I don't agree with him 100%, obviously, because he and I come from different places and move in different circles - and, TBQH, the brothers have historically been more concerned with looks and style than us sloppy-ass functionalist Black Irish.
1. A Watch
Not just any old watch, but one that speaks to your personality. A watch indicates that you value your time and that you make the most of it. Unless you're retired, you should be wearing one.
I wear Dad's old Timex. Simple. Basic. Accurate.
2. The Truth
If it's the Bible or the Koran or the Constitution, somewhere in your possession you have to have a representation of the highest truths you believe. Not having that is almost as bad as not knowing what time it is.
I have a copy of the Catechism.
3. Hand Tools
A basic set of hand tools says that you're useful and you try to fix things rather than just throw them away when they get broken.
Right now this is down to a Phillips screwdriver, an Allen wrench and a roll of duct tape.
4. A Notebook/Sketchbook
Some things are worth writing down. The man who ventures outside of his comfort zone will inevitably find something remarkable. Be prepared to relate the experience even if only in reflection. Write it down.
I use the Pixi's sticky note function for this, but I really ought to go back to carrying 3" x 5" Narrow Perforated Writing Pads, which is as close to the old Army tactical notebooks as I can find.
5. A Good Pen
A good pen is for your best signature. Your best signature is your mark, your bond as a man. It's what you write as a witness to your best friend's wedding.
This is what my Parker Stainless Steel Jotter is for.
6. A Ring
A watch isn't jewelry, or at least if you have just one, it shouldn't be. But a ring is. In my book it is the one required piece of jewelry for a man of style and sophistication. Oh yeah, and that's what this is about too. Style and sophistication, as contrasted to pretense and fashion.
When I find another women worth wearing a ring for, I'll put one on. Until then, jewelry is ostentation, and ostentation is pretense.
7. Oxford Shirts
This is the mainstay button down collared shirt of taste. A good one with light blue vertical stripes is practically mandatory. They look great dressed up, they work well dressed down.
I have a couple of these. They're black. All my other shirts are work shirts from Dickies, which are good enough for a business casual office.
8. Black Leather Jacket
I shouldn't have to say anything else. Save up, spend the money.
I should probably get one of these after I've lost another 50-60 pounds. A field jacket sends a completely different kind of message.
9. Wool Sport Jacket
I'm not going to say 'a suit' in this list because if you don't want to have a suit you shouldn't ever put on one. Nothing says phony like a man who hates wearing a suit who is wearing a suit, and a suit should never have to put up with that. But a nice wool sport jacket with a good pair of slacks, oxford shirt and tie is just as good.
Polyester will do.
10. Black hard shoes.
They'd best be wingtips, but a solid loafer is just as good in a pinch. No tassles though.
I don't get the wingtip thing. Assuming my feet hold up long enough, I'll get some black Army oxfords again.
11. Penny Loafers
Preferably brown, but a black pair is lovely too. Actually you should have both.
Haven't owned a pair of these since junior high. I'm more of a Hush Puppies guy anyway.
12. Levis 501
Now your American man's casual suit is complete. You would be surprised how far you can go with combinations of these. If you are in the Ag business, you may substitute Wranglers for Levis, but you already knew that.
I have some black Harbor Bay jeans and some Dickies tactical pants in black and khaki. It'll do.
13. Folding knife
At the very least, a small Swiss Army Knife will do, but a simple Buck knife is a classic. Always be prepared.
Got this covered.
A good real camera is necessary. You should aim to take photographs, not mere snapshots. No selfies. If you ever have a shirtless photo of yourself, you should know and respect the person who took it. Exceptions can be made for graduating classes of lifeguards.
Used to have a Canon AT-1 and took a shitload of pix with it. I should probably replace it. Someday.
Never put books on a bookshelf that you haven't read. If you didn't finish it, give it away. If you just started it and are still reading it, it should be on your nightstand, coffee table, desk or floor. A fake bookshelf indicates a fake mind.
16. Record Collection
While it's perfectly reasonable to have all of your MP3s in somebody else's cloud, a collection is an outward sign of inner sophistication. So keep some vinyl and CDs around. It's OK to mix them with the books if you don't have that many, but have something.
I have one. Lately I've been buying more singles than albums, but that's just the way it goes.
A man with character can imbue an ordinary object with his own masculine mojo. You should possess one special object of no significance of its own except what it represents to you. For me, it's my plastic yellow dinosaur, Rousseau whom I have had since 1987. If you were a close personal friend, I might tell you what he means.
I probably have more McGuffins than is good for me.
18. Family Portrait
Every man should have a family portrait, one photograph or painting that represents family. It might be just your sweetheart or your dad and mom. Maybe it's you and you little brother or your just your spooky great grandfather. This is the first thing you take out of a burning building.
I have a few of these, but they're all in storage.
Whether it is digital or analog, you need your workspace. Pay your bills, correspond with associates, handle your business, feed your mind. Your workspace is sacred.
The current workspace is makeshift; a larger one will be replacing it.
A man who can deal with life and death decisions must put his hand on a rifle, look down the barrel and feel the power and responsibility of that abstract principle made real. It is not the shooting. It is the knowing.
I prefer Masha to a rifle, because I am better at the up close and personal.
A man who doesn't bring his own skillet to a marriage will live in the mortal fear of its shadow. That means knowing how to cook something, boy.
I could cook, but I didn't bring my own skillet. Maybe that's (one of the places) where I went wrong.
They can be hiking boots, cowboy boots, motorcycle boots or steel toe work boots. These shoes for a purpose. Every American man needs to walk at least one of those walks.
jungle boots. At my time and place in life, the Fallschirmjaeger boots I wore on active duty would be pretentious.
The guitar is the American man's quintessential musical instrument and no night campfire is truly complete without one. Learn to strum a song.
Many years ago I was an indifferent musician. Now I sing halfway decently. It'll do.
24. Work Gloves
A pair of work gloves are so essentially manly that I find it difficult to explain if you don't see why it should be obvious.
I used to use my Army gloves for this, since they were laughably unsuited to Minnesota winters. Now I have a couple pair of ski gloves so the frostbite that nailed my feet doesn't also cripple my hands when I visit the Ninth Circle of Hell.
25. First Aid Kit
A box of band aids, Mercurochrome (or hydrogen peroxide), medical tape and gauze. Cotton balls and aspirin. Man that's so romantic I almost want to go injure myself.
I think between my wound care supplies and my medicine box (hell, it's ALMOST a chest) that I have this covered, and then some.
Few things are as annoying as an alcoholic beverage poured into the wrong glass. Life is not a frat party or a camping trip. Put your pilsner in a pilsner.
I don't often booze it up, but when I do, I do it among people who conform to this rule and have plenty of wine glasses. I also have a shot glass and a beer glass for visitors.
You know the right hat for you. When it's past time for you to get to the barber, put it on. You are not Mick Jagger.
I have several of these, to be worn on appropriate occasions.
Because somebody driving in a truck at 4 in the morning thowing a wad of paper at your doorstep was for last century.
If nothing grows around you, and you're not in jail, maybe you just *think* you're not in jail.
Your best friend.
So I'm going to spend the day in a mostly horizontal position helping my legs heal up and repairing the busted POS chair I got from Amazon.