“Charm is the ability to insult people without offending them; nerdiness the reverse”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb
I wasn’t sure what to title this post as it’s still a work in progress. Maybe when it is done I have a name. It’s about what occurred to me a few days ago regarding social grace. The rules of charm and social etiquette are universal but have various cultural modifications. An Italian girl may swoon if you kiss the back of her hand when introducing yourself, the Bini girl will cringe and wonder what has gotten into your head.
However, I think some tips can be utilized across both sides of the Atlantic
It is a bit ironic that the most iconic part of a man’s appearance lies at the feet. It is commonplace but underutilized knowledge that you can tell a lot about a man by just looking at his shoes.
Footwear are among the first three things to be noticed about any man ( along with his handshake and his fragrance). They send a message and put you on a pedestal. If possible, have clean, non-torn socks (nothing more annoying than removing your shoes and seeing your big toe poking its head through the window in your socks.) Look for shoes that fit your style. There is a type of shoe for every body type, depending of course of what needs to be achieved and what image needs to be projected. You want to look like a classic man, maybe you should go for some Oxfords. You like something with some versatility, maybe Brogues. Then there are sneakers and loafers and others.Personally, I favour Chukka boots as they fit my evolving style.
No matter what you do, no matter where you stay, have a pair of black leather dress shoes for that special party, wedding or meeting. A man must have a pair of black leather dress shoes.
And for those who choose to wear slippers a.k.a palms a.k.a sandals, you might want to invest in basic skincare and grooming. It is not ‘un-masculine’ to rub Vaseline or body cream on your feet. Nobody (sane) will doubt your manliness if your cut/trim your toe nails every once in a while. Even if you don’t know your way around a scissors, there is probably an aboki in your neighbourhood who will trim your nails to perfection for a very small fee.
You don’t have to wear slippers by Kene Rapu, just have one or two pairs of quality slippers and strut your stuff
And for Heaven’s sake, don’t forget to polish your shoes
2.) Be inquisitive . . .
. . .but don’t be intrusive.
Everybody loves to talk about themselves. That’s Psychology 101. For some, it comes naturally. They’ll almost bore you to death with endless tales of their achievements and/or acquisitions. There’s that thing that is said ’bout empty barrels
Other more refined people will need a bit of coaxing before sharing themselves with you. Man is a creative spirit. There must be an outlet for the products of the mind. There is no such thing as a person who does not like to talk. An individual may not like to engage in conversation at that moment, that place or that current state of mind. However, given standard conditions, they’ll demonstrate the worst case of oral diarrhoea ever seen.
Be genuinely interested in the person. Let them be the expert in something and massage their ego by sucking up their information.
Be quiet, listen more and try to learn and remember more about the other person. I know somebody who had a small exercise book filled with nitty-bitty details he had gleaned from conversing with people. Later, he would call back and discuss their lives with them in a a non-creepy way. It can look creepy or stalker-ish
‘Why do prefer Tecno phones, most people are Blackberry people?’
‘If you could go back to your primary school self, would you do anything differently?’
Be fascinated about everybody
And for Heaven’s sake, if somebody bluntly tells you to butt-off, you had better butt-off
. . . to be continued