What's a bloke to do? We seem to be surrounded by advice on what to wear, how to look good, where to go to get pampered or what to eat to look like our favourite celebrity. The thing is, nearly all this advice is directed at women.
Maybe there's a reason for this. Maybe men just don't care about such things. Then again, maybe they do but won't admit to it, at least not in public. Whatever the truth, getting ready for a big night out or a special event is not always easy for the modern man so here we take a look at some techniques for preparing mind and body.
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Preparing the mind
You don't have to be a Buddhist monk to meditate but with the hectic pace of modern life there is little doubt some quality time alone with yourself can work wonders. What better way to approach a special event than in a state of inner calm?
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Of course, meditating takes time to learn and there is a quicker way to relax mind and body that requires no training on your part massage. Make sure you do your research on which "massage parlour" you use or you might get more than you bargained for.
There may still be a few men whose idea of preparing for a big night out involves the dubious habit of lining their stomach with milk to combat the alcohol. However, there is little evidence to suggest this is a good idea and whatever the occasion there is no substitute for long-term healthy eating with lots of fruits and vegetables forming part of a balanced diet.
If you think a short back and sides will cut it nowadays, think again. According to Sydney's cool, carbon-neutral hair salon, Stevie English Hair in Glebe, a decent cut is an absolute must. "Seventy dollars seems like a big outlay but your hair will look cool for longer, you can get styling tips and more attention from the ladies," salon owner Steve Corthine says.
It's not all about the hair though according to Steve. "Before I go out, I always wash my face, spray toner and put on moisturiser. I know, it is very un-masculine, but nobody sees you doing it and your skin will look better."
There are exceptions of course, but men traditionally have more body hair than women. It is no longer simply a choice between moustaches, beards, and designer stubble as increasing numbers of modern men take to "manscaping". It is not only performing artists and models who have developed a taste for this sometimes intimate grooming, but people from all walks of life.
Simon, a 30-something (slightly immodest) teacher is a firm convert: "A bit of manscaping before heading out smoothes out some rough edges and tells a woman that you care not just about yourself but her as well." The message is loud and clear. When it comes to body hair, for the modern man, the rules are there ain't no rules.
Dress to impress
This is one area where there is no shortage of advice men's fashion is big business. There are two important points to bear in mind when it comes to covering that now perfectly prepared body. Firstly, dress for the occasion. Find out if there is a dress code and then work from there those new jeans with the trendy but discrete rip would be wasted if your big event was ended prematurely by an unfriendly bouncer.
Secondly, wear what you feel comfortable in. If the event you have been building up to for months is a pool party and you are happier in board shorts than budgie smugglers, why put the extra pressure on yourself?
You're mentally prepared, you've had your new haircut(s) and you're dressed to kill but something is still missing. If "manscaping" seems tame, how about "mancaking"? Make-up to highlight your best features and hide unsightly blemishes is now available for men. For years there have been skin care products specifically for men so the logical extension to that is make-up.
However, as the most important part of preparing for a special event is to feel comfortable, it might be a good idea to test that expensive new "guyliner" when the pressure is off and there is little at stake. Avoid sad movies though it would be a big giveaway if, as the credits rolled and the lights came on, your "manscara" was running down your face. Then again, maybe it would mark you out as a real (21st century) man.