We have previously examined Jack Bauer as the prime example of an evolutionary return to the ‘Real Man’ in this the Retrospective Age of Men. But what does this mean for men in a practical sense? After studying Jack’s motives, actions and appearance for many years, it has been possible to develop some high level guidelines which may assist other men as they try to navigate their way on life’s path. After all there are 24 action packed hours in every day…
Emotion: Showing your innermost feelings to the world is fine so long as it is warranted. In other words, a point well worth remembering is that everything has a time and a place. The decision on when crying is acceptable can be a difficult one to make, but it certainly should not be made lightly. There is no hard and fast rule to apply in this case, but there are some helpful hints.
Crying is an appropriate emotional response so long as it is for a valid reason and not because you’ve broken a fingernail or scratched your face. Perhaps you’ve experienced a family tragedy and you are overcome with grief, or perhaps you’ve had to take definitive action which has resulted in a tragic outcome. In such cases crying may be appropriate, but it is still best to curtail certain emotions until the task at hand is complete.
Grooming: Clean and simple is the best approach when it comes to personal appearance. Regular showering is important for reasons of hygiene and body odour, but beyond that there is no need to be particularly fussy in your approach. A sensible and functional hairstyle is practical and will not attract unnecessary attention or detract from more important matters. Hair has the most simple and useful task of keeping your head warm, so there is no need to go overboard with product and no need to be overly showy with your styling.
Shaving is not always going to be a possibility depending on circumstances and to be honest it is not always required. As for chest hair, being a man it is perfectly acceptable to have chest hair, there is no need to shave or wax unless there is an excessive spillage beyond the chest region. But a critical factor to remember is that it is not attractive to reveal unnecessarily large portions of your chest, or show it off in a body-hugging skin tight shirt unbuttoned to the waist. With regard to eyebrows, by all means have two and get rid of that monobrow but never ever leave your eyebrows looking too clean and feminine, that is a goal that only women should aim for.
Tattoos are no cause for concern and they can in fact be thought of as an asset. However be sure to avoid unnecessary colour, or ornately patterned designs. Tattoos that have some significant meaning will be held in particularly high regard. Whether you were branded during your time spent in one of the armed forces, or whether you wanted a permanent reminder of a hardship overcome, these are perfect examples of respectable tattoo reasonings.
Accessories: Jewellery should be kept only to what is essential. Here we’re speaking of accessories such as a wedding ring (if relevant) and a watch reflective of your functional needs. If possible find a watch size which suits your wrist, one that is too small or too large will just be noticeable for all the wrong reasons. Don’t forget that you can also accessorise with some cool gadgets such as a PDA and mobile phone. However this guideline should be applied with caution, gadgets are great provided you know how to use them and their usefulness outweighs their burden.
Sunglasses serve a purpose in protecting your eyes from UV rays, but be sure to choose a pair that also make you look good while you’re doing it. Here once again don’t try to be too clever or too stylish, the classics are always going to be the best, think aviators or traditionally masculine frames and you won’t be too far wrong. To carry all this gear a backpack or satchel are acceptable, however nothing should come close to resembling a handbag and your chosen item should always retain a masculine edge. To help achieve this end, you can’t really go wrong with bags made of durable fabrics like Kevlar, hemp, calico or canvas. There is no need to go for anything too shiny, too slick or too high maintenance, cut and colour of your satchel should be kept simple and practical.
Clothing: Uncluttered, unfussy presentation is best and where possible try to match your attire with the needs of the occasion. Functionality is therefore vital. For instance, there is no sense wearing a suit if you’ll be running around in the field chasing down terrorists, likewise it would not be appropriate to wear more casual freeform gear if you’re based in the office. Regardless of what items of clothing have been selected, quality and coordination are paramount considerations. Rather than invest in several items of clothing that are lower in cost, focus on a few key quality pieces and choose quality over quantity. The investment you make in your clothes is important and the quality of the selection that you make will always be noticed.
Style is something which stems from within, but there is no reason why it can’t be given a helping hand. The use of colours can be a difficult challenge to successfully overcome, so if this is at all a concern stick to solid basics like black, white, grey, khaki, brown and deep blue. When putting the colours together try to ensure they all blend together or complement rather than clash.
As for cut and fabric these are also significant factors to consider carefully. Regular cut is fine in all things, slim fit is generally safe so long as you can pull it off and so long as we aren’t talking about tight-fitting items, they are a definite no-go zone for men. Fabric should be hard-wearing, designed for comfort and have the ability to withstand long periods of sustained action without letting you down.
Decision making: No one likes indecisiveness. Quick and careful action should always be the intended goal. Even if the result of your decision doesn’t end the way you had hoped, just take responsibility for the mistake and move on. People will always respect a considered leader who embraces rather than avoids making decisions or taking decisive action.
Good leadership and expert decision making are skills which can be learned, but first and foremost you must have confidence in your abilities and trust in your inner compass of what is right and what is wrong. You will need to perfect the art of considering all options quickly, examining the consequences of each alternative and keeping an overarching goal in mind at all times. Furthering your decision making abilities will put you in good stead when it comes to leading others and directing tasks to a successful outcome.
When confronted with a particularly perplexing problem or faced with almost certain failure, ask yourself one simple question, ‘What would Jack do?’