SS18 HOW TO BE A MODERN MAN
28th June 2018
Are you too old for jeans? Does #MeToo mean you need to shut up, or have an opinion? Does it matter that you don’t know what a carburettor does (or should that be ‘did’)? Modern life is trickier than ever for men, with the timeworn codes of masculinity acquiescing to equality (a good thing) and enlightenment (a scary thing). But don’t start playing the emasculation card just yet – here’s our third installment of ROX MAN’s guide to getting it right where your father probably never did anyway. Words by Alex Doak.
Thank the Gods our spring has finally sprung! But in the infinitesimally tiny offchance that the Beast from the East is still clinging on grimly, as it is at the time of writing, then you need to know about skids: what types of skid there are, and how to avoid the resulting brown-trousered variety.
Most common is understeer, when your car carries on towards the outside of a corner, often because you’ve approached it too fast. The good news is that understeer is simple to deal with, which is why most modern cars understeer by design. When a hedge rapidly begins to replace your clear lane ahead, let off the gas and apply the brakes gently, to shift the weight from the rear to the front tyres. The rear end will start to swing round in the right direction and the front will gain more grip. Whatever you do, resist the temptation to give the car more actual steering.
And then there’s oversteer – most likely in a sporty, rear-wheel-drive number, when your rear tyres let go and you start to fishtail into the corner. This time it’s really counter-intuitive: release the brakes and hit the gas!
As a nation so averse to Americanisms – ‘reaching out’? Keep your hands to yourself, thanks – it’s funny how ‘date night’ has entered our lexicon so readily in recent years. It’s certainly not because we all found that Steve Carrell and Tina Fey film so amusing… No, it’s probably because it’s alerted us to a weekly Stateside tradition that we should all be observing as busy parents, in an era when, mercifully, women can expect to return to the career they were building before having kids.
So, workplace politics aside, how to ensure those precious few child-free hours are well worth the babysitter fee? Here follows five footloose and fancy-free tips.
1. Alternate who’s ‘hosting’ and make it a surprise. It isn’t Valentine’s or a special birthday, so the pressure’s off – make it quirky. What about greyhound racing at Shawfield? Or, speaking of animals, one of Edinburgh Zoo’s late-night events? What’s not to love about zebras and wine?
2. Don’t force yourself not to talk shop – the kids and domestic stuff are all bound to come up eventually, so don’t fool yourself. Embrace it as a rare opportunity to congratulate yourselves on a job well done (while you are, in actual fact, skiving).
3. Stay in, dress up, cook something nice (see ‘Fillet a fish’ below). With the kids dispatched to grandparents or friends, the house will never feel more decadently large or quiet. And you needn’t worry about ‘getting a room’.
4. Speaking of dressing up, polish your shoes. She will jump at the chance to make an effort, so you should too. Just don’t get testy waiting for her downstairs – that’s a surefire bomb-drop on the whole shebang.
5. It doesn’t always have to end in ‘you know what’, so don’t add that to the pressures of babysitters, table reservations and sparkling conversation. As for those three? You’re on your own there, matey…
She will jump at the chance to make an effort, so you should too
If you’ve caught the fish yourself, stop reading right here. Slapping that five-pounder down on the worktop and demanding to be fed is probably the manliest thing, short of lassoing a buffalo. Failing that, get your fishmonger to gut and clean whatever’s freshest, then, having trimmed the fins with scissors, get cracking back at home using your sharpest, bendiest knife (an actual fillet knife being ideal, of course).
Insert into the top of the head until you feel bone, then run one long incision along the spine. Run your knife down the back of the head and, tail towards you, gently slice (without sawing) down to the tail, following the shape of the fish between flesh and ribs. Turn over the fish and repeat with the second fillet, this time starting at the tail and working towards the head.
Fry your fillets skin-down in oil (pressing firmly to prevent ‘curl’) and baste the pre-seasoned flesh with lemon, white wine, butter and capers. Serve with a bottle of Puilly-Fumé. It doesn’t matter what fish it is; everything goes with Pouilly-Fumé. (Drop that into conversation casually, too. You’ll sound like Lovejoy on fire.)
Sorry, chaps. If you’re expecting a wicked ‘life hack’, then the best we can recommend is the dry cleaners. Otherwise, a perfectly ironed shirt that re-emerges resplendently from your suitcase requires precise process:
1. Start with the opened-out collar, pressing the inside-fold side. Then work your way around the shoulders.
2. Do the cuffs, then the entire sleeves, pressing just one side and ensuring a crisp crease all the way down.
3. With the collar buttoned up to keep things manageable, work around the torso, paying special attention to the bib, which is always on show wearing a suit.
4. Fold fully buttoned up.
5. If you’re really clever, repeat step 4 but with your shirt inside an old plastic drape from the dry cleaners. Friction causes wrinkling, plastic reduces friction. Simple!
6. Hanging your shirt in the hotel bathroom while running a steamy shower never works. Be less Alan Partridge and resign to the overpriced hotel dry-cleaning service.
7. Or wear a rollneck!
We all have that one person. That one guy who, regardless of what others might think, is the epitome of all that is suave in our eyes. Whether it’s the way that he dresses to how he carries himself with a sense of effortless cool no matter the situation, there is no denying that we all have a style icon that we aspire to.
The definitive directory of what you should be wearing on your wrist right now.
Should you let her order at a restaurant? Is brown in town OK these days? Should you be ashamed you can’t bleed a radiator without consulting YouTube? Modern life is trickier than ever for men, with the timeworn codes of masculinity acquiescing to equality (a good thing) and enlightenment (a scary thing). But don’t start playing the emasculation card just yet – here’s our second installment of ROX MAN’s new guide to getting it right where your father probably never did anyway. Words by Alex Doak.