A Gallant’s Armor

With a suit, even if you're having a nervous breakdown, you still look like you're in charge.
Paul Feig
One of the biggest misconceptions constantly mentioned is the relationship between being a Gentleman and how it relates to a Men’s Suits. Some people are convinced that putting on a suit will turn automatically them into a Gentleman because they are convinced that to be a Gentleman you have to wear a suit. Many people view Men’s Suits as simple items of fashion, or even as a way to impress others. This is mostly because they have yet to understand how you wear a suit properly.

A suit is the modern version of a gallant’s armour; it is a tool of protection and empowerment for the warriors of old. A suit will change how you act, how you behave, and even how you carry yourself. Think of how modern warriors behave when they are in uniform. A man turns into a martial artist as soon as he tightens his belt, his usual discipline, focus, and attitude become even sharper. As soon as a fencer dons his mask, his intent becomes evident, from his eyes to every step he takes. A tailored suit creates the same effect on a man.

While wearing a suit you are aware of how you must project yourself and how you must behave. Yes, it limits somewhat your movement when compared to casual clothing. Yes, dress shoes aren’t made to run in them. But that’s precisely the point. It serves as a way to remind you that you must keep yourself in check. The very restrictions they impose will remind you to control your temper and your actions as you try a more civil way of handling problems. You will become more self-aware of your stance, of how you carry yourself. You tend to stand straighter and your head higher, taking up as much space as possible. Tailored suits are cut specifically to fit best in this posture, a posture conveying a sense of individual having power, a stance that psychologists call an Open Posture.

You might think that this is merely a psychological effect, somewhat of a subjective perception. And there is where it would end up, a person feeling empowered by his perception, if it weren’t for a 2012 study on human nature and postures. Social psychologist, Amy Cuddy found scientific evidence as to how these power poses can directly affect our biological production of hormones. The attitude of how you carry yourself will directly affect your testosterone levels, giving you more confidence, and lowers the stress hormone cortisol, lessening your insecurities.

And here is where a tailored suit accentuates these effects, as they are cut to maximize the Open Posture. Not only will they cause an impression on how you are perceived by others and how you perceive yourself, it will create a biological reaction that boosts your confidence and daring. What would be considered as a simple item of superficial fashion criticized by some actually provides the tools to empower the modern man to face the modern challenges. The power suit takes on an entirely valid connotation when you take these facts into account.


Accidental Gallantry

People often remark that I'm pretty lucky. Luck is only important in so far as getting the chance to sell yourself at the right moment. After that, you've got to have talent and know how to use it.
Frank Sinatra
Many times, we will see people exposing themselves unnecessarily to risks, usually due to their own stupidity. They will drive unsafe cars or walk down dangerous neighborhoods knowingly, or simply place themselves in harm’s way because they don’t consider the consequences. Worse yet, is how these people will later complain about how unlucky they were when they get hurt.

In many of these cases, where lady luck decided to spit into someone’s face, it is a direct result of the person being in the wrong place at the wrong time doing the wrong thing. Maybe they did the same thing a thousand times before and nothing bad happened. But you just need it to go wrong once to cause a disaster to blame luck. But what if it’s not completely up to luck?

We hear about how someone so lucky, opportunity doesn’t seem to knock on their door, but actually has a key and an open invitation. What is the difference between good luck and bad luck? I can almost hear you chanting in unison “Hard Work.”

Not really.

There are plenty of hard working people who life just doesn’t cut them a break. There are also a lot of lazy people who just have everything go right. So the answer is not necessarily “Hard Work.” Is it really a random draw? Are we really victims of chance, of a dice cast?

Not entirely. We keep hearing about being in the wrong place at the wrong time? What if we focused on being in the Right Place at the Right Time? Wouldn’t that load the dice in our favor? Work has a lot to do with success, but so does opportunity. It’s not about working hard, but working smart. You have to expose yourself to having those opportunities.

Consider your environment and the places you frequent. Consider the company you keep. What kind of opportunities do these things provide? Go out to the world and risk it.  Surround yourself with the opportunities you want to attract and how you want to be viewed.

Too often I hear of people locking themselves up in their own little world, be it in video games or netflicking, or even curled up with a book. Do you think that opportunity will go find you if you are locked up in your house? It’s not like you have to stay near the phone or wait by the computer for an email.

You want to read? Take the book to a coffee shop or a park. You want to catch up on a series? Turn it into a viewing party and invite as many friends as you can. You want to play video games…. Unless it’s a social game, I can’t help you there. The point is, go out! Nobody is discovered if they lock themselves out from the world. Explore, expose yourself to luck.

“Fortune favors the Bold!”


The Importance of Sanctuary

Noble life demands a noble architecture for noble uses of noble men. Lack of culture means what it has always meant: ignoble civilization and therefore imminent downfall.
Frank Lloyd Wright

A man’s sense of style should permeate into everything he does and everything he touches. No place should this be more evident than in his home. As with how you dress, you should understand that where you live is a direct reflection of who you are. People will actually perceive an even clearer portrait of who you are from where you live than from how you dress. And yet, this is one of life’s aspects that many Gentlemen tend to neglect.

If you take care of your clothes and yourself, understanding that it is a direct reflection to your attention to detail, why do you disregard the very place gives you sanctuary? Treat your home as you do your clothing, always keeping it clean and ready for inspection. This is not about having any kind of OCD, but about respecting yourself enough to take care of where you live. Also understand that anyone who walks into your habitat will be inspecting and judging everything that is on display the same way that they do with your appearance, manner of dressing, and behavior. As a social creature, you will be having guests every now and then, so be ready for that eventuality.

Here are a couple guidelines you should take into account when dealing with your sanctuary.
  • Many “guys” treat their apartment as their childhood room, expecting “Mom” to come in and clean up. Others think it’s an extension of their college dorm room or even as a large scale “Man Cave”. That usually means they think that someone will come in at some point and pick up the mess, usually when the stench of old socks becomes unbearable to the rest of the people living with you. This is no way to live. Your home should be your refuge of the outside world, a place where you are at peace. That means YOU are responsible for your own place.
  • Remember when choosing decorations, it is not only about your comfort alone, but also the comfort of your guests. Having interests and hobbies is fine, but just because you like something, does not mean everyone understands them. Items here and there can become conversation pieces. Overdoing it just shows an unhealthy obsession. Having a themed toilet means you need to seek help.
  • Levels of privacy allow you to pick and choose just how much of yourself people get to see and how much you are willing to open up to them. Consider these levels of privacy if your interests are something you really want to share with all your guests. Keeping in line with the sports hobbies, maybe that collection of signed jockstraps, signed by the athlete, might not be something you want in the public space.
For simplicity sake, you can divide your home into three levels of privacy. There are also several rules of thumb that should be taken into account. If you the challenge of decorating overwhelming or you don’t trust your own taste in design, you should consider consulting with an interior designer or at least find a friend with some design flair. Be careful about whom you ask for help, though. If you ask your current paramour to assist you, they might get the wrong idea, and think you plan to ask them to move in at a later date.

Public Space: Foyer, lounge, dining room, and deck.
This is any space for entertaining general guests. These are the areas openly available for anyone to whom you open your door.

Here is where you present your public persona and lay out your social accidents. These spaces should talk about you the same way your clothing does. Are you a global trekker? Display a couple pictures from your trips, maybe have a book or two on interesting countries you have been to or plan to visit. Are you a musician? Why hide it? Have your practice instrument lying around “casually” for your easy access. Get the concept? You will guide the conversation without a single word. Look at your home right now. What does it say about you if you were not you?

Keep in mind that this is the first impression anyone gets when they enter your home. The main theme in your foyer is to be inviting, while the lounge should always portray comfort for, well, lounging. Even if you never actually use the dining area for dining, have a table available. This can double as a work desk or an improvised conference area. Not all homes will have a deck, a patio, or a balcony; but if you do, treat them as an exterior lounge. 

Semi-Public Space: Kitchen, bar, and one bathroom.
This is a little less public and a little more personal, or at least should feel like it. You are letting people see the part of the secrets behind the magic of your life. Guests should feel that you are opening up to them that you have a closer relationship with them, if they step into these places.

A kitchen should always have enough equipment to be able to improvise a meal on the fly, and I am not talking about canned spaghetti or dry ramen. Remember, where is where the magic happens for what you served in the dining room. Do try and avoid having left-over dishes in the sink for too long, for it will make the place smell like the back-lot of a restaurant.

Not all homes will have a bar, so at least have a presentable liquor cabinet. Have a variety of spirits available, keeping in mind that not everyone likes the same drinks you do, but keep a bottle of your favorite just in case. You should also have a bottle of high end spirits for those special moments. The fact that the liquor cabinet is stocked means you have enough self-restraint to not have emptied it.

Although bathrooms are usually not within the public domain, have one ready for guests. People will ask to use your bathroom, if for nothing else, to look into your medicine cabinet. Set it up with a couple magazines and some generic items. Avoid keeping here anything compromising or that can lead to assumptions.

Semi-Private Space: Master Bedroom and bathroom.
You will probably think how your bedroom is exactly that, YOUR room, and you will have it just like you want to have it. And that works fine, if you have no intention of getting anyone else into that space. You are a host, and as a host, you have to keep your guests happy, but some guests you plan to make happier than others.

This might sound like something said over and over by your parents, but keep clean sheets and an orderly room. When you find out you will move your private dinner party to the even more private bedroom is the worst instant to remember you forgot to put away the dirty underwear left airing out on the bed. You might not agree with the following, but avoid having a TV in the bedroom. Bedrooms should be for bed related activities only and the TV should be a social activity, left to the lounge.

As for the bathroom, same rules as with the guest bathroom apply here, to a lesser degree. Just remember to avoid anything “inconvenient” lying around or accessible. Keep in mind that if you have a “guest” stay over, that person WILL look over whatever you have in the bathroom.

Bonus, The Private Space: personal space.
Be it your shop, your personal office, or simply a cabinet, this is where you keep your most inner passions and secrets away from prying eyes. This is for you alone. Keep any critical document here. Think of it the same way you would a safe. Just remember that if something happens to you, this will be the first place that will be looked into.