1. Buy a well-fitting peacoat from J.Crew.
Or wait until Christmas sales are raging and buy a designer one, like John Varvatos or something. Black looks good on everyone (Obvious Cops) and matches everything (Duh Police), but charcoal gray is good, too. You can always look like a put-together Obama speechwriter with a classy peacoat. Oh, and get it cleaned once ayear. Sounds prissy, but a good cleaning can return a peacoat to its true-black luster, and make you look as snappy as you did on the first day you wore it.
2. Have a signature drink like James Bond.
It’s silly, but I’m always so impressed if a guy has a cool go-to drink. Obviously, if it has a ton of fancy ingredients, like puréed berries or whatever, youcan look a little bit like a high-maintenance weirdo, so don’t do that. If you like Scotch, have a favorite brand. It makes you look all self-actualized and grown-up. (You don’t have to say your drink order with the theatrical panache of James Bond. That’s for close-ups.)
3. Own several pairs of dark-wash straight-leg jeans.
Don’t get bootcut, don’t get skinny—just a nice pair of Levi’s, without any embellishments on the pockets. No embellishments anywhere. At all. Nothing. Oh my God.
4. Wait until all the women have gotten on or off an elevator before you get on or off.
Look, I’m not some chivalry nut or anything, but this small act of politeness isvery visual and memorable.
5. When you think a girl looks pretty, say it.
But don’t reference the thing that might reveal you are aware of the backstage process: e.g., say, “You look gorgeous tonight,” not “I like how you did your makeup tonight.” Also, a compliment means less if you compliment the thing and not the way the girl is carrying it off. So say, “Youlook so sexy in those boots,” rather than “Those boots are really cool.” I didn’t make the boots! I don’t care if you like the boots’ design! We are magic to you: you have no idea how we got to look as good as we do.
6. Avoid asking if someone needs help in a kitchen or at a party, just start helping.
Same goes with dishes. (Actually, if you don’t want to help, you should ask them if they need help. No self-respecting host or hostess will say yes to that question.)
7. Have one great cologne that’s not from the drugstore.
Just one. Wear very little of it, all the time. I cannot tell you how sexy it is to be enveloped in a hug by a man whose smell you remember. Then, anytime I smellthat cologne, I think of you. Way to invade my psyche, guy! Shivers down spine central!
8. Your girlfriend’s sibling or parents might be totally nuts, but always defend them.
Always. All a girl wants to do is to get along with her family, and if you are on the side of making it easy, you will be loved eternally. It might be easier to condemncondemn them—especially if she’s doing that already—but, remarkably, even if they are murderers, she will find the good in them, especially if you start trashing them. Be the guy who says: “Hey, let’s go visit your brother in prison on prison visiting day.” Most likely she’ll never make you actually do it, and she will always remember you offered.
9. Kiehl’s for your skin, Bumble and Bumble for your hair.
Maybe a comb. That is all you need. And when girls look in your medicine cabinet (which they will obviously do within the first five minutes of coming to your place), you’ll look all classily self-restrained because you’ll have only two beauty products. You’re basically a cowboy.
10. I really think guys only need two pairs of shoes.
A nice pair of black shoes and a pair of Chuck Taylors. The key, of course, is that you need to replace your Chuck Taylors every single year. You cannot be lax about this. Those shoes start to stink like hell. They cost forty dollars. You can afford a new pair every year. And if you can’t, why can’t you? You have muchbigger problems. Stop reading this and go deal with them.
11. Bring wine or chocolate to everything.
People love when guys do that. Not just because of the gift, but because it is endearing to imagine you standing in line at Trader Joe’s before the party.
12. Get a little jealous now and again, even ifyou’re not strictly a jealous guy.
Too much, and it’s frightening, but a possessive hand on her back at a party when your girlfriend looks super hot is awesome.