Getting Everything You Ever Wanted in Life – Grooming Survival Tips for Modern Men

 

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Midway through a long and hot New York City summer I can no longer hold it in!  It is time to address some serious grooming issues that we as men seem to have.  If you are serious about finding a good looking woman to spend some quality time with then you have to ditch the teenager approach to grooming and start acting like the grown ass man you are.  A beautiful woman has no desire to share their life or bed with a nasty, unkempt man, unless of course you have ALOT of money.  Even then why would you want to embarass yourself by having all that money but looking like you woke up in a cave?  Besides read below and you will find out a well groomed man earns more money than his poorly groomed peers!

Here are my top five tips when it comes to personal grooming.

1.  Get a Real Hair Cut

Are you still going to the barber for a $10 cut?  Do any of the following words appear in the name of the place that cuts your hair: great, cheap, super, clips, cuts, cost or cutters?  JUST STOP!  For the love of everything please stop!  Nut up and go get your hair cut at a real salon or place specializing in cutting men’s hair (this does not mean a barber shop!)

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I personally recommend The Art of Shaving.  (Editor’s note: The Art of Shaving made me take their link down.  Apparently they don’t like publicity.) Not only do they do a great job but the whole experience is designed for men.  They also offer other services and products specific to men such as a straight razor shave.  Yes you will pay more for the experience ($40 at my location in Manhattan) but they take great care of you (shampoo, conditioner, hot towel and eyebrow trim if needed) and you will look better too.  Get your hair cut at those other places and there is no telling what you might look like when you leave.

Stop wearing the military cut from when you were 20 years old.  You aren’t enlisted in the Army any more.  Still rocking the mullet?  No way you are getting laid on a regular basis unless you are paying for it.  Think the faux mohawk is in style?  What are you living under a rock?  Is your hair down to your ass?  What are you John the Baptist?  C’mon men it is time to straighten up and fly right.  Your wife/girlfriend/special friend will appreciate the upgrade trust me.

 2. Stop With the Cheap Cologne Shower

Nothing is worse at the gym than the guy who steps out of the shower and then decides to create a cologne fog in the locker room.  Well wait there is one thing worse: the guy who works out, doesn’t take a shower and decides to mask his funk in a cheap cologne whirl wind.  If you can create a huge fog that creeps across the entire locker room than you probably are using cheap cologne and probably dream about being on reality T.V.

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You KNOW the smell I am talking about.  Despite the cleaver commercials, woman do not enjoy the smell of Axe body spray. Some may even argue it is not an improvement over your “natural” body odor.  Drop the cheap shit and spend a little cash for some high quality body scent.

Here is the deal: cologne will actually smell differently (based on your body chemistry) once it is applied so be careful you don’t just buy something that smells good in the bottle.  Spray a little on your wrist, rub it in and make sure that it works for you.  If you don’t like how it smells then pick another until you find something you (or she) likes.  A good quality cologne is going to set you back at least $70 but it is worth it.  If you have ever seen a look in a woman’s eyes when she tells you how good you smell you know the price is worth that look alone, even forgetting what might come after.

If you are not sure if something smells good ask one of the store employees.  If you let them know you want to buy something but that you insist on it being the right thing you won’t have to worry about them selling you something bad or giving you a dishonest assessment.  My two current favorites are Hermes and Spice Bomb (It even looks like a grenade!)

Not sure where to buy cologne? Here is hint: no truck stops, gas stations or Wal-Marts.  I recommend you walk into a Sephora near you and check out their huge selection.  They can sample something for you for free once you find a good smell.  This will allow you to test it out  2 or 3 times to decide if it works for you.  If not, go back and do it again until you find something you like.  It is a beautiful thing.  Please just ditch the cheap stuff!

Additional Note:  I hope you realize cologne is supposed to be applied to your body NOT your clothes.  If you are spraying it on your clothes you are missing the purpose of cologne.  It should be applied to your wrists (spray on one wrist and then rub wrists together) and/or placed behind your ears or right below your Adam’s Apple.  The idea is that as your body heat rises and you sweat (even just a little) the scent will escape from skin pores.  I am sure you can figure out why that might be helpful in certain situations with the ladies.

3. “Hey bro I can see your nipples!”

As many of you know our entire country went through a heat wave from hell several weeks ago.  Seemed everywhere you looked people were literally catching on fire.  During a heat wave such as this, one of the worst places to spend any time is in the subway.  However, there is no excuse for losing your cool and walking around a city like you are a Neanderthal.

There is a reason why someone invented the undershirt or the A-Shirt (aka tank top/wife-beater etc.)  One of these reasons is to protect your outer garment from sweat, sweat stains and the like.  Two weeks ago I was waiting for the subway on the platform and this dude comes walking down the stairs dressed professionally so I assumed he was going to work.  There was only one problem, his dress shirt was clinging to his skin as if someone had just dumped water on him.

He then proceeded to push his way on to the next train pressing his sweaty and disgusting body upairplane_robert_hays_ted_striker_sweating_profusely against other people.  Why someone didn’t punch him in the face and knock him back onto the platform to await the next train is a mystery.  If this is you, you should never, ever under any circumstances be allowed out of the house.

You can avoid this fashion, grooming and personal hygiene disaster by simply wearing an undershirt.  I always wear some kind of undershirt especially in the summer to avoid this very thing.  As long as I am wearing a t-shirt I never have issues with sweat stains or the like during the summer.  Even if all you have is a tank top or A-shirt at least wear something to absorb your sweat before it can seep through your shirt.  I have no idea how this guy in the subway managed to get through his work day looking like that.  Can you imagine going into a 10am meeting with someone like that?

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4.  Trim it

Ear, nose, eye, facial and pubic (yes pubic) hair should be getting some attention from you on a regular basis.  If you are 21 you probably don’t have issues man-w-thick-bushy-eyebrows-7-bigwith the ear or nose hair…yet.  However, your eye brows probably need attention.  Don’t be like this dude on the left.  Most of you I am sure are taking care of the facial hair (although I highly question many of the beards you all walk around with). However, you don’t want a cluster of trees growing out of your nose when you try to get some hot woman’s digits at the bar.  Same is true for your ears.  I am sure you own a mirror. Thus you should be able to see there is a problem so just take care of it.  Less than 3 minutes a day keeps Big Foot away.

If you have purchased an electric razor set there is usually an attachment that is capable of trimming ear and nose hair.  Otherwise you can pick up a small pair of body hair scissors just about anywhere they sell beauty products.  I recommend getting them here.

You should also avoid the ultra manly “uni-brow” look that somehow goes unchecked in society.  Tweeze those suckers.  Wax ’em.  Do something with them because great googly-moogly that is a terrible look to be sporting these days.

Finally, pubic hair.  I am not going to bother listing the research here but you can Google many of the benefits to trimming your hedge.  I am not recommending a complete shave of the nether regions.  I always thought it weird that dudes preferred the pre-teen look.  I know some women really dig it so it is up to you.  The world is your oyster bro, be free if you want to.   I simply recommend a little weekly maintenance to keep it fresh.

Let’s not forget your arm pit hair.  If you suffer from excessive body odor and/or deal with over active sweat glands in the pits sometimes trimming that up will help reduce the smell and help keep the area drier.  Botox is also something you can consider as apparently it helps to reduce BO and reduce the amount of sweat your glands produce.  That is a more expensive option and not full proof.

 5. Your Face is Your Only Real Asset – Take Care of It

I hate even admitting the truth of this statement.  My wife has finally succeeded in convincing me the importance of a skin care routine for my face.  For those of us who are slower than others this means more than just washing your face.  This more than anything else on this list is going to cost you but you have to do what it takes to stay at the top of your game.  You only get one face so you have to take care of it.

Here are the things I recommend but based on your individual situation you might want to involve more items:man-wash-face

  • Pre-shave oil, gel or lotion – check out Art of Shaving for products.
  • High quality shaving cream – I personally love Burt’s Bees shaving creme but there are a ton of really great products out there.  Barbosol is cheap…for a reason.
  • Face Scrub – I recommend Joe’s Face Scrub which you can purchase here but there are plenty of great products.  You can usually pick up good stuff from Ulta, Sephora and sometimes even Target.
  • Face wash – no preference on this just make sure it works with your skin type and doesn’t dry out your face like a mummy.
  • Moisturizer – I hate to admit to even using one but I do.  I have had the most success with Lab Series.  you can get it here.

First impressions are always key and since your face is the first thing a woman is going to see you need to be sure you are taking care of it.  Don’t use being married as an excuse not to take care of yourself.  Studies show that attractive people earn more money, have greater success in their job search and get promoted quicker and more often. As men we don’t like it when our wives or girlfriends “let themselves go” physically so why is it okay when we do the same?  Suck it up and take care of yourself!

Until tomorrow, make it a better day!

Andrew

 

The Battle to Pray

 

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How does God help us (you) in our (your) daily battles?

“Whenever you were in distress and turned to the Lord…and sought him out, you found him.” 2 Chronicles 15:4

“He is your protecting shield and your triumphant sword!” Deut. 33:29

“The Lord is my strength, my shield from every danger, I trust in him with all my heart.  He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.” Psalm 28:7

Authors Note: I understand not every person reading this blog believes in God and I am sure many roll their eyes when they see the posts about faith and spirituality.  This is especially true since yours truly is a practicing Christian.  However, research has shown that an active prayer life helps people live a healthier and longer life.  You might think that is just by coincidence rather than divine response to our prayers but who cares?  If it is helpful why would you not do it?  You might be surprised by what you find.

The most obvious way God helps us daily is through prayer. However, what do you do when one of your daily battles is finding time to pray?

I will be honest, finding time to pray has been the hardest thing for me since I became a follower of Christ in 1997.  Even after I got serious about that decision, I still struggled with finding time to pray consistently.  It bothers me so much when pastors or other believers say things like “well you just have to do it” or “how can you not find time to pray?”  Umm…easy, I don’t.

It isn’t because I don’t want to.  Often times it is because I don’t think about it.  Or the moments I think about it I just can’t “really” pray (i.e. like in the middle of a presentation or something at work).  I have tried all kinds of really great ideas.  I have left a note next to my bed in the morning that said “Pray”.  I have left a note in my bathroom, kitchen, on my door all saying the same thing.  Most of the time, I never notice them.  I am not the kind of person who wakes up with energy and is ready to go about his day.  I am a slow “waker-upper” and it takes me a good 30 minutes (at least!) before I can do much of anything in the morning. 

So then the Christian Taliban tells me, “wake up an extra 30 minutes early to start your day.”  Yea right.  That hasn’t worked either.  I have tried waking up early in the morning to pray. If I sit down and pray I fall asleep. If I get up and walk around my apartment to pray eventually I end up staring at the wall (i.e. not praying) because I am just soooo tired.

Then of course someone always breaks out the “well you just aren’t disciplined enough.”  Which is an easy and convenient explanation.  I would admit I am not disciplined in some areas of my life.  However, here is the key thing when it comes to having or not having discipline.  You have to think about the activity you should be engaged in before you do or don’t do it.  In other words it actually has to become a thought before it can be an action. 

For example, I used to train in Mixed Martial Arts.  When I have discipline to train it works like this in my head: “Andrew, don’t forget you have MMA at 6:30 tonight.”  And then I go train at 6:30.  When I don’t have discipline it usually goes like this “Andrew, don’t forget you have MMA at 6:30 tonight.”  And then I just choose to not go.  My point is you have to at least have the thought in your head in order to act on it (i.e. have discipline.)

Often times, especially in the morning the thought to pray never enters my brain.  Therefore, doing it or not doing it isn’t a discipline thing because I never give myself the option.  Outside of having a friend call me in the morning and pray with me (which would probably put an end to our friendship) I don’t really think there is another option.  Now I am sure some of you “Holy” people just exclaimed “well ask God to remind you to pray.”  First, get a life.  Second, do you really think I haven’t already tried this?  If God is reminding me then I am not getting the message.

The truth is finding time for prayer is difficult for most people.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is probably mentally unstable.  I share my own struggle so when you are confronted by the Christian Taliban, the legalistic “everything is always about Christianity” person or the “I live in a Christian bubble and can’t relate to real people” individual, you will understand that you are not alone.  In fact, those people are probably much more alone than you are.  Finding time to pray is difficult for me and I am not going to pretend it is not.  Like any discipline you have to figure out a way to develop a routine.  Once you have a routine whatever you are trying to be more disciplined about (i.e. prayer or eating healthy) will begin to pop into your consciousness more often allowing you the opportunity to exercise that discipline.

Prayer is essential to a successful life.  Therefore, I know I have to do it.  I know I have to get better.  But how do I do that? 

A while back our pastor challenged us to take the “3x5x7 Challenge”  The challenge is to pray 3 times a day, for 5 minutes for 7 days.  During the week I was able to prayer 5 minutes after breakfast, lunch and then before or after dinner.  Notice I didn’t say the first thing in the morning.  It just doesn’t work for me.  However, I have found if I pray after breakfast my prayers are better and I am more alert.  Only you know when you are most effective when it comes to praying.  Don’t get caught up in the Christian legalism that you have to pray first thing in the morning. 

The challenge while sounding easy is still difficult, especially if you aren’t used to praying (it is called a challenge for reason!)  However, it is the best way I have found to help develop discipline in a person’s prayer life.  If you can keep it up you will naturally find yourself wanting to pray and finding the time to do so.  You just have to keep at it

If you have any other tips for praying for effectively I would love to hear from you!  As always you can find me here:

@BetterMenNow or Bettermennow@gmail.com

 

Keep Your Marriage From Ending Advice Pt. 4 (Last one!)

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Today we complete our series on marriage advice from Dan Pearce. You can read his blog, Single Dad Laughing here. Don’t worry if you missed Part 1, Part 2 or Part 3 – just pick up below and come back to the first three parts!  No doubt some of you will realize that I am missing one point from his blog.  I can no longer find the orginal blog online and the version I copy and pasted into a word document is missing one as well.  So sorry! 

The one thing I think is missing from his list is praying together.  For those of you not inclined to pray or who perhaps don’t believe in God or the power of prayer I strongly suggest you and your wife still find a common ground when it comes to spirituality and discuss it frequently.  Having a foundation and vision for your family and your decision making is key to any successful marriage.

Hope you are enjoying the blog so far, I would love to hear from you! You can contact me at Bettermennow@gmail.com or via twitter @BetterMenNow

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14. Don’t label each other with negative labels.

Sometimes the easiest phrases to say in my marriage started with one of three things. Either, “you should have,” “you aren’t,” or “you didn’t.” Inevitably after each of those seemed to come something negative. And since when have negative labels ever helped anyone? They certainly never helped her. Or me. Instead, they seemed to make the action that sparked the label worsen in big ways.

If I could have a do over: I would learn to stop myself before saying any of those phrases, and then I’d switch them out for positive labels. Instead of “you should,” I’d say “you are great at.” Instead of saying “you aren’t,” I’d say “you are.” Instead of saying “you didn’t,” I’d say, “you did.” And then I’d follow it up with something positive.

15. Don’t skip out on things that are important to her.

It was so easy in marriage to veto so many of the things she enjoyed doing. My reasoning, “we can find things we both enjoy.” That’s lame. There will always be things she enjoys that I will never enjoy, and that’s no reason not to support her in them. Sometimes the only thing she needs is to know that I’m there.

If I could have a do over: I’d attend many more of the events that she invited me to. I would actively participate and not tell all the reasons why I’d do it differently or how it could be better or more fun or time better spent.

16. Don’t emotionally distance yourself after a fight.

I never got to experience the power of make-up sex because any time my wife was mean or we got in a fight, I’d completely distance myself from her, usually for several days. Communication would shut down and I’d avoid contact at all cost. This never let things get worked out, and eventually after it had happened enough times I’d explode unnecessarily.

If I could have a do over: I’d let myself communicate my emotions and feelings more often, and I’d make sure that she knew I still loved her any time we had an ugly bout. Sure, we’d give each other some distance. But not days of distance.

Until tomorrow, make it a better day!

Andrew

Take More Risks…but not like this…

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Risk:  1. possibility of loss or injury (Peril) 2. someone or something that creates or suggests a hazard.

Taking risks is something that is very much missing in the lives of most men these days.  This is especially true of men who attend church but I will leave that discussion for a later time.  Now by no means do I recommend you engage in behavior as evidenced in the pictures and videos contained in this blog.   However, I am hopeful that these pictures and videos might inspire you to live a more adventurous and ultimately free life.

At the heart of every man beats a spirit of adventure and thrill seeking.  Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of women who love adventure as well but research has shown that risk taking is more prevelant in men than women.  As a matter of fact it is one of the reasons researchers believe more men than women commit crimes (and probably the same reason they are caught for frequently too.)  This research indicates that men have a stronger tolerance and attraction to risk taking.

Unfortunately, it seems the only risks we take on a regular basis is having promiscuous sex with multiple partners.  Don’t worry this blog isn’t about whether such behavior is or isn’t moral or a sin.  However, the problem is as men, we are putting more than just ourselves at risk.  We put our partners and the potential children it might produce also at risk.  Personally I have never found chasing tail to be all that adventerous to begin with.  This is especially true in New York City.  If you can’t manage to connect with a woman in this city than you have bigger issues my friend.  It is like shooting fish in a barrel here.  I prefer something that is actually a challenge (i.e. like being a good husband.)

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Living an adventure doesn’t mean hanging from a building, sky diving, white water rafting or running with the bulls in Spain. Although those things certainly qualify!  There are plenty of risky/adventerous things we can be doing that don’t involve possible dismemberment, grisly death or both.  I would be willing to bet that every guy who reads this has one thing in their life they have always wanted to do but have been afraid to pursue.  Perhaps it is writing a book (that would be me), going back to school, being a father/husband, learning a new trade or skill, changing a career or performing on stage.  While those things might not be considered “risky” by definition, the fact you are afraid to step out and try and accomplish them means it IS risky.

You can only fully live as a man by seeking out new adventures. Being adventerous simply means doing something that breaks up the mundane existence we all face.  You go to work or to your career and every day is a grind.  We have to seek after risk and adventure.   Have a guys weekend in the woods, a golfing weekend with your buddies, go fishing, hunting, hiking or mountain climbing.  Hell go sky diving! But get off your ass and do something! Be.A.Man. 

You might be married and you might even have kids so of course you need to carefully weight those things when deciding what risks you take.  But before you just assume your wife “won’t let you,” talk to her about it with her, you might be surprised by her response.  Most women want a manly man around the house (even if they won’t admit it) and a large part of being manly is taking risks and having adventure in our lives.  If she doesn’t understand then tell her she is no longer allowed to watch anything on Bravo, Dancing with the Stars or the Bachelor/Bachelorette.

And for those of you who think golfing isn’t risky, you should play a round with me and I will change your mind.

For more inspiration visit Mustang Wanted’s webpage here and be sure to check out just one of his wicked videos here.  Honestly I get sick to my stomach watching some of these and I am not even afraid of heights.

Until Monday make it a better weekend!

Andrew

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Keep Your Marriage from Ending Advice Pt. 3

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Today we continue our series on Marriage advice from Dan Pearce. You can read his blog, Single Dad Laughing here. Don’t worry if you missed Part 1 or Part 2 – just pick up below and come back to the first two parts!

Hope you are enjoying the blog so far, I would love to hear from you! You can contact me at Bettermennow@gmail.com or via twitter @BetterMenNow

I am saving the most controverial (aka #10) for third!  Why couples would ever consider doing this I have NO IDEA!  If I ever came home and found Sharlay on the toilet with the door open I wouldn’t be able to speak for days (when you live in a studio apartment the smell of stale poop is not something you long for.)  Even as a joke it wouldn’t be funny!

One more installment on this topic coming up probably on Saturday so stay tuned!

10. Don’t poop with the bathroom door open.

I don’t know why, but at some point I started thinking it was okay to poop with the bathroom door open, and so did she. First of all, it’s gross. Second of all, it stinks everything up. Third of all, there is literally no way to make pooping attractive, which means that every time she saw me do it, she, at least in some little way, would have thought I was less attractive.

If I could have a do over: I’d shut the damn door and poop in private.

11. Don’t stop trying to be attractive. 

Obviously when I was working to woo her, I would do myself up as attractively as I possibly could every time I saw her. I kept perfectly groomed. I always smelled good. I held in my farts until she wasn’t around. For some reason, marriage made me feel like I could stop doing all that. I would get all properly groomed, smelling good, and dressed up any time we went out somewhere or I went out by myself, but I rarely, if ever, cared about making myself attractive just for her.

If I could have a do over: I’d try and put my best foot forward throughout our entire marriage. I’d wait to fart until I was in the bathroom whenever possible. I’d make myself desirable so that she would desire me.

12. Don’t stop having fun together.

Age shouldn’t matter. Physical ability shouldn’t matter. Couples should never stop having fun with each other, and I really wish I wouldn’t have gotten into so many ruts in which we didn’t really go out and do anything. And, I’ve been around the block enough times to know that when the fun is missing, and the social part of life is missing, so also goes missing the ability to be fully content with each other.

If I could have a do over: I’d make a rule with her that we’d never stay home two weekends in a row.

13. Don’t pressure each other.

Pressuring each other about anything is always a recipe for resentment. I always felt so pressured to make more money. I always felt so pressured to not slip in my religion. I always felt so pressured to feel certain ways about things when I felt the opposite. And I usually carried a lot of resentment. Looking back, I can think of just as many times that I pressured her, so I know it was a two-way street.

If I could have a do over: I’d make it a point to celebrate the different views, opinions, and ways that she had of doing things. I’d find the beauty in differentiation, not the threat.