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Suck in Your Stomach and Put on Some Color!


Not outlandishly so, but colorful, visually interesting Fellows nonetheless.  We to owe it to whomever we share our dwellings with to keep ourselves pulled together, presented well, and smelling pleasant.  Even during the ultra casual days of summer.

Look around.  Too many men (and some women too) let themselves go once they find themselves in a committed, long-term relationship when it comes to general appearance and personal habits (use your imagination).  The usual modus operandi seems to be for people to succumb rapidly to 'Da Frump' once careers are set, the wedding recedes ever farther into the rear view mirror, a mortgage is arranged, and the stork visits a few times during the first several years of bliss. 

So called 'dating behavior' is left in the dust as complacency takes over.

Gradually, people allow themselves to become variegated shades of stretchy, elasticized gray, slate, stone, beige, taupe, ecru, oatmeal, mocha, and eggshell in every sense.  In effect, they stop trying and give up.  The tired argument goes that, in letting it all hang out, both literally and figuratively, people are being themselves and, thus, authentic.  

 What?  What??!!

This attitude and approach are a problem.  Or rather they should be since we ought to make ding dang sure we remain attractive to the person with whom we share our adult life first and foremost.  Right?  A slovenly appearance and, at best, unsavory personal habits ain't the way to do that, Luke Skywalker.

As I have mentioned here at Classic Style a number of times over the years, my late mother and maternal grandmother (both southern gals although they lived many, many years north of The Mason-Dixon Line) taught my sister and me that good manners begin in the home.  And that includes more than simply how we conduct ourselves at the dining table.  

Equally important is how we present ourselves in the day to day to those with whom we share our lives and living spaces.  

I would argue that -- even during evenings, weekends, and holidays -- we ought to make the effort and take the little bit of time necessary to make sure we look (and smell) nice in our off hours.  Cultivation of that habit demonstrates our continued care for and respect of those nearest and dearest to us.  Besides demonstrating that we have acquired some polish and sophistication on reaching adulthood, such behavior also shows that we continue to respect ourselves, an equally important part of the equation.  

So (gentle?) men, here's the oft repeated deal.  Let's avoid appearing first thing each morning with corkscrew hair and sleep in the corners of your eyes and the aroma of yesterday's evening meal hanging in the air around us.  Hit the shower after breakfast on Saturday or Sunday (or maybe before), even if you are not headed anywhere later.  Comb your hair, brush your teeth, maybe run an electric razor over your face, put on deodorant, and add a splash of aftershave or cologne (but not too much).  

Likewise, don some decent casual clothes that are not frayed, torn, or otherwise worn out, and make your best effort to present yourself in the best way possible.  Be easy on the eyes rather than a socially awkward blot on the domestic landscape in other words.  Put on a belt.  Maybe tuck in your damn shirt.  Mind your manners.  Even when you are at home with the door closed.  It's not hard. 

Not only will you feel better about yourself (Try it!), but the habit sets a good example for any children in the picture.  Moreover, She (or He) will appreciate the fact that you do not resemble an overflowing dirty laundry hamper with legs staring slack-jawed back at her (or him) from across the living room while rude sounds erupt haphazardly from within. 

My late father and maternal grandfather, very different personalities who did not really care for one another if we are honest, both made the effort throughout their married lives even when reading the Sunday paper during breakfast, or reclined on the sofa with a book when they weren't otherwise engaged.  Their agreeable personal habits and always acceptable casual attire were appreciated by their spouses too.  I heard as much many times during my formative years at home.

In short, we need not live like street curs who know no better.  Suck in your stomach and put on some color as I advise above.  Do not allow you daily life, attire, and social graces to become the same color as the interior walls of so many living spaces (think tan).  Even if the two of you have been together for a decade or more.  You owe it to each other not to let yourself slide down the slippery slope of 'Da Frump.'

-- Heinz-Ulrich



The book from which today's post title comes from, for those who might be interested, is Suck Your Stomach in and Put Some Color On!: What Southern Mamas Tell Their Daughters that the Rest of Y'all Should Know Too by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson


  1. Excellent advice as always, Heinz-Ulrich. I have a copy of that (quite funny) book, and so recognized the allusion immediately on seeing the title of your post.

    Today, I am working from home and unlikely to leave the house (unless you count a Zoom call), but I am showered, shaved, sparingly cologned and dressed in a light blue chambray sport coat, Nantucket reds, white OCBD, madras tie and penny loafers. As you point out, my wife appreciates it and I enjoy it as well. Others notice too, including yesterday a young woman at the grocery store who went out of her way to complement my outfit. It takes so little effort, and I feel like an actual, civilized human being.

    Please keep up your good work in a noble cause.


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All opinions are welcome here. Even those that differ from mine. But let's keep it clean and civil, please.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

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