After reading Dear Abby online this morning, in which a woman wrote about her husband's habitual grooming behind the wheel of the car, and how this kind of distracted driving frightened her, it occurred to me that it was time for another reminder post like today's. So here we go.
For average guys who realize the need to kick up their everyday style several notches and are working hard to do so, remember, it's not always about the clothes and shoes. More often than not, "Style" has to do with how we are to be around, from others' perspectives, both at home and in public. The kind of men we are in other words.
One very effective way we can ensure that we remain pleasant to those we know well and those with whom we are unacquainted, but who might notice us from across a crowded room, is to observe the dozen tips below when it comes to certain extremely common, but less than pleasant personal habits. In a nutshell, here are various crass/gross/icky things you simply don't do in public. Even if it has never occurred to you before. Not knowing is no excuse for being boorish and coarse. Especially in the age of the Internet. Ready? Take notes if you need to on the following:
1) Don't clip your fingernails or toenails in public.
Do this in your bathroom at home, Tyler, and don't leave the clippings behind for someone else to walk though. Need I say anymore?
2) Don't shave.
Unless you are lucky enough to have a corner office at work like Don Draper, with a door you can shut fora few minutes of privacy, to say nothing of an electric shaver in your top drawer, you shave in your own bathroom at home over your own sink. You don't do this around or in sight of others. And you certainly should not be doing it at the wheel of your car as you scream in to your Center City office at 90 miles per hour on the Schuylkill Expressway because you kept hitting the snooze bar on the clock radio that morning.
3) Don't brush your teeth or gargle.
4) Don't comb your hair, beard, or 'stache.
5) Don't trim your eyebrows, ear, or nosehair.
6) Don't pick at bugbites, sores, or scabs.
It's time to get those nervous habits under control, Cody. Besides, picking at yourself can cause infections and leave behind ugly scars. Apply disinfectant, a band-aid (plaster) if necessary, and let it heal for the love of Pete.
7) Don't fix a wedgy.
What are you, five? Retire to the bathroom at home, or the restroom in public, to fix your underwear. Or try buying a larger size of tighty whiteys.
8) Don't adjust yourself.
Go somewhere else where you'll be alone for a minute or two to fix the problem in private, Elephant Man! The rest of us don't want to see this. Trust me. It's neither macho, nor sexy. The rest of us, male and female, are laughing at you. Really. We are.
9) Don't pick your teeth.
Not at the table, not as you walk away from the table to pay the bill in a restaurant, and certainly not in a room full of people. And don't be so gauche as to ask the waiter or waitress (or your host) "Do ya gotta toothpick?" Likewise, don't make a habit of "working" a wooden match or toothpick in the corner of your mouth constantly. It just makes you look trashy and common.
10) Don't burp or hiccup out loud. . . or pass gas for that matter.
Is it really even necessary to mention this? For too many, sadly, yes it is.
11) Don't spit.
It's foul and totally unhygienic. To put it another way, a gentleman does not spit. Period.
12) Don't honk your nose into a handkerchief or tissue, Finnegan. Or your napkin while seated at the dining table. This is about as disgusting as items #10 and #11.
There really isn't much more to say about any one of these offensive practices other than this. If you absolutely cannot control yourself and must engage in any one of the items mentioned above, retire to your bathroom or bedroom at home, or the nearest available mensroom when you are out. No one wants to experience your grooming rituals and unpleasant personal habits, and they should not have to.
Now, I must be in the declining minority though because you don't have to look hard to encounter these kinds of things most places these days. The world in 2014 seems rife with men (and enough women) who think nothing of engaging in one of more of these habits anytime and anyplace. Gross behavior almost seems like a badge of honor for lots of people now, something I simply cannot fathom.
Let me assure you, though, that behaviors like these ARE, in fact, highly offensive and just plain uncouth. They should not be for public consumption and are best attended to in private. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.