The Art of Manliness: Classic Skills and Manners for the Modern Man

A boy doesn’t have to go to war to be a hero; he can say he doesn’t like pie when he sees there isn’t enough to go around.” —EDGAR WATSON HOWE

A boy will dabble in a thousand pursuits and then drop them when he gets bored or they become too difficult. A man will always finish what he starts.

All of history’s great leaders had moments of glorious success and moments of devastating defeat. Great leaders focus on the things they can change and influence, and the past is not one of those things. If you fail, learn from it but cease to dwell on it. When you succeed, celebrate with your followers and move on.

A man should wear trousers at navel level, not below it.

A man who had mastered the art of manliness embodied many, if not all, of these manly characteristics: Looks out for and is loyal to his friends and family. Does the right thing, even when it’s not convenient. Is proficient in the manly arts. Treats women with respect and honor. Serves and gives back to his community. Sacrifices for the good of others. Works hard and seldom complains. Exhibits both great courage and tender compassion. Has a confident swagger but isn’t a pompous jerk. Is witty without succumbing to sarcasm. Embraces instead of shirks responsibility. You probably have grandfathers who exemplify this kind of honorable manliness. But something happened in the last fifty years to cause these positive manly virtues and skills to disappear from the current generations of men. Fathers have ceased passing on the art of manliness to their sons, and our culture, nervous to assign any single set of virtues to one sex, has stripped the meaning of manliness of anything laudatory.

A woman can still be a man’s equal, and yet be worthy of being treated with honor, respect

Barbers, on the other hand, are interesting guys with fascinating stories to tell. And I in turn feel at ease to say what’s on my mind. We converse about politics, cars, sports and family. Guys who are waiting read the newspaper and comment on current events. And everyone is involved: the barbers, the customers getting their haircut and the customers waiting to get their haircut.

But the problem is not that this man is a nice guy; it’s that he’s allowed his niceness to travel down the slippery slope into weinerdom.

Courtesy is as much a mark of a gentleman as courage.” —THEODORE ROOSEVELT

Don’t talk or answer your cell phone while talking to ANYONE in person. There are no exceptions to this rule. Don’t answer it when you’re talking to someone at a party. Don’t answer it when you’re eating at a restaurant. Don’t answer it when you’re making a purchase or ordering food; the server or clerk is not a robot; each is a human being deserving of your respect.

Emily Post’s Etiquette was the most requested book by G.I.s during World War II.

even Saddam Hussein rocked a pocket square when he was on trial—a man should never defend his war crimes without one.

Every man must be ready to put aside thoughts of his own welfare or pressing schedule and be willing to come to the aid of those in need.

Hanging out consists of people getting together in groups and doing stuff together. The atmosphere is relaxed and relations in the group rarely rise above the level of friendship (or friendship with benefits). Dating consists of pairing off with someone in a temporary commitment so you can get to know the person better and perhaps start a long-term relationship with them. There is nothing wrong with hanging out, but it’s not a replacement for dating.

I don’t know what it is. Perhaps it’s the combination of the smell of hair tonics and the all-man atmosphere. But more so, it’s the awareness of the tradition of barbershops. Barbershops are places of continuity; they don’t change with the shifts in culture. The places and barbers look the same as they did when your dad got his hair cut. It’s a straightforward experience with none of the foo-foo accoutrements of the modern age. There are no waxings, facials, highlights or appointments. Just great haircuts and great conversation. When you walk out of the barbershop with a sharp haircut, you can’t help but feel a little manly swagger creep into your step.

If you see birds flying high in the sky, it means clear weather. However, if you see a lot of birds roosting on power lines and trees, this either means they're conspiring against you or falling air pressure and bad weather are on the way. Expect rain and/or a killer seagull attack in the next twelve hours.

if you want to get your thumb on the pulse of civic life in your community, head over to the barbershop.

In the great battle of life, no brilliancy of intellect, no perfection of bodily development, will count when weighed in the balance against the assemblage of virtues, active and passive, of moral qualities which we group together under the name of character.” —THEODORE ROOSEVELT

It’s tempting to straddle the fence and try to have it both ways. Yet in attempting to live in two choices at once, you will find that you truly inhabit neither one.

Many men today feel inexplicably restless, unfulfilled and depressed. They seek all the things society tells them will heal their man spirit: carefully watching their diet, taking supplements, exercising and visiting a shrink. And yet they find no relief. Why? They’re skipping out on perhaps the most crucial element in maintaining their manly vigor: spending time in the great outdoors.

Preparing food for your guest is an ancient rite of hospitality.

The ability to show hospitality has been a measure of one’s character across cultures and time.

The motto of chivalry is also the motto of wisdom; to serve all, but love only one.” —HONORE DE BALZAC

True leaders, even when a subordinate is at fault, will take full responsibility for a mistake. An effective leader will then immediately take action to correct the situation.

True leadership is not about superiority, position or prestige. It’s about revealing and releasing the potential of those around you. Leadership is not about the power of one, but facilitating the greatness of many.

Truly it may be said that the outside of a mountain is good for the inside of a man.” —GEORGE WHERRY

Unfortunately, many modern men place the gentleman on the sissy end of the manliness spectrum, opposite that of the burping, unshaven, uncouth, “man’s man.” Yet our forebears understood that there was no contradiction in being ruggedly manly and a refined gentleman.

worked harder, longer and more efficiently than the next guy.

Work nonstop for forty-eight minutes. When the forty-eight minutes is up, take a break for twelve.

You haven’t lived until you’ve experienced the pleasures of a great shave at a barber. It’s a relaxing, luxurious experience