With the crazy way I grew up, my father didn’t really have a lot of time to teach me the manly arts. Fortunately, I’ve had a lot of male role models that were willing to step in and show me the ropes. Here’s five things I learned from mentors that i wished I’d learned from my dad.
1. Shave in the shower – When I started shaving it was with my grandfathers disposable bic razor that he had used about fifty times already. My grandfather had about four hairs on his face, whereas I can grow a beard that will scare cats. I found out when I was older I can shave by feel at the end of my shower and get a closer, more comfortable shave. This little piece of advice changed my life forever.
2. Flashiness is for women – I can almost hear the collective complaining of men after they read that. Here’s what it means. Don’t wear a bright colored shirt, patterned pants, argyle socks, and spats all at the same time. I think we can all agree that’s a bad idea. Dressing up is not the same as finding every accessory you own and wearing them all at once. Understated but classy is the best way to go. These days I wear a watch and a wedding band, usually muted tones and some sharp socks with polished shoes.
3. We’re built for relationships – Before I met my wife I ran the usual gamut of women and barhopping. You know what I found out? The women who is shaking it on the dance floor holding a drink over her head with one boob flopping out is great for a night of fun, not so good for a long lasting relationship. For whatever reason (there are many), those girls never grow into a wife-like role. Trying to make that happen was exhausting. When I finally met my wife she became someone who inspires and supports me. A relationship with her was easy and has been for the past twelve years.
4. People judge you – I used to think no one ever judged anyone else (please stop laughing). I soon found my style of dress, they way I spoke, and my ridiculous haircut was causing an impression on every person I met, including future employers and potential clients. There were no exceptions. It turns out every single person you’ll ever meet will judge you.
5. Everybody has a story – The way people act is normally a product of their environment. That’s not an excuse, it’s just the reality. The waitress who treated you badly may have an abusive boyfriend or just ate the last cracker in her kitchen. Again, not an excuse, but when you see things through this lens it changes how you respond.
These things I wish my father had the opportunity to teach me, unfortunately he wasn’t able to. Fortunately, however, I did manage to learn these things from other men and mentors in my life.
this post first appeared on Be a Better Man.