Saturday, March 27, 2010

Flirting 101

This isn't the typical post from The Good Guy, but for those of you who asked, here you go...

Recently, CW 39 in Houston asked The Good Guy, accompanied by Houston’s own Dating Diva, Lori Geshay, to share some tips on Flirting, as part of their on-going series Dating 101. If you missed it live, you can still view the segment here.

Of course 3 minutes isn’t a lot of time, so here’s the info we originally provided the producers, based on their questions. Hope you enjoy.

Flirting Tips for Men

Be Yourself
Don’t try to put on a front and be someone you are not. Use your best attributes, such as humor, intelligence, etc., with out showing off. If you aren’t a good match, it’s best to find out now.

Be Confident
Put your best foot forward and be secure in who you are. Know you look your best. Smile and make frequent eye contact. But, know the difference between confidence and arrogance.

Be Respectful
Be polite, never pushy. Persistence is attractive, to a point. A subtle touch can lead to sparks, but don’t be all hands. Don’t flirt with women who are already on dates, and NEVER flirt with other women while you are with one.

Be Sincere
Tell her what you really think – as long as it’s appropriate. However, don’t just agree with everything she says if you don’t mean it. It’s OK to tell a woman you find her attractive, in the right way. However, “You are so hot!” is not the right way to start a conversation.

Be Observant
Notice the little things – eyes, shoes, jewelry, perfume, etc. Listen more than you talk, and above all else – remember her name.

Be Positive
Have only good things to say.

Be Original
She’s heard it ALL before, so stay away from pick-up lines. Don’t compliment her on the obvious – again, be observant and notice the little things.

How to Know When A Woman is Flirting With You

Is she doing any of the things listed above? Ie, eye contact, smiling, compliments, touching or other positive body language.

Quite frankly, if a woman says just about anything positive to you, from “What a beautiful day!” to “I like your shirt.” and displays any of the above behavior, consider that an opportunity to extend the conversation.

FYI - “You’re blocking the TV.” or “I’m just here with my girlfriends.” Is not an open invitation to begin a conversation.

As always, The Good Guy does not claim to be an expert - and moreover, acknowledges that everyone has their own style - so if you have something to add, please do.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Apparently The Good Guy was right on target when we posted our Primer for The Good Guy a little while back.

In Ellen Rakieten and Anne Coyle’s new book Undateable, reviewed by Greg Morago in The Houston Chronicle this week, they run down a list of traits that will let a woman know right up front just about all she needs to know about a prospective date or mate.

Just a few examples they cited (which The Good Guy already told you were definite Don’ts) include Cell Phones on Your Belt, Crocs, Shaving Your Chest and Sideways Baseball Caps. Items we haven't even had time to get to yet include Soul Patch, Highlights and Taking Your Glove to a Ballgame.

Read Greg’s article for an expanded list of warning signs, or get the complete low-down when you buy the book.

Great job ladies!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Tee Commandments

Spring is here. Your calendar declares it, even as your local weather denies it. Regardless, as warmer weather approaches, bringing with it changes in attitude, style and lifestyle, The Good Guy sees a need to address impending issues, and will begin to do so now, first tackling that most ubiquitous of warm-weather wearables, the t-shirt.

First and foremost, an understanding of its nature and necessity. The short-sleeved t-shirt, or tee, is the most casual item of clothing a man can (or should ever) wear in public, at least on his torso. Tank-tops and shirts with out sleeves should remain the exclusive domain of the 80’s and Nick Lachey. The white, ribbed cotton, sleeveless tank, or “wife-beater,” is called that for a reason, as it’s use as a garment on it’s own has been for decades set aside for the strictly whiskey-tango set, ie. K-Fed, Jersey Shore, et al. But as you are obviously a gentleman of style and distinction, or at least a man with the wherewithal to aspire to be, we shall assume that the basic rules of t-shirtdom are clear to you, and a simple review of the more specific guidelines and perhaps some subtle prodding in the appropriate direction are all that is in order.

How to Wear
To begin with then, let us discuss the appropriate fit. As with any shirt, the sleeve should begin at the outermost edge of the top of the shoulder, not riding closer to the neck nor hanging down over the arm. The short sleeves of a short-sleeved tee should fall somewhere between the middle of the bicep and the bottom of the tricep. Any higher and you risk venturing into capped sleeve land, a strictly feminine (or at least non-masculine) province. Lower, and you lose the opportunity to showcase those upper arms you’ve spent the last several weeks toning in anticipation of boat weather to come. The bottom hem should settle close to two but no more than to three inches below your belt loops. This length insures that, while the midriff is never exposed, except under the most extreme conditions, such as fetching another bottle from the top shelf or a fully-extended frisby grab, you likewise don’t completely cover the upper portion of your lower body – gangster you are not. When in doubt, err on the slightly longer side, plumber’s crack is strictly for plumbers. The general fit should be comfortable, never too baggy, never too tight. A hint for the larger man, who finds that a tee roomy enough to comfortably cover his bulk comes with more than desirable length in the torso and sleeves – your neighborhood tailor will gladly correct that fit for a nominal fee, well worth the investment. And to be fair, a hint to the gym rat who feels that it would be unjust to deprive the opposite sex by not wearing a tee that exposes every detail of his carefully constructed, protein shake-supplemented upper body – it isn’t.

Where to Wear
As discussed, t-shirts are the most casual of casual wear, as evidenced by the fact that occasional overnight guests also consider them sleepwear. Keep that in mind when wondering whether your favorite tee is appropriate attire for a dinner date or night on the town. To make things easy, just assume it probably isn’t. Heed The Good Guy’s words, the days of ultra-casual style, where distressed jeans and over-adorned tees are acceptable social attire are over, whether the stylistically uneducated and unaware acknowledge it or not. Day time outings to the park or patio, sporting events and concerts remain the acceptable atmosphere of the t-shirt sporting, clothes-conscious man. Pair a well-fitting tee with jeans and boots for rock shows, barely-pressed khakis and slip-on loafers for casual afternoon get-togethers, shorts and sandals for patio parties, crawfish boils and the like. Chuck Taylor canvas sneakers are almost always appropriate accompanying footwear, as they are in all of the situations above.

What to Wear
The last several years have produced a proliferation of graphic tees such as the world has never known. And while the opportunity for your attire to announce to the world your position on topics varying from politics to pot, music, movies, sex and other culturally relevant subjects, one must tread carefully. Choose your messages with thought. Vulgarity is never appropriate – wearing a tee with the word FUCK on it is as equally inappropriate as walking around yelling it at every person you see. (And just so you know, FUKC and F!CK also mean fuck, but also mean you are stupid enough to wear a shirt that says fuck, but too chicken shit to back it up.) Also inappropriate are tees adorned with pot leaves or other drug paraphernalia – keep it to your self. However, simple, stylish tees with unique, thought-provoking or truly witty messages are great conversation starters, as are ambiguous yet eye-catching designs, when not over-done. Concert tees have come along way from the 70’s, when there was seemingly an overabundance of jet black cotton in the world. Promote your favorite under-appreciated band, or simply let your friends know that you have better taste in music than they do. In these cases, choose the less obvious designs and colors. Vintage tees are often a great choice, making typically nonsensical choices somehow uber-cool – summer camps you didn’t attend, high-school bands you never played in and concerts performed before you were even born. Avoid however obvious knock-offs and overly “vintage-style” selections that litter the internet and aisles of Target and Urban Outfitters. For a safe, stylish, appropriate and infinitely adaptable choice, acquire a selection of well made, well-fitting tees in solid colors, starting of course with black and white. Vary from crew to v-neck and henley, and look for simple, subtle details such as contrast colored stitching to catch the discerning eye. Pair with patterned shorts or trousers to add texture, and layer under a casual jacket or blazer to dress it up when the situation or temperature requires.

Get Them Here
As discussed, the casual trends of the last several years have led to an over abundance of choices, and t-shirt shoppers should have no trouble finding that just right tee with minimal effort. Here though are a few bits of advice from The Good Guy. While the above mentioned Target, Urban Outfitters, as well as Express, Gap, Banana Republic etc. offer a huge selection of typically well made and often interesting tees, they are also shopped daily by millions, meaning that super-sweet, funny as hell, vintage-looking tee you picked up for $12 to $24 will probably also adorn the chest of 200 to 2,000 too-lazy-to-look further guys just like you. And if you think running into one of them tonight and sharing a laugh and high-five because you are both wearing the exact same tee is cool, stop reading now. As discussed, thrift stores and resale shops are a safe bet for those in search of one-of-kind finds. With a little online browsing, one can easily find a distinct purchase that is reasonably certain to be the only one of its kind within a 30 mile radius at least. Check out Threadless for super selection and frequent updates, visit Etsy to find rarer designs while supporting independent artists, or search out an as of yet under-the-radar, up-and coming favorite like the vintage rock-inspired and thought-provoking Tupelo Grease Co. Or, stay in your own back yard, patronizing local boutiques like Houston’s Hello Lucky for unique and stylish looks created by your neighbors. For unembellished styles, get the good stuff at a premium price through high-end big-box retailers like Neiman’s, Saks, Nordstrom’s and Barney’s, or go basic with online retailers such as Alternative or American Apparel. (The Good Guy prefers Alternative, for both the quality of their products and their lack of boorish advertising and CEO’s.)

And I Shouldn’t Have to Say This, But…

No man, ever, (ever) under any circumstances, (ever) should own a shirt whose design incorporates rhinestones, swarovski crystals or has been otherwise bedazzled. To play it safe, also avoid overly aggressive designs with an abundance of skulls or skeletons and in-your-face tattoo themes. Yes, I’m looking at you Ed Hardy and Christian Audigier, Monarchy, Smet, etc.

As always, The Good Guy welcomes your additional input, comments and contradictions (though in this case, we know we are right - and you probably do too.)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Bet Your Boots

While it’s universally accepted that you shouldn’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes, it’s almost as rote that you can judge a man by the shoes on his feet. The Good Guy will take this notion a step further and introduce the opinion that, unless a man has walked a mile in a pair of honest-to-God cowboy boots, he still has a way to go.

For the better part of two centuries, the American cowboy has epitomized the concept of a real man, and around the world today his footwear of choice is recognized as that of the same. Presidents, politicians, CEO’s, attorneys, rock stars, actors and all-around icons (think T. Boone Pickens to Racehorse Haynes to James Dean) have all adopted this near-timeless tradition, and with good reason – when it comes to putting your stamp on the world, there’s no better way to do it than with a great pair of boots on your feet. However, the kind of boot you make that mark in has a lot to do with the kind of mark you want to make, and the choices of both are seemingly endless.

Pick Your Hide
We’ll begin with the actual materials. The vast majority of cowboy - or western - boots are made of cow hide, chosen for it’s tough but supple quality, versatility and of course abundance. For durability and comfort, you simply can’t go wrong with a really well made pair cow hide boots. Make your pair more unique by selecting something a little more exotic, from ostrich or lizard for texture to elephant or stingray for unparalleled endurance with style. Snakeskin, whether boa, python or rattlesnake, makes a bold statement and requires the appropriate amount of attitude to back it up, which is easily (and all too often) overdone. For the overall ultimate in luxury, the choice de rigeur remains alligator (or crocodile, caiman, etc.) Get yours in black, and go for a texture that’s smoother and more subtle, avoiding the over-the-top texture of the back and tail sections - impeccable from the boardroom to the barroom.

Make Your Point
The next telling point of a man’s boot is the shape of the toe, and there are as many as 12 recognized standard shapes, ranging from extremely pointed (X) to squared (C) or very rounded (W). Original working cowboys boots were given a slight point to more easily slip into a stirrup, and that shape was exaggerated greatly in the 40’s and 50’s, though for purely aesthetic reasons. Most aficionados tend towards the middle of the scale – pointed but not extreme (F or L) for everyday wear, though extreme points and square toes have both gained in popularity with the recent emergence of retro western trends.

Well Heeled
Another distinguishing factor of a man’s boot, and one of the characteristics that make the boot such a great choice in general, is the heel. There’s nothing better than legitimately adding an inch or more to your usual stature – whether you need it or not. And because boots are so often associated with horses, and horses have for centuries been equated with wealth and nobility, the height of a man’s boot heels still retains some connotation of a quality upbringing – hence the term “well-heeled.” As with the toe shape, there are a lot of options to choose from – heels can range from 1” to 2 1/4” and can be blocked (straight) or underslung. Again, the most popular choices tend to range short of the extreme, with a 1 5/8 to 2” heel, slightly underslung, (9) getting the most chances on the dance floor. However, as with toe shapes, the taller and more underslung styles have gained popularity, as they did in the 50’s and 60’s closer to the U.S./Mexican border. Quality heels are made of stacked, compressed leather, usually with a thin strip of rubber on the bottom. The soles of any quality boot are 100% leather. A great, wizened old boot maker also once told me that only a rough stock rider leaves his edges raw or unblacked.

Getting the Shaft

The shaft, or upper portion, of the boot is where you get the opportunity to really make a statement. While this portion of the boot is (and should almost always be) concealed beneath your trousers or jeans leg, the right boot shaft can garner just the right amount of attention when the wearer is seated, dancing, has one foot propped on the bar rail or both crossed on his expansive mahogany desktop during negotiations, worn leather soles facing your opponent with disdain. Start simply with an elaborate colored stitch pattern, take it farther with an altogether different colored shaft, or go all out with one-of-a-kind inlaid or cut-out shafts. Add your initials, brand, or other icons to signify the life you’ve chosen to lead. The top of the shaft, or scallop, also comes in a variety of options.

Regardless of your choice of “manly footwear,” whether it’s a roper style with 1” blocked heel, shorter shaft and rounded toe in chocolate brown ostrich or a buckaroo with massive heels, spur ridges, wide running board soles and featuring your initials above a full house (aces over kings) inlaid on shafts reaching almost to the knee, the over-riding concern should always be quality. For a can’t miss choice, check out Lucchese – made by hand in Texas since 1883. Prowl second hand shops in Houston, Austin and San Antonio in search of the distinctive finish of their calfskin creations, or head to El Paso to select your new pair. Better yet, find a great boot maker in your neck of the woods – someone like Maida’s Blackjack Boots in Houston - and work directly with them to layout your masterpiece from heel to toe, scallop to sole.

And in case you’re wondering – The Good Guy alternates most often between black Justins in kangaroo, with a squared toe, 1 5/8” heel and dark green calf skin shafts with orange stitching, and for special occasions breaks out a pair of Chris Romero black and white cut-outs with pointed toe, 2 1/4” underslung heel and amazing thunderbird shafts, handmade in 1968 and bought second hand in Houston for $120. A pair of bronze Nocona pythons from the 70’s also get a fair amount of screen time.

As always, The Good Guy does not profess to be an expert, but is simply putting it out there. If you’ve got something to add, let me hear from you.