Helping Your Man (and Men in General)
with Beauty & Fashion Without Offending Him
If the guy in your life thinks that the height of fashion is a sweatshirt without a beer logo on the front, you may be facing some challenges when it comes to taking him to parties or other special events. And the fact is, even a man who’s smart and funny and kind, perfect in every other way, can sometimes use a little update in his wardrobe. Unfortunately, sometimes men can be sensitive about being asked to change their physical appearance, even if it just means wearing a different shirt. Face it: you can lead with gentle encouragement or try to make him do it your way. If you’ve been around a man for more than five minutes, you probably know what works best! Follow these tips to help your guy look his best – without hurting his feelings or his pride.
- Buy a nail brush and put it beside the sink.
Guys (and gals) get their hands dirty, and a nail brush works wonders.
- Slow down the shave to save your skin.
Most guys shave like they’re trying to get away with a crime. They look in the mirror as little as possible, and so they hack themselves to pieces. They don’t change the blade often enough (or the razor in the case of disposables), they don’t soften the beard adequately, they fail to lather up nicely, they shave against the direction of the hair, and they rush. Shaving habits form in the late teens, and most men don’t see the reason for changing them. You can try asking him to slow down, implying that when he takes his time, his face is smoother and more fun to kiss. Wait for his current can of 99-cent cream to run out and replace it with good shaving cream. If he asks why you changed his brand, don’t say, “because it made you smell like my grandfather and stuck to the sink like glue,” tell him the new stuff is supposed to be good for men’s skin.
- Get him a decent haircut (they will use scissors).
It may mean getting him a gift certificate to a great salon to start with and honest compliments afterwards. If you like him in short hair, let him know his neck is sexy. (And if he has dandruff, keep buying him shampoos until you find one that works.)
- Don’t throw things away from his wardrobe, (that’s disrespectful, and men have favorites just like women do).
Just keep adding new clothes until he runs out of room and throws stuff away on his own.
- If his is ratty, buy him new underwear.
Don’t try to change him from boxers to briefs or vice-versa. There are boxer men and there are brief men, and lately, there are boxer-brief men too. Once a man chooses his style, he has made a lifelong commitment to something he can rely on. If his shorts drive you crazy, you may buy him one of the opposing styles for Valentine’s Day or an anniversary, but it should be presented as a gag gift, not as a seriously considered one. Buy it decorated or in a crazy color, or in silk, so he knows you are not (God forbid) trying to change his preference.
- Buy him new jeans exactly like the ones he currently wears.
The only difference is that the ones you buy won’t be stained or ripped. Again, don’t “replace” anything: just give him the option of wearing something new that’s exactly like his old one (only, it’s new).
- Whenever possible, match what he already wears, with slight, continual upgrades in fabric, quality or fashion.
If you get him a shirt or sweater that doesn’t match something he already has, tell him, “I saw this and thought you’d look sexy in it.” Men are no fools, and will try almost anything to look sexy to women.
- Buy him nice pajamas. Too many men go through life with only the feel of denim and flannel, broadcloth and wool suiting.
Buy your guy silk pjs, or a fabulous robe (men and women are alike in this habit: there are people who wear robes and people who think of robes as the things that hang on the bathroom hook. If here’s a robe-wearer, buy him a plush robe. Otherwise, save your money).
- Get him some color.
Lots of men fear color and avoid it. Manufacturers know this, so the majority of off-the-rack menswear comes in various shades of gray and brown. Add bright things to his wardrobe little-by-little to keep him from going into shock. Start with things that match his eyes (and point out that they do). Add bright colors in details, like socks, ties and scarves. Ask him if he’d consider wearing shirts that are pink, yellow or lavender, and if he says yes, buy one and see if he wears it.
- Don’t even try to get a man to wear scent if he doesn’t already do it.
Like the underwear question, this is a decision a man makes early in life, and it seems to be connected to his sense of himself as a sexual being. Frankly, many straight men think that cologne/aftershave calls into question their heterosexuality. Many men, straight and gay, believe that a man should only smell of man-smells, and while most women would call that rank (pardon the pun) arrogance, so many otherwise perfectly nice men refuse to anoint their bodies with oils, all we can do is shrug and give in.
- If he looks like a slob and is utterly, stubbornly refusing to make even the smallest change, switch to psychological warfare.
Most men are horrified at the idea of being called a girl, so much so that they don’t think logically when a woman says, “Geez, I just thought you’d like a shirt that doesn’t make you look like a mushroom: you don’t have to act like such a girl.” This should only be used with men who are not being reasonable to start with, as it relies on their fear of being “a girl” and not on any other rational basis. By calling a man a “girl”, you can often get him to do things he would never consider doing otherwise, but you are also being manipulative and a little bit mean. Then again, a slob who refuses to change but expects you to put up with him probably needs a good psychological kick in the ole’ boxers – umm, briefs.