Out with the old, in with the new. The modern world is always pushing you to move ahead and leave old habits and customs behind. But not so fast—some are worth holding onto!
We’re all about adopting new habits. And there’s no reason to engage in pointless nostalgia, thinking that things were always better in the olden days.
But—reality check—some things really were better. And learning from the past can bring some big benefits, as these 5 old school manly habits prove.
1 – Be Comfortable Dressing Up
Starting in high school, most guys adopt a super casual style that never grows up. Jeans or cargo shorts. Sneakers or flip flops. And god-awful printed T-shirts with “clever” statements and supposedly vintage images.
Maybe it looks OK when you’re 16. But by the time you’re in your 20’s and 30’s… not so much.
Take some style hints from days gone by. When gentlemen took time and effort to ensure they looked the part. When the average man truly valued what his personal style said to the world.
Sure, there’s a time and place for unabashedly casual clothing. But is that all you know how to wear? If so, take a lesson from your grandfather’s day and learn to be comfortable dressing up.
Dressing up doesn’t have to mean a suit and tie. Maybe you work in an office where the dress code is business casual — emphasis on the casual. Even so, upgrading to fitted trousers and an Oxford shirt can make a stunning difference from khakis and a polo. You might even rock a tie now and then to really blow your co-workers away.
The point is to dress just a notch above what’s required for the situation. That gives you a touch of style, makes you stand out from the crowd, and shows you’re still in touch with the now old-school habit of comfortably dressing up.
2 – Shave Like Your Grandpa
A few decades ago, Grandpa wasn’t shaving with a disposable, plastic, multi-blade razor. No way. He was wet shaving with a safety razor. And his skin looked and felt better for it.
Still, you don’t have to shave exactly like Grandpa. You want the old school approach with a modern update. And for your hard earned cash, you can’t do better than the OneBlade CORE razor.
This is the all grown up version of Grandpa’s razor. It’s made from an engineer-grade polymer called Tritan around a stainless steel core – so you get a razor with the right weight and balance that is going to last basically forever.
It’s also far safer and easier to use than old school safety razors. So no worries that you’re going to have to spend hours in front of the mirror, slowly getting used to this new thing called wet shaving. The razor’s designed with a comfortable pivot for smooth shaving and the blades are a breeze to change out.
Maybe you’re a hold out for your disposable cartridge razor. They’re simple, you just toss them out when you’re done, and they’re totally ubiquitous.
OK — but that doesn’t mean they’re the best option for your sensitive skin. In fact, they can cause massive irritation, itchy redness, ingrown hairs… bad news.
And it’s not like they’re saving you any money. Depending on which disposable or cartridge razor you use, you could be spending $4 or more per blade. That’s nuts when compared to a safety razor.
After investing in the OneBlade CORE, blades cost as little as $0.66 each. If you get 2-3 shaves out of each blade, that’s $0.25 per shave. And a far better shave than you’re getting from those multi-blade monstrosities. Can’t beat it.
Plus, there’s an undeniably classic feel to lathering up a shaving brush and using a safety razor. There’s a manly touch to having a solid set of quality tools to shave with – not just some throw away plastic thing.
3 – Take Handwritten Notes
Let’s take a moment to appreciate the miracle of note taking apps on our phones. They sync across devices. You can save an idea no matter where you are. And it only takes a second.
Even so, there are still good reasons why you should be taking handwritten notes instead.
Take the example of recent research done on university students and their note taking habits during lectures. Turns out that handwriting notes made students more selective, helped them better process the information they were hearing, and made it easier to answer questions based on their notes.
There’s no denying that writing out your notes prevents distractions too. While you’re taking notes on your phone, there are dozens of other apps buzzing and dinging and alerting you to their presence. Writing with pen and paper blocks all that out and allows you to focus.
Editor’s note: When I was growing up, my dad always used a ballpoint pen and pencil set from Cross. I loved the set’s sleek, classy look and the simplicity of having one pen and pencil set that was used for everything.
Another great option, as far as gel-flowing fluidity, is the affordable Pilot G2. I bought a small set with several colors, making it easier to call out specific information within your notes. -BC
So the next time you’re taking notes on a conference call, recording the details of a business meeting, or brainstorming for your next project, put your phone away. Don’t start typing. Write out your notes instead.
4 – Keep a Journal
No, you shouldn’t start each entry with “Dear Diary”. But keeping a handwritten journal (see above) offers benefits galore. In the age of Snapchat, Instagram Stories, and constantly updated Twitter feeds, recording your own history in a slower, old school way is incredibly valuable.
Consider the mental and emotional health benefits. Logging your day’s activities, your passing thoughts, and your feelings helps you manage anxiety, reduce stress, and cope with depression according to the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Journaling gives you a chance to sit back, relax, and think. It forces you to slow down and analyze your feelings – even if it’s just for 5 minutes each day. That’s a luxury rarely offered in the constantly updated digital world.
There are also well-documented creative benefits to keeping a journal. It offers you an opportunity to brainstorm, to remember important ideas, and to organize your creative thoughts.
And what about the business benefits? Recording your successes, failures, thought processes, and business ideas gives you a massive repository of experience to pull from.
Editor’s note: I use one notebook: The large, hard cover Moleskine squared notebook with gridded pages.
I find the grid makes it easier to both write and sketch out ideas, compared to regular lined or blank pages. -BC
Maybe no one is going to make a movie about your life using your journal. You might never choose to share your journal entries with anyone but yourself.
Even so, there are practical, emotional, creative, and even business benefits to jotting down some ideas each day.
5 – Engage in Real Conversations
How many different people do you text or chat with each day? Compare that to the number of real life humans you physically interact with. Which comes out on top?
If you’re like most people, the digital communication far outweighs the face-to-face. It’s becoming so one sided that some guys seem to be forgetting how to engage in real conversations at all.
Why put down your phone and talk to the people around you instead?
Non-verbal cues. Human interaction is subtle and multifaceted. You move your eyes, change your facial expression, and adjust your posture as you converse.
Those little details help you get to know others, give you insight into what they’re feeling, and improve your interactions. And they’re not replaceable with emojis – not by a long-shot.
Stronger relationships. Whether it’s in the workplace or with your SO, physical interaction helps build stronger bonds. In the business world, being a skilled communicator and smooth conversationalist is a must.
And on a personal level, whether you’re in a committed relationship or looking to meet someone new, talking in person will always be what forges connections and emotional attachments.
Texts and chats are great for quick correspondence. But don’t let them become your principal means of communication with the world around you.
Keep It Real, Keep It Old School
There’s nothing wrong with embracing digital updates to old school habits. But that doesn’t mean there’s no value in the way you parents – or grandparents – used to do things.
Whether it’s your grooming routine or your daily interactions with others, let the wisdom of the past influence your modern approach to life. You’ll find significant benefits – and a touch of style that’s sorely missing from the modern world.
Thanks to our friends at OneBlade for being a part of this post. To go old school and upgrade your shave routine, check out the OneBlade CORE Starter Kit (pictured below).
It’s got everything you need for the best possible shave experience at home – CORE razor, stand, shave brush, shave cream, aftershave, and a 2 month supply of blades.
After a couple months of wet shaving with this pro razor, you won’t ever want to go back to that disposable nonsense.