I received the following email from a reader this morning.
Here is my response.
Now Let’s Talk About Grooming
Hair: It should be short. Sorry, gents, but we’ve advanced as a society far enough now that scissors are a widely available thing as are electric clippers. In fact, there was really only one man in history Who had long hair that worked for Him. And you’re not Him. I see my barber every 3-4 weeks and get a high and tight. Again, your hair should not be a distraction nor should it be the focal point of your existence and stature.
Facial Hair: This one’s not as tricky as it sounds. I tend to say either clean shaven (all the time) or, better yet, grow it out but keep it trimmed. I remember feeling so cool when I was 13 and shaved for the first time. It was manly and I was now a man (or so I thought). Years later I was teaching CS Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters and read (and re-read many times) the following passage. It’s advice from one demon to another.
I’ve given this one some thought and I’ve worn a beard for the past five years. I recognize not all men can grow a beard. I believe that has to do with the overall feminization of the West – soy products and overall lower levels of testosterone. OK 1) Eat meat. That being said, I say, if you can do it, do it.
Posture: Stand up straight. Shoulders back. Suck in your gut. Chest out. Make yourself big.
Chivalry: Learn it. Live it. Grab that door for every lady (and really for any person). Give of yourself. Another thing I learned from Dad was in watching how until the last time he drove a car, he always held the car door for my mom. I try to do that for my wife. She agreed to take on your life, your name, and your children. Treat her like it.
Accessories: First, don’t ever use that word. I’m just using it here for reference. Shoes should be polished. They should match your belt which should match your eyes which should be hazel. I’m only kidding about that last part but you get it.
Other than that, there’s not much to it. Ann Barnhardt mentioned a preference for not going wild with colors and not giving into the trend of “skinny” tailoring. First that brings up an important point. If you are able to and need to, get your more important clothing tailored. Many dry cleaners have a tailor on site. It’s a one-time thing (unless your weight fluctuates wildly) and worth the relatively minor cost. WEAR YOUR PANTS AT YOUR WAIST – Not below, Not above. And yes, I agree. I wouldn’t go the skinny route. I know some will push back and say “but I look good in that!” If you do, that probably means you are skinny. Don’t be afraid to put some meat on your bones. Remember we men are distinguished by greater muscle mass. Ask any swimmer who’s competed against Will Thomas. And as far as bright colors, the word I would use is gauche or flamboyant. I own exactly one pink tie. I bought it for my daughter’s baptism which occurred on Gaudete Sunday. Other than that, a tiny splash of color is OK, as Ann says, in ties, pocket squares, etc. Don’t make a habit of it.
And for heaven’s sake, don’t wear jewelry. It should go without saying that earrings are for pirates and queers. Tough love moment? Sorry. Your wedding ring, gentlemen, is a sacramental, not jewelry. Treat it accordingly. Your scapular (and you should be wearing one) stays beneath your shirt. It is for your benefit. Trust me, everyone else in that Trad parish has one on and they assume you do as well.
Wow, that was longer than I was expecting. Perhaps this becomes a regular feature? Likely not.
Our Lady of Fair Love, pray for us!
St. Paul, pray for us!