Have All The Real Men Actually Settled On Mars?

Vivek Nagrani – My Two Bits


A young Marlon Brando.


I have been wondering why Sir Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are so fascinated with colonizing Mars. It finally struck me, real men seem to have already commenced the colonization of Mars. The aforementioned pioneers are simply setting up shop so eventually women can move there and the human population can be saved.

Maybe I am out on my own here, but I just do not see any great male role models. Be it sports, music, fashion, or film, I am lost when someone asks me who I see as a great role model. I have had to revert to the fictional character Bruce Wayne to serve as my muse for what I think a man should be.

I get it, times change and that forces change across the board. However, there are basic elements that have defined masculinity since the dawn of time and will continue for our existence – which may not be that long if Trump gets high on a super size value meal and decides to press the big button on his desk. Thank God he does not realize its just a buzzer that is connected to his favorite fast food joint.

Steve McQueen in cru tee, jeans, and sneakers.


What the hell has really happened? When I look back in time, men learned from their father’s who learned from their fathers. But today’s times are different and today’s youth are on their own. My dad sure as hell never used Tinder or eHarmony to meet women. This leaves a vacant space that where the rules have yet to be established. There are no social norms yet, no rules, no benchmarks for what is considered the right way.

In addition, society has just become accustomed to mediocrity. From product to talent, we live in a world where being average is acceptable. Kids win trophies for “participating” rather than actually winning by excelling. Innovation seems to be limited to the Billionaire Boys Club and the rest find solace in just re-making low hanging fruits. Today anyone willing to video themselves doing stupid shit can become a celebrity. Get a YouTube channel and you are a television star.  No one bothers to actually read these days either. What happened to actual talent? Just listen to today’s music. I do not want to sound like a crazy old guy but seriously, WTF is going on?

What really makes me nervous is the future of my eight year old daughter. Not so much for her but more for me. What kind of son in law am I going to be stuck with? So what is it to be a gentleman in today’s time? I sat down and had drinks with a cross section of women to find out what it is that makes a man today. Remember, times have changed and it is important that we are always evolving, but ironically, a lot of the basic traits that defined masculinity in the past seem to be exactly what has been forgotten today.

Circa 1940: American actor Humphrey Bogart (1899 – 1957) sitting on a fence smoking a pipe. (Photo by John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)


New/old rules that every man should follow in today’s uncharted times:

1.  A man should always open the door for a lady, the elderly and the less capable.

2.  A man should actually call when he is seeking the the audience of a woman.

3.  A man should take pride in not just what he wears but how he wears it.

4.  A man should always be gracious and polite to others… until deemed unworthy.

5.  A man should know his limits when it comes to drinking or other recreational drugs.

6.  A man should be physically fit or at least make an attempt to stay in shape.

7.  A man should be well-groomed. Never over-groomed or under-groomed, just groomed.

8.  A man should read at least two books a year (at this point, just reading is sufficient).

9.  A man should know how to cook three basic meals and do his own laundry if need be.

10.  A man should be able to keep a clean and tidy residence.


Lessons In Style from: Humphrey Bogart

When watching a Humphrey Bogart picture, you can’t help but feel this innate sense of what “cool” used to be in a time now long passed. He was pretty late to the game: 37 by the time of his first big role, and 41 before he received any acclaim for his work. In his early days, he was typecast as the original gangster type, but something else emerged from his performances.

He was believable as a down-and-out drinker and roustabout, but there was something distinctly uptown about his demeanor, as if perhaps in another life he came from money, but now it’s gone with no clear way home and he’s going to sit in this gin joint and simmer until something changes. Whether he was acting as a detective or a crook, Bogart was always convincing on both sides of the law.

With that said, it’s pretty easy to see why we at VK Nagrani think Humphrey Bogart oozes cool and is rife with a few style lessons.

1. The Bowtie is Cool

ca. 1949 --- Humphrey Bogart in the movie . --- Image by © John Springer Collection/CORBIS

When thinking about rough-and-tumble, hard-boiled, hard-drinking, antihero detective types, you probably aren’t imagining a patterned bowtie. Yet, it shows that the bowtie is not only for Doctor Who cosplayers, and that bold, fearless swagger can make just about any style look good.

2. Standout with a White Tux


It looks like it might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship when Bogart paired a bright white tuxedo with a simple black bowtie to create the look that sets his “Casablanca” character Rick Blaine apart from the patrons in his club. It’s an iconic look that hasn’t changed much in the seventy-something years since the film came out. It’s a daring leap that only some can pull off, but Bogart makes it seem so very simple.

3. Simple Can Look Great Too


In his hit movie “The Big Sleep,” Bogart played Philip Marlowe, a man who presumably paid little attention to how he looked. Note the simple single breast jacket, the plain tie, the no-frills shirt. This combination took minimal effort to pull off and probably only cost him a few minutes gathering them from the store in haste to catch up with some crooks. The lesson here is simple: you don’t have to spend a lot of time complicating or adding to your wardrobe to have a great timeless look.

Humphrey Bogart was an exemplary man with confidence up to his mug. He knew what it meant to be comfortable. He was authentic.

It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing a three-piece suit or a tee with blue jeans, if you’re uncomfortable with your clothes, it’s not a stretch to assume that you’re going to look uncomfortable to match. If you’re going to put the effort in to dressing better, make sure you can back it up with a cool, comfortable attitude that tells the world that “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Stay caught up with the VK Nagrani Blog to see more icons we can learn style lessons from.


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