Being a Responsible Pet Owner

A cowboy with his faithful animal companions, a dog and a horse.Pets are wonderful. They can be companions, protectors, and servants. Domestic animals have been making human lives easier for millennia and there’s been a plethora of research in that time that’s shown the emotional benefits of having animal companions. Yet, it seems fewer and fewer people know how to be responsible when it comes to our furry little friends. I’ll start with the most important point.

Pets Aren’t Children

We love our pets, and we’ll we should. I love animals myself, although I only see dogs and horses as warranting an emotional bond. One thing that many don’t seem to understand is that no matter how much you love them, they shouldn’t be treated the same as children. Human children are incapable of functioning independently, but animals can. They also won’t care if you by them a gift or anything like that. Animals don’t think like children so they won’t respond like children either.

Know When to Leave Them at Home

Animals don’t understand human culture. They won’t feel left out if you don’t bring them along. If you do bring them, they’ll likely only notice the inconvenience of it. On the other hand, animals are a lot like us. They don’t like heat or rain, or any other kind of unpleasant weather. They’d rather go home and sleep than walk around on the hot streets. You’re often the only one getting anything out of bring your pet. Your pet and the other people around probably hate that they’re there. If you have to leave them in the car, leave them at home instead. Also, exclude them from any activity that wouldn’t be enjoyable to them, given they’re limited intellect. You wouldn’t take your newborn baby to the opera, would you?

Train Them

What that means may vary, but every pet needs to be trained. If you don’t train your pet, it’ll end up being a nuisance and may even destroy your home. In the most extreme cases, an untrained pet becomes a threat to the safety of every one of your guests. A veterinarian should be able to help you find the help you need in training your pets but you can also find numerous books on the subject in your local library or bookstore.

Find a Vet

There’s no way to keep your pet healthy without a veterinarian. Your vet can help you diagnose any health problems your pet may have and give you excellent advice to prevent them. When your vet gives you advice, take it to heart. You don’t necessarily need to follow it, but you do need to give it due consideration.

Feed Them Properly

Again, what that means varies but it’s not hard to figure out. Once again, your vet will have some excellent advice but any commercially available food is adequate. Feeding your pets is much like feeding your children, you can feed them adequately or well. Foods with more natural ingredients are better, as well as foods that more closely parallel the diets they’d eat in the wild. You don’t have to buy the most expensive food you can find, but don’t feed them the cheapest either. If you really want, you or your wife can even make your own pet food but that’s usually only worthwhile for more typically farm animals.

Put People First

This is similar to my first point, but it is distinct. When the interests of the people in your life conflict with the interests of your pet, do what’s best for the people. For example, if you’re worried about what your dog will do to your upcoming baby, give the dog away to another loving family.

Give Your Pets Their Space

What they need varies, but every pet needs to have some kind of space where they can retreat from whatever stresses them. Animal psychology is very simple and so are their comforts. Just having a place to go that’s soft and secure can make an animal feel safe. Even better is if that space is a transport crate of some form, so they can enjoy the benefits of it during the stress of travel. After all, an animal could never understand the concept of a vehicle.

Pay Attention to Your Pets

This one should be obvious, but your pets need your love and attention. They’ll tend to become increasingly troublesome if you neglect them, and they’re health will decline as well. If you can’t give your pets the attention they crave, give them to someone who can.

Keep Them Under Control

As I said already, animals don’t understand the human world. They don’t know how to keep themselves safe. Somehow people think they need to hold their six year old’s hand but their dog can run free. Also, it’s illegal in most places to not have physical control of your pets, and nobody should have to feel unsafe because an unfamiliar dog might attack them. For the safety of your pets and the general public, keep them on a leash or locked up. It’s what your pet would prefer anyway.

A Man’s Wedding 

These days people tend to think of weddings as being for the bride. That’s something that’s always bothered me. If anything, getting down the aisle is more impressive for men, seeing as how good women are in such short supply and we’re expected to be the ones who make the moves. It’s not right that we become little more than an accessory on the day that’s supposed to mark one of the most important events of our lives. I’m going to offer you some tips to help make your wedding about you too, and be a manly groom while you’re at it. 

Avoid the Word “Bridal”

I’m not saying never say “bridal” but be very careful about it. He word “bridal” means of or pertaining to a bride. It is not a synonym for “wedding.” Every time someone says “bridal” for things that aren’t exclusively about the bride, it sends the message that the groom is irrelevant. If you’re considering hiring someone who’s liberal with the word, pass them over.

It’s Your Day Too

No matter what point in the process your at, never allow your opinion to be ignored. Of course, I’m not saying your bride’s opinion should be ignored either, but you should get your say. There are some decisions that are yours, some are your brides, and some are shared, but both of your opinions should be considered in all of them.

Skip the Groom’s Cake

Some men try to get themselves back into their weddings with things like groom cakes, but that’s not likely to work. It seems like the bride made a gesture by allowing you to express yourself in some little way. It’s then obvious that everything else is just about the bride. There is a much better way to keep yourself in the wedding, but you’ll have to read to the end to find out what it is.

Keep the Men Out of the Bridal Shower

Notice I said Bridal shower. This is one part of the wedding that should be entirely about the bride. Some people think “couple’s showers” should be a thing. They’re wrong. I don’t know if they think it’s the solution to the unfairness of brides getting two prewedding parties or a good way to get men to be more involved in their weddings. Really it’s just another example of forcing men to become more feminine.

Veto the Bachelorette Party

The bachelorette party is the epitome of women trying to be men. Sometime after boorish bachelor parties became the norm, the bachelorette party became common. Even worse, it’s become common for women to want bachelorette parties yet veto bachelor parties. If you stay out of the bridal shower it’ll give her the chance to have a classy party with just her friends.

Keep the Bachelor Party Classy

When most people think of bachelor parties, the first thing that comes to mind is a night filled with debauchery, but there’s a better option. A bachelor party that’s built around enjoying the company of your friends will inevitably be more manly and your bride will have nothing to object to. Your bachelor party should be about celebrating your impending nuptials, not having “one last night of freedom” especially since you’re, if anything, more free after you’re married. 

Put Tradition Before Fashion

There’s nothing wrong with having trendy touches in your wedding, but it is more feminine. Men tend to be more concerned about legacy and tradition than women are, so being traditional tends to be seen as more manly. The best thing, is that wedding traditions are still quite feminine so insisting on a more traditional wedding isn’t going to push your bride on to the sidelines.

Be Visible

It’s impossible to make an event about you if nobody realises you’re around. Your bride is going to be extremely visible in her beautiful white dress, so you need to be front and centre too. Be sure to dress differently than the guests, so you don’t too easily blend in. That’s part of why I think casual weddings are a terrible idea, you can’t stand out if you’re dressing below where many men would be comfortable. Mingle, dance, do whatever it takes for people to see you as the centre of the day, alongside your bride.

Have Non-Negotiables

As promised, here’s the best way to keep yourself in the wedding, non-negotiables. You need to pick some points on which you’re completely unwilling to compromise. Be sure to choose things that are extremely important to you, like family traditions. Don’t choose a tacky theme and make it a non-negotiable. Your bride deserves her non-negotiables as well, and you need to respect that. If they become an issue, then that may be a bad sign for your marriage.

I have one non-negotiable for any event to be about me. I expect the maximum appropriate level of formality for the type of event

Drink Like a Man

Alcohol has become an ugly thing. Instead of nursing a glass of fine cognac or Sauvignon blanc while discussing the important affairs of the day, we go on pub crawls where we drink cheap beer and make complete asses of ourselves. Perhaps it’s an after effect of American prohibition but to so many now drinking is not seen as something classy but inherently boorish and irresponsible. I’m going to delve inside what it means to drink like a man. 

Keep Your Wits About You 

Stoicism and composure are among the most manly virtues but too much drink can destroy them both. Everyone has a limit when it comes to alcohol and it’s entirely your responsibility not to exceed it. Never drink to the point that your dignity is in danger. If you’re starting to act more boorish than is appropriate, it’s time to stop drinking.

Respect Your Responsibilities

Sometimes you’ll find yourself in the presence of adult refreshments but still have responsibilities, like hosting or driving. In those cases your responsibilities come first. You don’t have to completely abstain but you need to still be able to meet those responsibilities. 

Plan to Get Home Safe

You often hear about the need to plan a safe ride home when you drink, and I wholeheartedly agree with that assertion. Your choice as to whether or not you drink must never effect your chances of getting home safely. It doesn’t matter what your plan is, so long as it keeps you safe. Just don’t rely on anyone else unless you’re absolutely certain it won’t cause any problems. 

Drink for the Enjoyment of the Beverage

Most people now choose to drink for the intoxicant effect of alcohol, but that couldn’t be much less manly. A man drinks to enjoy the taste of the beverage and the camaraderie those around him. When someone drinks to get drunk they tend to drink the cheap stuff, that pretty much tastes like turpentine, but when you drink for the enjoyment of it you soon discover the bold and intricate flavours of quality libations. There’s only one way to find drinks you truly enjoy. 

Learn About It

What’s the difference between Canadian and Tennessee whiskey? What is a session ale? Where are the best wines made? These are the kinds of questions you can answer if you educate yourself a little. Even better, you’ll find yourself more appreciative of the qualities of your drink if you understand the intricacies that went into making it and will open up a new topic of conversation. 

Avoid Drinking Alone

If your wife greets you with a martini at the end of a hard day or you like to sit down with a cigar and a glass of scotch to reflect at the end of the week, that’s fine but drinking should be primarily social. Never be the only one drinking at a social function never go out to drink unless you’ll be with friends. 

It’s Fine to be a Teetotaler 

Whether it’s you or someone else who chooses not to drink, it’s a perfectly acceptable and manly choice. You must respect and even endorse their choice. Never push drinks on anyone, especially your date. If you choose not to drink and you have a considerate host, you’ll still have some delicious drink options.

Conclusion

Drinking like a man really comes down to two words, drink responsibly. If the only lasting effect of a night of drinking is the memory of a delightful evening, you drank like a man.

Head of the Household as a Head of State 

John F. Kennedy relaxing with his wife and children.
Many people these days hate the idea of the head of the household. It’s one of those destructive feminist ideas, that being in leadership is the same as being superior. The hypocrisy in that is how they only object to this exact form of leadership. I’m going to explain why the existence of the head of the household is beneficial and how it should be like the head of state. 

Leadership is Service

Something that people often forget is that leadership is a form of service. A good leader doesn’t exercise his authority to get his way but rather for the good of those he leads. He may not always abide by their will,  but he never ignores it. We’ve all heard of army officers claim that “nothing’s too good for the men” and that’s the epitome of a good leadership attitude. Army officers don’t see those under them as their servants but rather people who need guidance to achieve a common goal. The head of a household should hold a similar philosophy. He should lead with the goal of creating a healthy family culture and protecting the well-being of his wife and children. 

You Can’t Have a Democracy of Two

Nobody ever argues that children should have equal say, they are children after all, but that only leaves the two parents to make all the decisions. That works fine when they can come to an agreement, but what about the times they can’t. You can’t vote to settle a disagreement when there are only two voters, you’ll only ever get a tie. When a decision must be made but a consensus can’t be reached, it falls to a leader. 

A Leader Must be Chosen in Advance

If you try to choose a leader when a decision needs to be made then you’re actually still trying to make that decision. You always need to choose a leader when there’s no other decisions to be made. Governments schedule elections to try to avoid that very problem. For that concern, it doesn’t matter who the leader is, so long as the choice is made beforehand. It works well to assume the man will be this leader, but that’s not the important point. 

Head of Household, Head of State

A head of state has two primary roles; be the final authority and be the face of the government. It has never been common practice for a head of state to act entirely unilaterally. They always at least tried to get input, to fill in the gaps in their own knowledge of the situation. The head of a household should do the same, consulting with his wife and children when there’s a decision to be made. 

The identity of a family comes from two places; the family as a collective unit and the head of the household. When a family needs to choose a representative or ceremonial leader, the duty tends to fall to the husband and father. Whenever there’s a need to attach a single name or face to a family, it’s the husband and father. 

Conclusion

You can either be marginalised in your own home or the “king of your castle” and your family’s “head of state.” If you forego your place as the head of the household you lose your place in it, and simply become hanger on. 

Should We Drop Social Media to Move Over to Personal Blogs?

Not too long ago I wrote an article about how we’re isolated by our modern communication. Today, I’m going to talk about a possible way to be more connected within the internet world, using personal blogs in place of most of social media. 

What Do I Mean By “Personal Blogs?”

Before I can discuss personal blogs I have to define them. I don’t mean a blog with one but rather a blog about the author, a running autobiography if you will. A personal blog is populated with news about the author’s life and their musings on life, published for no reason but to be of interest to others. It does not intend to teach or promote an ideology. This is not a personal blog, although I do have one.

The Audience

Social media usually has a huge and varied audience. It’s almost impossible to write for them because they’re all looking for something different. The only thing they all have in common is they prefer the superficial over the meaningful. 

Blogs, on the other hand, will typically have smaller more interested audiences. If someone goes to the trouble of following your blog, they probably have a genuine interest in your life. They’re most likely looking for the more serious news about your life. In all likelihood, only your inner circle will ever read your personal blog.

The Publishers

When you login to Facebook or twitter the first thing you see is a bloated newsfeed, full of trivialities of no real significance. You likely follow dozens, hundreds, or even thousands, and few of them are posting anything important. So you end up wading through a sea of nonsense to find something you care about or going to their profiles, which are essentially superficial blogs. 

The very nature of blogs means you’ll only follow the ones you care about. You won’t follow the blog of someone you barely spoke to in high school, and not once since. 

The Message

Social media pushes us towards brief messages. Posts tend to be a few lines of text or maybe a couple of images or a short video. It doesn’t really give you the chance to discuss anything in depth. 

Blogs are equally suited to long and short posts. You can write posts that are only one sentence or a hundred thousand words. If you only want to be superficial that’s fine, but you can also describe every detail of an event in your life or rant about whatever you feel passionate about. 

Conclusion

Social media and blogs both have their place. Social media is great for keeping up with your outer circle, you only want superficial news from them anyway. A blog is better for sharing news with your inner circle, since it’s all about thorough posts and devoted followers. 

If you’re ready to start your own personal blog, WordPress and Blogger are two excellent free options, or you can look for a lesser known option that’s better suited to your need or even get one custom made.

Hats: For Gentlemen and Ladies

Older gentleman reading World War Two newspaper on the bus.
Editor’s note: As an etiquette guide, this article is based on opinion. It’s goal is to create a standard.

When we look at the manliest men in history, many of them wore hats. Teddy Roosevelt, Wyatt Earp, and Frank Sinatra all wore hats frequently. Why then have hats fallen out of favour? I can’t give you an answer because there’s no good reason for it. So let’s put our hats back on and exude the class the fashion world has been trying to extinguish and start wearing outfits that look well thought out and finished. 

For Gentlemen

It’s not always appropriate for a gentleman to wear a hat. He must never wear one when in an office, home, or church, when eating a meal, or for prayer. When coming or going, or in any other indoor space, it’s at his discretion. A gentleman can also use his hat in greeting, but I’ll talk about that in other article. Most importantly, a man should always wear a hat if it’s appropriate. 

Like all men’s fashion, subtlety rules in hats. A man’s hat should be mostly neutral colours. A colourful accent piece is fine so long as it doesn’t clash with the rest of his outfit. More colourful and elaborate hats should be kept to casual outfits, where the distinction between men’s and ladies’ hats begins to blur. 

Some good hats for a gentleman to have in his wardrobe are fedoras, homburgs, top hats, bowlers, and flat caps or anything along those lines. Trilbys have become associated with some pretty unmanly boys and and classless women, so they’re best avoided. 

For Ladies

Ladies’ hats can be far more flamboyant than men’s, just don’t start looking like the Chiquita Banana lady. When it comes to colour, a lady’s hat should at least complement, if not, match the dominant colour in her outfit. Pill box hats and sun hats are good go tos, although sun hats are fairly casual. Fascinators, although not technically hats, are also a great option to go with more formal outfits. Unlike gentlemen, ladies generally only remove large hats when coming indoors, and can wear their hat all day, but wearing a more arranged hairstyle in place of a hat is also acceptable. 

For Everyone

When we get into casual hats it becomes acceptable for men and ladies to wear the same hats. Large or flamboyant hats should be reserved for ladies. Baseball caps are very popular casual hats but they should actually be reserved for athletic contexts. Flat caps should be reserved for men and what’s formal for one gender is not casual for the other. Western hats should be reserved for western themed events and activities like ranching and horseback riding, unless you live somewhere like Texas, Arizona, or Alberta. One thing that’s crucial to remember, any branding beyond a maker’s mark expresses a strong association or affinity, so don’t wear any logo simply because it’s fashionable.

Cultural & Uniform Headdress 

If you come from a culture with a strong association with a specific style of headwear then go ahead and wear it in accordance with its traditional etiquette, even if it conflicts with typical etiquette. If you’re authorised to wear a uniform that includes headdress, then do it in accordance with regulations, but never wear obviously uniform headwear if you shouldn’t wear the whole uniform. 

My Hats

You may be wondering what hats I wear, and when I wear what. So, here’s what I have and what I plan to get. 

What I Have

US Army surplus camouflage patrol cap (street clothes)

Charcoal grey flat cap (casual)

Black fedora (informal)

What I Want

Grey homburg (evening semi-formal)

Black bowler (daytime semi-formal)

Black top hat (formal)

Grey fedora (casual)

Royal Canadian Navy uniform headdress

Black and brown cowboy hats (practical attire, specifically riding)

Why Every Man Needs to be a Sportsman


Sports have been a part of men’s lives since antiquity. The games may have changed but little else has. In our more intellectual time men’s interest in sports has become passive, yet obsessive, but sports should be more to men than that. 

Sports Are Good for Your Health

5 out of 5 doctors agree, exercise is beneficial for otherwise healthy people. So unless your doctor tells you otherwise, you should get out and move. Sports are a great way to do that because they have other benefits and give you a more measurable goal than simply health. 

Sports Are Social

Most sports can’t be played without other people around, be they teammates or opponents. Even sports like golf, which you can play alone, have their social traditions. Even better, they create a common interest, a starting point for friendship or a way to end an awkward silence. 

Sports Are Manly

I know it’s a bit tautological to mention manliness, but in our excessively feminine society we need to seek out every bastion of manliness we can. Sports are the epitome of manliness. They’re all about competition and strength, trying to outwit and outmuscle your opponents. 

Sports Are Fun

We all remember playing street hockey, pickup basketball, or whatever when we were boys. That’s what casual sports are supposed to be like. You have fun and make friends, and maybe your wives can be friends too. As long as nobody takes it too seriously sports tend to be fun. 

How to Become a Sportsman 

Here’s the easy part. All you have to do is find your sport. Get out and try some, if you like it it’s your sport, and there’s no reason you can’t have more than one. Just don’t expect to be great right out of the gate, that’s what practice is for. Now get your gym bag and try some sports.