Men, we need to talk. Let's begin by hanging that banner up over in the corner of the room, the one that reads “You're Killing Me, Buster.” Guys, the women in your life are unhappy. How do I know? I know from the way that I see people on dates, the looks on the females face's while the men check God only knows what on their smartphone. I know in the way men have bought into this bullshit idea from the media that being a sophisticated gentleman is “unmanly,” that it means you haven't earned your “man card.” Exactly how insecure are you that you need a damn body wash advertisement to clarify your existence as a male member of the population?
We need to focus less on the idea of “manliness” and more on the idea of being a modern gentleman. First off, is being a gentleman anti-feminist? Hell no! Being a gentleman is all about respect. Respect for yourself, respect for others, and respect for women above all else. Let's face it, our girlfriends could murder us in our sleep if they chose to. They don't, and also, they choose to be with you. So if you have a girlfriend and you're neglecting them, you need to take some steps to get a little more Cary Grant in your life.
First, we need some music to set the tone, put on A Swingin' Affair by Frank Sinatra, vinyl if you've got it. Why Sinatra? What do you mean why Sinatra? It sets the vibe we want, nothing makes you feel better in the morning than getting ready to a kick ass Sinatra album. If anything, the man knew how to wear the hell out of a suit.
I'm not saying you have to wear a suit and tie all the time, but take some cues from the following men in terms of your personal style: The aforementioned Cary Grant, Steve McQueen, and even the effortless laid back cool of Paul Newman. I'm also not saying that you have to spend an ungodly amount of money on your clothes. I can't afford the suits in GQ, but I can look at them, and find an affordable alternative. I have a lot of clothes from Old Navy, because if you look closely, a lot of their clothes for men are in the vein of classic American style.
You'd be shocked how good you can look on a budget. It even shocks me how much my “budget gear” gets more attention than the stuff I spent money on. Example: Often when I'm hugging the lady folk and I get a compliment on my cologne, it's been on days when I wasn't wearing any. It was my Old Spice deodorant. That's right $5 Old Spice deodorant gets more attention than a $70 bottle of department store miracle.
Right, now that we've got that out of the way, let's talk about how you treat your lady. Your smartphone. I have an iPhone, and I love it. But when you're out with her, that phone should serve only three purposes. One, providing the perfect music for the night. Two, checking to make sure the tickets for the theater or whatever is squared. Three, seeing if that great ice cream shop you found is open. Any other time, it needs to be in your pocket, on mute. You're there for her, not so she can watch you check Facebook all night long.
Do you ever greet her in the mornings with a text that says “Morning, Beautiful.” to brighten her day? Have you ever cleaned anything for her? Made her breakfast in bed? Don't think cooking is badass? Google Alton Brown, culinary and style badass of the highest degree. If she's vegan, you need to learn some go to vegan breakfasts you make. If she's not, scrambled eggs are easy, and can be made damn tasty. The trick? Don't overcook them, as I learned from Mr. Brown, if they look done in the pan, they'll be overdone on the plate.
We can still be American men and love our cars, our video games, and our tools. But loving these things doesn't mean we have to give up our style, class, and sophistication. Do the little things, make her dinner, take care of her, tell her you love her, that you care about her, that she means something to you. Make her mix CDs, send her flowers when she's least expecting it—and not on a birthday, valentine's, or an anniversary. Send them to her “just because.” It's not her job to tell you to be thoughtful, it should be an automatic response on your behalf. You should want to tell her how breathtaking she is, if you don't feel that way, something is wrong.
Add the website Valet to your morning readings. Get Valet's app, I look at it each day, and it's a nice start (in addition to my subscriptions to GQ and Esquire). Become well rounded, become a better man, and in turn a better human being. Devo asked “Are we not men?” Yeah, we're men, but we give a damn, and that makes all the difference in the world. C'mon and step up. We're all counting on you. More importantly, she's counting on you, and unless you want to spend the rest of your life dreading the song “You're Gonna Lose That Girl,” you better make a change. Now get out there and make me proud! Amen.
Bonus for you, the most romantic album of all time: John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman. You're welcome.