Month: November 2011

ATTENTION LADIES: What a Man Wants… (for xmas)


EDIT: I started this entry before making it through Esquire’s list of 25 Most Stylish Gifts Under $100. After I finished I think a more appropriate title for their list would be “2.5 Gift Ideas and a Bunch of Nonsense I Typed While Stoned and Under Pressure from My Editors to Make a Relevant Holiday List in Order to Meet My Monthly Submission Quota.” – Cougs

Last week we talked about what not to buy me (or any other guy) for the holidays. Let’s recap: Socks, cologne, underwear featuring Sponge Bob…you get the picture.

So then the question became, well what do we want? I said keep it simple and give from the heart, but that’s because personally I love to be as aggravating and ambiguous as possible.

Thanks to Esquire Magazine I can dodge the bullet and instead just recap their ideas with general amusing op-eds of agree or disagree.

Without further ado, Esquire’s 25 Most Stylish Gifts Under $100 (with commentary)…

  1. A Coffee Maker: Agreed. A simple and useful idea that saves lives.
  2. A Christmas Sweater: Disagreed. Their example is a $70 JC Penny brand. A., since when is anything worth buying for $70 at JC Penny? and B., No. Christmas sweaters are bought at Goodwill for $5 or stolen from your cat lady aunt. Meow.
  3. A Shawl-Collar Sweater: Agreed. Caveat, will he willingly wear it? If you’re buying me gifts then this goes in the yes column. Keep in mind, I’m not your average guy.
  4. A Real Game: Disagreed. Their example is Dominoes. Dominoes were cool when I was five, and only when knocking them down. Do not spend $50 on a game that only enjoyed by old men in Harlem and destructive five-year-olds.
  5. A (Real) Candle: Disagreed. No one…repeat, no one needs a $95 candle. Invest in Glade and $4 tealights from IKEA. Trust me the latter will get you laid way more than anything that smells like Irish Tweed. I’ll happily be the amateur with $91 more in my pocket and my apartment won’t smell like I’m an asshole.
  6. A Card Case: Agreed. There is no excuse for the fat wallet sticking out of your back pocket. You do not need those five unclaimed Subway Club cards with one stamp on each of them. I’m not a fan of the snaps, but to each their own.
  7. A Pair of Sunglasses: Agreed. Although shades are a matter of personal taste, so take your man and let him pick out his own. Tortoise rims if you want him to looks like a yuppie from Manhattan. Black rims if you want him to look like a hipster from LA. Pick a coast. Oh, and gold rims only if you want him to look like a drug dealer.
  8. Gloves: Disagreed. I don’t care how useful they are, no one is going to get excited about receiving a pair of gloves. Unless you’re dating a serial killer.
  9. Some Mittens: Disagreed. “For sheer warmth, mittens are underrated. Especially if they also turn into gloves.” See above. And then send the writer of this piece a pair of mittens, lotion and a blow-up doll.
  10. A Vest: Disagreed. “It’s the kind of thing a man won’t buy for himself, and it’s easier to figure out than, say, an entire coat.” How about you just buy me AN ENTIRE COAT? Something classic, that has sleeves, and DOESN’T SUCK.
  11. A Pair of Boots: Agreed. These wingtip snow boots are winter time winning.
  12. A New Cologne: Ding, ding, ding, ding! Maybe the writer should have read my last post before hanging himself. Gift #fail.
  13. …Or This Cologne: What? Did he just used the same gift in for two separate items on the list? It’s nice to see the writer give up so easily. Let’s just hope he’s not salary. On second thought I bet he is…
  14. A Tie: I’m assuming the writer fell asleep at this point…or simply stopped caring. Thanks.
  15. An Organizational Strategy: Disagreed. Yes, I too need something that will help me differentiate between “odds” and “ends” because I too am a complete moron. And no, by “organizational strategy” I’m not looking for a life coach or a gift card to the Container Store.
  16. A New Wallet: Disagreed. How about no wallet over ever carrying a Fossil wallet? Fossil? The staff at Esquire couldn’t find anything better than Fossil for $40??? I’m serious here folks. See #6. Oh, and here…try this instead. You’re welcome.
  17. Some Socks: I am disgusted. I should have guessed this was coming up after the last few gems, but I didn’t want to think it could be true. “These are the kind you want to wear with boots.” *takes subscription notice and throws in fireplace*
  18. A Hat: Agreed. But only because I’m bald and my head needs protection in the winter time. Otherwise this idea sucks just like the last one. “By the time Christmas rolls around, you may have already lost a few. Replenishment time.” Yes, please replenish my dwindling hat supply! More hats please! I lost so many this year from all those downhill bicycle races and speed boating trips I’ve taken. Fuck off.
  19. A Watch: AGREED! Yes, finally an idea that doesn’t make me want to strangle myself. Men need a watch collection. This is a great way to start!
  20. A Scarf: Disagreed. “Tribal, but not too tribal.” Nice try Sacajawea, but how about no.
  21. A Notebook: Disagreed. “Because if you’re going to cross things off your to-do list, you need a piece of paper.” Or I and everyone else in the 21st century will use our handy “to-do” app. Ever heard of “going green?” Probably not…Republican.
  22. Something for the Shelf: Agreed. If you can find something cool, that your man is into and that he’ll proudly display on his shelf, then you’re a better woman than most.
  23. A New Spirit: Agreed. Alcohol is almost never a bad call, unless your significant other is in a recovery program. “From Poland, where they drink vodka even when it’s cold.” When do you drink vodka? During the summer at Cocktails and Dreams? PS, it is always cold in Poland. Racist.
  24. Long Johns: OMFG AYFKM. This list has really tested my resolve not to curse in a blog. I’ve already failed so I’ll let you decode that last one. “Sometimes, the best details are the hidden ones. Also: incredibly warm.” f@#$!@#!!!!
  25. A Flash Drive: “Swiss Army once made carrying a knife cool. They’re now doing the same thing with tech.” I’m sorry, I forgot when carrying a knife was cool. Oh, did you hear? Swiss Army is trying to make carrying flash drives cool! Yay! Because Swiss Army did a great job of making me cool in middle school (insert copious sarcasm). How about I go to Staples and buy a flash drive for $30 less and not care if I lose it or what people think about me for buying a $58 FLASH DRIVE!

God, is buying for us men really that difficult that we can’t even come up with our own list? Lord help you women out there. After reading this I forgive you for the cologne. But not the socks. Never the socks.

ATTENTION LADIES: Things Not to Buy Your Man for Christmas

Fact: I do not enjoy shopping. Surprising, I know. I am a man though and I shop like a man. I know what I want and I go for it.

Black Friday, no thank you.

Black Friday is a train-wreck of capitalist gluttony. Target, Best Buy, Macy’s, Nordies, Bloomies, and Barney’s. Your woman…she’s that passerby that just can’t help but stop and look, thus causing the hours long traffic jam that is our lives during the holiday season.

Now, as all guys will attest to, we often are the recipients of the lamest presents come Christmas (or Hanukkah…whatever) time. It is singularly our fault. Yes, our fault. We try to seem simple, but really we are complicated beings and so are our wants. Hence why we get cologne…and socks. Socks. SOCKS!

So, I thought it might be helpful to provide the ladies that truly love their men with a list of things they may have thought were good gift ideas, but are in fact not.

I consulted other men in the creation of this list, so don’t assume this is all my genius…

  • Socks: Let’s start with the obvious. I have socks. You’re not my grandma, but even my grandma knows that I don’t need anymore socks. Thanks. While we’re at it how about we just avoid all things clothing related (ties, scarves, pull-overs) unless your guy specifically points something out and says, “buy that, for me, for Christmas.”
  • Cologne: Nothing says, “I didn’t try,” (besides socks) like receiving a bottle of cologne. This is not a Christmas gift. This is an insult.
  • Toiletry Kit / Bag: A friend of mine has three of these where I’m pretty sure one, or none, would do.
  • CD / DVD Storage: I laugh at this one. These rank alongside cellphone belt clips, America’s Funniest Home Videos and dial-up modems as things that can comfortably stay locked in the 90s.
  • Hair Care Products: I don’t even have hair, but when I did I’m pretty sure you didn’t know what products I liked, and even if you did I’m not sure how this remotely registers as a “gift.”
  • Themed Boxers: Bananas, Stewie, Snowmen, Sponge-Bob. No.
  • and finally, The Gift Card: Literally the ultimate in “I did not try,” “I do not care,” “I am a lazy POS.” “But Cougar, with a gift card you can buy whatever you want!” …but nothing, I hate you. Besides, there is something like $8 BILLION out there in unclaimed gift cards. Aw, how thoughtful.

*Second Runner-Up: Jesus Plate. This gift, as well as Santa Plate, are only acceptable if Jesus/Santa is black and illustrated by a five-year-old.

*First Runner-Up: A Positive Pregnancy Test. Nope. Inappropriate. In-ap-pro-priate.

The message is simple (for ladies, and the fellas)…give from the heart. Spend more on the experience of opening the gift than you did on the gift itself. Make it memorable. And don’t buy me socks or cologne, ever.

Secrets of the Super-Rich

“You have to pretend you’re 100 percent sure. You have to take action; you can’t hesitate or hedge your bets. Anything less will condemn your efforts to failure.”

“Work honestly and build, build, build. That’s all I can tell you.”

“Love the janitor.”

“If you haven’t got a hernia yet, you ain’t pulling your share.”

“When you’re eighty years old and looking back on your life, you want to have minimized the number of regrets you have. That’s what should drive people. Not how much money they have.”

“My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently unachievable challenges and trying to rise above them.”

“It’s fair for people to question how much a CEO is making. But they should question the companies that fail. In the companies that have a great management team, they should understand that it’s important to compensate great executives.”

“I was walking down Fifth Avenue with Marla Maples in 1991. This was at the peak of the bad market. Across the street I saw a man in front of Tiffany with a tin cup. I looked at Marla and said, ‘You know, right now that man is worth $900 million more than I am.’”

“Perks that help a leader to be more efficient and more productive are hardly perks.”

“Given a choice of being on top or not, I prefer being on top. You want to win. You want to verify your judgment.”

“Money doesn’t make people happy. People make people happy.”

“I love competition. And I want to win.”

hi i was just wondering why didnt you like gaga's workshop @ barneys. i went and it was wonderful!

Hi HausofGiselle…

Its not that I don’t like Lady Gaga or the Workshop…its that I dislike the fact that such an influential retailer such as Barney’s, whose window displays are the stuff of legends, decided to ditch the cherished (and amazing!) Christmas decorations and put their stock in this Beetlejuice inspired Gaga thing.

Gaga is a legend in her own right, but I don’t think she should have been allowed to take over Christmas tradition. Just my take.

Lady Gaga Destroys Christmas

At least at Barney’s New York…

Have you ever flipped through the Confessions of a Window Dress? Barney’s is the Holy Grail of window display…and I love visual merchandising. This is my visual merchandising Mecca.

This isn’t just Gaga destroying Christmas…its her setting fire to it and dancing around with one of her ridiculous outfits on. Chop it up.

So who thought it would be a good idea to replace Santa Claus with Lady Gaga this Christmas Season?

Most people yearn for something exceptional. Something so inspiring that they’d want to risk everything for that passion, but few would act on it. It’s very powerful. It’s intoxicating to want to be around someone so…alive.


Who is Your Favorite Designer?

How about you ask me another mindless open-ended question that you don’t really care about the answer to?

Yes, this question bugs me. It bugs me in the same way that I’ve learned designers hate to be asked, “What is your inspiration?”

It is a platitude in the form of a question. A snub to real conversation. But, in this industry you’re going to hear it more times than not, so you better have a good answer.

It’s funny because, when asked, this question does seem to throw off even the best and brightest of fashionable ilk.

So, who is my favorite designer, or shall I say who are my favorite designer(s)?

Well, I don’t want to overwhelm you, so we’ll start with the names of three, and trust me…they are quite telling.

John Varvatos, Thomas Pink and Ted Baker. Notice, two out of three are labels and not designers themselves. The rationale (and what this tells you about me) is that I am a man of particular tastes, but I don’t necessarily attach them to one singular person. I know how fashion works. I know how little the designs I buy or admire have to do with the namesake, so I prefer to speak of brands over people because the merchandise itself should reflect back to the founder(s) and tell their story of their brand.

All three labels carry menswear with a twist. An edge. Something that separates them from hoards of mediocrity.

Varvatos, Ted Baker and Thomas Pink, all known for the exceptional tailoring, and yet for their eccentricities and edgy designs. Pink being the most classic and safe of the three.

I am classic. I like wearing pieces that are stylish, yet won’t wear out their welcome over the next 10 to 50 years.

I am eccentric. I want you to think something is wrong with me, even if there’s not.

I am edgy. I will surprise you and your norms.

I guess who our favorite designers are really can tell a lot about who we are as people.

Hypocrisy. Oh well.

By the way…without getting into extensive detail, some of my favorite women’s designers/labels are (in no particular order of importance): Tadashi Shoji, Tory Burch, Chanel, Valentino, Theory. Its all about simplicity and a little funk, either in the clothes themselves or in the personalities behind them

The question is…who is your favorite designer?

Neigh, My Dad is a Zebra

This is my dad, he is a very good man.

Sometimes bad things happen to good people, I prefer to say things happen to people, in general.

A few years ago now my father was diagnosed with Carcinoid Cancer. For those who don’t understand what that means (I barely think I do) we turn to Wikipedia:

Carcinoid (also carcinoid tumor) is a slow-growing[1] type of neuroendocrine tumor, originating in the cells of the neuroendocrine system.

Not that that makes any sense, but thank you Wikipedia none-the-less.

Long story short, Dad diagnosed with cancer. Dad has surgery and gets a lot of stuff removed. Dad recovers. Dad in remission. Win. Although nothing is that simple, right?

Now I don’t see Dad very often, and he’s not a man of many words, so much of the information I get comes from Mom. From what I gather though, this cancer and the surgeries, they left Dad a changed man. He sounds like positive happy Dad that I know on the phone, but he’s fighting a fight.

My Mom is also a fighter and she is there each day fighting for Dad. She too had cancer many moons ago, but she had a brand new me to take care of, so she fought the cancer and more-or-less whipped its ass. My Mom, let me tell you, if you didn’t know her any better you’d think she was an angel (insert chuckles). Without my Mom who knows if we would still have Dad. So I am thankful to God, and I am thankful to Mom. We are all thankful for Mom.

Mom took the battle to the streets and because of her the State of Washington, Clallam County and the City of Forks all recognize today as National NET Cancer Awareness Day.

This is a day to celebrate. Yes, its about cancer awareness, but I’m choosing that awareness to be of how thankful I am to have Dad. He is a good man, and as such deserves this day.

Now if you were patient enough to sit through all I’m sure you’re more than willing now to go donate some money. What are you waiting for, GO! —> DONATE

ps, big ups to April McKnight for designing this proud-ass stallion of a Zebra ❤

Know you’ve been hurt by someone else
I can tell by the way you carry yourself
If you let me, here’s what I’ll do
I’ll take care of you
I’ve loved and I’ve lost

Drake – Take Care

I want this. Now.

While I would love a sofa for my new apartment, nothing says domesticated like owning a pet. I can slowly see my life becoming more and more, domesticated. I need this dog. And a bunch of overpriced furniture from Restoration Hardware.