How To Be A Man — 2018 Edition

Source: Christopher Cloos

Five years ago, I wrote an article for Business Insider, “How To Be A Man”, along with my Twitter pal John Carney (@Carney). It went viral, with more than 4 million unique views and 400k Facebook likes.

The original list — succinct and cynical — broadly stands the test of time, and is still a great reminder that most men are in dire need of guidance. However, in fairness, the world is somewhat of a different place today, and I am a different person, having written a bestselling book, become a father (twice), and started a successful, charitably-orientated fashion line.

As such, I thought it worthwhile to update and revise our thoughts, if for no other reason than that most people don’t have the time to watch Jordan Peterson spend ten minutes ruminating on an idea that can be summarized in a sentence.

  1. Ignore the boos. They usually come from the cheap seats.
  2. Never tell someone you hate your job. If you’re still working there in six months, they’ll know you are a loser.
  3. Never cancel dinner plans with a woman by text message.
  4. Know at least one good joke.
  5. You don’t have to keep every secret, just the important ones.
  6. You can either make people happy when you walk into a room, or when you walk out of one. It’s up to you.
  7. Never ask the same question twice.
  8. Never stop dating your wife. Keep doing what you did to get her in the first place.
  9. Don’t let your job define you as a person.
  10. Stop talking about where you went to college.
  11. Always carry cash. Keep some in your front pocket.
  12. If someone breaks into your house, shoot to incapacitate first, then fire a shot into the ceiling. Tell the cops the first shot was a warning shot.
  13. Rebel from business casual. Burn your khakis and wear a suit or jeans… or better yet, these
  14. It’s okay to trade the possibility of your 80s and 90s for more guaranteed fun in your 20s and 30s.
  15. Appreciate your parents. When they die, you become an orphan.
  16. Never stay out after midnight three nights in a row, unless something really good comes up on the third night.
  17. Never date an ex of your friend.
  18. Be kind. Life is hard enough as it is.
  19. If riding the bus doesn’t incentivize you to improve your station in life, nothing will.
  20. Time is too short to do your own laundry.
  21. When the bartender asks, you should already know what you want to drink.
  22. If you perspire, wear a damn undershirt. And yes, it should be a v-neck.
  23. Never park in front of a bar.
  24. You don’t have to like baseball, but you should understand what ERA means. Approach life similarly.
  25. When people don’t invite you to a party, you really shouldn’t go. And sometimes even when you are invited, you shouldn’t go.
  26. People are tired of you being the funny, drunk guy.
  27. Tip more than you should.
  28. If you offer to help, don’t quit until the job is done.
  29. You probably use your phone too often and at the wrong moments.
  30. Buy expensive sunglasses. It shows women you appreciate nice things and are responsible enough to take care of them.
  31. Do 50 push-ups, sit-ups, and dips before you shower each morning.
  32. Eat brunch with friends at least every other weekend.
  33. Be a regular at more than one bar.
  34. Colorful socks do not add personality or fashion sense, and pairing and sorting is a waste of time. Buy identical plain socks, and replenish them every few months.
  35. It’s okay to forgive, as long as you don’t forget.
  36. Act like you’ve been there before. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the end zone at the Super Bowl or on a private plane.
  37. Never be the last one in the pool.
  38. Leave a jacket on the back of your desk chair so people can never be 100% sure if you’ve left early for the day or are taking a long lunch.
  39. A glass of wine or two with lunch will not ruin your day.
  40. Learn how to fly-fish, and how to play backgammon. “If chess is the game of kings, backgammon is the game of Pharaohs.”
  41. No selfies. Aspire to experience photo-worthy moments in the company of a beautiful woman.
  42. Own a handcrafted shotgun. It’s a beautiful thing.
  43. There’s always another level. Just be content knowing that you are still better off than most who have ever lived.
  44. You can get away with a lot more if you’re the one buying the drinks.
  45. Ask for a salad instead of fries.
  46. Stand up to bullies. You’ll only have to do it once.
  47. Don’t split a check.
  48. Cobblers will save your shoes. So will shoe trees.
  49. When a bartender buys you a round, tip double.
  50. If you wear cologne (and you probably shouldn’t), no one should smell it from five feet away or five minutes after you’ve left.
  51. The cliché is that having money is about not wasting time. But in reality, money is about facilitating spontaneity.
  52. Be spontaneous.
  53. Admit it when you’re wrong, and forgive yourself for your mistakes.
  54. Find a Times New Roman in the streets and a Wingdings in the sheets. She exists.
  55. Do not use an electric razor.
  56. Invest in quality luggage. And use it.
  57. Desserts are for women. Order one and pretend you don’t mind that she’s eating yours.
  58. Buy a tuxedo before you are thirty. Stay that size.
  59. One girlfriend at a time is probably enough.
  60. Know your way around a kitchen.
  61. Your ties should be rolled and placed in a sectioned tie drawer.
  62. Throw parties. Have someone else clean up the next day.
  63. Value a handful of truly close friends over a hundred acquaintances.
  64. You may only request one song from the DJ.
  65. Measure yourself only against your previous self.
  66. Take more pictures. With a camera.
  67. Suck it up every now and then, especially for your family.
  68. Start a wine collection for your kids when they are born. Add a few cases every year without telling them. It’ll make a phenomenal gift in twenty years.
  69. Place-dropping is worse than name-dropping.
  70. When you admire the work of artists or writers, tell them. And spend money to acquire their work.
  71. Your clothes do not match. They go together.
  72. Yes, of course you have to buy her dinner.
  73. Staying angry is a waste of energy.
  74. Revenge can be a good way of getting over anger.
  75. Know when to ignore the camera.
  76. If she expects the person you are 20% of the time, 100% of the time, then she doesn’t want you.
  77. Always bring a bottle of something to the party.
  78. Avoid that “last” whiskey. You’ve probably had enough.
  79. Don’t use the word “closure” or ever expect it in real life. There may still be a mortally wounded Russian mobster roaming the woods of south Jersey, but we’ll never know.
  80. If you are wittier than you are handsome, avoid loud clubs.
  81. When giving a toast, short and sweet is always best.
  82. Drink outdoors. And during the day. And sometimes by yourself.
  83. Date women outside your social set. You’ll be surprised.
  84. Never make a scene.
  85. Don’t fill up on bread.
  86. If it’s got velvet ropes and lines, walk away unless you know someone.
  87. Other than watches, cufflinks, and a wedding ring, no jewelry. The only thing worse for a woman than seeing a desirable man with a wedding ring is seeing a desirable man with a ring on any other finger.
  88. You cannot have a love affair with whiskey because whiskey will never love you back.
  89. Feigning unpretentiousness is worse than being pretentious.
  90. No-one cares if you are offended, so stop it.
  91. Never take an ex back. She tried to do better and is settling with you.
  92. Eating out alone can be magnificent. Find a place where you can sit at the bar.
  93. Read more. It allows you to borrow someone else’s brain.
  94. Play competitive sports for as long as you can.
  95. Hookers aren’t cool, but remember, the free ones are still a lot more expensive.
  96. Don’t ever say, “it is what it is.”
  97. Don’t gamble if losing $100 is going to piss you off.
  98. Know that you die twice, once when you stop breathing, and again when somebody mentions your name for the last time. Live accordingly.
  99. Finally, as it relates to all things, including this list: “Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men.”

We’re now on Instagram. Follow here.

John LeFevre is the creator of @GSElevator, the founder of a fashion line, a podcast host, and the author of the New York Times bestselling book, Straight To Hell: True Tales of Deviance, Debauchery, And Billion-Dollar Deals, currently in development as a major motion picture.

(This article may contain affiliate links.)

Signed contracts with Goldman Sachs and Simon & Schuster, and paid lawyers more than I made. Author of STRAIGHT TO HELL (not about @gselevator or Goldman Sachs)

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store