The world never stops turning, and as men we should never stop improving, evolving and trying to make better sense of the world. We should also spend quite a lot of our time becoming more well-rounded and interesting as human beings while we’re at it.
All of which leads seamlessly to this very simple guide. Follow it to the letter, and you will be intriguing the pants off people (figuratively and probably literally) in no time. You’ll see.
Order Food You Might Not Usually Go For
Were it not for more interesting and intrepid culinary adventurers, we’d all be on a staple diet of beans on toast and cheese sandwiches. In this day and age, there is nothing sexy about a guy eating from the kid’s menu (even if he’s doing it ironically).
So be fearless, take your palate to the seaside, let the addition of chilli play bongos on your taste buds. Try cheese that isn’t cheddar – even the stuff that smells like an old trainer – and conceal your urge to spew when someone tells you what a sweetbread actually is.
Once desensitised, you will embark on a foodie odyssey that finds you brazenly wandering the planet foraging for new sensations like a naked Gordon Ramsay.
Get Comfortable In Your Own Company
Nothing hamstrings a man’s ability to seem hot and alluring quite like the whiff of neediness that comes from always having to be in someone else’s company. And, truth be told, despite the welcomed narrowing of the gender divide, it will never be OK for a man to whisper “I just don’t want to be alone tonight” (so don’t try it).
Instead, you need to condition yourself to enjoy being by yourself, to find the hero within who can contentedly sit at the top of a mountain at peace with your own thoughts. Rather than, for example, pacing around your home in a blind panic because you think no one cares about you, wondering whose life you should gatecrash.
Read Read Read
Book shelves, book shops, school books, text books, poetry books, books books. Yes, books are literally (and literary) everywhere. Even the bad ones might contain morsels of knowledge that could ultimately serve you well in life.
Don’t be shy of delving into these strange, tangible artefacts, which are presumably not long for this world anyway. Think about it – there will no doubt come a time when we consume literature by a microchip that transports you into the mind of the protagonist, and what a world that will be.
But for now, go old school – consume, read, become more insightful, look clever because you have a book in your pocket. Reading doesn’t just boost your vocabulary, either, it makes you more analytical too. Can’t say fairer than that.
Listen To Different Kinds Of Music
As a general rule, people tend to stick with the music they grew up with because it becomes evocative of a much simpler time – a time when they weren’t burdened by the anxieties that infect the human mind as it graduates through life, getting steadily older.
So they unwind by playing extravagant air guitar to Queen, or by rapping along in a mirror to Eminem. Or, if they’re a bit older, they might banish their troubles to the backwaters by secretly shuffling through a couple of Spice Girls numbers. But the point is this: in reality, you never stop evolving, you never stop making memories, so you should always be investigating new sounds. Then one day you can listen back to those through rose-tinted hearing aids too.
Your eclectic music knowledge will also paint you as curious and well-rounded, and that’s the most important thing, right?
Don’t Overshare Your Life
For all that is great and good about the internet, it has also tapped into our latent and humongous shift towards universal narcissism. Suddenly we are all the stars of our own life story, and if you buy into it wholesale, any sense of mystery will be exploded away as you treat the world to your every waking thought.
So, step back a bit. Dip a toe in from time to time, but also challenge yourself – see if you can eat a whole meal without Instagramming your starter, or if you can go to the gym without Snapchatting a picture of your flushed cheeks and your bulbous muscles. See if you can make it through an entire Friday without telling Twitter that you’re glad it’s the weekend (perhaps just assume that most people feel the same?).
That way, you’ve retained some mystery, and mystery is essentially what makes us seem interesting.
Take Up Interesting Hobbies
Here’s a short list of things that don’t count as ‘hobbies’: going to the cinema, going on holiday, going out drinking, having a nap, procrasturbating when you should be working, making yourself a sandwich. Those are merely distractions.
A hobby, on the other hand, is something that you consider, you weigh up, and then you take up with half a mind on self-improvement and the other half on keeping yourself honest and interesting.
If you want to explore your creative side, try things like painting or creative writing. If you’re after a change of scene after a long week at work, how about climbing or sailing? Even fishing, though so boring to the naked eye, is rich with interesting little details. Though, as a side note, you should possibly avoid embarrassing fads like street dance or overly-competitive Frisbee – too childish, and they won’t do much to elevate your core brand values.
Find Your Style And Stick With It
Strangely, an over-eager attention to the changing winds of fashion can actually work against you. You’re telling the world that you are easily manipulated by passing whims, that you are weak willed and uncertain, and that you will do pretty much anything to appear relevant. At best this suggests that you don’t know your own mind. At worst it means you’re not to be trusted, that you’re too fickle, too likely to leap onto bandwagons, a possible betrayer of friendship.
Instead, be strong – find your style and cling onto it like it’s a lamppost in a tornado. That’s not to say you should get into a style rut. Just know what colours, cuts and general clobber work for you based on things such as skin tone and shop accordingly.
Others will respond to you positively, and they will admire your dedication to a ‘look’. Just don’t make that ‘look’ anything too polyestery.
Make A List Of Things You Want To Do (And Do Them)
You’ll often hear boffins (with their university degrees) talking up new-fangled philosophies and practices like ‘positive visualisation’, where you basically imagine great things happening to you and then they do. Or advocating ‘mindfulness’, which is similar in some ways, but ultimately less expectant.
Whether these things work or not is debatable. But, making a simple bucket list of achievable goals is a great idea because it keeps your mind focused, and it means you might have some answers when people ask you questions about life. Don’t be the guy with nothing to do and no place to go.
See As Much Of The World As You Can
There was a time when travelling the world took a lifetime of hard graft and dedication, but now you just scrimp for a bit and you’ll be on the other side of the planet in no time.
To past generations, the level of access we have now would be genuinely unfathomable, so doff a cap in their direction by making the most of it. Expose yourself to different cultures, get a taste of how other people live, express yourself on the dancefloor, try the neighbourhood moonshine, kiss a few locals. It’s more immersive than just ‘going on holiday’ – there’s plenty of time for that later.
Listen To Other People
Opinions are like onions – great in small doses, but the more of them you have, the more your breath starts to stink, and that can be a real turn off.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t have any. After all, free minds and free speech are what set us aside from the apes. But you don’t want to be the guy ranting from your social media soap box, reeling out reams and reams of political theory despite, and this is the really important bit, not being a politician yourself. It can get tiring, irksome even.
Instead, aim to be thoughtful, listen to what everyone has to say, and then make your own informed decisions based on the conclusions you’ve come to in your own mind. Be comfortable with them, and, for the most part, see about keeping the majority of them to yourself.
Don’t Stick To The Tried And Tested
According to various reports and statistics, taller people are more likely to take risks than shorter people. And, in general, people who take risks are happier than people who don’t.
This information largely explains why the beanpole footballer Peter Crouch has always come across as one of the sport’s more contented spokesmen. It also suggests that you need to enjoy the risk you’re taking, to relish the throwing of caution to the wind, and grabbing life by the chops. At least that way, if you do make a little mess of things, you can shoulder the burden and forgive yourself for at least trying to make life better on your own terms.
And by the way, please don’t take this as an excuse to have an affair – that’s not what it means. Affairs are always a bad idea. You’ve seen Fatal Attraction.
Get A Signature Accessory
At the start of the millennium, a few godawful ‘how to pick up girls’ handbooks emerged, and they’d endlessly drone on about how you should set yourself apart from the crowd by wearing a ridiculous item of clothing.
The logic here was that it would stick in girls’ minds, and make you memorable and alluring in some way. This, henceforth, pre-empted a spate of nervous virgins wearing garish things such as elaborate capes in a bid to get laid as fluidly as possibly.
Point being, you don’t want to go that route, but aligning yourself with a nice accessory or two, just to subtly elevate an outfit, can pique the interest of those around you in the right way. A tasteful watch, some decent socks, a nice belt. We’re not talking skull rings and soul patches here.
Get A Favourite Cocktail (And Learn How To Mix It)
As with trusting your palate to enjoy different types of food, visiting a bar shouldn’t find you immediately falling back on stereotypes and ordering a pint of lager.
You’ll find a range of drinks on offer these days, and thanks to popular TV shows like Mad Men, ordering a cocktail is no longer scoffed at and denigrated in the same way that it used to be. No, the traditionalist voices have been drowned out by the swell of consumers hungry for new experiences.
The best thing is that, with the right ingredients, you can even fix yourself a decent cocktail at home – a move that will make you seem extremely worldly and debonair to anyone paying a visit.
Stay Up To Date With Current Affairs
The thing about current affairs, particularly at the moment, is that you do have to keep up with them. Trump’s ongoing impression of a ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’ Dr Pepper advert, the shit storm that is the UK election. It’s an ongoing conveyor belt of fresh information and unexpected about-turns at every corner, making it your job to keep up.
As with the oversharing, you don’t need to be spouting diatribes to be involved, but you do at least need to be at the table. Else you risk being an empty shell.
Trace Your Ancestry
We are all made up of a rich historical tapestry that can span multiple continents and races, and modern technology is such that you can now trace your roots back to the beginning of time (or near enough).
So no more talk of being ‘half Irish’ or ‘a third Jamaican’ – you can now get some startlingly exact fractions making up your heritage and have something to talk about on dates. Unless a quarter of you is from somewhere like Norwich or Stoke. Keep that to yourself.