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Gentlemen's Tips

The Rick Mercer Report Stops by The Gentlemen’s Expo

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Hey! Still feeling the aftermath of The Gentlemen’s Expo 2016? We don’t blame you… It’s been a few months now and we still can’t get over how awesome of a weekend it really was.

Luckily, our friends over at The Rick Mercer Report helped us relive the excitement last night on their new episode which features Rick at our annual event.

Check out the video clip below and see what it means to #BeBetter!

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How to Build a Fire in the Winter

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In basically every culture, the story of how humans discovered fire is enshrined in legend. Greek mythology has it that Prometheus stole fire from the gods. According to the Apache, it was a sly fox that was captured it for us. In Hinduism, Agnihotri Brahmans are still keepers of the sacred flame.

Whatever the case, the point is this: fire is, like, stupid important to humans. The ability to build one is what sets us apart from animals, and basically led to our evolution. For ancient man, it provided warmth, protection from wild predators, and a way to cook food. Most importantly, it kept our forbears alive in the unbearable cold. There’s nothing that taps into your primal instincts quite like going full Revenant and spurring some flames in the harshest of climates. If you’ve never built a winter campfire yet, now’s your chance. Yeah, sure it sounds crazy. Crazy awesome.

Make Your Fire Bed

If you’ve already got a built-in firepit, disregard this part. You’re golden, man. If not, you’ll need to do a little work. Look for a spot that’s protected from the wind. If there’s some snow where you are, shovel it aside so you can light this badboy on solid ground. If there’s too much snow to clear away, pack it down tightly so you have a nice, hard platform to lay your base of logs on.

Get Wood

This will likely be the most challenging part — unless you’ve already got a convenient stack of logs gathered for your fireplace. (But really, that’s no fun. Did Leo have a convenient stack of logs to work with? Hell to the no.) You can search various areas of the surrounding woods for fallen timber. Look for wood that’s as dry as possible. Even if the wood is covered in light, fluffy snow, it may still be dry enough to burn. According to science, the fluffy shit has less moisture content. You can check to see if a stick is dry enough to burn by snapping it in half and listening for the audible crack of breaking wood.

Light That Mother Up

You’ll need some extra help for this, because even slightly damp wood is can be hard to set aflame. So make sure you bring some fire helpers from your local outdoor store — things like fire starter cubes, fire packets, fire paste, cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly, or even some drier lint (preferably slathered in petroleum jelly) can be lifesavers when the weather turns wet and cold. Pine needles, pinecones, and bark can also serve as great sources of kindling. Make sure you light the fire from the windward side — that lets the flames travel through your sticks, engulfing them faster. Also, light the fire low; fire climbs as heat rises, so be sure to have your match or lighter touching the material at the base of the fire lay. Don’t bother lighting it at the top; this isn’t a candle, dummy.

Keep the Flame Alive

There is nothing more depressing than watching your flame die out just after it’s begun (figuratively and literally speaking). Surround the fire with any damp logs you haven’t used — the fire’s heat will dry them out and provide an extra stash as the evening goes on. Also be sure to keep a backup wad of tinder (the dry, dead, fluffy stuff, not the shallow dating app) handy, so that when you’re gone, it will still burn on and on and on and on. (But, all Billy Joel references aside, put the fire out once you’re done.)

Written by: Alex Nino Gheciu

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The Ultimate Unconventional Valentine’s Day Gift Idea

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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and that means men and women are scrambling to find the perfect gift for that special someone in their life. The days are long gone where the bouquet of flowers and box of chocolates are socially acceptable. Let’s face it, it’s boring and predictable. That’s why we need to think outside the box.

One could argue that that best gifts are the ones that offer an experience that the two of you could share. Yes – I’m sure there are probably a million and one gift ideas out there of things that are practical and that your boyfriend or girlfriend needs, but where is the fun in that? That’s why we’ve put together an awesome unconventional gift idea that will keep your relationship nice and steamy this Valentine’s Day and for weeks after.

Step 1: Name the gift

Think of something playful and cheeky that will get the person excited when they open it. One Idea I have is to call it: Four Memorable Dates With You And Me but you can call is whatever you’d like!

Step 2: Set a reasonable budget

Depending on how elaborate you want to make this gift, setting a reasonable budget is very important. Let’s say a healthy budget is around $500. It could absolutely be less but remember this gift will be spread out over a couple of weeks and you want to be able to do some really cool unconventional dates with this cash!

Step 3: Pick three, four, or five awesome date ideas and plan to start the first one the week of Valentine’s Day. 

Rage Room Toronto – Date Night ($69.99 + HST) www.battlesports.ca

If you have never been to the Rage Room at  near Downsview Park, you absolutely need to go. It is the perfect way to unleash the stresses of the work week together and it’s a great way to flip the bird at the typical cheesy Valentine’s Day romance that everyone does. Here is a video of what you can expect at Rage Room Toronto:

Dish Cooking Studio – Date Night Cooking Class ($250 + HST) www.dishcookingstudio.com

Dish Cooking Studio offers a wide range of categories to choose from if you’re interested in learning different types of cuisines with your partner. Their cooking classes are set up perfectly to provide an intimate setting where you and your date can learn how to make a 4 course meal inspired by specific culture. Some cooking class themes include: Thai One On, East Meets West: Asian Street Food with a Western Twist, Death By Chocolate, and so much more. Here is a video of Morgan Reilly in rubber mitts at Dish Cooking Studio:

Go-Karting For Two at 401 Mini Indy ($80 + HST) www.401miniindy.com

401 Mini Indy boasts an extra-wide indoor go-kart track and an outdoor track too at their Etobicoke location, with both adult and adult-driven child karts. Take on your partner in a race to the finish to secure the checkered flag and those all-so-important bragging rights:

Toronto’s Festival of Beer Perfectly Paired Package ($85) – Buy tickets HERE

That’s right! Toronto’s Festival of Beer is offering an incredible gift pack exclusively for Valentine’s Day that is sure to get your significant other excited for summer. The TFOB Perfectly Paired Package includes two (2) General Admission tickets to Toronto’s Festival of Beer on Saturday, July 29, one (1) pair of socks from Toronto fashion retailer GotStyle, one (1) $50 gift certificate if you spend $150 or more at GotStyle, and one (1) pair of Yves Martin underwear which is the proud underwear partner of Prostate Cancer Canada. They are even donating $10 from every order of this gift pack to Prostate Cancer Canada! TFOB takes place on July 28, 29, and 30th at Exhibition Place in Toronto. Click the picture below to visit their website:

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Step 4 (Final Step): Grab an awesome card, write something sweet and close it up!

The key here is to spread out these date ideas so the two of you have something to look forward to as you move in to the summer. It’s fun, simple and will give both of you memories that you can keep enjoying throughout the year – and what better way to finish it off than with a great experience at the legendary Toronto’s Festival of Beer. Pretty sweet if you ask us!

 

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Gentlemen’s Tip – Top Tips For Gents By Gents

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We are taking this #BeBetter thing seriously. One part of the #BeBetter movement is to share knowledge, so we’re creating a list of tips to share with Gents all around the world. We want to collaborate with you on this list. We’ve penned a few, but do not think the list is a proper list without your input. Please add to the comments below and we will give you full credit for your submission. Hat tips all around.

Gentlemen’s Tip: Top Tips For Gents By Gents

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14) Be aware of your surroundings and always offer your seat on public transport to elderly folks, small children, people with special needs and pregnant ladies. – Hamid (via Blog comments)

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12) A true gentleman will always acknowledge with a friendly wave of thank you when some one let’s you ahead of them in traffic. – Stan (via Blog Comments)

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10) Be responsible in everything that happen in your life. – Dex (Via Blog comments)

9) Never leave a beer unfinished. – Andrew (via Blog comments)

8) A gentleman raises his voice in laughter never anger. – Gregory (via Blog comments)

7) Always put the toilet seat down. – Ingrid from Toronto.

6) Strive to live up to the Canadian stereotype. Everyone loves Canadians, act like one. – Mark (via Blog comments)

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4) Be great daily – Eric (via Blog comments)

3) Pick up the phone and call your Mom, she misses you. – Tyler (via Blog comments)

2) Always hold the door for others. This is non-negotiable. – Jon from our office

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The Gentlemen’s Expo is the premium event for emerging and established men’s lifestyle products, integrated consumer experiences and on-stage programming that will entertain and educate men.  It all happens November 10-12 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre South Building. Oh, and tickets are on sale right now. (AND YOU CAN SAVE $5 OFF GENERAL ADMISSION TICKETS BY USING PROMO CODE: FIVEOFF) 

Come to #TGE2016 if you are interested in: style, tech, music, sports, cars, alcohol, grooming, sex, food, entrepreneurship, whiskey, beer, spirits, gaming, DIY, wellness, health and more.  Come to#TGE2016 if you want to see great speakers and compelling ATTRACTIONS. Come to #TGE2016 if you want to #BeBetter.

Friday, November 24th – 4pm to 10pm

Saturday, November 25 – 12pm to 10pm

 

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7 Types of Friends Every Modern Man Needs

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If you asked me to describe my friends in one word, I’d say, “Assholes,” but I’d be kidding. Friends are amazing – if they’re not the best part of life, they’re on the very short list.

Good buddies are rare, and true friends will be there through it all, but to avoid disrespecting my fingers by forcing them to type out sappy clichés, I’ll just say this: A good friend looks at you the same way on your lowest day and on your highest. Good friends keep you human, they’re your copilots on this journey, and until we discover aliens with the ability to teleport and fly, the space between a human birth and death is the craziest, most twisted, and beautiful adventure anything in the universe gets to have.

So trust your copilots, appreciate your friends – and if you don’t, start now or get new friends. Here’s my expert, trusted-by-governments-around-the-world, indisputable, and 100% perfect run-down of the 7 friends every modern man needs.

1) Normal*ish Guy

You need this guy. He’s done most things right, kept good grades and has probably landed a pretty comfortable job in a major city. He never went too crazy, but never judged any of his barbarian friends for doing so. Normal*ish guy often fills the role of a soundboard for the rest of you, because he’s probably one of the more responsible people you know your age, and he’s someone you can vent to if there’s drama going on within the group. Now, Normal*ish guy’s got an *ish for a reason. Nobody interesting is ever normal, and even if they seem that way, a personality is just a series of layers and when you peel back enough of anyone’s you’re eventually going to find some type of freak. And that’s awesome.

2) Business Bro

This guy probably had dreams of Wall Street or Silicon Valley. Hell, maybe he’s there right now, but even if he wound up in some less famous place, he’s still a necessary guy to have around. Like it or not, it’s business that makes the world turn, and understanding it is a crucial component of developing any adult comprehension of the way of things. This guy loves his suits, drops names you’ve never heard of, but expects you to be very impressed, and talks about his investments like a proud father. This guy can help you manage your credit, can give you tips on investing, and can probably hook you up with his tailor. And you haven’t lived until your buddy has expensed the crew’s bar tab to his corporate card because his boss thinks he’s meeting with potential clients.

3) Creative/Artistic Dude

Often one of the more misunderstood dudes in the group, but you need him. We could also call this guy ‘spontaneous dude,’ but that’s a symptom of his core condition: his distaste for all things conventional when it comes to a career. He’s got a talent, be it writing, acting, painting or stand-up comedy, and he’ll do whatever he needs to do to scrape a living away at it. Sure, someday the passion might fizzle and he’ll #sellout, but you’ll love him anyway Until then you can’t help but respect him, and maybe cover his tab. Creative Dude is often close with Business Bro because they see qualities in each other they wish they possessed themselves. Business Bro admires Creative Dude’s passion and spontaneity, and Creative Dude covets Business Bro’s security and organizational skills.

4) Ambitious Guy

Whatever this guy’s doing, he’s kicking ass, taking names, and he’s not slowing down the train ‘till he’s at the pinnacle – and even then, he’ll probably drive it right down into a sex scandal or some white collar crime. Grab on to the coat tails, boys, and hold on tight, because you’ll probably be dropping this dude’s name someday. He might be tough to get a hold of sometimes, but don’t worry, Ambitious Guy always keeps his old friends close to his heart. He’s going to have to dodge a million fake friends on his rise to the top, he’ll need you to keep him grounded.

5) Frat Guy

There is no requirement that this guy actually be a fraternity brother, he just generally acts like he was. Whether it’s bringing a beer bong to your house warming party three years after you’ve graduated, or peer pressuring everyone into that one last shot at the bar that leads to the best stories of the night, this guy pushes the limits of what’s acceptable, and that’s just damn fun. He’s probably fallen into a career like sales or recruiting where he gets to put his high energy to use and talk to people all day. Someday he’ll mellow out, but until then let the good times roll.

6) Wild Card

Always pulls the kinds of moves that make the other guys in the group look at each other sideways and shrug. He’ll disappear from a party and you won’t hear from him for days, he’ll show up out of nowhere with a girlfriend you’ve heard nothing about, and he has a different life goal every time you see him. He’s persistent with the ladies, and despite striking out 60 times in a weekend, will always be quick with romantic advice. Wild Cards burn bright, and sometimes they burn out and you won’t hear from them for a year or two, but make no mistake about it, once this guy learns to channel his personality into a specific goal there’s nothing he can’t (or won’t) do.

7) Anchor

Sometimes one of the guys mentioned above acts as the anchor, and other times the anchor will be one dude alone and unto his self. If you and your friends are all pieces of bread, your Anchor is the meat between you that makes you all one big awesome sandwich. He keeps tabs on everyone. Haven’t heard from Business Bro or Wildcard in a while? Call the Anchor, he’ll know what’s up. Anchors come in all shapes, sizes and colors, and they can come from any walk of life, but what they all have in common is they’re the ones that truly understand how awesome your friendship is. He’s the guy that’s not scared to text saying he misses you, or throw back shot after shot, toasting to ‘The Bros’ every single time. Trust your anchor.

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Getting Your First Professional Shave

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Mention that you’re thinking about getting a shave with a straight razor to one of your buddies, and they’re likely to ask why. After all, those kinds of shaves are simply an old-fashioned method that’s been made obsolete by safety razors, right?

It’s true that straight razor shaves are no longer the norm, and that most of us never acquired the skill to do it ourselves. But getting a professional straight razor shave is a uniquely male experience that still has great value in this day and age. In fact, even if you’re confident that you’re getting a great shave at home with your high-tech triple blade safety razor, there are still plenty of reasons to get a professional shave at least once in your life.

It’s a One of a Kind Experience. Chances are when you shave at home it’s a completely functional experience, more akin to a chore rather than something to be savored and enjoyed. But go to a professional for a shave and you’ll get a lot more than just a clean face. You’ll likely start off with a hot towel and perhaps a skin moisturizer to prepare your skin for the shave. Next your barber will apply warm lather, perhaps with a badger hair brush. (You can bet that your shaving lotion at home feels nothing like this.) The totality of a professional shave is a manly experience that for the most part has been forgotten in today’s world. Don’t underestimate how much you might appreciate being able to experience this lost art.

It May be the Best Shave You’ll Ever Get. Your safety razor is certainly safe and easy to use, but that comes at the expense of a close shave. No safety razor will ever be able to match the smooth shave you’ll get from a straight razor that’s drawn across your skin at just the right angle with just the right pressure.

It’s a Treat. “Treating yourself” means different things to different people, and certainly different between men and women. Even if you don’t think you like being pampered, you still might want to consider getting a professional shave – it’s the perfect match of indulgent luxury and unquestioned manliness. And believe it or not, even though you have someone dragging a very sharp piece of metal across your neck and face, then entire procedure can be surprisingly relaxing.

Thankfully, even in an age when businesses are cutting back and refusing to perform any services that might be considered (whether that’s fair or not) the least bit dangerous, you can still find barbers and other professionals will give you a straight razor shave. With affordable and high quality safety razors and that fact that we’re probably in the habit of doing it ourselves, you might ask yourself why bother? The short answer is it’ll probably be the best shave you’ll ever get.

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Fashion vs. Style: Know the Difference

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Most men get confused, intimidated, and overwhelmed when it comes to the subject of dressing (and I don’t mean the kind you put on your salad).

When a man wants to dress better, where does he turn? Unfortunately, most men look to current fashion trends for the answers. The problem with trying to copy what you see in GQ or style blogs is that it sets unrealistic expectations and it leads to men looking and feeling uncomfortable in their clothes. Remember; images in advertisements are highly polished, and the models are pinned and photo shopped. Before you fill your wardrobe with this season’s fleeting fads, let’s consider a more personalized approach…

The Flusserian approach would have you change your question from “what width of lapel are men wearing right now?” to “which width of lapel is right for me?” It really is that simple. Put a portly gentleman in a skinny lapel and the proportions will be off. It’s all about what works for you.

Distortion vs. Proportion

Your individual figure must be taken into consideration. Here are some basic guidelines:

  • Lapels should be half the distance from the base of the neck to the outside shoulder. Anything narrower or wider is considered fashion. Coat length should cover the seat. Wearing trousers as close to one’s natural waist as possible elongates the leg line, which makes a man look taller and slimmer.
  • A man with very short legs in comparison to his torso will benefit from a slightly shorter coat (giving the illusion of a longer leg line). A very tall and thin man will want to use every excuse he can to break up a streamlined look with horizontal lines (balancing the length with some visual width).
  • Someone who still wears a short coat with narrow lapels and low-rise trousers they purchased five years ago, when it was in fashion, will look dated against current fashion.

It’s easy to see how chasing fashion can be a lose/lose game for the consumer; that’s how the industry makes money. The way to break the cycle is by wearing clothes that flatter your individual proportions, whether they’re in fashion or not. If well-made and cared for, these garments will serve you well for decades.

Recast vs. Contrast

You would never put a prized painting in a frame that didn’t complement it. Leveraging the contrast principle is the practice of framing your face with your clothing. Here’s a few tips to consider when it comes to leveraging your contrast:

  • If a medium contrast man has light brown hair, he should wear medium grey suits and a midnight tuxedo. In general; he should wear colors that don’t clash too much.
  • A high contrast man with light skin and dark hair should wear charcoal grey suits and a black tuxedo. He should combine colors on extreme ends of the spectrum (lights with darks).
  • Men with red notes in their hair look best in a fall palette (rusts, olives, reds). That’s not to say he should wear a red suit, but rather something like a navy tie with a little red in it will flatter him.

There’s a lot more to it than that, but the general idea can be summed up by “as above, so below.” If you’ve ever had someone say “that’s a great color on you,” then it was probably flattering for your contrast.

Stale vs. Stealth

There’s a reason why a group of tailors is called a disguisery. A blazer/sport coat/suit coat is the most flattering garment a man can wear. Once you start applying these concepts to your day-to-day routine, people around you will be quick to notice.

The difference between fashion and style boils down to this: Wearing an eggplant designer skinny suit that you saw Joseph Gordon-Levitt sporting in GQ will get you some “nice suit” remarks. Dressing to flatter your contrast/proportion will yield an entirely different type of compliment – it will sound something more like “You look great, but I can’t figure out what’s different.” Which would you rather receive?

Sink vs. Swim

Go into the water slowly before braving the sartorial deep end. You must first learn the rules before you can break them tastefully. Consult with an expert, express your style, let the compliments roll in, and start feeling better with what you wear.


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“Boss” is a state of mind

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I’m a pretty social wheat beer. It’s just the way I was brewed. Well, people’ve been asking me where I find the confidence to lead this life full of flavour, and figured it was time to respond.

To be honest, I’m pretty sure it’s the orange peel. Apparently there’s a lot more to it than the citrus notes. And I suppose my perfect pint glass posture helps, too.

Sorry, not sorry if that wasn’t what you were looking for but I’m not going to pretend like there are three simple rules for living life confidently. Look, if you’re still looking for some gusto, maybe this will help:

Wanna chat up a stranger on the patio? Open up your face-hole and see what comes out.

Wanna pull a Maverick and rock a Hall & Oates love ballad at the bar? Then wait for karaoke. Or don’t – because who really cares?

Wanna bust out some funky fresh moves on the dance floor? Yeah, maybe don’t do that.

Seriously dude, all you gotta do is get yourself out there. Be yourself. It’ll all work (eventually).

Confidence is in your head; just try not to think about it. And hey, if you ever want to chat, you know where to find me.

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How to Display Art In Your Home

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To hang art in your home all you need is a hammer and a nail, right? Well it would be wonderful if it were that easy. But as most men know, displaying art in your home takes a little more finesse than simply pounding a nail with a hammer. The following tips, tools, and ideas will help you take your home to the next level and give it the aesthetic you’re looking for.

Heirlooms and Knick Knacks

Display meaningful heirlooms or personal knick knacks on your bookshelves or on tabletops. Incorporate a few important pieces that document your history into your home, but keep it uncluttered. Too many accessories distracts the eye and your piece will lose the focus it deserves.

Collections

Do you have a fun or interesting collection? Gather it all in one location and put them on display. For example, you might frame and hang your baseball cards. Putting all of your collection in one place makes more of an impact than spreading pieces out.

Travel

What items have you gathered from your travels that can be put on display? We’re talking about items that bring back fond memories. Get creative and display them in your home. For example, you might display found gear from a rock climbing trip on your sofa table. Likewise, you can integrate your hobbies into your decor. Hang a bicycle on your family room wall.

Framing Artwork

Invest time and money into a frame and mat that flatters your artwork. Select a mat and frame that brings in other colors and elements from the room it will be hung in. However, avoid matching colors too much, the art can disappear into the background.

A Rule of Thumb

The basic rule of thumb is to hang artwork slightly above eye level. However, if you’re particularly tall or short this rule doesn’t work too well. Most museums position artwork so that it is 60 inches off the floor.

Create Impact

Oversized artwork can add impact to a room. Smaller pieces can appear larger when they’re positioned in large dramatic mats and large frames. You can also group a collection of artwork together to create the illusion of size.

Finally, for large pieces of art and objects that you’ll suspend from the wall, invest in a picture hanging kit. They come with a variety of hook and nail sizes, along with picture wire to suspend heavier pieces with confidence.

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Urinal Etiquette

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Nervous in the men’s room? Don’t know what these wall toilets are all about, or how to correctly use one? Welcome to the modern world, my friends, it’s a wild and radical place. I won’t make any assumptions as to how you got here, nor will I pass judgment on whatever you were doing beforehand. I’m just here to help.

1) Don’t piss on anyone. Seriously, just don’t do it, I can’t imagine a single scenario where this works out well for you, unless you’re looking to get punched in the face. If that’s the case, aim high because then he’ll know for sure you did it on purpose.

2) Do your best to find an isolated urinal, but if you can’t, go straight for the open one and be a man about it. There will probably be a group of dudes who are too self-conscious to take that urinal stuck between the cabbie and the 300-pound trucker, but not you, you know what you’re doing, you read an article about this. Doing this might make you nervous, but you’ll immediately emasculate every other would-be urinator and you’ll absorb that wasted manliness like karma and take it back to the ball game or the bar and be the man.

3) Your head is only allowed to move on a vertical axis – you can look at the ceiling, the urinal cake, or the condom ad that’s strategically placed at eye-level, it’s your choice. By no means, however, should you move your gaze side-to-side. Your ‘just looking because I’m curious’ phase should’ve ended sometime around the 10th grade – they all look the same, we know this, no need to verify. Side note: if someone starts accusing you of looking at their junk when you clearly didn’t – that person is insane and you should get out of there. Same goes for if and when you catch someone peering down at you.

4) Wash your hands. I can hear your thoughts now (since none of you would say this out loud), But, Urinal Expert, I’m just peeing and I want to get out of the bathroom. I don’t always wash my hands after peeing at home! Whatever you do at home’s your business, but you’re not at home. There’s probably 200 dude’s pee mist and vapor floating around that bathroom you’re in, and who knows what was on the last guy’s hand that used the flusher. Protip: If it’s a swinging door, use your elbow to open it, and if the flusher is high enough on the wall, use your elbow to flush, as well.

Follow these rules and no bathroom will ever intimidate you.

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