Monday, January 24, 2011

Issue # 37 - All about the hair

Issue # 37 - ALL about the hair

You've all been there, at some point in your life; Standing in front of the mirror, needing to leave the house to be somewhere, and your hair just...won't....cooperate with you. No matter what style you try, product you use, or technique you apply, your hair just will not do your bidding. So you either opt for the most appropriate hat you can find, or you risk going out on the town with a head that looks as if a raccoon has nested in it. I know that feeling all too well. Sure, sometimes you just can't avoid a bad hair day. But in my case, the main reason these bad hair days were happening was because I was fighting with my hair: a losing battle from day 1. Why or what was i fighting? I was fighting my natural hair, in an attempt to gain a hairstyle I wanted. Basically, I have wavy hair, and desperately wanted straight hair. See, this was in the late 90s / early 2000s, and THE style to have was that god awful "Flat on top, bangs spiked straight up" style. We've talked about this in previous issues, and it pains me to say that a great number of  men still sport this 98 Degrees travesty. Back then, I went along with it, and fought every step of the way. Having wavy hair meant that in order for my hair to stand straight up, per the style, i had to keep it extremely short, which didn't really suit my face or body. As soon as my hair got to a certain length, the style didn't hold, and my bangs would flip or curl over, ruining the look i was aiming for. I resorted to all sorts of ridiculously stupid tricks, including hanging my head upside down until the hairspray took hold. It was truly a pain in my ass.

Now, it's 2011 and I am very happy to say that I have forfeited my battle, and have surrendered to the natural wave in my hair. And why the hell wouldn't I? It's a perfect time for wavy haired men to take centre stage again. The beauty of having wavy hair, I am learning, is that it's much more forgiving, and it's easier to pull off the "I don't give a shit" look so many men strive for. Be aware though, this look actually takes a lot of trial, error, and time to pull off, so don't be fooled by the name. So many leading men in today's media have brought back the unruly head of waves; Robert Pattinson, Bradley Cooper, and McDreamy are just a few, and one can never forget the immortal James Dean.

What am I getting at here? it sounds overly cliche, but love what you have. whether you have pin straight hair or a head of tight curls, figure out how to work with it, because 99% of the time, your natural hair is what will look the best on you. Not sure how to pull off a style? Here's a few tips.

First off, determine the length you need. Your hair dresser should be able to help you with this. Personally, mine is long on top and short on the sides....a mix between classic early 60s business man, and the rebel without a cause himself...with just a touch of height that only a confident guy could pull off. But i know that if my hair is too short, not only is the style impossible, but it also makes my head look freakishly tiny. be aware of these. Find the length that works best for your face and hair, then devise a plan.

Find pictures of guys in magazines with hair that you like. Remember, you don't want to EXACTLY copy them, rather use them as inspiration for your own coiff. Bring them to your hair dresser, and explain to them what you are looking for. As long as you're not getting your hair cut at First Choice or Fantastic Sam's, they should be able to start you in the right direction, and begin cutting your hair accordingly.

Be patient. Some hairstyles look effortless and easy, but they take time for your hair to grow into, so be PATIENT. It may be a few months until you start seeing the hair you desire, so use the time in between to start perfecting your look. TIP: I've said it before, and i will say it again, The Secret to Good hair is Dirty Hair. Don't wash your hair every day. It's not your job, so slack off, and let your hair product build up a little bit. If you like a lot of volume like i do, this is your main weapon. After a couple of days, your hair will have just the right amount of buildup to give you styles you didn't think you could pull off. Once again, I will suggest AXE hair products (the ONLY products from axe I will EVER endorse), because they simply work, and work well. Use the spiking paste through dry- to mostly dry hair to get hold and shape without looking crispy, shiny and gross. Hair Gel is not good, so switch to something better, and USE HAIRSPRAY. I will get to why next.

BE PATIENT! Yes, i have said this twice, why? because it's important, and because having a cool look might actually require you to spend more than 3 minutes on your hair. I am speaking from personal experience, and since i know my hair well, I will walk you through how i get the look i get. The very first step is DO NOT MAKE YOUR HAIR THE LAST THING YOU DO. This is important, because when you leave it to last, you tend to rush it, and have no patience with it. Also, if you're running late, you will be more likely to spend less time than normal. Instead, do this: After you shower (without washing your hair), dry off, pick your clothes, etc. When your hair is dry or mostly dry, depending on preference, Put on whatever shirt you're wearing, and go and do your hair. ( you put the shirt on first so you don't mess up your hair putting it on afterwards). For myself, since i need volume, i do my hair in the style i prefer, using just enough product to get the shape i am aiming for, and giving it a light spray of hairspray. Then i leave the bathroom and continue on my routine of getting ready. While i am doing this, every so often, i will run my fingers upwards through my hair, beefing up the volume. The hairspray i applied will aid in it keeping this shape. After about 10 minutes, i will revisit the bathroom, adding a little more product, and revamping the look. This time it's a bit higher, and has way better shape. Repeat the process above, and the third time is usually the final time, adding enough product to hold it, and locking in the look with a decent dose of spray.  (TIP: don't use hairspray that says "flexible hold", and do NOT spray too close to your head. You want "barely any product" look, not a "just out of the shower" look). My favourite part of my hairstyle is that if the wind plays with it, or it falls a bit during the night, it still looks good, and just a non-chalant runing of my fingers through it will put it back in place. You may think this is silly, but women will see this not only as a sign of a low maintenance man (even though it took longer than they think), and will also trigger their desire to run THEIR hands through your hair. Not silly anymore, is it?

Ultimately guys, take your time, and above all, as usual, BE CONFIDENT. You may feel weird with the new look, but if you work it like you own it, it will look as if you've always had it. Trust yourself, and for those of you gents still rocking the 98 degrees look, get rid of it. In case you haven't noticed, the best hairstyles are the ones that have been grown out a bit.

Until next time,
Style Guy

Friday, January 21, 2011

Issue # 36 - The Energy Crisis

Issue # 36 - The Energy Crisis

If you're a guy like me, caffeine is a major part of your waking up routine, as well as an MVP during your entire day. Luckily in today's world there are almost endless ways of getting your fix. So many in fact, that it's not hard to be overwhelmed with your choices. Do you stick with just regulaar coffee? Do you grab an ultra sized energy drink? Do you chew caffeine infused gum? the possibilities are endless, but on the flip side, so are the calories and sugar. Is waking up quicker really worth the sugar intake? Luckily there are a lot of great sugar free and calorie free versions that will do the same job without the waist expanding side effects. Here, I list some of my personal favourites to assist your hunt for energy.

Xenergy by Xyience -

At first, one would look at these and think that it's just another company jumping on the energy drink bandwagon, but Xyience is a major sponsor of the UFC, and the UFC wouldn't promote high calorie, high sugar candy water for its fighters, and alas Xenergy contains ZERO CALORIES, and ZERO SUGAR, and the same solid caffeine kick as other drinks. The give and take of this, like most calorie free items is that there is artificial sweetener in it. So if you're one of those chemical people, you have a choice to make. Xenergy comes in a wide variety of flavours, with Cran Razz being my personal favourite. Don't get thrown off by the silver cans and black cans, they are all zero calories, and sugar free. The only difference i have noticed is that the black cans seem to have slightly more caffeiene, which isn't a huge deal. Try the Blu-Pom version as well, it's fantastic.

Monster Energy Lo-Carb  -

Monster Energy is my favourite brand on the whole, and as a one time avid fanatic of the original flavour, I used to scoff this version for tasting "thin and bitter". That was until i realized that the original version has nearly 200 calories per can, and this version, (also known as the blue monster) has only 20. It's got a crisp, clean taste that although is clearly not as sweet as its' monster siblings, holds its own. It tastes like energy drink, and is not fruit flavoured, so be prepared for that. It's got a good kick and is easy to drink so this is definitely one of my favourites.

Rockstar "Recovery" Lemonade -

This one surprised me. I am normally not a fan of the rockstar brand, partially because of the tastes of a lot of them, and partially because one can of original rockstar is the equivalent of eating SIX krispy Kreme donuts (check out eat THIS, not THAT for more info on your fave foods and drinks). But this lemonade "recovery" flavour has only 10 calories, and is NOT carbonated, which is a pleasant surprise. It's sweet enough to please your sweet tooth, but light enough to quench your thirst properly without worrying about ruining your workout. This one definitely ranks on my top 3 and it totally earned the spot.

Honorable Mention - Kick Butt Energy Balls -

I tried these on a complete whim a few days ago, just because they were on a clearance sale. I assumed these, like so many new products out there, were simply jumping on the energy bandwagon. But I gave them a shot....and i was surprised. At 30 calories each, these hard chewy balls taste a little odd and leave an bitter aftertaste, but they actually work. It could have been that i ate them directly after having a coffee, or that i ate 3 of them in a row but they kicked in with a vengeance. These may be somewhat of a novelty, but they seem like a decent quick pick me up between beverages.

Style guy's Pick:

Starbucks Grande "Bold Pick of the day" -

I love energy drinks, and will go to them for a cold, refreshing kick. But nothing will beat the original dark roasty goodness of a cup of good coffee. I prefer starbucks' BOLD picks, and i drink them black. No milk, cream, sugaar, sweetener, or anything, just black. A "grande" size of just black, bold coffee contains only FIVE calories, and a great amount of caffeine to get you moving. And at only $2 and change, it's a money saving alternative to somewhat pricey energy drinks. I recommend the "Anniversary blend" if you can find it, and I also really love "Cafe Verona". Check it out and love it!

Well that's it for today gents!

Until next time,
Style Guy

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Issue #35 - Grooming 101

Issue #35 - Grooming 101

When you were between the ages of 6 and 10 or so, you didn't really care what you looked like. Things that are important now like Styling your hair, wearing matching clothing and bathing just didn't seem to matter next to your recess plans and what cartoons were on after school. Then around 6th grade or so, you began to notice these things, and pay more attention to them, ultimately trying to achieve perfection before high school where the game was upped a notch. This continues through college, and then hopefully through the rest of your days. But sadly that isn't true. There comes a time for many men where they just stop caring about the small details that really matter. Sure, you may still care about what your outfit looks like, or you may still want your hair to me immaculate, but for many of you, the tiny details skip your radar all together. This should not happen, and I am making a movement to stop it. Why does this happen? Are you too busy with life that basic grooming goes out the window? Do you get too comfortable in a relationship that you don't feel the need to do these things? Whatever the reason, forget making excuses and get back on the wagon.

In this issue I will cover a few tiny but very important details that far too many men overlook, in hopes to raise awareness and solve the problem at hand:

The Uni-brow

This is quite possibly the most common, caveman-like, overlooked grooming need that men just don't seem to notice. This is when the space between your eyebrows begins to grow hair, making your two brows look as if they're joined as one. Also known as the "bert", referring to the uni-browed Bert of Sesame Street fame. For some reason, men seem to find it feminine to do any sort of damage control on their eyebrows. The question I ask you men is simply WHY? There is a very large difference between plucking your unibrow, and getting your brows threaded to a perfect arch. There is absolutely nothing girly about making sure you don't look like a creature from the stone age. I recall an interview with David Schwimmer (Ross from friends) in a mid 90s DETAILS magazine where he was asked about his thoughts on the uni-brow. His response was as follows (i am paraphrasing here): "It's not attractive, and women definitely do not find it attractive. Shave it, pluck it, wax it, do anything you have to do to get rid of it, because it's not attractive at all." He hit the nail on the head. It's not attractive. Yet too many men are either too absent minded to notice it, or too proud to do anything about it. Personally, I use a simple disposable razor, that costs next to nothing, and anytime i notice a little bit of growth, i just get rid of it. It's that simple. I also wax my eyebrows every now and then just to keep them neat and tidy. You may think it's feminine, but being manly isn't worth looking like a cave creature. Take care of it boys.

Filthy Nails -

There are few things a man can posess that are more cringe worthy than filthy nails. Too many times, I have seen men with this horrendous paws sitting in a restarant, sinking their mouths into burgers and i want to vomit. What is this? Is this a new trend i missed? Are you in too much of a hurry to watch manswers that you can't scrub your hands and clean your nails? Now, as a disclaimer, i understand that some careers mean your nails will become filthy, and possibly stained. I understand this, and to a certain extent that is permitted. But only if you've done everything possible to clean them. Take a nail clipper, use the little knife portion and clean them! This is repulsive, and I cannot think of a single woman who would find this attractive. Again, the nails are something that men find girly to take care of, and again I laugh at their foolish pride. Manicures are not all about getting pretty colours and patterns on your nails, but also about taking care of them, and keeping them clean and healthy. I am not saying go out and get one, but at least think about how YOU would feel if you saw a woman with claws like that.

Wild Nose Hair -

This is a real stat. 76% of women are turned off by a hairy nose. Now I will admit, I am a man whose facial hair grows very fast, and as a downside, so does my nose hair. Luckily this is a very simple fix. Look in the mirror. If you see any poking out, remove them with tweezers, a nose hair trimmer, or if all else fails, pull them out with your fingers. Painful? yes. Worth it? Heck yes. It's unappealing, unattractive, and there is no reason to let it slide. I used to be one of these guys that overlooked it, because i simply didn't notice it. But trust me, you will notice it when a lady backs away from your nasal tenticles. Nose hair trimmers can be purchased for as little as $7 plus the cost of a couple batteries. Get it?

The pit stain/Sweaty pits -

As a man that sweats more than average in warm situations, I sympathize for men who sweat as much as, or more than I do. But I do not sympathize for the men that don't do anything about it. Here's the deal guys, there are many ways to avoid looking like our moist friend over here. First of all, upgrade to a high powered ANTI-PERSPIRANT, not a deodorant. It doesn't matter if you like the smell or  not, it needs to stop the sweat, not make you smell like a glacier. Second off, wear an undershirt. Not a muscle shirt, something that covers your armpits. Let the undershirt take the beating, NOT the dress shirt. Try to make sure the undershirt is thick enough quality to absorb your sweat, and not let too much through. If this still doesn't help, check out a product called Drysol. If that doesn't work, well surgery is always an option. Just do what you can to avoid this look. the only time this is acceptable is if everyone around you is suffering the same consequence of an overly heated, or poorly air conditioned bar.

The Patchy Beard -

This one is simple. Until you know you can grow full facial hair, don't attempt to grow it. There is a sickening trend out there of men growing pitiful, thin, scraggly facial hair when it simply looks awful. Stop it. Look at Keanu here. He looks like a weed wacker went to town on his face. Not cool, not attractive. And it makes you look dirty and very un tidy. Combine this with any of the above issues, and you sir, have just confirmed your night alone. Keep your stubble short and neat, and you'll have no problem!

That's it gents, These are all tiny things that will take a total of 10 minutes out of your day, but save you a TON of rejection and self esteem issues. So tidy up boys, and you'll be amazed at the difference it makes.

Until next time,
Style Guy

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Issue #34 - Wine Reviews

Issue # 34 - Wine Reviews!

Hello again gents, well it's a snowy day outside, and if you're like me and plan on spending the night in, you might want a good bottle (or two) of vino to keep you company...I had the chance to sample several different wines this holiday season, and am ready to let you know about them!

Truth Wine -

I initially grabbed this bottle for 2 reasons: It was cheap and the bottle design is truly unique. There are 2 wines; truth and dare. I tried truth, in the green bottle, and i will admit that the bottle is really the only reason i bought this. It's a white wine. I can't tell you what type of white wine, because it literally just says White wine. It doesn't specify what the blend is, so it's about as informative as saying "ground meat". That being said, I opened it, and while it wasn't the worst wine I have ever tasted, I can easily say the bottle is the best thing about this one. It's slightly dry and not very complex, which is surprising since there are a lot of great wines coming out of ontario lately. I haven't tried the Dare version yet, but if the Truth variety is any indicator, there will be nothing daring about it.

Inniskillin Unoaked Chardonnay -

Well what can i say? Another stellar contribution from Inniskillin. I admit i was already biased based on my love for their late autumn riesling, so when this was corked i was already prepared for how crisp and delicious it is. Dryer than the riesling, but not ultra dry, there are notes of green apple and citrus, all wrapped up in a buttery smoothness that goes oh so well with white turkey. Chill it to your preference and make sure you swirl give it a brisk swirl in your glass to release the fresh apple notes on top. On a snowy day like today, if white wine is your thing, grab a bottle, and settle in for the night, you're not going to want to put this one down.

Alta Fuzion Torrentes Pinot Grigio -

this was a complete impulse purchase for me, as it was in the "We suggest" bucket at the LCBO cash register. It was about $10, and it seemed like it could be ok. My first mistake with this one was drinking it at room temperature. It lacked character and was decievingly flat, which threw me for a loop right off the bat. The palette was pleasant enough, but the finish just felt :"thin" to me. I am not sure if thin is the proper term to use, but it felt as if it were lacking substance, like there was something missing. similar to drinking a watered down fountain drink. When the bottle was very chilled, it tasted better, but the thin finish was still hard to get by. I am not familiar enough with pinots to know if this is a character of the grape, or if this is just a flaw of this brand itself. I would not suggest this wine at all. Spend a couple extra dollars and get something worth it.

Da Luca 2004 Primitivo Merlot -

I saved this one for last because it is by far the star of my recent wine tastings. My girlfriend gave this to me about 2 years ago with the promise that I would not open it until a special occasion. I went almost 2 years until she gave me the permission to open it whenever I want because she doesn't even like red wine. I opened this last night, and wow. First of all, it's a 2004 which means it's been aging in the bottle for almost 7 years. The swirl opened up aromas of dark cherry and something almost spicy, although i couldn't put my finger on it. It was dry, dark and mysterious with plenty of fruit flavours present throughout. Although it's a dry wine, it doesn't leave that parched feeling on your palette, as it finishes surprisingly smooth. I am not sure if that's a character of this wine, or if it's due to the 7 year aging, but it was pleasant and delicious. I had only planned on having a glass of this, but a second glass was quickly poured, and was equally as fantastic. I highly suggest this wine, as it will be a staple in my collection for a long time to come.

That's it for today gents, but plenty of issues coming up, including some much needed grooming tips for 2011! Happy wine hunting, and I'll see you soon!

The Style Guy

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Issue #33 - Fragrance reviews!

Issue #33 - Fragrance reviews!

The Holiday season was a fruitful one, and I was fortunate enough to receive new fragrances and sample new wines; all of which made the holidays fantastic. I have had some time to sample them all, and am passing on my reviews to you! Today's issue is fragrance, and the next issue will be wine! Enjoy!

Ralph Lauren "Big Pony" # 1 -

I personally love everything about the Big Pony line, since what it lacks in fragrance, it makes up for in complete style. The bottles are fun, and look great together if you have the collection. I already owned #2, and was very eager to test this one out. #1 is the Fresh/Sporty scent of the line, and it opens up very bright with lime and grapefruit and what I believe is a splash of mint. This is a total eye opener of a scent, and completely fits into its fresh title. There is a note within it that is similar to the #2 scent, but I cannot quite place it. It's slightly sweet, but invigorating, like a brisk run on a chilly day. As with #2, (and #3, see below), it is quick to fade, so i suggest getting the 75ml bottle and bringing it with you to reapply as needed. It's not an overpowering scent so a few sprays won't kill the people around you. I recommend this for morning application (mint is known to help reduce your morning grogginess), or as an after-workout refresher. NOTE: The spray from these bottles are not direct, and are more of a broad mist than a direct spray, so apply accordingly.

Ralph Lauren "Big Pony" #3 -

This "Adventurous" scent contains mint as well as ginger root, which lends an exotic, slight spiciness to this fragrance. It's got more body to it than #1, lending a warm, almost "thicker" feel to it. I don't know if I would use the word adventurous to describe this scent, but it's definitely unique and holds its own in this lineup. At first there seems to be a lemony- citrusy scent combined with the faint aroma of ginger, but as it dries, the oriental feel of the ginger comes through and mellows it out. Then it turns sweeter on the base notes, almost slightly floral as it fades. The bottle is fantastic as they all are, using 4 basic colours that perfectly compliment each other.This scent can be used all the time and would particularly be great on a spring day in my opinion. As with the others, it's not overpowering, so a few sprays will work, and it fades quickly, so carry it along with you. All in all though, very cool scent. Oh, and I got this as a gift with a matching gym bag! Very cool.

Burberry Sport  -

I have always been one to shy away from "Sport" scents, as i find them often too aquatic, too citrusy and just too sporty, and in a market flooded ( pardon the pun) with aquatic scents, I prefer to choose mine carefully. I received this as a gift, and I have to admit, for a sport scent it's quite nice. First off, the bottle is very cool. The cap actually slides over the entire bottle, and is engraved with the name of the cologne. When the cap is off, it unveils a dramatic looking red bottle. I am surprised they chose the dark red and black colour scheme, since it says "mysterious and edgy" more than it says "sporty". That being said, the scent speaks for itself. It opens up with very refreshing grapefruit and sea accords, with a slight hint of ginger, then mellows out to a very slightly floral scent before finishing off manly with cedar and musk. It's decently complex, but not mysterious by any means. It is what is says it is; a sport fragrance. It's clean and crisp, but much like many new fragrances, it does not last long. I am beginning to believe that this is now done on purpose. As a special little gimmick to tie in the sport ideal, the packaging comes with a wearable rubber bracelet, a la liveSTRONG style, with the burberry name stamped into it. A little cheesy, but cool nontheless. This is a solid showing by Burberry, as they never truly disappoint.

Dolce and Gabbana - Light Blue -

This one has been on my wishlist for some time now. I purchased the female version last spring for my lady, and have been awaiting the moment to add this one to my collection, in addition to my other D&G bottles; Masculine, D&G, and The One ( The One Gentleman was just released!). I received this about a week ago, and I love it. It's very aquatic, much like the regular D&G, but much lighter. It opens with a frozen Grapefruit peel (an ingredient which seems to be common in today's issue), and holds notes of  juniper, rosewood, musk, incense, and more. The only problem is, you can't fully smell all the amazing, exotic ingredients and instead mainly get the airy, crisp aquatics...which isn't a bad thing, just a little disappointing. It IS a fantastic scent, and instantly recognizable, however at some point between the heart notes and dry down, my nose thought it was Aqua Di Gio by Armani. The notes are very similar and equally as aquatic at some point. The truth is, i want to fully love this scent, but it may take some time to completely embrace. The super boring bottle is also kind of a "meh" factor. It's identical to the D&G bottle, just with frosted glass and a light blue cap. I get that they were aiming for simplicity, but it's nowhere near as elegant as it could be. All in all, it's a good solid scent, and actually lasts a decently long time. It's not amazingly unique but it's worth the buy.

Well there you have it gents, 4 more fragrances for your learning pleasure. I hope this has helped if you were looking for something new. Next issue i will be reviewing different wines i sampled this season, so stay tuned!

Until next time gents,

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Issue # 32 - Why your bachelor pad needs an update

Issue # 32 - Why your bachelor pad needs an update

Alright guys, well it's a new year and with this new year, should come new outlooks and new change. And what better way to start off the year than by fixing up that bachelor pad you're so fond of. I find it concerning that far too many single men create their living space to appeal to...other guys. Gents, your pad should be a place that appeals to women at the same time as saying something about you, and ultimately entice your lady friend to spend the night...It should completely say who you are, what you're about, but also be intriguing and welcoming to ladies. Unfortunately this doesn't happen as much as it should. Far too many men's living spaces are adorned with frat boy novelties, way too many sports items, juvenile posters of swimsuit models and dirty laundry...does this sound like something that would impress a lady? Didn't think so. So, here are some ideas to help you make your pad less of a man cave, and more lady well, i will be giving a few hints along the way to help make sure your a good one.

#1 - STAGE THE PLACE. Think of it like an open house. You want the room to speak highly of you. Why? So you don't have to. If your space speaks volumes to your personality and interests, then you can spend less time answering questions or talking about yourself, and more time asking about her. So how do you do this? Put things that interest you in the room. Display books that you love, or magazines you subscribe to (use your judgement on those Maxims though), photos of vacations or places you've been, cds or movies you love, etc. Use your common sense, and use restraint. If you're a sports guy then put out SOME of your favourite stuff....don't plaster the walls with it. You want your space to be comfortable and welcoming...not looking like a sports store. A few conversation pieces never hurt either. Have an autographed drum stick from your favourite band, or a photo of you and a famous athlete? Leave them in a visible spot, they will come in handy if the conversation comes to a crawl. You might think these are stupid ideas, but women pay attention to these things. You want the room to speak about you so half your work is already done.

# 2 - CLEAN UP. Nothing is a deal breaker more than a dirty place. It's understandable to have a little bit of clutter if you have a small place, but be neat, tidy and clean. Dirty laundry should not be visible. Dishes done, nothing in the sink, etc. You want your place to be completely comfortable and relaxing. When it comes to the bedroom, same thing. Clean, tidy and there should be NOTHING on the bed. If i need to explain why, you're beyond help.

#3 - SET THE MOOD. This, in my opinion is the most important rule. Why? Because if your lady friend managed to overlook your messiness, and slugged through the awkward conversation, and is still around, then setting the right mood is your absolute last chance to impress her and continue the night. So listen up gents. Don't take notes from cheesy love movies, or reach for the Barry White CD. there are 4 things that are totally crucial in getting this right. Once you have these 4 things, you can modify to your preference. They are as follows:
 - Lighting - Lighting may very well be the make or break of your success. Dim lighting is instantly romantic and sends all the right vibes. I suggest installing a dimmer switch on all your lights for instant ambiance. If you do not have dimmers then candles, as always, will work perfectly. They are instant mood setters. A couple things to keep in mind though. Do not have candles set out right off the bat, you risk sending the wrong message immediately and can jeopardize your night before it even begins. Also, choose unscented candles. Unless you know what she likes or hates, unscented tealights are a sure bet.

- Music - It may be stereotypical, but music plays a key role in setting the mood. Now this should go without saying, but I am going to say it anyways. Choose a subtle playlist that will equally set the mood for the evening, but also not be distracting, or overtake the conversation. Also nothing too cliche or suggestive. Be a gentleman. A personal favourite selection of mine is an album called "Sundown- music for unwinding". Make a playlist that will last several hours, and also with a solid mix of mellow and upbeat music. If you have a turntable or record player, it may be to your advantage to use this instead of other forms. It lends a certain vintage charm to the evening.

- Scent - It is extremely important for your place to smell good. Scent has the incredible ability to evoke emotions and moods more than any other sense in the body. Using a subtle atmosphere of scent will add a subconscious layer to the mood that she may not even realize is there. Don't go crazy with sprays or candles. if it's overpowering it has the exact opposite effect and can ruin the night. I suggest using an odor eliminator like Febreze long before she arrives to get rid of any lingering smells of laundry, cooking, etc. This will give you a clean canvas to work with. Again, if you don't know her taste in scents, opt for something light and clean smelling. No food smells or overpowering florals. Bath and Body Works has a fantastic line of room sprays that are concentrated and long lasting. I suggest the Fresh Linen or Sea Island Cotton fragrance. Spray once in each room 30 minutes before her arrival. Out on the town, and not sure if you'll have company? Bath and Body works also sells plug in fragrances. Plug it in, and arrive home to a fresh smelling place.

- Drinks - Gentlemen. It is extremely important to have a variety of refreshments on hand to offer. If you know what she drinks, stock it. If you don't, or you have a surprise guest, it's important to have something to offer her other than Sunny D, coors light, or tap water. A good rule of thumb is to always try to have a bottle of white and red wine on hand, and maybe some vodka. A stocked bar would be optimal, but if you are without one, then a selection of wine almost never fails. Also, bottled water and some mix would be perfect. You don't want to be the shmuck that can only offer a luke warm can of beer on your futon.

On a final note guys, you want to just get rid of any and all items in your place that have a frat boy vibe to them. Women want a man and a gentleman. Not a toga wearing boy. So get rid of the Anna Kournikova posters, the beer bong and anything else that stinks of college immaturity. Oh, and now that i think of it, make sure you have some wine glasses to go with that wine. You don't want to serve her in an empty mason jar your mom gave you salsa in.

Until Next time gents,