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LEARN TO COOK AND CLEAN

CHEW LIKE YOU HAVE A SECRET

There is nothing cute about being incapable of handling a stove or a washing machine. Acting like cooking or cleaning is some skill beyond mastery suggests one is either too pampered to care or too stupid to learn. Neither is a particularly good look. No one is asking for master-chef-level food prep or hospital-quality cleanliness—just a mature, capable approach to two of the most basic necessities of life.

It really should be self-evident that no one wants to see what you’re eating as you’re eating it, but we do live in a period where many feel compelled to Instagram their daily lunch or dinner. So, for those stubborn few who remain unconvinced: No one wants to witness your firsthand consumption of food. It’s unappealing, unappetizing, and gross. Let the animals lick, crunch, and gnash from a bowl on the floor. Your teeth were thoughtfully covered by lips and a mouth. Use them.

SAY PLEASE AND THANK YOU

THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK

Gratitude and appreciation—mixed with actual, genuine humility—never go out of style. Remembering to say “please” whenever you ask and “thank you” whenever someone gives is critical to creating the kind of polite society we all like living in. This is the deepest root of all manners, and it’s taught to the youngest of children. If they can learn, so can you.

You’ve got a great comeback that will make everyone laugh…but it might be inappropriate. Or in poor taste. Or hurtful. Before tossing it out, how about pausing for a second thought? Sure, someone may beat you to the rhetorical punch, but learning to hold your tongue is a life skill like no other. In fact, it remains the easiest way to accumulate IQ points ever created.

RESIST GOSSIP

BE WELL-GROOMED

It’s tough to avoid that latest bit of dish, that small tidbit of “news” followed by the verbal march up and down the absent person’s life and times. But you must try. Like most bad habits, a penchant to gossip says far more about you than the person you’re sniping on. Best to keep your comments closer to home, like focusing on your own actions instead of the (supposed) ones of others.

Yes, we live in a time where elaborate shavings, serial piercings, and face tattoos are no longer the exclusive province of convicts or sideshow performers. However, that doesn’t mean personal grooming has ceased to matter. Scruffy beards, dirty faces, grimy teeth, or hair left oily and stringy still remain public no-nos. No one is suggesting a full makeover every time you leave the house, but taking the time to have fresh breath, trimmed hair, and groomed features tells the world you still care, at least a little.

DRESS LIKE YOU CARE

BE ATTENTIVE

GO EASY ON THE ALCOHOL

It’s not entirely clear if it was the passive acceptance of flip-flops as valid alternatives to shoes or the universal adoption of yoga/ sweatpants as legitimate daywear, but few appear to spend more than a split second deciding how to clothe their body from day to day. Everything is either far too tight or way too loose. Clothes that are structurally formless might be great to sleep in, but they do nothing for your daily appearance. Invest in quality, tailored clothing and take the time to wear it just right. You’ll still stand out, but for the right reasons this time.

More than ever, the ability to be fully in the moment—and attentive to those you are with—is stunningly attractive. To be constantly distracted by a smartphone in your purse, on the table, or in your hand is both a personal failing and the ultimate in rudeness. True moments are precious and few; you deserve to exist fully in as many of them as you can. That message will always remain on your phone because a text can sit literally forever. An actual, genuine moment cannot. Choose wisely.

The sight of anyone puking is bad enough, but even the sloppily drunk guy or gal at the bar is a turnoff to all but the pervy predator. Up your game by moderating your use of alcohol. Knowing when to slow down (and eventually stop) will do you more personal favors than you can ever count. There is never a circumstance or situation where someone looked back and truly wished, “If only I drank more.”

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BELLA New York: The January/February Men's Issue featuring Sebastian Maniscalco  

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