Dan of­fers un­so­licited ad­vice

GQ (Australia) - - THE SOURCE - DAN ROOK­WOOD

EV­ERY NOW AND THEN – IN­CREAS­INGLY OF­TEN IN THIS AGE OF CLICK­BAIT ‘LIS­TI­CLES’ – SOME­ONE RE-WRITES THE RULES ON HOW TO BE A MAN. I re­cently read two such ar­ti­cles in quick suc­ces­sion. One was in a re­spectable Amer­i­can news­pa­per and in­cluded such pearls of jis-dom as: ‘The mod­ern man lis­tens to Wu-tang Clan at least once a week’ and ‘has all of Michael Mann’s flms on Blu-ray (or what­ever the high­est qual­ity thing is at the time)’. The other was from a laugh­ably pompous writer in a Bri­tish mag­a­zine who de­creed that a mod­ern gen­tle­man ‘sings lustily in church’ and ‘tips staff in a pri­vate house and a game­keeper in the shoot­ing feld’. Ob­vi­ously both were writ­ten with tongue frmly in cheek so aren’t meant to be taken se­ri­ously. But as the world changes (I haven’t watched any­thing on Blu-ray since 2010; and have to­tally gone cold tur­key on grouse shoot­ing), the rules we live by need to keep pace and adapt. I’ve heard it said that a gen­tle­man doesn’t of­fer un­so­licited ad­vice – but you asked for this, right? Good. Here goes. Al­ways be on time. Punc­tu­al­ity makes life much less sweary, sweaty and stress­ful. If you make some­one wait, you’re ef­fec­tively telling them your time is more valu­able than theirs. The key ex­cep­tion is go­ing to a friend’s for din­ner, in which case it’s po­lite to give 15 min­utes’ grace be­fore ham­mer­ing on the door, de­mand­ing pie and ale. Keep prom­ises. If you com­mit to some­thing, fol­low through. Nike’s slo­gan is ‘Just Do It’ not, ‘Just send a text 10 min­utes be­fore say­ing you’re ill and then fre up Call of Duty.’ Tech­nol­ogy has turned us into the rud­est, flaki­est gen­er­a­tion ever. Make a de­ci­sion, stick with it, be sat­is­fed. In the­ory, more op­tions equals bet­ter. In prac­tice, not so much. When there are lim­it­less op­tions – be it on Tin­der or Yelp or on­line shop­ping sites – we suf­fer the Para­dox of Choice and are left paral­ysed by in­de­ci­sion. And even when we’ve fnally made a choice, we can’t help that nag­ging feel­ing there might be some­thing bet­ter around the cor­ner. This means con­tent­ment is nigh on im­pos­si­ble. So, make the most of what you have, rather than try to grasp what you don’t. Even when in a rush, re­mem­ber your Ps and Qs. Don’t just say thank you – write it in a card. Use gram­mar cor­rectly in text mes­sages. Hang out with pos­i­tive peo­ple. Reg­u­larly tell your loved ones you love them – and show them you mean it. Yes, yes, life is su­per hec­tic but no one is too busy to call his par­ents once a week. Don’t just phone home when you need some­thing, and spend time get­ting to know mum and dad bet­ter be­cause you’ll miss them when they’re gone. Learn how to tie a bow tie, build a one-match log fre, carve a roast, give a toast. Sure, there are Youtube tu­to­ri­als for th­ese things but they should al­ready be part of your man-skillset. Also: understand cook­ing is as much a test of mas­culin­ity as sport, sex and park­ing. Know that if you de­cide to date a friend’s ex, you’ll end up with an ex friend. Is that a trade worth making? Forget all that guff about ‘pea­cock­ing’ and ‘neg­ging’ that you read in The Game a few years ago. Th­ese shady dat­ing tac­tics may work, but that doesn’t mean you should em­ploy them. Be your­self, not a faux-cocky version of you who wears a fe­dora so that he can then trot out a pre-pared line when some­one com­ments on it. Stay in shape. You owe it to your part­ner not to undo the top but­ton on life’s trousers and give up. Al­ways put out the best version of you be­cause that shows re­spect to those around you. Make an ef­fort. OK, fne, so I’m guilty of show­ing off with a poly­syl­labic word where a more read­ily in­tel­li­gi­ble one would be bet­ter. But any man who de­lib­er­ately sprays around non­sense jar­gon and acronyms (TLAS) to bam­boo­zle, im­press or dis­guise ig­no­rance, and thus ex­clude peo­ple from the con­ver­sa­tion, is an AFW. Al­ways get your round in – even if you’re only stay­ing for one. No-one likes a cheap­skate. Don’t click fngers or wave money to get at­ten­tion. Carry cash but not to be flash. Never or­der the mag­num. Read more. Be open-minded and lis­ten – even to ve­g­ans. Try new places, new tastes, new points of view. It’ll keep you younger than any face cream. Don’t force phone con­ver­sa­tions on oth­ers on pub­lic trans­port. Switch off your mo­bile at the din­ner ta­ble. Whether you walk the dog, go for a run or spend 20 min­utes med­i­tat­ing, take time out for your­self each day. Power down to power up. Wake up and smell the roses. Drink the cof­fee. Never un­der­es­ti­mate the im­por­tance of eye con­tact and fresh breath. Buy flow­ers just be­cause. Re­mem­ber that ‘af­teryou’ gal­lantry isn’t al­ways ap­pro­pri­ate – some­times it is more chival­rous to go frst: when as­cend­ing an es­ca­la­tor (so you’re not star­ing at her arse); when get­ting into the back of a car (so she doesn’t have to scoot across the seat); when push­ing through swing doors (as long as you then hold them open). Mod­ern chivalry is not a rote set of empty ges­tures. It’s about treat­ing oth­ers – men and women – as you would wish to be treated. I could go on but you get the idea. Don’t mis­un­der­stand me, I’m not lev­i­tat­ing here in the lo­tus po­si­tion of be­at­ifca­tion, smil­ing smugly at my own bril­liance. (And even if I was I wouldn’t say so – no one likes a smar­tarse.) I fall foul of plenty of th­ese rules ev­ery day. Hell, I was 10 min­utes late for my frst meet­ing with the new ed­i­tor of this mag­a­zine. Not a great frst im­pres­sion. But it’s im­por­tant to al­ways strive to be a bet­ter man. To wit, I must be off. I’ve my weekly ap­point­ment with Wu-tang Clan to keep. n

SO THE OS­CAR BUZZ IS ALL ABOUT LEO. OR ED­DIE AGAIN. BUT FOR ME THE ACAD­EMY AWARD GOES TO TOM HARDY. HE’S A SHOO-IN FOR A BEST SUP­PORT­ING AC­TOR NOM­I­NA­TION IN THE REVENANT, BUT HAS TWO OUT­SIDE SHOTS AT BEST AC­TOR FOR HIS DUAL ROLES IN LEG­END – PLAY­ING BOTH RON­NIE AND REG­GIE KRAY, THE GANG­STER BROTH­ERS WHO TER­RORISED LON­DON IN THE 1950s AND ’60s. IN­DEED, HE DOES SUCH A MES­MERIS­ING JOB WITH BOTH CHAR­AC­TERS, I’D NOM­I­NATE HIM TWICE. HE’D NEVER GO FOR IT, OF COURSE, BUT IMAG­INE TOM HARDY AS THE NEXT BOND.

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