This piece was first published on my old site on October 11, 2013.
Another long list full of mostly nothing about what it means to be a man.
There is a Twitter account about “things heard in the Goldman Sachs elevator.” Like apparently guys who work for a company with a long history of financial scandals know about the right way a man should conduct himself.
And so, when I saw the incredibly popular, and incredibly bad, “Unofficial Goldman Sachs guide to being a man,” I decided I had to critique it. It’s not all bad advice, and I’ll be fair. It is mostly bad though, or just stupid and meaningless advice that doesn’t really guide you towards being a man at all.
Here we go.
Stop talking about where you went to college.
Just act all superior and they’ll know which school you went to.
Always carry cash. Keep some in your front pocket.
You never want a hooker or drug dealer to see your wallet.
Rebel from business casual. Burn your khakis and wear a suit or jeans.
Burn those damn khakis. Burn them! Don’t ever donate anything to someone less fortunate. Poor people can suck it.
It’s okay to trade the possibility of your 80s and 90s for more guaranteed fun in your 20s and 30s.
Because you can’t have fun if you’re not contributing to cirrhosis of the liver, heart disease, brain damage or lung cancer.
The best public restrooms are in hotels: The St. Regis in New York, Claridge’s in London, The Fullerton in Singapore, to name a few.
You’re not allowed to talk about where you went to college, but it’s perfectly okay to talk about where you went to the bathroom.
Never stay out after midnight three nights in a row … unless something really good comes up on the third night.
And if you work the night shift, it means you’re poor, and poor people suck.
You will regret your tattoos.
And not having them allows you to judge people who do, and judging people is fun!
Never date an ex of your friend.
Bros before hos!
Join Twitter; become your own curator of information.
I saw what you did there. That isn’t the link to join Twitter, that’s the link to the Goldman Sachs elevator page, full of the most important information on the Net, where you can get gems like “The iPhone 5c is the cutest possible way of saying ‘poor’.”
If riding the bus doesn’t incentivize you to improve your station in life, nothing will.
Because if you can’t afford a car, you’re not a worthwhile human being.
Time is too short to do your own laundry.
Housework is for suckers. You have fancy cars to drive, mistresses to fornicate, dreams to crush and economies to destroy.
When the bartender asks, you should already know what you want to drink.
And place your order with authority.
If you perspire, wear a damn undershirt.
Because sweating is gross. Stop being such a Neanderthal.
You don’t have to like baseball, but you should understand the concept of what a pitcher’s ERA means. Approach life similarly.
Evil Rules All?
This rule makes zero sense.
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.
Fair enough, but not exactly the “guide to being a man” deep thoughts people need.
People are tired of you being the funny, drunk guy.
This is actually good advice. That’s one, at least.
When in doubt, always kiss the girl.
She could be the next notch or your belt, and more notches = more manly.
Tip more than you should.
Since so many at GS are overpaid, then it makes sense to overpay everyone, all the time. To hell with what’s actually fair or sensible.
You probably use your cell phone too often and at the wrong moments.
This is probably true, but in the grand scheme of being a man, is this worth mentioning? Again, it’s more shallow thinking in an article that is full of it.
Buy expensive sunglasses. Superficial? Yes, but so are the women judging you. And it tells these women you appreciate nice things and are responsible enough not to lose them.
Because the sunglasses you wear are a make or break deal for most women. Your behavior barely rates.
If you want a nice umbrella, bring a sh*tty one to church.
Is this endorsing theft, where you leave the shitty one and take someone’s nice one? Or is it saying that if you bring a nice one to church that people will steal it? Either way, what the hell does this have to do with being a man?
Do 50 push-ups, sit-ups, and dips before you shower each morning.
I can practically guarantee that I’m in better shape than the guys who wrote this article, as well as the majority of the employees at Goldman Sachs, and I never do this. Instead, I advocate finding an exercise regimen you enjoy and working on getting better at it. There are no rules other than the ones you make for yourself.
Eat brunch with friends at least every other weekend. Leave Rusty and Junior at home.
Because brunch is manly.
Be a regular at more than one bar.
Because alcoholism is manly.
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.
Because excitement isn’t manly, feigning boredom is.
A glass of wine or two with lunch will not ruin your day.
But don’t always do it at the same bar. That’s not manly.
It’s better if old men cut your hair. Ask for Sammy at the Mandarin Oriental Barbershop in Hong Kong. He can share his experiences of the Japanese occupation, or just give you a copy of Playboy.
Don’t talk about where you went to college, but do talk about where you got your haircut.
Learn how to fly-fish.
Even if you hate fishing, this one is a must. You can’t be a man if you don’t fly-fish.
No selfies. Aspire to experience photo-worthy moments in the company of a beautiful woman.
Never have your picture taken with an ugly woman.
Own a handcrafted shotgun. It’s a beautiful thing.
Sticks that go boom are manly. But not as manly as how real men shoot skeet.
There’s always another level. Just be content knowing that you are still better off than most who have ever lived.
This is actually a good one. I guess that makes two.
You can get away with a lot more if you’re the one buying the drinks.
Spread around that cheddar and it’s a license to douche.
Ask for a salad instead of fries.
Fries are for the weak.
Don’t split a check.
Sharing is for the weak.
Pretty women who are unaccompanied want you to talk to them.
No matter if she’s got her nose in a book with headphones on and refusing to make eye contact, the fact that she’s alone means that what she really wants is for you to clumsily start making comments full of sexual innuendo directed at her. That’s what real men do.
Cobblers will save your shoes. So will shoe trees.
I don’t have shoe trees. Guess that means I’m not manly.
When a bartender buys you a round, tip double.
Tipping double on free is … Wait, what?
The cliché is that having money is about not wasting time. But in reality, money is about facilitating spontaneity.
Some antonyms for “spontaneous” are: deliberate, premeditated, planned and intended. That means poor people are poor on purpose.
Read: Don’t be poor.
Find a Times New Roman in the streets and a Wingdings in the sheets. She exists.
Because if she’s slutty in public then she’ll get what’s coming to her.
Piercings are liabilities in fights.
Because fighting is manly, especially when you rip the other guy’s nipple ring out.
Do not use an electric razor.
Bleeding from the face is manly.
Desserts are for women. Order one and pretend you don’t mind that she’s eating yours.
Chocolate is not manly.
Buy a tuxedo before you are thirty. Stay that size.
Because penguins never get fat.
One girlfriend at a time is probably enough.
Who cares about honoring a commitment, being a decent guy or not breaking someone’s heart? The only reason to have just one girlfriend at a time is that women are too high maintenance and you can’t handle two of them.
Your ties should be rolled and placed in a sectioned tie drawer.
This is all they care about in job interviews. Experience, education, personality and ethics don’t matter for shit.
Throw parties. But have someone else clean up the next day.
Only poor people clean up messes.
You may only request one song from the DJ.
But you may request bathroom stall sex from every woman in the bar.
Measure yourself only against your previous self.
Yup. This is another good one. I think this makes three. And yet, it contradicts much of the other advice in the article.
Take more pictures. With a camera.
But no selfies.
Place-dropping is worse than name-dropping.
Unless it’s where you get your haircut or make boom-boom.
When you admire the work of artists or writers, tell them. And spend money to acquire their work.
As a writer, I agree. That makes a total of four good ones out of a list that contains … a lot more than four.
Your clothes do not match. They go together.
You tuxedo does not match. It goes together.
Yes, of course you have to buy her dinner.
Because all she cares about is your ability to buy her things.
Staying angry is a waste of energy.
But it burns calories, so your unmatched tuxedo will still fit.
Revenge can be a good way of getting over anger.
But doesn’t “an eye for an eye make the whole world blind”? I guess you won’t be able to see what you’re angry about anymore.
Oh, man this list just goes on and on. And most of it is just more superficial bullshit. I’m done with this stupid list, except for one more …
Read more. It allows you to borrow someone else’s brain, and will make you more interesting at a dinner party – provided that you don’t initiate conversation with, “So, who are you reading …”
This is good advice, but I am surprised to learn that the guys who compiled this list have ever read a book.
Yes, there is some stupid and bad advice in this list, but my biggest complaint is the whole lot of superficial nothing it contains. This is not what being a man is about. There is little in the way of deep thinking going on here, thinking that will prompt any man to actually improve himself in a meaningful way.
I sure don’t have all the answers, but I’ll throw a few links your way that I’ll argue have more substantial advice that what’s in this steaming Goldman Sachs pile.
- My 20 rules for living (for AskMen)
- 16 things you need to stop being afraid of (was republished by Good Men Project)
- How to find (and keep) a girlfriend. (Also republished by Good Men Project.) This is not just for the single man. If you’re in a relationship, there is some good information in the “keep” section.
And if you dig sarcasm, you might learn something from this one too.
James S. Fell, CSCS, is an internationally syndicated fitness columnist for the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and AskMen.com. He is the author of Lose it Right: A Brutally Honest 3-Stage Program to Help You Get Fit and Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind, published by Random House Canada.