On How To Be A Man (Well…A Very Particular Type Of Man) » VSB

Dating, Relationships, & Sex, Lists, Pop Culture, Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

On How To Be A Man (Well…A Very Particular Type Of Man)

I see you're following tip #25 "If you ever see your father with this hair style, strangle him."

I see you’re following tip #25 “If you ever see your father with this hair style, strangle him.”

Bacon. Things wrapped in bacon. NBA basketball. Asses. Asses wrapped in bacon. Milkshakes. Music produced by the RZA.

Although I pride myself on being discerning and occasionally (and annoyingly) particular, there are a few things that always capture my attention, regardless of their quality. Yet, despite my affinity for each of these things, they all pale in comparison to my love for lists. Preferably random-ass lists found on the internet.

Naturally, when a friend shared The Unofficial Goldman Sachs Guide To Being A Man with me yesterday, I had to stop everything I was doing and consume. Created by @GSElevator and John Carney, it’s comprised of 60 or so tips on, well, how to be a man.

How do I personally feel about the list? Did it meet my measure of mandom? Does it ascend to the height of he? Well, let’s see.

Below is the entire list, with my comments in italics.

  • Stop talking about where you went to college. (Agreed. At a certain age, only politicians and male strippers still care about that.)

  • Always carry cash.  Keep some in your front pocket.

  • Rebel from business casual. Burn your khakis and wear a suit or jeans. (Or, better yet, never buy a pair of f*cking khakis you f*cking nut-less monkey.)

  • It’s okay to trade the possibility of your 80s and 90s for more guaranteed fun in your 20s and 30s. (In other words, act like a 17 year old Black male.)

  • The best public restrooms are in hotels: The St. Regis in New York, Claridge’s in London, The Fullerton in Singapore, to name a few. (Um…yup.)

  • Never stay out after midnight three nights in a row … unless something really good comes up on the third night.

  • You will regret your tattoos. (Eh. Just don’t half-ass them. If you want a sleeve, get a f*cking sleeve, not a skeleton key you’ll wish was a sleeve two years later.)

  • Never date an ex of your friend. (Depends on what you mean by “date.”)

  • Join Twitter; become your own curator of information.

  • If riding the bus doesn’t incentivize you to improve your station in life, nothing will. (Hmm. Rosa Parks rode a bus. And so did Idris Elba in Daddy’s Little Girls.)

  • Time is too short to do your own laundry.

  • When the bartender asks, you should already know what you want to drink. (Same goes for when you’re at Panera.)

  • If you perspire, wear a damn undershirt.

  • You don’t have to like baseball, but you should understand the concept of what a pitcher’s ERA means.  Approach life similarly.

  • When people don’t invite you to a party, you really shouldn’t go.? And sometimes even when you are invited, you shouldn’t go. (Filed under “things introverts say.”)

  • People are tired of you being the funny, drunk guy.

  • When in doubt, always kiss the girl.

  • Tip more than you should. (Filed under “things bougie black people do”)

  • You probably use your cell phone too often and at the wrong moments.

  • Buy expensive sunglasses.  Superficial? Yes, but so are the women judging you. And it tells these women you appreciate nice things and are responsible enough not to lose them. (Nah. I’m good.)

  • If you want a nice umbrella, bring a sh*tty one to church.

  • Do 50 push-ups, sit-ups, and dips before you shower each morning.

  • Eat brunch with friends at least every other weekend. Leave Rusty and Junior at home. (And your arteries as well. If you’re eating brunch every weekend you won’t be needing them for much longer anyway.)

  • Be a regular at more than one bar.

  • Act like you’ve been there before.  It doesn’t matter if it’s in the end zone at the Super Bowl or on a private plane.

  • A glass of wine or two with lunch will not ruin your day.

  • It’s better if old men cut your hair.  Ask for Sammy at the Mandarin Oriental Barbershop in Hong Kong.  He can share his experiences of the Japanese occupation, or just give you a copy of Playboy.

  • Learn how to fly-fish.

  • No selfies. Aspire to experience photo-worthy moments in the company of a beautiful woman. (Someone must read VSB)

  • Own a handcrafted shotgun.  It’s a beautiful thing.

  • There’s always another level. Just be content knowing that you are still better off than most who have ever lived.

  • You can get away with a lot more if you’re the one buying the drinks.

  • Ask for a salad instead of fries (Pussy.)

  • Don’t split a check.

  • Pretty women who are unaccompanied want you to talk to them.

  • Cobblers will save your shoes. So will shoe trees.

  • When a bartender buys you a round, tip double.

  • The cliché is that having money is about not wasting time. But in reality, money is about facilitating spontaneity.

  • Be spontaneous.

  • Find a Times New Roman in the streets and a Wingdings in the sheets. She exists. (No comment. And, by “no comment” I mean “definitely!!!”)

  • Piercings are liabilities in fights.

  • Do not use an electric razor.

  • Desserts are for women. Order one and pretend you don’t mind that she’s eating yours.

  • Buy a tuxedo before you are thirty. Stay that size.? (If you push this back to 35, I wholeheartedly agree.)

  • One girlfriend at a time is probably enough.

  • #StopItWithTheHastags

  • Your ties should be rolled and placed in a sectioned tie drawer. (Yeah, we’ve definitely reached the “past my pay grade” part of the list)

  • Throw parties. But have someone else clean up the next day.

  • You may only request one song from the DJ.

  • Measure yourself only against your previous self.

  • Take more pictures.  With a camera.

  • Place-dropping is worse than name-dropping. (!!!!!!!!)

  • When you admire the work of artists or writers, tell them. And spend money to acquire their work. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

  • Your clothes do not match. They go together. (So your clothes are in a relationship? Hardy har har. I’ll be here all night, folks.)

  • Yes, of course you have to buy her dinner.

  • Staying angry is a waste of energy.

  • Revenge can be a good way of getting over anger.

  • If she expects the person you are 20% of the time, 100% of the time, then she doesn’t want you.

  • Always bring a bottle of something to the party. (And don’t be the triflin negro who leaves with one.)

  • Avoid that “last” whiskey. You’ve probably had enough.

  • Don’t use the word “closure” or ever expect it in real life. There may still be a mortally wounded Russian mobster roaming the woods of south Jersey, but we’ll never know.

  • If you are wittier than you are handsome, avoid loud clubs(Some very practical goal post shifting here.)

  • Drink outdoors. And during the day. And sometimes by yourself.

  • Date women outside your social set. You’ll be surprised.

  • If it’s got velvet ropes and lines, walk away unless you know someone.

  • You cannot have a love affair with whiskey because whiskey will never love you back.

  • Feigning unpretentiousness is worse than being pretentious. Cut it out with the vintage Polo and that ’83 Wagoneer in Nantucket.

  • The New Yorker is not high-brow. Neither is The Economist. (Damn, I wonder what brow VSB would be. Basement brow? Sewer brow? Zion in The Matrix brow?)

  • If you believe in evolution, you should know something about how it works.

  • No-one cares if you are offended, so stop it.

  • Never take an ex back. She tried to do better and is settling with you. (Hmm. I agree with the first part, but not sure about the second.)

  • Eating out alone can be magnificent. Find a place where you can sit at the bar.

  • Read more. It allows you to borrow someone else’s brain, and will make you more interesting at a dinner party – provided that you don’t initiate conversation with, “So, who are you reading …”

  • Ignore the boos. They usually come from the cheap seats.

  • Hookers aren’t cool, and remember, the free ones are a lot more expensive.

  • Don’t ever say, “it is what it is.” (What if it’s at the end of the day?)

  • Start a wine collection for your kids when they are born.  Add a few cases every year without telling them.  It’ll make a phenomenal gift in twenty years.

  • Don’t gamble if losing $100 is going to piss you off.

  • Remember, “rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men.” (As are lists.)

That’s it. Any additions or subtractions?

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

Filed Under: ,
Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • keisha brown

    *waits for certain fellas to be mad at this list. especially anything to do with spending money on women.

    i do like the wine idea though. but where to store it!! *chin stroke*

    • nillalatte

      I caught that too. You know this list was written by man though right? Men don’t think about the practicality of storing forty cases of wine for 20 years! smdh…

      • h.h.h.


      • women love wine, i got bottles just cause

        • You’re a smart man

      • Tentpole

        Yes!!! I did think of that.

    • Invest in a wine cellar or store them with a private label firm.

      • Cellars are great investments IF you have that much wine. If not, then a cool dark closet will do the trick. I started out with an 18-bottle fridge, then got a 100-bottle fridge, now I’m having a temp-controlled room built in the basement….baby steps lol

        • esa

          professional ~*~

          • if its liquor, its alcoholism. If its wine, its a collection :-)

            • Sahel

              if its pron its an addiction

              • esa

                professional ~*~

            • Joanna

              YES. So accurate.

      • WIP

        Did you see the dude on American Greed who owned a wine storage facility but was stealing people’s wine and selling it?

        • Keisha

          I did!!!…and then the building “accidentally” burned down to cover up the thefts…smh

    • Kinghenry2007

      …and the temptation

  • Maris

    It’s a rather thorough list. It also shows how low we set the bar for bourgie. Note not one mention of degrees, passports or income.

    • Well technically the first bullet on the list mentioned how degrees “don’t mean ish” :-)

      • Joanna

        I think he meant the school you received said (hypothetical) degree from don’t mean ish. I don’t know if I agree with that…say that to a Florida or Bama alum.

      • Medium Meech

        We are talking Goldman here, everyone there has degrees so talking about them makes you look insecure or self-satisfied. Degrees are means to an end, not an end itself.

        I kind of agree about the economist and New Yorker. Also, one of my pet peeves with the black community is aspiring to bourgie. Please google the word, bourgeoisie is meant to reflect the petty materialistic aspirations of the middle class towards the trappings and status of their betters in the upper class, and never actually being able to attain said class.

        Think new money/hood rich/Jersey Shore status. Think the girl with her nose in the air at red lobster really thinking she’s doing it big. It’s an insult. And a hilariously fitting one for people who aspire to it. I can think of nothing sadder than celebrating classicism while unknowingly being the biggest recipient of its disdain. Save yourself the time and money and just vote republican if that’s what you want.

    • Todd

      On the flip side, they said that neither the New Yorker or the Economist are high-brow. I wonder what they would consider FEDS, FELON and Don Diva then? Earth core brow? :)

    • its about looking the part not actually, you know, being it.

      • esa

        thas how they do. Goldman Sachs. Lawdamercy on us all.

    • Well I don’t claim bourgeois status at all but I’ll speak for many of the other VSB’s. We all know a host of other men that we hold in high esteem that don’t have a single degree, a passport, or has an amazing income.

      • LMNOP

        If you are a good person and treat people well, people will respect you whether you have a PhD from Harvard or a GED.

        • MPM

          If the world were right this would be true; in the f*ed up world we live in, I don’t know if this is actually how things work out.

  • h.h.h.

    i dig the list. definitely a nice guyde. The Economist bangs tho.

    speaking of which… *grabs the latest copy*

  • ShawnVBranch

    This is a good list! It shows how a man should mature!

  • Abu Husain

    Am I wrong for thinking that every man should know how to fight?

    • h.h.h.

      one on one?
      with no backup to help?
      with no gun?

      ehhh…..not every male.

    • Sahel

      Depends on the situation,training and how one grew up. Some people had to learn how to fight because of tough hoods. Others never needed to learn how to and never will.

      • Oshun

        so which side of the coin do you fall on? fighter or flighter?

        • Sahel

          I only fight when it is only necessary because in my line of work,its best to keep a low cover.

    • Not at all, but he also should know when not to.

      • Kinghenry2007

        …and when to

    • HRH Prince Farouk I

      Corollary, you should probably know how to shout, puff up your chest and act all threatening when you need to in order to scare the other dude away but not necessarily goad him into a fight.

    • Considering how people are so quick to exercise their Second Amendment right these days (and not in a good way), this doesn’t sound like a bad thought.

    • Growing up, having some hands was essential, obviously im too old to be fighting but im confident i can deliver a fade if need be

      • LMNOP

        lol, plenty of 24 year olds are still fighting.

    • kayleb

      No. Hemingway the man of all men knew how to throw bows. Esquire just retweeted Kareem Abdul Jabar’s advice on being a man and it involved knowing how and when to fight.

    • I think a man should KNOW how to fight, but should never fight. I know, doesnt make sense to me either lol

      • WildflowerPastiche

        No, I think it makes sense. Isn’t that what they say about wisdom? (“A smart person knows what to say. A wise one know whether or not to say it.”) Same concept, right?

        • By golly, you are right :-)

      • Kinghenry2007

        if there’s need to fight, use your discretion…i.e if it involves another dude grabbing ur woman’s ass at the club…only if he’s smaller that you lol

    • A man’s fists and temper are WMD’ s. Keep both of them ready but never use them in a wanton manner.

  • HUgrad13

    Find a Times New Roman in the streets and a Wingdings in the sheets. She exists.

    andddd, im done.
    because naturally, i got it, and my boyfriend gave me the blank stare.

    • nillalatte

      LMAO!!! That’s classic.

    • Oshun

      took a minute to understand….
      My understanding at first was, men are being told to pick up Bibles in the streets (for reasons unknown to me), and buy Wingtips-please do not ask me what correlation they have with sheets. What is a Wingding?

      • h.h.h.

        Times New Roman – formal/business font
        Wingdings – silly/crazy font (if you have Microsoft Office, 90% sure you have this font

      • LMNOP

        Took me a minute too… I also thought they were literally looking for something typed in the streets and was just thinking maybe this is one of those male mysteries, like urinals and the comfort with communal pissing…

    • HRH Prince Farouk I

      windings might be a lil too much, Maybe a verdana all day or lucida handwriting for the pain :)

    • Just Kia

      I am a font geek and I was sold on the list from there.

  • Tia_Sunny

    Lol!!! Funny yet confusing list.

    • kidvideo

      Just like life…

      • Tia_Sunny

        Yea you called that one right.

  • Far too much of this list is focused on perception rather than self-actualization.

    • Sahel

      Image is everything

      • When you’re blind to everything else

        • Sahel

          True. But perception runs the world. Am not saying it is a good thing,but it is what it is

          • I agree with you, my response wasn’t a dig. We all get to see up close and personal how well perception is doing.

          • esa

            i think perception conditions the people of the world to skate on the surface of things. but what really runs the world is far more insidious ..

            • Kozy

              yes. that.
              i’m gonna set up an RSS feed for your comments, esa.

              • esa


                butter me up like breakfast toast ~*~

                • Marc.J.H.

                  esa, you need your own blog, book, publishing company, etc.

                  • esa


                    thas me, yes indeed ~*~

              • LMNOP

                I think esa should write one of those quote of the day calendars.

            • BreezyX2

              Esa: You have such an awesome spirit and its oozes through these e-streets :) Your mind is truly beautiful. Would you consider writing a poem for me about love? I would like it to be recited at my wedding accompanied by strings and harps :)

              • esa

                Miss Breezy, you just made my day. blessings to you. i would love to write about love for youu ~*~

                but, until then, as i make my way out into the world to catch this train and get mahhself to work i leave you with a small verse from one of my favorite poets ~*~

                I know our fate is separation,
                but until my last breath…
                I will search for my sweet love,
                I will seek my home.

                • BreezyX2

                  Yassssss! Have a great day Esa :)

                • MPM

                  I love me some Rumi first thing in the morning.

          • Kinghenry2007

            Lists Police “Don’t ever say, “it is what it is.””

    • Todd

      But self-actualization is hard, man…HARD!

      • It’s only hard for people who like lying to themselves…and other people…

        • esa

          conditioning is a muhhfukkaaaa

    • HRH Prince Farouk I

      True but we have evolved to be creatures that thrive on perception, but self and societal perceptions. It has become an integral part of how we evaluate and assess success so that life isnt way too off in focusing on that

  • nillalatte

    Dude is stuffy. Taking all the fun out of life. Dare I say he needs to get over it and accept life as it comes? And, where does one store FORTY CASES of wine?! WTH?

    • Sahel

      Wine Cellar

  • McNairian

    Bucee’s has the best public restrooms!

More Like This