The Professional – 5 Reasons Why Emulating Ben Simmons Won’t Fly in the Workplace

Photo by Life Of Pix on Pexels.com

Well, the NBA season is underway, and it is one of the more anticipated seasons in recent memory. There are a myriad of competitive head-to-head matchups that have fans salivating. This season is also filled with some interesting controversies and headlines that exploded throughout the world of sports before the season even began. One of those controversies involve Ben Simmons and his tumultuous relationship with the Philadelphia 76ers. Following a dreadful playoff performance that witnessed him literally avoid touching the basketball, passing up open shots, and passing immediately to teammates if he did get his fingertips on the ball.

Simmons lost confidence in his shot and was petrified of going to the free throw line. Already a bad free throw shooter at 61%, that average plummeted to a woeful 34% during the playoffs. The Philadelphia fanbase and media were merciless. To be honest, Simmons was shook mentally, and I seriously felt remorse for the guy. I am old enough to remember a similar mental block occur with former NBA star Nick Anderson. However, as bad as the press have been, Simmons has exhibited a glaring lack of accountability and self-awareness. Simmons is fortunate. He is still a superstar with a ton of talent, so he can still be an asset to any team seeking a championship. Nevertheless, the average employee works in the real world absent multimillion dollar contracts, agents, and basketball talent to leverage demands. Exhibiting behavior like Ben Simmons just may get you terminated. Here are some behaviors one should definitely avoid when working in the office.

Bad Work Performance – If you are gainfully employed by a company, there is a logical expectation that you perform your job suitably enough to receive compensation. Now, whether or not those wages are fair & competitive is subject matter for another blog post. Nevertheless, if you are an employee with suspect work ethic and inadequate work performance, a company can reserve the authority to separate you from the business. Unlike Ben Simmons, it is highly doubtful you will be afforded the same opportunity to dial in bad performance after bad performance without meaning repercussions. People also have a self-inflated sense of their worth. Sure, one should always have confidence in oneself. However, you can’t have Craig Ehlo skills with a Michael Jordan attitude.

Lack of Growth & Development – Now, if bad work performance is one issue, lack of self-awareness is certainly another problem. If you are performing poorly at work, management should be providing feedback regarding expectations and suggestions for personal improvement. An ambivalent or otherwise adversarial attitude is not in your best interests. Failing to improve and better yourself will only lead to career stagnation. You don’t want to be viewed as expendable. You must be able to step back and identify your weaknesses if you wan to become a better version of yourself.

No Showing At Work – Unless your company has a union that has strategically planned a walkout or strike, it is in your best interest to show up to work. Failing to show up to work for a certain number of days can be viewed as job abandonment. Unlike Simmons, the average worker cannot skip training camp and the preseason. It is either you show up to work or find other means to make a living.

Alienating Coworkers – It is not unusual for an employee to have some sort of beef with management. However, if you have bad relationships with your coworkers, you could possibly be contributing to a toxic environment. No one wants to work with a malcontent. If you are a disruption to the mission, vision, and team; management will sooner sever all ties with you for the good of the team. This is known as addition by subtraction – removing a cancer from the team in order to move in a positive, constructive direction. 

Insubordination and Disrespectful Behavior – To be sure, there is a chain of command in the workplace. And unless you are at the top of that chain, an employee has a leader to whom they report. Noncompliance with a directive from leadership is a surefire way to earn a pink slip. Disrespecting your leadership is a surefire way to earn a pink slip.

I understand that some of these points may not be popular, but this needs to be read by someone. Because, as social media and celebrity figures continue to influence and empower, the every day employee may believe they can operate like said celebrity. That is simply not the case in the real world. And as Dave Chappelle alluded to in his latest Netflix special, but in a different context, Twitter is not a real place. And thinking you can move like the famous or people who are social media famous might get you fired. My suggestion: Go to work and be fully present. Practice some self-reflection and humility as you become the best version of yourself. Ensure that you build meaningful relationships and respect leadership. And if the fit is not right for you; seek other opportunities in a professional manner. 

The Professional – Business Never Personal – Quintessential Advice For Managing Workplace Conflict & Challenges

I am absolutely confidant, if you are an individual with a management position, you should be all too familiar with resolving conflicts involving direct reports. Sometimes, management receives a bad reputation. We are perceived as aloof, power-hungry individuals that are woefully disengaged from their staff. We wield our perceived power to make ourselves feel better and we have no clue about the work being performed around us. Honestly, some of us are just regular folk, straddling a fine line between company policy and managing a motley crew of employee personalities and behaviors. I have advanced my career throughout the years, starting as a laboratory assistant and achieving a position in lower tier management as a supervisor. I know a thing or two because I have seen a thing or two.

And while management may not be viewed positively by many, here is a newsflash, sometimes the staff can be pretty problematic and toxic too. As a leader, managing the core work is sometimes the easiest aspect of the job. Things become complicated when a challenging employee personality, bad behavior, and company rules collide. It is enough to drive a manager or supervisor insane. And if you are new to management, sometimes you have to learn to navigate this world through live-fire. Here, I wanted to share what I have learned throughout the years as a supervisor. It is not an exhaustive list, and if you are a manager reading this, please share some of your views that I may have missed. It is my hope that the following insight is helpful to someone.

  • This first piece of advice cannot be overstated; it is absolutely paramount that a manager remain calm and refrain from fervent displays of agitation or direct anger towards a colleague. No doubt, depending on the specific circumstances, adhering to this task can be quite daunting. Nevertheless, given your position of authority, your standard of professional behavior is definitely and expectedly higher. In my particular case, speaking bluntly, I cannot afford outward displays of indignant belligerence as a black man – it’s not a good look. And that may sound cynical, but historical stereotypes of black men still exist today, therefore I am very cognizant of managing my temperament. A manager must remain measured and calm in the presence of direct reports.
  • If you are delivering one-on-one coaching or disciplinary action, another colleague in leadership accompanying you in the room is highly recommended. Your immediate peer in leadership should be impartial and removed from the specific situation; acting only as a witness and perhaps as a buffer between the acting manager and colleague should the atmosphere becomes inflamed. If you feel your impending engagement has the potential of becoming hostile, recruiting assistance from your director/manager or even human resources may also be necessary.
  • If the engagement becomes heated and not conducive to an actionable, constructive outcome; never be afraid to table the conversation and revisit the matter at another time.
  • Maintaining a clear and fair thought process, it is important for you manage the situation and behavior – not the colleague. Hold on, wait, that does not make sense if you are “managing” colleagues. What I am saying is this: You must be separate the colleague from the issue that requires resolution; only acts or behavior should be addressed. It is wise to omit any personal opinions or views about said colleague. You should stick to the facts and only what can be proven. Clear any negative thoughts you may feel about the colleague and stick to the issue. Do not shift or allow the colleague to shift the conversation away from the issue at hand. Once you allow the conversation to stray from the subject being discussed, you will lose sight of the resolution that needs to be determined. 
  • A manager should never rush into conflict unprepared and off the cuff. You should take a moment to gather all pertinent facts before you begin the process of conflict resolution. If a colleague engages you for an immediate sit-down, your primary function is to listen and observe. This should be a part of your fact-gathering process. Thank the colleague for bringing the matter to your attention and convey that you will further investigate the incident. 
  • Document, document, document. It is important to keep detailed records of events and incidents. If you are meeting one-on-one, a summary of the meeting should be communicated to all involved parties. All details of the event in question should be recorded and kept on file.
  • It would be wise to lean heavily into your company’s mission and core values to help guide you through managing a given situation. This harkens back to my previous advice of managing the situation and not the colleague. Your role as a manager or supervisor is to ensure that company policy is being recognized and followed. Your personal views are not your own. You are a representative of the company whose responsibility is to remind, enforce, and ensure company culture is being observed and practiced. You must provide clear and concise feedback that align with the company mission and vision. Also remember, you are in a position of authority, so consequences should be clearly conveyed.
  • To be sure, managers or supervisors are not robots. We have emotions too. We have personal opinions. It is vital that we express those feelings regarding any particular circumstance. However, this expression is best suited for an audience outside of your employment. It’s best to save your raw, unfiltered observations for a spouse or significant other within the confines of your own home. Never vent or bad-mouth a subordinate to another subordinate. Never disclose personal, confidential information about a subordinate or anyone else. Do not broadcast grievances on social media. Do not utilize company technology such as e-mail or messaging to disparage colleagues. 

The Standard #58

Clouds

To be absolutely clear, a hardworking gentleman understands the meaning and value of his tireless labor. And to be absolutely sure, the reality of fatherhood only heightens said understanding. Trust, this gentleman maintains a deep, fundamental comprehension of provision and the significance of being a contributor. And so, when seasons of life are absent peace or joy – perhaps both; it is not uncommon for him to lean heavily into his work; a passionate attempt to seek refuge and fulfillment by claiming, reasserting his own value to himself. Work is transformed into an instrument that exerts authority over one’s mental and emotional well-being. It is a blunt tool utilized to manage anxiety, stress, insecurity, and pain. He accepts the incredible burden of arduous work to unburden himself of heavier burdens – both emotional and mental. However, whatever accomplishments that are attained, the satisfaction is never truly satisfying. Frantic attempts for relief only lead deeper into work. The wise gentleman must conclude that work does not inherently grant him value. Rather, it is he that affords value to his work, to his friends, to his family, and to himself. So, if no one tells you today (and demonstrate through their actions); I am here to convey on behalf of countless gentlemen such as yourself; you are recognized, appreciated, respected, and loved.

Gentlemen’s Review – Dolce & Gabbana – Light Blue Forever Eau de Parfum

D&G Forever

Historically, I have long held an ardent appreciation for designer fragrances released from luxury Italian house Dolce & Gabbana. The fragrances that I have experienced were always pleasant and smelled fantastic. Generally, they were easy to wear and inoffensive to the surrounding public. Now, one of my favorite men’s fragrances, Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue, was launched 14 years ago in 2007. Subsequently, a plethora of Light Blue iterations (flankers) followed with periodic releases throughout the years. I have always welcomed a Dolce & Gabbana release, and this year was no different as I was excited about putting my nose on the latest – Light Blue Forever. Given my previous experiences with the Light Blue collection, my intentions were to blind buy a bottle. However, during a casual visit to the shopping mall, I spotted the new 2021 release of their shelves. Spoiler alert: I did not pull the proverbial trigger. Instead, I departed with Givenchy Gentleman tucked away in my shopping bag. The saleswoman wholeheartedly agreed with my decision. She noted this Light Blue flanker was not as popular as others from the past. Detailed below, I will tell you why I decided to roll with another brand fragrance. Read on.

Observations

Top Notes: 

Grapefruit, Bergamot

Middle Notes: 

Ozonic Notes, Violet Leaf

Base Notes: 

Java Vetiver, White Musk, Patchouli

  • Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Forever explodes with an assertive citrusy introduction of grapefruit and bergamot. Now, if you are a distinguished gentleman that adores the bitter aroma of grapefruit, prepare to be fully engulfed by its overwhelming magnitude. And as an aromatic companion, the bergamot effectively bolsters the top notes’ pungency. There is no mistake, the smell of grapefruit will aggressively grab you because of its authenticity – absolutely no synthetic feel detected here. And for that, I have to extend due credit to Dolce & Gabbana. The grapefruit is tart and rightly robust. However, I am not a huge fan of grapefruit. Nope – not even a casual fan. Neither taste nor smell, it is not for me. Employed as a fragrance, the vibe is just too strong for me.
  • Now, addressing the heart of the matter, yes, more sour grapefruit. As for violet leaf – what violet leaf? Sure, the ozonic notes lend an airy, somewhat fresh texture to the middle of the cologne, but alas, the grapefruit is king here and will not be dethroned.
  • The flask presentation – I probably should have started with this first – is similar to the other Light Blue flankers from the collection. Quiet and minimalistic, the soft turquoise hue, however, is very attractive. Almost attractive enough to justify a purchase to showcase on a shelf at home. Well, no, not really.
  • Arriving at the base notes, and I will tell you, that grapefruit is still hanging on for dear life. Seriously, I sprayed Light Blue on a test strip and it took a little over a day to detect the earthy feel of the vetiver and musk. After the grapefruit calmed down, what is left is a masculine musk that isn’t too bad. If you can endure the journey, it might be worth the payoff. Surely on skin it may announce itself sooner than that timetable. So, full disclosure, the grapefruit was so strong, I did not even attempt to test it on my skin. I desperately wanted to like Light Blue Forever, it was truly my intention, as I tested it on 4 separate occasions trying to convince myself of a purchase. I just could not commit the funds to a cologne that I just did not love – or even mildly like for that matter.
  • Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue forever is intended for the gentleman that prefers to smell like a bitter, tart grapefruit. End review. No, seriously, Light Blue Forever is supremely unique in the sense of how grapefruit is utilized. This isn’t a redundant flanker that leans heavily on the blueprint of previous Light blue releases. Given its potency, I would humbly suggest 3-4 modest applications. This is a casual fragrance that should get the most love in spring and summer. It will project well and perform for perhaps 6-7 hours. I know this latest Light Blue iteration is receiving a lot of love online. Sadly, it just does not work for me. Perhaps you will have a better experience.
  • Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Forever retails for $80.00 1.7 oz. and $110.00 3.4oz. – Available at Dolce & Gabbana, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Bloomingdales, and other fine men’s department stores

Best in Personal Class – Cole Haan – Original Grand Stitchlite Wing Oxford

wp-16228408037073268271403074162680.jpgOn those particular days when overcast skies threaten to diminish a gentleman’s mood, a welcome splash of unexpected color can offer balance to an otherwise dreary day. For these occasions, I lean into one of my trusted brands, Cole Hole, as they consistently offer a variety of expressive, unconventional hues for men. Proceeding some focused deliberation, I decided to purchase a pair from their Stitchlite line. Approximately three years later, I have not regretted my initial purchase, as subsequent procurements have increased my collection. Now my go-to line of shoes for casual wear, the Stitchlite line offers incredible comfort and flexibility. This particular pair sports a greyish sage hue on the upper with a bright pop of yellow for the sole – perfect for gloomy skies overhead. And when coordinated with an energetic pair of hosiery (much like the Lorenzo Uomo picture here) the results articulate that one cares about shoes and socks just a little – even on a drab day.

Living Your Best Life – Fulfillment

As an engaged father, being an active participant in your child’s life is one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have as a parent. As you nurture their burgeoning self-esteem and champion varying accomplishments; their achievements will reinforce one of the most important components in a gentleman’s life – purpose. To be sure, acceptance of idle fatherhood is to deny one’s principal role as a father. Passionately embrace your purpose, and the joyful fulfillment you feel will further drive the best in you.

Gentlemen’s Review – Arm & Hammer – Cleansing & Refreshing Foot Wipes

As I am approaching the ripe age of 45 this September, I am fortunate enough to have avoided dreadful foot odor in my life. Well, I cannot state that claim for a few gentlemen that I have crossed paths with in my life. Now, the best remedy for such smelly situations is good old soap and water. However, if a gentleman is on the move without a shower in sight, off-putting foot odor could prove to be problematic. So, Arm & Hammer may have a solution for such precarious occurrences – foot wipes for the individual on the go. I was contacted a few weeks ago to sample and test product. Admittedly, I am not flexible enough to get a close whiff of my own feet, so I had to think outside the box.

Recently, my children joined a softball league for the summer. So what better opportunity to test these new Arm & Hammer Cleansing and Refreshing Wipes? Given my exposure to pee, poop, and puke as a father, smelling my 5 year old son’s feet – voluntarily – is not a big deal. Trust me, I have endured far worse as a parent. Now, while my son does not possess foul smelling feet post softball, his dogs have a warm, stale sneaker odor that is present. So, how did the Arm & Hammer wipers perform? Let’s take a quick dive below.

Observations

  • The foot wipes definitely have a pungent, potent aroma. The combination of tea tree oil and menthol is especially strong. It is not necessarily offensive to the pop, but it does have an aromatic pop.
  • The foot wipes are no different than perhaps a baby wipe. There are 30 foot wipes in a small resealable package. The package has a snap closure to prevent the wipes from drying out.
  • After utilization, the foot wipes dry quickly on the skin without actually drying out the skin.
  • I would say it probably too 2-3 foot wipes on my son’s feet to tone down the sneaker odor. It is for that reason that wished the foot wipes were larger. To tackle an adult foot, especially one with a robust stench, multiple foot wipes may be needed to get the job done sufficiently.
  • Of course, these foot wipes should not be a substitute for soap and water, but it does remove dirt and grime effectively enough until you can hop in a tub.
  • A pack of Arm & Hammer Cleansing and Refreshing Foot Wipes will set you back approximately $4.99. It is available at Target, Amazon, and Walmart.
  • Bottom-line: If you are a gentleman on the move with the need to address foot odor and dirt before you can jump into a hot shower, these Arm & Hammer Foot Wipes may offer some relief. Given the approximate size of a male foot, I would definitely suggest purchasing a couple of packs because you might burn through a pack quickly.

Details

  • On the go foot wipe with skin nourishing essential oils
  • Quick dry, non greasy formula leaves feet feeling cleansed and refreshed
  • Textured wipes remove dirt, sweat and unwanted impurities
  • Contains Fresh Guard® Technology and ARM & HAMMER™ Baking Soda to help eliminated and neutralize foot odor
  • Contains skin nourishing essential oils like Tea Tree Oil, Chamomile and cooling menthol and free from parabens and sulfates

Ingredients:

Water, Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Althaea Officinalis Root Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Extract, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Glycerin, Menthol, Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Bicarbonate, Polysorbate 20, Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin

The Standard #51

To be sure, the thoughtful gentleman understands that every moment of significance carries meaning. Moments matter. This is especially true for the gentleman that has embarked upon the journey of fatherhood. Understandably, the journey is an arduous one, replete with important occasions that beg the focused attention and participation of a father. This is non-negotiable. Hopefully, this active role fosters an intimate relationship between father and child grounded in an appreciation and love exclusive to both involved parties. For example, approximately three years ago, my daughter was experiencing respiratory distress that prompted an expeditious visit to the emergency room. My wife needed to be home with our newborn son since, ironically, a hospital isn’t the best spot for a newborn outside of the initial birth. So I stayed with my daughter through a series of evaluations and treatments until she was discharged.

During the entirety of the event, I provided a calming and reassuring presence for her, as you can expect the circumstances would be quite frightening to a two-year-old. Now, some may think it odd, but I took pictures and videos during our stay in the hospital. I wanted to capture this moment in time; this moment that further strengthened our bond as father and daughter. To her, I was her protector – a source of depended comfort and safety. To me, she was my ward – simply my little baby girl. I had to be there for her. And every now and again – three years later – I still look at pictures and videos from those days we shared together. And upon viewing them, the emotions from that day come flooding back – in a positive way. Despite the circumstances, I cherish that time we shared together.

Now, I don’t assert that a father and child need to experience an extreme event to form a healthy, caring connection. However, I am asserting that a father should never shy away from moments with his kid(s), no matter how large or small. And he should embrace opportunity fully and make the most of it. Sure, a gentleman probably won’t engage in every waking event, but an honest effort is definitely demanded. There possibly can be a myriad of chances at a gentleman’s disposal: attending a recital, helping with homework, attending children’s school events, etc. Do not be mistaken, inaction is actually a conscious action. Gentlemen, as fathers, ensure the present-day with your kids isn’t a missed opportunity that becomes a distant past that you regret in the future. Make the most of your moments now!

Daddy Diary – The Mythology of the Self-Anointed High Value Man and the Essential Need For Highly Engaged Fathers

I cannot overstate the following sentiment enough: The Internet is currently inundated with self-proclaimed lifestyle and relationship consultants dispensing brutally terrible advice to individuals that are obviously seeking to address some void in their lives. Generally, I don’t consciously wade into muddy social media waters, but some of the guidance that these men have offered is pure, unadulterated foolishness. Now, before I address the main issue of my unsolicited tirade, I have to place some due respect on the game. The recipe: Conflate some minor truth with your own prejudiced agenda, deliver inflammatory content in a controversial manner targeted at a specific demographic, and articulate your points so convincingly that you are perceived as a credible source. If the objective is to stimulate increased viewership, it is an extremely effective tactic, especially when combined with classic gaslighting.

So, what is it that has me slightly agitated at the moment? Well, I decided to view this one particular self-appointed expert regarding the definition of a high value man. After seeing all the buzz on social media, I wanted to see what had everyone talking. To be perfectly clear, the term high value man is extremely subjective. Nevertheless, the term was intriguing and I was curious regarding the involved prerequisites that had women clamoring for the opportunity to secure one. Viewing a few videos, it appeared the term revolved exclusively around elevated social status and wealth. Upon listening to one particular broadcast, I quickly realized the litany of responsibilities heaped upon women were tired misogynistic tropes that reminded me of a Mad Men era that became extinct long ago. I won’t explore a point by point analysis, but one proclamation that stood out was terribly problematic for me. Allow me to set the scene; a young woman calls into broadcast inquiring about the attainment of a high quality man. What followed was a bewildering, painful listen that left me wondering how people took this man seriously.

The speaker addresses the hard work required by a wife to keep said high value man. This assertion especially caught my attention: You’re (the wife) up at 5 o’clock in the morning, going to the gym, working out, making sure that by the time you get back, the kids are up. You have the kids breakfast ready, the kids are out the door. Make sure the kids get back home, the homework gets done, the kids are ready to go. I ain’t doing nothing for the kids. You have to get the kids ready to go…parent teacher conferences, homework, and everything else. I just look over it from an executive position and say great. Then you get the kids ready to go on and so forth. and then you serve your husband.

Now, if that looks like a tough read, it sounded much worse on video. And I even omitted some parts that further highlighted the servile role of the wife in the marriage. To be sure, this guidance from a “professional” is garbage. Now, full disclosure, I am not licensed in the field of psychology or social behavior, but anyone with a grain of commonsense can recognize bad advice when it is so nakedly blatant. Allow me to be perfectly clear, regardless of economic status, a man never abdicates his responsibilities as a father. There is more to providing for one’s family beyond providing for one’s family. In the context above, the husband (a 6 figure earner) has been reduced to the role of an automated workhorse whose sole purpose is to provide financial stability to his kid(s) and indentured servant. Apologies, I meant to type wife there.

Now, be sure to recognize this: An absentee father does not necessarily correlate to a man that does not reside with his children. An absentee father can indeed live under the same roof. If he is not fully present mentally, emotionally, or spiritually for his kids – then that man is indeed absent. A man simply cannot be disengaged from his children. A man should not be so absorbed in his professional life to the detriment of his relationship with his children, or his wife for that matter. You will work yourself to death and your job will be posted before your obituary, while your children won’t even know the man being eulogized. Fathers need to be fathers. That is why the advice and viewpoint above is so wantonly reckless. It is imperative that men are totally engaged in their children’s lives, whether in or out of the house. I understand that an individual has a right to their opinion. And the Internet is wide open for anyone to espouse an ideology on any platform. So, it is my duty to encourage, educate, and empower you with some facts courtesy of fatherhood.org.

  • Involved fathers improve their children’s overall emotional and social well-being.
  • Involved fathers reduce moms’ parenting stress.
  • Children with absent fathers are more likely to become absent fathers themselves.
  • Boys have fewer behavior problems and girls have fewer psychological problems when they have involved fathers.
  • Father involvement in schools is associated with higher likelihood of a student getting mostly A’s.
  • A father’s involvement during pregnancy positively influences health outcomes for mom, dad, and baby.
  • Daughters are less likely to engage in risky sexual behavior when they have consistent contact, and a sense of closeness with their dads.
  • Involved fathers lead to less distress in toddlers.
  • Children with involved dads are less likely to be mistreated.
  • One in four children live in a home without a dad.

Social media has elevated superficiality to such dizzying heights, the obvious deprivation of oxygen has impaired rational, logical thought in some individuals. If you are an adult and still utilize fabricated grade school metrics to assess beauty; perhaps you should reevaluate your current state of maturity. Now, I am not here to call anyone out for clout or stimulate website views – I run a small operation here. Nevertheless, small platform or not, moral courage is what compels my voice address disinformation and otherwise bad counsel. This is not rocket science. I wholly understand that the term “high value man” is a hot Internet catchphrase right now. However, the definition of value in this regard has been perverted to massage male fragility and insecurity while masquerading as a self-professed alpha male. Engaged fathers matter. Fully present fathers matter. Attentive fathers matter. I won’t get into deep dive regarding what determines a high value man. I’ve been chronicling specific standards that I believe a man should uphold on this site since 2008 – far before high value man became a buzzword. My thoughts generally focus on principled core values and ethical fundamentals. Many facets of a gentleman’s life (professional, family, community, talent/skill, personality) should account for what determines value. Bottom-line, again, fathers need to be fathers.

Today, without provocation, my daughter blurted out the definition of opaque. Approximately one week ago, she was discussing the concept of transparency (she had learned it in school), so I asked her if she knew the definition of opaque. She did not, and so I explained. Today, without provocation, she decided to reiterate that knowledge. She was so proud. And where did our initial conversation occur? It occurred during school pick-up. Me picking up the kids from school – fancy that. Miles knows how to pick fresh parsley, sauté vegetables, and grate various foods. How? Well, that is accomplished by inviting my son into the kitchen to prepare dinner for the family. Wait – I’m not supposed to be cooking, or shopping, or cleaning am I? Shame on me for engaged in matters of my home beyond paying a bill.

Trust, there is a tremendous benefit to being able to financially support or contribute to one’s family. Nevertheless, it would be woefully ignorant to underestimate the sense of fulfillment when you practice selflessness and serve your family. In addition to his family, a man will be performing a disservice to himself by depriving his life of those intimate, meaningful connections that can only be achieved through significant interaction. That value is incalculable. The pride that wells inside your chest as you watch your daughter recite the church poem you practiced with her days before. The gratitude you feel when your son grabs his stool to reach the counter because he never turns down an opportunity to cook with his father. The excitement you feel Christmas morning as you see the elation in their eyes as they tear through gifts. The feeling of devotion you feel when you set the alarm on your phone to wake up in timed intervals to deliver breathing treatments to your infant daughter through her crib bars. The trust you feel when you’re called to remove a splinter from a hand or foot. Amusement. Joy. Affection. In matters of your mental and emotional well-being, you cannot place a price tag on that. There are days when a memory or picture of my children is required to get me through the day. I need them as much as they need me some days.

Look, I’m not extraordinary special. I just understand the importance of engaged fatherhood. So, salute to Iman B. for exposing his son to woodworking during those special home projects. Salute to Adrian S. for his involvement in his son’s athletics and traveling out of state to attend championship tournaments. Salute to Milon B. for being involved with both his son and daughter during STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) activities. These are gentlemen within my peer group. And to any gentleman out there in the real world handling their business as nurturers and providers – salute to you too.

Gentlemen’s Review – Dior – Sauvage Eau de Toilette

During the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have embarked upon an exploration of fragrance that has unearthed some exciting and newfound discoveries. Sure, I have amassed a decent stock of cologne, but I really wanted to experiment and expand my olfactory options. That being stated, I am a gentleman with humble pockets, so my findings have been modest in nature. Now, before I learned of the love-hate relationship that many gentlemen have with the featured cologne above, I spied a bottle of Dior Sauvage a few years ago but never pulled the trigger on the purchase. I sampled the scent and it was pleasant, but again, I did not commit to the purchase. I was not in the market for a new fragrance, so I kept my funds in my wallet. 

Fast-forward to the initial lockdown of 2020, and the casual perusal of cologne at the nearby shopping mall was no longer an option. And like many people across the globe, online shopping became the preferred method for procuring goods. Drawing upon my memory of the scent, I finally decided to commit the dollars. So, back to the aforementioned love-hate relationship that Sauvage invokes; it’s an attention-getting cologne that is ubiquitous amongst the male population due to mass marketing. Surely you’ve seen the Johnny Depp advertisements. Celebrity and popular criticism aside, I lean into what works for me. If you care for an honest assessment of this high-selling, 2015 release – continue on my friend.

Observations

Top Notes: Bergamot, Pepper

Middle Notes: Patchouli, Pink Pepper, Lavender, Sichuan Pepper, Vetiver 

Base Notes: Cedar, Ambroxan, Labdanum

  • I really, really like the presentation of Dior Sauvage. I’m a simple guy. The cylindrical flask boats a minimalistic design punctuated with subtle touches of elegance. The magnetic cap (which snaps right into place over the atomizer) is marked by three circular indentations that wrap all the way around. The Christian Dior logo is discreetly engraved on the top. The atomizer is stiff to the touch; exhibiting a slow, controlled mist when deployed. The bottle sports a dark, metallic blue hue that gradually fades following the length of the bottle. The effect is visually cool. The words Sauvage Dior mark the body of the bottle with slightly raised lettering. Simple, but still classy.
  • Warning: Dior Sauvage Eau de Toilette can be an aggressive scent. It was quite harmless when I sampled it at the shopping mall. However, after performing approximately 3-4 pumps on the atomizer, I instantly recognized that was perhaps 3 pumps too many. Seriously, a gentleman must practice some restraint when it involves this fragrance. I would recommend approximately 1-2 sprays. Proceed with caution if you are feeling adventurous because too much will certainly induce a slight migraine. Dior Sauvage will definitely provide a strong 6-8 hours of performance with pretty good projection the first few hours.
  • The fragrance opens with a fresh, slightly citrusy introduction. Transitioning into the middle notes, Sauvage has a strong peppery vibe and earthy touch that can be overwhelming if the application is too heavy. Applied correctly, the result should be a warm, slightly spicy scent that settles into a woody, synthetic aroma. 
  • Dior Sauvage is best suited for the modern gentleman that gravitates toward sharp, bold fragrances that demand attention without being overly obnoxious. In my humble opinion, this fragrance performs best during evening hours; preferably in sophisticated settings that welcome a touch of class. This is a year-round fragrance that performs best in an wide open setting. This cologne needs to expand. And trust, it’s potent enough to cut through any competing aromas in the surrounding area. Given that fact, I would not recommend this cologne for the office. The close quarters with fellow colleagues may be too much.
  • Dior Sauvage Eau de Toilette can be procured in the following sizes: 1.0 ounce priced at $56.00, 2.0 ounces priced at $80.00, 3.4 ounces priced at $97.00, and 6.7 ounces priced at $150.00 – Available in-store and online: Dior, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Sephora, Ulta, and other fine men’s department stores.

Living Your Best Life – Forgiveness

Forgiveness is not necessarily intended for the individual that inflicted pain upon you. Rather, forgiveness is freeing oneself from the bondage of grief, hate, and vengeance. Forgiveness is an arduous exercise of affording deserved peace and order to one’s spirit. Forgiveness is moving forward untethered to suffering and pain.

Style & Substance – Put Some Spring in Your Step – An Unsolicited Endorsement of Color Feat. Sperry Top-Sider

March 20 designated the official first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Nevertheless, here in the great state of Michigan, our expectations are never high because we understand the mercurial temperament of our weather. And on cue, after enjoying temperatures that fluctuated between 60 and 70, we were awakened to the sight of fresh snow that had adhered to various surfaces. It was nothing new. Yet, the sheer audacity of snow in April was eye-roll worthy. Despite the temporary visitation – it had all melted by late afternoon – the calendar definitely indicates the season is spring, so the time for a gentleman to prepare his warm weather attire is now.

Earlier this month, I was contacted by a representative from Sperry. Their spring collection was rolling out, and I was offered the opportunity to feature one of their shoe selections. Now, with spring in the back of my mind, I wanted to feature a shoe that had spring written all over it. Enter the Bahama II Sneaker. Bright. Bold. Playful. Plaid. I readily admit that this casual shoe may be a bit too much for the average gentleman. There is a lot to consume here. However, I am humbly requesting that you hear me out on this one. Gentlemen – you need a little color in your life. Trust, there is a time when our clothes can confidently compliment dark and dreary. Now is not the time. And now I’m going to tell you why.

Now, regarding the affairs of gentlemanly attire, the utilization of color remains quite the polarizing issue. The mere suggestion of incorporating hints of vibrant color into one’s wardrobe provokes passionate, hostile defiance. We’re not debating politics here gentlemen – calm the nerves. An intelligent deployment of lively hues demonstrate that a gentleman has granted some much-deserved thought beyond the requisite triad of black, navy, and brown. And we’re not requesting that you dress from head to toe in eye-popping pink, yellow, and orange. Not at all. Rather, a smart placement of color can raise the mundane into a realm of thoughtful, energetic style. Don’t you deserve a little lively style in your life? Keep on reading.

For example, a gentleman can coordinate these plaid sneakers with a relaxed, neutral shade of color for his trousers and shirt. Cream trousers with a light blue polo top can nimbly play off the blue in the sneakers while keeping the shoes the highlight of the ensemble. And quite honestly, with the plaid design, a gentleman can select any of the colors woven into its fabric. I don’t know who needs to hear this: It’s okay to assemble an outfit that does not look like you blindly grabbed something from the laundry basket. No one is asking you to dress like a bag of Skittles Sunday through Saturday. The only ask here is that you don’t fight this recommendation so vehemently. It’s not an attack on your manhood. Trust me. It has been argued that bright, warm colors can actually have an uplifting effect on mood and emotion. So why not give it a fair chance?

Sperry is that quintessential brand that offers a myriad of colorful kicks that embrace the renewal and rejuvenation that embodies spring. A gentleman really cannot go wrong with a pair of Sperry Top-siders during the spring and summer seasons. Here, the Bahama II Sneaker offers a salt-washed breathable, canvas upper with hand-sewn moccasin construction. This shoe is built for backyard cookouts, friend & family gatherings at the park, or simple leisurely stroll through your neighbor on a sunny day. Step into spring with the right splash of color with Sperry. They have a little something for everyone. Trust me, you will not regret it.

The Standard #57

To be absolutely certain, with the steady passage of time, a gentleman will experience quiet periods of emotional and mental fatigue. His spirit will be disquieted. His mood will be wrought with irregular swings of melancholy and anxiety. Desperately he attempts to summon the requisite energy necessary for addressing the everyday grind of life. And to be sure, without a doubt, life will present an array of adversity that will whittle away your spirit – if allowed. Please understand, you do not exist on an island despite your current circumstances appearing that way. Trust and believe, your current tribulations are another individual’s testimony. You will make it through your time of distress. Because, despite what feels insurmountable, you possess the resolute will and strength to prevail.

Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him; who have been called according to his purpose.” All things – even the most painful ones. And so, faith must dictate that even the most distressing circumstances must be molded to achieve a greater good aligned with His word. I won’t lie to you; it is challenging and I struggle daily. Nevertheless, today, I encourage and challenge you to seek assistance from professionals that are trained to address mental wellness. If you are reading this and you feel trapped in an uncomfortable mental, emotional space; I am with you. If you notice, I have not posted material here since November 2020. We all find ourselves in a rut. I am not immune. However, every earnest attempt must be made to escape the seemingly perpetual prison of pain that binds us. And escape we will – together.

The Standard #56

To be absolutely clear, representation is vitally important to a population of people conditioned to marginalization and abandonment. Trust, one must not underestimate the weighty emotional and psychological impact that representation achieves. The visual affirmation symbolizes the audacity of possibility; it molds and breathes life into unbounded imagination. The reflection of greatness can sow seeds of future greatness. And as pride fills long neglected spaces belonging to confidence and self-esteem; the resulting inspiration fuels the desire to want and become more – more than the forsaken environment that continually threatens to suppress and suffocate the life of aspirational dreams. Symbols matter. Role models matter. Representation matters. And so I state to you, no matter how big or small, it is incumbent that you be what the youth need to see. Your life, your testimony can unbind restraints that shackle the potential success and achievement.

 

Style & Substance – Paul Stuart – Fanciful Fall Fashion

The coordination and contrast of color is a distinguishing hallmark of Paul Stuart. Autumn affords a prime opportunity for a gentleman to flex sartorial flair with a daring combination of hues that complement the season. Layers are a gentleman’s best friend from checked merino wool scarves to corduroy flat caps because warmth is the name of the game – wear it well.

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