earnest apology, and establish a suitable resolution. That is the standard he abides by, as that is the only standard he knows. Ensure that you know it too.

Style & Substance – Spring & Summer Suede

IMG_0174A gentleman should not contract the services of suede during the spring and summer seasons. As a matter of fact, he is strictly forbidden from entertaining the thought. To that notion, we emphatically say: Nonsense! But, suede in the spring and summer? Why, yes my friend. Think of it as sweet & sour, or sugar & spice, or sweet & salty, or – well, you get the point. And that point is: Sometimes, opposites most certainly do attract. Marry with a pair of pressed cotton khakis or relaxed denim jeans. And if you are really feeling adventurous; rock a suede pair with one of your suits. Hey, we said opposites attract. It should be noted, I’m adventurous, but not that adventurous. Perhaps I would wear a pair with a crisp cotton suit, but that is about as far as I can take it. I just wanted to be transparent with the audience. So, check out my newest kicks – a cool pair of Florsheim wingtips – courtesy of a bonus sale at DSW. Draw the necessary inspiration and go kick it this season, and the next, in style.

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The Gentlemen’s Ten – We Are All Witnesses

BrothersMy brother and I were talking one Saturday and I asked him if he ever remembered watching our father attend church service. After briefly pondering my question, he replied that he did not. Sparked by a morning conversation with my men’s church group, where my pastor stressed the importance of sons seeing their father pray, I realized there were numerous things that I never witnessed my father do. Probably because he was sparingly there. As young adolescents, we are subconsciously influenced by things we don’t see just as much by the things we do see. Depending on the argument of the week that determined if my father would be allowed in the house, the only two things I did witness, on a regular basis, were alcohol consumption & abuse. Being educated on the virtues of manhood? Well, single mother households don’t allow for such luxuries. My mother did her absolutely best, and I am blessed for it. However, it would have been nice to have meaningful male interaction with the man who played a role in my conception.  So, I comprised a list of things I did not see from my father; but I will ensure my kids do see from me.
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Style & Substance – Richard James Silk Polka Dot Pocket Square

IMG_0091So, if by chance you were pondering the thought, yes, polka dots are still popular heading into the spring and summer seasons. Caveat: Polka-dotted furnishings for gentlemen are best utilized in small, discreet dosages. Perhaps in the form of a beautiful bow-tie, some jazzy socks, or silky smooth pocket square – such as the square pictured above. Bearing an all-over polka dot pattern and a light blue center edged by a chocolate border, this Richard James pocket square retains the right amount stylish energy without being foppish. And contrary to what GQ states in their latest guide to pocket square folding, the puff and point folds are not clownish. Pocket square does not denote the strict folding of a symmetrical or an irregular square. Trust me, the fanciful puff has been around for decades, it’s not going anywhere. True, cotton pocket squares are most likely to be folded conservatively. Then again, cotton is stiffer than silk. So, just because the square fold is the flavor of the moment does not mean other folds are antiquated. But I digress, the playfulness of this Richard James requires a whimsical toss in the breast pocket, because polka dots are, of course, playful. And with the weather warming up appropriately, this gentleman is all about play. Boom!

Style & Substance – Put Some Spring In Your Step

IMG_0126Woe to the gentleman that employs the exclusive services of black or navy hosiery – perhaps even both. Well, rejoice my friend! The time has arrived for the gentleman to emancipate himself from the dark, brooding hosiery that grant coverage for the feet and ankles. It’s time to put some spring in your step. Gentlemen’s Standard Approved: Brighter and more courageous socks are now totally safe to wear. Trust me on this one gents. Rocking a pair of colorfully patterned socks is an inexpensive method of injecting some personality into your presentation. And personality – the good, vivacious kind – is certainly endorsed here. So, over the course of the past few months, I have steadily procured of modest collection of spry socks for the spring and summer seasons. I wanted to share a few pictures, and hopefully you will be inspired to take the plunge and proceed forth in purchasing a cool variety of your own.

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Gent Hints – Deodorant…On Your Feet?

Dove-Mens-Care-deodorantFirst, allow me to offer an earnest apology, as the following statement can probably be filed under “too much information” – I’m sorry audience. Really, I am. So, with that bit of written remorse on the record, I want to tell the audience this: Sometimes, my feet perspire. Yes, sometimes, they can get downright sweaty if the weather aids and abets the process. Now normally, a little baby powder proves to be an easy remedy for this problem. However, there exists another solution for this bothersome dilemma. And that solution, wait for it – deodorant. More specifically, an antiperspirant, of course, to deter sweat. Thumbing through my newly purchased Big Black Book Spring 2013, I came across this nifty problem-solver in one of the articles. Intrigued, I retrieved a stick of Dove deodorant from my dresser drawer after a hot shower, and I put Esquire’s advice to the test.

I didn’t use gel because the thought of gel on my feet didn’t seem at all appealing. I wanted something that would roll on dry. Starting at the toes, I applied the deodorant the length of both feet with extra attention granted in the middle. And so, after a few days of my experiment, it really worked. And when I really think about it, why wouldn’t it? It functions the same way as if it were under your armpits – reducing sweat and neutralizing odor. So now I have two sticks of deodorant: one for the pits and the other for the dogs. So, if your feet have the propensity to generate undesirable amounts of sweat, I highly suggest re-purposing a stick of deodorant to combat the problem. You won’t regret it!

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