Presentation is of the essence: men’s edition

22 Apr

I read a lot of howling by men on the internet that women are no longer attractive because they don’t take care of their appearance.  I’m not going to argue against this because it’s too often true (I think in the Church, at least, this stems from a feminist, legalistic interpretation of some key verses), but women can say the same thing about men.  While men’s looks don’t matter to women as much as the other way around, they do still matter.  Presentation is of the essence, as the saying goes, and an otherwise worthy man can torpedo his chances with women if the presentation is not good.  How can a man maximize his presentation?  By tending to the three Fs – fitness, follicles, and fashion.

FITNESS

Most women are not obsessed with dating a modelesque hardbody.  (Most women are actually intimidated by a man with an amazing physique.)  What most women want is something resembling a general state of health relative to your bone structure.  This means that if you’re skinny, it’s okay to be skinny.  If you’re stocky, it’s okay to be stocky.  Women like all sorts of body types.  Just don’t look like you’re a candidate for The Biggest Loser (or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, for Intervention).  Bottom line:  unless being ripped is your passion, it’s not necessary to go kill yourself at the gym and add a scoop of protein powder to every meal in order to know the love of a woman.

That said…I’m not aware of any woman who says “eh, whatevs” to good muscle tone.  If you’re not fat but are squishy to the touch, you might want to get more exercise than just walking to your car and into your cubicle, and back to your car each day.  Look at it this way:  someday a woman may touch your bicep.  If you have a squishy bicep, she won’t like you any less, but if you have a nice, solid bicep, she will definitely be put on alert that you’ve got a body beneath your shirt, and she’ll also tell all of her girlfriends about it.  Not trying to ~awaken love before it is ready~ here, just stating the facts. :)

Also, eat some vegetables and fruits and stop eating Stouffer’s for every meal.  And stop drinking so much alcohol (if you happen to be of that persuasion).  All alcohol is is a ton of empty calories that leads to a swollen gut and swollen face.  Not sexy.

FOLLICLES

A good haircut can do a world of good for a man’s looks.  (See:  McDreamy on Grey’s Anatomy or David Cook after his hair makeover on American Idol.)  It can make a man look sophisticated or mysterious, or add playfulness or gravity to his face.  It can also make a man look bland and uninteresting if executed poorly.  If you have the same haircut you’ve had since second grade, it might be time to reevaluate your hairstyle.  Sometimes even a minor change can make a world of difference.

If you are losing your hair, you can always do the preemptive head shave, but I only recommend this if you have the head shape for it.  Some men don’t, and end up looking like chemo patients instead of Mr. Clean.  Short buzz cuts are currently in style and can be a better option if the chrome dome thing isn’t for you.  Just, whatever you do, don’t do the combover where the part starts at your ear, and don’t wear fake hair.

Be aware that a new, better haircut will probably cost more and may require more upkeep.  If you don’t like that, then I hope you’re not the guy who also complains that girls wear their hair in ponytails too much instead of having sexy, perfect blow-out hair every day.

FASHION

Dress for success.  A man who outdresses the competition has a significant advantage with women.  You don’t have to be flashy; you just have to stand out.  This doesn’t mean showing up in a suit when everyone else is dressed in jeans, or wearing five layers of clothing when one will do.  It does mean things like wearing a blazer to a social gathering when the other guys will be wearing “stylish dude” T-shirts.  (You know what I’m talking about; this current craze of vaguely gothic patterns on a black or gray T-shirt.)  It means wearing a bolder color than what the other guys are wearing and not acting apologetic because you’re afraid it might make you seem a little g a y.  It means a bracelet or a necklace or an eye-catching watch or a snazzy pair of shoes.  Women notice everything, so they will definitely notice if you look like you put a little more thought and effort into your outfit than the rest of the guys whose main consideration is “is it mostly clean?”.

So, with this principle of standing out in mind, here are some tips that can help:

– Good fit and drape of fabric

In my opinion, proper fit and drape of clothing are just as important as style and color.  Pants should fit at or slightly below the waist.  They should NOT hang halfway down your butt so we can see what kind of boxers you’re wearing today.  They should also not bunch a lot at the ankles; get them tailored if they’re too long.  Shirts should not be extra baggy.  Button-downs should not “blouse” if you tuck them in.  Jackets should not be too wide in the shoulders or too long in the sleeves; again, go to a tailor to fix these problems.  You shouldn’t look like you are swimming in your clothing.  If you look like you can fit a second you inside any garment, it’s too big.

– Color

I noticed the other day when taking a quick stroll through the men’s section of a department store that most men’s clothing comes in very drab colors.  Lots of varieties of browns, olive greens, blue-grays, grays, and some black.  Snore.  More sedate colors are fine for the office, but a little pop of color in social situations is very welcome.  Be the guy who wears the pink or lavendar knit polo shirt.  I guarantee you that women will come up to you and talk about your shirt – and from there you can segue into other topics, like how cool you are what you liked best about Fireproof.  Women will not, however, make a point of talking to you if you’re wearing a beige knit polo shirt absent other factors such as good looks or being funny.

Color also can play up your features, like flatter your skin tone or enhance the color of your eyes.  If you have blue, green, or hazel eyes, certain colors will make your eyes look amazing.  Women love amazing eyes.  If your eyes look amazing, women may also make a point of talking to you by complimenting your eyes.

– Style

Generally, you want to project sophistication, even when dressing casually.  Good fit and drape will take care of a lot of this.  You also want to look contemporary, but not ultra trendy, unless you run with a hipster crowd.  Avoid popped collars, really tight shirts and pants, anything Ed Hardy, “shants” that end somewhere between your knee and ankle, tank tops unless you have a toned upper body, ’80s style jackets with the sleeves pushed up to your elbows, bowling shirts, Hawaiian shirts, T-shirts with cheeky slogans, and by all means do not wear a white crew-neck T-shirt underneath a button-down shirt with the top button unbuttoned.  Use caution with V-necks; if you’re overweight, don’t go there.  Also use caution with stylish dude T-shirts or stylish dude polos (the kind with the enormous logo on the breast); again, if you’re not pretty fit or young-ish, you might end up looking like you’re trying too hard.

Which reminds me — your style should look natural on you.  You should not look like the clothes are wearing you; instead, they should be an extension of your personality.  If you’re walking around like the tags are still on the clothes, you’re not wearing a style that works for you.

Finally, I probably don’t need to mention this, but just to be on the safe side:  shower regularly, shave or keep facial hair neat, brush and floss your teeth, keep your fingernails and toenails trimmed and clean (the number of men I’ve seen with grimy bear claws is…not good), and don’t douse yourself with cologne.  A woman doesn’t want to choke when she gets within a 5-foot radius of you just because you went crazy with the Cool Water.

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4 Responses to “Presentation is of the essence: men’s edition”

  1. Natalie August 17, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    I realize this post is old, but I just had to laugh when you mentioned lavender or pink shirts because I’m still slightly miffed at my sister in law for putting the groomsmen (ie my husband) in lilac vests. Who do I notice? The guys who dress like my father and father in law in khakis and polos and nice plaid shirts – substantial, conservative tasteful clothes. They might scream beta to some, but I find them the epitome of respect and paternal authority.

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Linkage is Good for You: They Did it Back Then Too Edition - April 25, 2010

    […] Aunt Haley – “Presentation is of the Essence: Men’s Edition” […]

  2. Presentation is of the essence: women’s edition, part 1. « Haley's Halo - May 20, 2010

    […] part 1. Posted by Aunt Haley under Looks Leave a Comment  A while back I wrote a post describing how men can maximize their looks by tending to the three Fs:  fitness, follicles, and fashion.  Women can do the same by tending […]

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