Sunday, March 18, 2012

One for the gents, from K. Cooper Ray!

Perhaps you've read about K. Cooper Ray - author of the popular blog Social Primer and the book "Bill of Rites for the American Man" - in GQ, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, or Vanity Fair.

Now you can read about him on Perfectly Polished, thanks to our friend Chelsea Hanson who recently interviewed K. Cooper Ray about dating tips for men.

K. Cooper Ray and Chelsea Hanson

Thanks, K. Cooper Ray!

CH: What is the essential grooming a young man MUST undertake before walking out the door to his date?
KCR: Shower. Shave, comb your hair, brush your teeth, check your fingernails.

If the fellow has allowed enough time to get ready for the date and isn’t rushing around, what are some extra grooming activities?
Make sure there isn't any shaving cream in the crook of your ears. Moisturize your face with a little light lotion, put a little product in your hair, very little. Have a stiff drink so you're relaxed and easy going.

What are your thoughts on fragrance for men on a date: forego completely to be safe (and just smell clean), or is there a certain scent that is universally well-received...any tips on how to apply it without overdoing it?
I like a little scent. It sets a man apart. Brooks Brothers makes a couple of classic scents. Personally, I like their New York Gentleman. It's clean and manly and never overbearing. I also like Marc Jacobs...The trick to cologne is to keep it light. Spritz a little in the air and walk through it. That should do the trick.

Any tips on how to be demonstrably chivalrous in a genuine, not-fakey-feeling way while on the date?
Good manners, if practiced, should appear effortless and natural. Walk to her door to fetch her. Open her car door every time you get out or into the car. Hold her chair and slide it under her at dinner. Stand each time she stands, coming and going. Ask her questions and then listen and respond. Walk her to the door at the end of the night. The kiss, well, that's up to you, but feel the moment. You'll know if she's receptive. And ladies, watch for these things. This is the judge of a man's character. Of course, never discuss any of this. That would be tacky. If he fails, you'll know soon enough whether there is a second date.

Would you suggest a best way to dress for different dates - a casual date, or a sporting event, or a more formal dinner, or going out for drinks?
Oy. This is broad and open to much interpretation, so just stick with the uniform. Navy blazer, white button down, khakis or cords, and loafers or bucks. Never tennis shoes, sneakers, Tevas or flip flops. If it's more casual, drop the blazer, but why? This is still casual and you will always look sharp.

What are some of the easiest dating tips that girls appreciate the most?
Respect. And it comes in many forms. Your attitude, your conversation, your manners, and your dress.

What's the most appropriate way to end a date when the evening may not be over - should you invite her along with your friends or part ways?
A man does not end a date, the lady does. She is his responsibility for the evening. A man does not make any notion or motion that he is ready to end the date. Ever. If he plans on inviting her along with his friends, this should be made crystal clear before they are out on the town. This should be included in the plans for the evening.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Is this the end of Olympic handshakes?

The spirit of friendship

Hand hygiene was the focus of an international disagreement of Olympic proportions – literally.

The British Olympic Association’s (BOA) chief medical officer recently advised against athletes shaking hands with each other at the London Olympics this July, in order to prevent the spread of illness.

However, Australian athletes will most certainly ignore that advice, as the Australian Olympic Committee spokesman Mike Tancred told Agence France-Presse.

“Australian athletes have always extended the hand of friendship and we will most certainly being doing that in London," said Tancred. “For us, someone not shaking hands would be an embarrassment. It's the Australian way.”

Australian athletes, he said, will simply wash their hands regularly and use antiseptic gel when necessary.

If we could, we’d shake Tancred’s hand right now in hearty agreement. After all, handshaking is an integral portion of our curriculum when we train etiquette consultants.

Our trainees in action!

While the origins of the handshake are not completely known, one theory is that it was a gesture of peace—if you were shaking someone’s hand, that meant that the hand wasn’t holding a weapon. In any case, the handshake is a popular greeting all around the world, expressing welcome, friendship, acceptance, peace—all things celebrated by the Olympics.

We understand why the BOA is concerned about germs—the Agence France Presse article notes that “a number of” athletes became ill at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

But consider the advice from the Australian athlete’s medical officer: avoid touching banisters and railings, wash your hands regularly—but don’t avoid shaking hands.

Sounds like good advice for anyone.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Restaurant: no crying kids allowed!

No fussy children here...yet. The night is young.

At some point in your life, you’ve sat near a child pitching a fit in a restaurant. Whether you’re the hapless bystander or the parent desperate to calm your child (and possibly actually eat something), you know that it doesn’t make your dining experience a pleasure.

One pizza restaurant in Atlanta is trying to eliminate the more extreme cases of juvenile misbehavior with a note in the menu.

After a patron was apparently hit in the head by a toy flung by another person’s child, Grant Central Pizza management wrote the note, which reads: "GCP is proud of its reputation as a family restaurant, a title that we will work to keep. Unfortunately a number of our diners have posted unpleasant experiences because of crying and unsupervised children. To ensure that all diners have an enjoyable lunch or dinner with us we respectfully ask that parents tend to their crying tots outside."

Are you a fan of such a policy? Do you think it goes too far? What if you’re a parent – would a note like this make you feel more or less welcome at the restaurant?

We don’t expect parents of young children to give up restaurants. Sometimes it’s impossible to get a babysitter. Sometimes, mom and dad want to — gasp — eat as a family out in a restaurant. Children can be unpredictable, of course, so here are our tips to ensure an enjoyable dinner out with the family.

Go earlier than later. Children, like many adults, get cranky when tired. If you want a more pleasant mealtime (and easier bedtime later), eat at the early side of dinnertime.

Pick an appropriate place. “Appropriate” depends on your family’s taste, budget, and lifestyle — it doesn’t necessarily mean a fast food restaurant (although it certainly can). Mostly, it means a place that has a menu you like and a family-welcoming atmosphere.

Be prepared. If your child has a large appetite, offer a small meal before you go to the restaurant. If you aren’t sure the restaurant serves food your child will eat, bring a small, unobtrusive snack, like peanut butter crackers or dry cereal. We do not recommend bringing in outside food to an establishment except in the case of very small children. We don’t think any server will mind a toddler eating Cheerios, especially if it keeps the child occupied and happy. Similarly, pack a small treat bag to keep small hands busy — we recommend picture books or a few small toys that are easy to keep track of throughout the meal.

Don’t push it. Children have a knack for keeping us on our toes, and often their most dramatic tantrums occur suddenly at the end of an otherwise perfect evening. Are things going well? Great! It’s time to make your exit. Get that dessert to-go and eat it at home to celebrate.