Warriors Wanted: Inquire Within

Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage.
C.S. Lewis
As I have mentioned several times before, every civilized society across the globe throughout history has members who serve as examples of what an exemplary man is. These men dedicated their lives to a code of self-betterment and development through service, serving as the warrior-elite, scholars, and enforcers of justice. They served as inspiration and example to how far a man could go when he dedicated himself to creating a just society and promoting a good greater than themselves.

Sometimes I feel that those days are gone, and it saddens my soul. When you look around you see a society that has turned its back to the ideals of living the warrior’s exemplary life, as we reduce the old warrior codes into happy quotes said by overweight old wise folk who promote little more than helping helpless old people cross the street. Even the words as powerful as Social Justice have been reduced to little more than a keyboard activist providing socially acceptable cyberbully attacks with a passive-aggressive political correctness that would make the worst Machiavellian proud. We have turned community service into calling out “evil” in a virtual community instead of working to achieve some good for an actual community.

Today, men are told that taking up the role of protectors is a bad thing and, worse yet, some men happy embrace this idea as words like service and honor have lost their importance. More dreadful yet, we see how men, who would otherwise be given a purpose in life, drift aimlessly unfulfilling lives as their serviceless existence ends up having little meaning.

Others have bastardized the ideals of the warrior; in an attempt to fill their egos as they become little more than the oppressors the warriors of old would have fought. They strive for recognition and glory as payment for service, seeing themselves as more important than those they help.

Then we wonder where all the good men have gone.

But before you lose all hope, know that they are still around. The biggest challenge these men face isn’t leading a warrior’s life, but finding room for a warrior’s life in a society that refuses to recognize the need for these exemplary men. So, instead of listening to a world that ignores the need for their help, these men simply help, and create the space for other likeminded men to help. You see them teaching other young men the importance of strength, both mental and physical. You see them promoting the ideals of discipline and virtue. And more importantly, you see them setting the example, as they apply these lessons to their own lives. You can find them as the volunteer coach at your local schools, as the martial arts instructor at your local community center, or the volunteer mentor at your local resource center.

Some have gone even further and created a much needed social justice service that can only be handled by these old school warriors. The following are just three organizations created by these exemplary men, just to give you an example of what good men can create when given the opportunity and how we still need men to pick up the mantle of Warrior in a world that is still dangerous.

Brothers for Sisters

Many Russian cities at night are a dangerous place for anyone, much more so for young women who are viewed as easy targets by the less savory elements within the criminal elements. So what is a young man to do when faced with the reality that his friends’ lives are at risk every night they head home? He and his friends started taking turns walking the young women home. And that’s when it hit him, how many more women have this same problem? How many more men would be willing to help out? So, the call went out for young men willing to walk women home safe late at night and young women needing an escort to reach their home safely.

Next thing you know, the Brothers for Sisters are born.

All brothers are required to pass a rigorous selection process, involving several interviews and background checks coordinated with the local authorities, as many of the brothers are off duty police men themselves. All candidates and members are required to be reasonably fit, and aren’t allowed to smoke, drink, or swear. All volunteers are discouraged from accepting invitations from the ladies they are helping out, even for something as simple as tea or coffee, as it might give an improper message.

What started as a couple of guys making sure their friend got home safe has grown into an entire social movement.

(I mentioned this group previously, but have been unable to find more information about them. If you know anything else about them, let me know as I would love to know more about them.)


Some men volunteer to be strong, some men train to be strong, and some become strong as life gives them little choice. This last group is viewed with distrust and even fear by many within society, as they are men who have often been forced to make do what it takes to survive, and not all these actions are socially acceptable. So what do you do when you are strong and feared?

You go and help out little kids who need a strong and intimidating man to protect them from the monsters of the world.

Bikers Against Child Abuse (B.A.C.A.) is an organization of volunteer bikers who provide a sense of safety to kids who have been victims of child abuse. If ever the child feels threatened, scared, or simply wants someone to be there, they simply have to call, and a couple of riders will come by. They are there to provide a safe environment, a place for the child to feel secure. This might be to scare of the abuser, to walk with the kid to school, or simply to stand guard all night in front of the house to scare off nightmares.  

Not everyone is accepted within the BACA. These men train for their duty, as many are actual social workers and all are required to pass a string of background checks although having a criminal record doesn’t disqualify you as a candidate. Each candidate is evaluated and required to training courses to deal with the emotional strain of their duty as the mission they have taken up isn’t an easy one. Below is a short vid explaining who they are.

(I have spoken about BACA and my absolute respect for the group before. If some of the members who left messages would contact me and let me know who to contact for more information, as I would love to make a more in depth post about them.)

Safe Passage

Many times the inner cities have been compared to warzones and quite often they are not that far off. Many of those who grew up within that environment want nothing more than to help change it into a better place. They know from personal experience how something as mundane as a child walking to school and back is a perilous journey.

Plenty of young men within these communities chose military service as a way to find purpose and meaning in a world that keeps telling them they will achieve little simply because of where they were born. Yet, when their tours are done, these men are left again without the very sense of purpose that allowed them to be more. So, instead of getting lost in a meaningless life, a group of these veterans joined together to provide the next generation of students a safe passage between the kid’s homes and schools.

Leave No Veteran Behind (LNVB) approached the Chicago school system to see if veterans could help out the kids by standing guard, positively engaging with the youth and maintaining the peace in street corners previously known for repeated violent incidents. So was born Safe Passage, as now over 400 veterans within the program with about 130 veterans patrolling the streets at any given time. Below is a short video explaining how the program came to be.

The days of the Warrior are far from gone. Neither are gone the days of men doing what’s right because it’s the right thing to do. All you have to do is find your purpose. The space needed to manifest it will find you.


Breathe In Sanity

Maybe it's like becoming one with the cigar. You lose yourself in it; everything fades away: your worries, your problems, your thoughts. They fade into the smoke, and the cigar and you are at peace.
Raul Julia
Ever noticed how, when we want to paint the image of the old school gentleman, the picture only seems complete when you place a cigar in hand? Even the scent of those hand rolled tobacco leafs give a sense of dignity and elegance, of an educated wisdom of a time gone by were people would take the time to enjoy the simple things. Life moved at its own pace. It’s not like you could rush craftsmanship or agriculture or even travel. But the world changed, and now we can do more in less time. Those days of old are gone, replaced with of men rushing from one place to another, living in a cycle of “hurry up and wait,” suffering from stress, depression, and heart problems as the hours of the day don’t seem to be enough for everything we set up to do.

Aren’t you glad that those olden days are gone?

Yes, I know that we live in more convenient times, where we live longer lives than those gents of old. We have better access to, well, everything; as we hold the world in the palm of our hands. We live in a different world than our forefathers, as our world is now defined by the idea that time and money are interchangeable concepts. The more time we dedicate to something, the more money it will make/cost and the more money we invest into something the more/less time we will have to deal with it. So time became as much a source of frustration and anxiety as money. As we pursue one, we become constantly pressured by the other.  

And that’s where a good cigar comes in. From the instant you pull out that cigar and get your first whiff of the country, you need to stop looking at your cellphone, your watch, and your wallet. Everything comes to a grinding halt as you let yourself enjoy a moment of peace, where your thoughts start to order themselves out and you regain the perspective of an unrushed life. This isn’t chain smoking cigarettes that you puff into yourself as if you were being timed for a speed challenge. This is a burn as slow as how time should run when you don’t care how much time it takes to enjoy.

In a way, you get lost into your own personal meditation, or into pleasant conversations when shared with someone else. You learn to slow down your usual aggressive go-getter hustle that if left uncheck will drag you kicking and screaming into an early retirement of life. You learn to reconnect with your dulled out senses, as you let yourself the opportunity to reconnect with the simple pleasures of having a human body. You learn to let yourself open up to your own soul as you let your senses feel again, your mind wander, and your heart feel.

I know, it might sound bad my promoting smoking, but consider how a cigar can easily be replaced with a hookah, vaping, coffee, tea, a good spirit, or even a desert when done correctly. When I mean correctly, I mean you have can’t chug down that ultragigantico frapumoccalatte while running form one text to the next. It means you need to sit down, forget you have a time limit and enjoy. Breathe in the aroma of that scotch, or get lost in the legs of that deep red wine, or watch how that simple tea bag magically turns simple hot water into something more, a lot more.

As we get lost in the thrill of the hustle, or even lost in the routine of the rat race, sometimes we need to take a break and get off. We need to refocus and reconsider what we are doing, to reconnect with our own humanness. We were never meant to live to work and pay bills. We work and pay bills to have the time and space to live.


How To Fake Being A Gentleman

Fake it till you make it.
I know I have always mentioned the idea that Gentlemanly behavior isn’t something you should fake. Either you try to walk the path or you don’t. Faking it means you are lying about who you are and your intentions are probably not that honorable. You will probably end up being one of those guys who tend to give gentlemen a bad name as you are probably doing it for the wrong reasons. But a post I found online got me thinking that I should reconsider my views.

Buzzfeed posted an article about 15 Tips That Will Trick Your House Guests Into Thinking You Have Your Shit Together. It was basically how to make people think you, well, have “your shit together” based on how you decorate your apartment. At face value, you might think this article is about how to lie to your guests, but when you think about it, it starts teaching you what it means to have your shit together, makes you realize how people react to having your shit together, and sets up the foundation to getting your shit together. Without you realizing it, you’re actually on your way to having your shit together!

Can this strategy be used for other things in life? Of course! The best way to fake knowing about art is to actually start reading up on art. The best way to fake being a musician is to learn about music. The old adage of “fake it till you make it” is truer than most people think. Just make sure that “faking it” is just a step in the path of “making it.” With that in mind, how do you set out to fake being a gentleman?

Look The Part
First off, you have to look the part. I’m not talking about going out and spending a mortgage payment on a suit. I’m taking about putting away those stained sweat pants, ripped jeans, satirical graphic tee, worn out sneakers, trucker cap, etc. You get the picture. Dress to impress, to how you want to be treated, to be taken seriously… Again, you get the picture. Replace your gym sneakers with some leather dress shoes, or at least some casual dress shoes. Find a nice looking watch (nothing say’s grown ass man like a nice looking watch) and wallet. Wear ironed out clothing (nothing says you don’t care about yourself like wrinkled clothing).

Before I forget, GROOMING AND HYGEINE!!! Grooming is basically the same thing as shine is for shoes and ironing is for clothing, it shoes how much you care about yourself. You don’t have to go for the typical clean cut, short hair, clean shaved. What you do need is a general look that you don’t suffer from any mayor aversion to bathing and barber shops. What you do want is well-trimmed hair (if you still have it) and facial hair (if you can grow it), clean nails, and a nice odor. Pick some kind of slight aftershave or perfume, but avoid overdoing it, as assaulting someone’s senses with in bad taste, be it with stench or perfume.

Act The Part
Manners, gentlemen. MANNERS! This isn’t about knowing every single rule within the overly elaborate Gentleman’s code of etiquette. It’s about showing people you can behave with civility and that you care enough about them to treat them with respect.

Sure, some cultures might consider farting, burping, and slurping a complement to the chef. Last time I checked, this wasn’t one of those countries. Acting in public just takes simple common sense, so going into detail here would be a waste of space and word count. Now, gentlemanly details like opening doors for others, standing up when greeting someone, tipping your hat, all of this is also basic knowledge. Just be careful not to overdo it. Fake it enough to make it look natural, who knows. Someday it might become natural.

Speak The Part
Here’s a simple trick that will help you out when you are speaking as a gentleman, the ultimate language cheat, the only trick you will need to know… “Think about what you are going to say before saying it.” Impressive, isn’t it? Take the time to think about what you say and how it will be taken. Oh, here’s another one… “Let the other person speak and make them feel like you are paying attention to their words.” I’m full of wisdom today, right? Oh… and I have one more… “use proper grammar.” Nothing will invalidate whatever you say as improper language use. Gentlemen, it’s not that hard. Take care how you use your words and pay attention to the words of others.

Live The Part
Here’s the challenging part… you have to lead a life as interesting as your Facebook profile. This means you have to lead a life worth leading, or at the very least have plans to lead a live worth leading. Have big plans, live with passion, do more than simply exist. Realize that Carpe Diem can excuse almost any dumb decision as long as it produces a memorable story. (Note to reader… NEVER USE YOLO. Use Carpe Diem. Google the difference.)

In closing I want to make two thing clear. First, if you are faking being a gentleman, you probably have no idea what you are doing and why. When asked or challenged about your behavior, if you don’t understand why you’re doing it, you will probably end up putting your foot in your mouth. For that reason, I would recommend you to not explain it. Say you’re a gentleman because “your mother taught you how to behave and to respect others.” Anyone who sets out to questions what “your mother” taught you is simply looking to condemn your actions, no matter what.

Second and a lot more important still… NONE OF THIS MAKES YOU A GENTLEMAN. You are playing off other people’s prejudice and preconception. You are manipulating them as much as they are being judgmental of you. Sure, start off working the “gentleman gimmick” till you realize that faking it can only carry you so far, and that the real worth of a gentleman isn’t in the suit he wears or the shoes he has or even the ties he owns. A real gentleman is defined by his character and the respect he shows to those around him.


Is Discretion Virtually Out Of Style?

A gentleman's name should appear in the newspaper only three times: When he's born, when he marries, and when he dies. And we are, first and foremost, gentlemen.
Harry Hart (Colin Firth), Kingsman: The Secret Service
A man shouldn’t talk about himself. He should keep his successes and failures quiet. He shouldn’t go on tooting his own horn as that is a sign of insecurity, vanity, and shallowness. He must be absolutely discrete, as discretion is a sign of intelligence. And if you’re not discrete, you are doing it wrong. How do I know this? Because I’m right and if you don’t agree, you’re not being discrete, so I win anyway. Rant over.

Drop mic and walk off the stage.*

Except it doesn’t quite work like that now days. The world is changing and how we navigate within it is changing as well, even if you don’t want to admit it. We are constantly leaving digital tracks all over the place as our virtual presence becomes just as important as our physical one. Our online branding becomes as important as our offline reputation.

Does this mean we must share every single lunch option we pick or every trip to the gym or even every bad date? Or does this mean we should guard our online image so carefully that our virtual presence becomes inconsequential as we become little more than one of those fake twitter profiles sold to boost follower statistics? Should we become little more than the virtual version of the locked in crazy cat lady as we hide our presence from the world?

I am a great supporter of the idea of discretion as I learned, while still young, the benefits of avoiding leaving a trail of my misconducts. I might have never been much of a saint, but I was smart enough to avoid blabbing around about my adventures and misfortunes. My mother would always say that “dirty clothing is washed behind closed doors.” I made sure there were few pictures of my bohemian days, never kept  a little black book or a journal that could be used as incriminating evidence. This kept everyone involved better off, as they were able to trust me from incriminating them. I do admit it was a lot easier in my young and daring days as this was before social media turned everyone into a public figure, where YouTube and Twitter make your temporary indiscretion into permanent shameful reminders.

The challenge now is that you, as a person, become a brand and social media such as Facebook, Tinder, and OK Cupid have become your social presentation cards. You are forced to actually open up publicly to the world to have access to the world. Surprisingly your profile serves as validation to who you are in the real world instead of the other way around. What you are willing to admit publicly on a profile is believed more than what you say during a casual conversation.

Our profiles become open admissions of who we are, stating what we want others to know and at the same time what we are willing to “hide.” Society has taken the same NSA surveillance mentality is complains about. “If you aren’t doing anything wrong, why would you hide it” has become the common ideology when looking over what people post about their lives. Is your relationship status “hidden” because you are hiding the fact that you are in a relationship or because it’s nobody’s business if you are in one? Do you avoid a profile picture to keep people from finding you or because you only let select people find you? At this point, discretion starts to border on deception.

Others tend to run the complete opposite mentality. In their attempt to become open about themselves, they tend to overshare, turning their lives into little more than Reality TV entertainment. We see this often in personal FB profiles or blogs, where people make desperate bids for attention by making spectacles of their lives. Sure, they get a lot of hits and followers, but that’s not always a good thing. Traffic accidents get plenty spectators as well. I have seen more than one Blogger lose friends, get divorced, fired, or passed over for employment because those around them tire of becoming collateral damage of that train wreck.

So, how do you handle discretion without falling into deception? How do you handle opening up without becoming a liability to those around you? Moderation. Don’t hide who you are, but don’t click bait for distinction. Let the world see you, but don’t chase the spotlight. This way you are you, while keeping you from becoming a spectacle.