I Love You, Man
There's no way around it - breakups suck.
The aftermaths of mine usually involve obsessively listening to Bon Iver, scarfing down chips in bed, and excessive drinking. Then I move on to empowered bitch mode, where I change my hair color and start believing I don't need no stinkin’ man because I will rule the universe while my ex withers to a sad existence. Layer in deleting the dude from my Facebook so I don't stare at his page, and after a couple weeks I usually return back to awesome, kickass, single me.
Recently, I've been coming to the rescue of male friends muddling through breakups. Despite the fact that guys are often less willing to let the emo escape, I've found they take romantic splits harder than my lady pals and it’s more of a challenge building back their self-esteem.
One of my best dudes, Jake, got dumped hardcore a couple months ago. This wasn’t a simple "it's not you, it's me" deal. She basically told him he needed to change everything (job, apartment) and oh, p.s. – she met someone else. Harsh. After multiple stabs at resurrecting this unshaven Sasquatch from a couch of empty Jameson bottles, I decided it was breakup makeover time.
Despite the evil ex's opinion, Jake's awesome. He’s smart, a really good conversationalist, funny, and pretty damn foxy. I wanted to help him slay the ladies of this city once again. Under my tutelage, this type of makeover involves just three simple steps: cleaning the fella up, getting him some new duds, and forcing him to put the new look to use while getting his flirt on. By the end of our day together, I wanted Jake back out there feeling like a confident fox.
Our first decision: lose the caveman hair, which I was pretty sure contained gold fish cracker crumbs at this point. Jake has had his fill of bad girls who dig the beardos – he's aiming to meet some girls next door, and a nice shave could help with that.For this unmasking, we head out for a proper treatment at The Barber Lounge. I insist that for a facial unearthing of this proportion, a hot shave is the only answer. Jake’s never had one, and although the name sounds like a vintage porn title, this is the perfect thing for a post-breakup makeover. It’s a little spa time for the chin.
The Barber Lounge is equal parts vintage barbershop, playboy grooming salon, and well-decorated man-cave. If only Eddie Murphy were giving soul-glow treatments here. It offers pretty rad services for guys – mustache trims and waxing, gray blending, neck trims, and more.
After five minutes in the old-school barber chair, Jake had that same glow I remember having when I got my first pedicure in a massage chair. He decides on a hair and neck trim and a hot shave, which returns his look back to clean-cut vintage guy. I was happy to see the Teen Wolf growing on the back of his neck gone, and even happier I didn't have to shave it for him.
Nothing reels the babes in like a sharp dressed, smiling man. Now that we could see Jake’s grin again, we decide to ride this makeover train to a new outfit. After years of dressing all the men in my life – friends, brothers, boyfriends, and everyone in-between, I'm putting my buddy through fashion boot camp.Our goal today is to find a couple basic pieces Jake can rock for dates, work, and every day. I give him a list:
* Well-fitting jeans: Should make your ass look like gold. No sparkle or obnoxious stitching on the pockets. Make sure they fit the legs well enough to show you’ve got nice gams, but avoid heroin rocker-skinny jeans.
*A cardigan sweater: One that says, “I'm smart and have some vintage style, but I would have dirty sex with you in the library in a heartbeat.”
* The perfect western shirt: because I secretly want to bang the Marlboro Man, and I’m sure other ladies do as well.
* Well-fitting basic T-shirts: Snug enough to show definition in your arms and shoulders, but loose enough for those beer belly moments. Go for white, gray, black, and a strong color that makes your eyes stand out.
* Simple vintage jacket that’s well fitted, warm enough for SF nights, and good for casual or dinner dates.
* An epic vintage T-shirt that shows a little personality.
With $300 in hand, we hit Mission Thrift and Room 4 on Valencia. Mission Thrift is great because it’s merchandised by category – so for guys who hate shopping, this is cake. We scour the racks and end up with some sweet scores that are pretty well priced –including a green vintage army jacket that’s a little military but also very now. Next we grab a pair of vintage Levi’s cords and another pair of perfectly beat-up jeans that make me stare at Jake’s ass – in an inappropriate way. Toss in a perfect gray wool cardigan sweater (that I then pimp out with some suede couch samples), a vintage Bay to Breakers tee, and some basic vintage tees without any print. In 40 minutes we spend about $200 and Jake has crossed off half the things on our shopping list.
We then dash over to Room 4 on Valencia with our last hundo – the shop carries great vintage clothing for men. We grab the perfect western shirt and some fun tees before meandering off our shopping list for a naked lady lighter and a Mack truck belt buckle.
Guys, major tip: Take a girl who you're friends with shopping. It helps if she has been attracted to you at some point, as you’ll be able to tell by the look on her face what outfits look hottest. I fit this bill with Jake, with whom I’ve tried to sneak some drunken makeouts on like one … or fifteen occasions.
It's time for Jake to put his new look into practice. I ditch him for a
couple hours with a cheery Motown mix I burned that should get him
feeling awesome. We meet up later at the Homestead, commencing the final
part of this makeover – talking to girls and showing off the new
The Homestead is an amazing gem of a bar. It’s got a masculine, old-school feel and a cozy fireplace, so guys can come here either for whiskey time with the dudes or on a date. We go on a Monday, which means it’s Oldies Night, and that there are some serious drink specials – $1 Olympia and PBR beers and $2 well drinks – as well as an awesome local crowd.
Since Jake has been off the market for over five years, he isn't even sure where to start with the ladies. I bring him to the Homestead not only because it's one of the best bars in the city but also because it's casual enough that he won't come off like A Night at the Roxbury trying to pick up chicks. Chances are he'll know some folks here and they'll be with friends too, so he can mingle for a bit if he's feeling too nervous to talk to strangers right off the bat. Plus, if he meets someone rad and wants more hang time, he can always take her out for a late night burrito on nearby Mission St.
After about an hour at the Homestead, Jake has relaxed into his whiskey gingers. We end up talking to a lot of people, both friends and strangers. I play a good wingwoman, introducing him to cute girls and wandering off when their conversations go past a few minutes. When he meets a gal he seems to really like, I start up the oldies dancing, giving her the opportunity to check out his ass of gold on the dance floor.
My favorite part about this makeover day arrives around 1:30 a.m., when I find Jake in the secret back room with a girl, having a very private, flirty conversation.
I can't promise I got Jake laid, but I did Jedi him through some basic manscaping and shopping advice to help him get his groove back. Breakups are far from fun, but gaining a new sense of self and style on your way to meeting new romance is hella fun.
Guys, git yo'self your own post-breakup makeover.
Put away the whiskey.
Take a shower and then get the Cheetos out of your beard with a little help from The Barber Lounge.
Stop stalking her Facebook.
Don't ever again wear those pajama pants you just had on for three weeks straight. Set them on fire – along with her breakup email and the stuffed bear she gave you for Valentine’s Day – and pick up new threads at Mission Thrift and Room 4.
Get thee to the Homestead.