Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Things every guy should own.

1. A leather flight jacket. Either an A-2 or a Navy G-1. They're expensive but buy once and cry once. They last for decades, probably a lifetime as they NEVER go out of style. They run snug so get one a size or two bigger so you can wear a couple layers under it in the winter. 
Also, get a name tag and maybe a couple patches sewn on to personalize it and keep it from disappearing. When you do this find a shoemaker that knows what he is doing and splits the zipper and sews the patches directly to the leather itself. Sewing through the inside liner will make the jacket self-destruct quickly. Trust me on this one. Buy this one new unless you can get one that's virgin. The real good ones are made by San Diego Leather. The SDL models have a deeper inside pocket that can hold a 1911a1 GI .45 if necessary. Incidentally it takes about ten years to break one of these in right. 

2. A tweed sports jacket, preferably grey. A Harris tweed is a good way to go. They last forever and never seem to go out of style. They're great for those 'not quite a tie' events and you can put a tie on if you want to. This need not be expensive. A 'gently used' Goodwill find works just fine. This can be worn with everything from jeans to nice slacks.

3. Keep at least 2 pairs of khaki and a pair of plain black trousers on hand, a plain front and a pleated front. Khakis are great for semi dress-up events and again, never seem to go out of style. Goodwill gently used is just fine.

4. Suits. I won't get too deep into this except to say that if your job requires you to wear one then have several. Buy them by fashion and style and NOT by fad. Buy them so they will last a few years and not go out of style after a single season. 

People will notice a faddish suit. If you are in a position where you are dealing with someone else's money they will be taken aback as it is an indication that you don't spend your money wisely. Fad is pimpish and people spot this. Buy new, especially if you are in the business world and don't cheap out on quality. 

If you are like me and do not have an eye for style find someone to help you. In my case I use my kid sister. Maybe by now when you read this you sisters can be helpful. If not go to the nearest Brooks Brothers outlet and find someone there that knows what you want. Tell him you want a suit you can hang in the closet for five or six years and then don without having it say, "'Saturday Night Fever' called. They want their suit back."

Don't be bashful about having someone help you select a suit or dress up outfit. You ain't the Lone Ranger here. Most men have an atrocious sense of style. You can bet your ass that guys like Donald Trump don't pick out their own outfits. The have someone else that knows clothes do it for them.

5. A Zippo lighter, spare flints and a can of fluid. Yeah. I know you don't smoke, just get one anyway. Leave it in a drawer. Make sure it is a real Zippo. You'll know when to carry it. A garage sale or Goodwill for a buck or two will do just fine. Just get one. While you're at it, get a cigar cutter and throw that in the drawer next to the Zippo.

6. A genuine US Navy pea coat. Get it big enough to wear comfortably over a suit. You can wear this with jeans, a suit, whatever and they last forever if taken care of. 

7. Hats. A genuine Navy watch cap, a decent fedora and a wide brimmed western hat. The latter is great for outdoor events in the summer. A straw western hat is good for hot, sunny day summer events and is socially acceptable just about anywhere. So is one made of felt. If you go with a Western hat of real felt one buy one of good quality. A fedora can make you just about anyone you want to be.

8. A decent wallet. Nothing expensive or fancy. Your choice, leather or nylon. I tried nylon for a while and returned to leather. I pick mine up on Turnpike rest area leather kiosks and they last me several years. Incidentally guy's wallets become a catch-all so plan on cleaning it out every so often. Nothing like getting rid of those scraps with a phone number and no name on them. You also accumulate plastic so get rid of those cards when they go out of date.

9. A half-pint gentleman's flask for sneaking liquor into dry weddings and other events. Even if you don't drink it is a good thing to have even if you only use it once or twice. Learn how to hide it in your sock. Remember, this list isn't for when you're in high school. It's for when you get out of college. Don't get any bright ideas until after you're out of college. Underage drinking is a bust and the world does not have a sense of humor anymore. 

Incidentally, women see things like Zippos, cigar cutters and flasks as potential that you're going to start smoking or closet drinking. Even if you're not. The first time they see these items tell them to keep their meat hooks off of them. If you don't they will try and save you from yourself by throwing them away. Trust me on this one. Tell them if they throw them away you're going to replace them with more expensive models. If they do throw them away be good to your word. Show them the receipt and after the wailing and gnashing of teeth is over they will likely leave them alone.

10. Shoes. 1 pair of GI low quarters, one paid of cordovan 'beef roll' penny loafers and one pair of western boots in addition to the shoes you need for work and play. Also if you don't work outside, have one pair of decent outdoor hiking/work boots. Think comfort and utility here. If you do work outside this will take care of itself. Also get a shoeshine kit with at least 3 colors of shoe polish, black, brown and cordovan. Learn how to shine shoes to a mirror finish. People DO look at your shoes. The western boots should be natural but keep them clean, oiled and brushed.

11.  At least one pair of 501 button fly Levis blue jeans. The John Wayne originals. Not Wranglers or Lee Riders, but Levis. You're an American. Be able to look like one. Enough said.

12. Two western shirts, one blue denim the other in a plaid of some sort and a western tooled leather belt with a big buckle. Every American male should be able to go to a rodeo without looking like they just got off the the subway in downtown Manhattan.

11. A COMPLETE set of dinnerware, service for 8. Learn how to set a table properly. Learn which fork to use for what. Ask your dad.He was an Army officer and I think they still send officer candidates to knife and fork school. If not, go on line and FIND OUT. 

A gentleman should be able to appear to be comfortable in a bar, strip club,  waterfront dive, five star restaurant or embassy ball. He should be able to sit next to the President for dinner and be just as comfortable and not embarrass himself or his host. Present White house occupant excluded. If President Obama asks you to dinner start a food fight. I would. 

Don't worry, when you don't have distinguished guests over you can still eat out of the GI mess kit using the utensils you stole out of restaurants when you were in college. Drop by sometime when I am eating and you'll see I do.

12. A P-38 can opener attached to your key ring. You'll find a million uses for it from opening cans to cutting tape on packages to God only knows what. I've had mine since about 1963 and I'm still finding uses for it. I might have a spare. I'll try and dig one out for you. 

13. One switchblade knife, West Side Story type. Never bring it out of your home. Use it as a letter opener. They are illegal in several states but there is a special satisfaction of snapping one open to open a letter. I don't really know why I put this on the list but get one anyway after you get out of college and have your own place. Keep it in a drawer and out of sight. These seem to disappear if kept out in the open.

14. Every gentleman needs a cat and a dog of some sort in his life. They don't have to be the actual animals, they have to have their personalities. You need a dog to lick your hand and a cat to remind you that you are not as important as you think you are. 

In short you should be able to be the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and, after planning an invasion, be able to come home, see the floor needs mopping and mop it.

If you can not afford a dog and a cat, get a cat.

15. A few basic Winsdor button down collar shirts. At least 2 whites, one powder blue, and one that is soft pink. It you are going to wear the pink shirt with a necktie, the necktie should be a flat black.

16. Firearms. You should have four firearms in your home. One is a large caliber pistol for basic home defense. A 1911 or maybe an old school double action revolver is suitable. For home defense backup a pump 12 gauge shotgun is desirable. In addition to these two, a pair of rifles is good to have for SHTF (Shit Hit The Fan) or TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) Incidentally, these are 2 different situations. SHTF is short a short lived situation. TEOTWAWKI is  long term. A scoped .308 hunting rifle and a .22 LR rifle will be helpful in this case. Having a half-dozen bricks of .22 on hand isn't a bad idea.

If you decide to carry concealed a small .38 caliber revolver with a 2 or 3 inch barrel is ideal. Carry it in such a way as to not be asked to see your permit. (which you should have) Concealed means concealed. Don't advertise you even own any firearms to anyone, even your friends. People talk.

17. A bug-out bag. You know what to pack in this. I don't have to tell you.

18. Cast iron cookware, an 8 and 10-12 inch skillet along with a Dutch oven of appropriate size. These can be used to bake with and if taken care of will last several lifetimes. My 10" skillet is probably over 100 years old. Learn to cook on cast iron. If you learn to season a pan it will work as well as Teflon.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

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