The Male V

6a00d8341c5b6153ef011570eacef6970b-300wi

What was the cause? The effect was indeed quite noticeable, and one that had been surreptitiously permeating the male physique for the past few years with minimal commentary from the more discerning female adult population who normally observe these things.

As I stood shamelessly in front of the hotel bathroom mirror whilst on a recent business trip with all but a white pristine bath towel encapsulating my lower half, I made a virtuous decision on behalf of corporate mankind to try and understand the origin of this visual perplexity. I looked at myself and realised that I, like many other men, was also not immune from this male condition.

Now before I proceed too far, you as an inquisitive reader might be wondering as to the potential side effects of this uniquely male malady, and more importantly, its impact on those that come into close male physical proximity. Firstly, relax, as the influence is positive and one that signals to the naked chest observer that the man beholden to this condition is highly innovative and a vigilant embellisher of a free thought.

The main visual clue is a sun-bleached v-shaped band of thick wavy chest hair that starts just below the male adult neck line and continues for a typical distance of about four inches in a downward direction. After extensive research utilising the detailed observation skills of many office based corporate female colleagues, a uniform and consistent visual theme started to emerge to which there can be no question, nor doubt of authenticity.

The chest follicular condition is believed to have first surfaced in the 1960s and 70s when many a business man elected to have a shirt dress code that was rather devoid of buttons. As the decades unfolded, men chose to portray a regressive and traditionally conservative closed shirt collar policy that supported a full neck length tie. However, over the past few years, men have discarded these formal fashion knotted links to the past and have gleefully accepted an open collared shirt prowess that has been readily approved by the business world as a sign confirming their creativity.

The consequence of this decisive fashion action has been exponential male chest hair freedom, a complete contrast to the historical times where they had been subjected to a barrage of restrictive shirt button protection and coverage. These empowered and unconstrained hairs are now able to reach their full bushy length potential and grow with unity in a v-shaped formation in solidarity with their DNA facial haired brothers.

So, should you, like me, no longer be a wearer of the business tie, may you flaunt your chest hairs in public with pride as you let all onlookers appreciate that you are doing your bit for the growth of innovation and creativity in the corporate office!

The Choice is in Your Hand – Left or Right?

Thinking Mode 1

For many years now, men of all ages, have been daunted with one of the most important life choices that needs to be made on a daily basis first thing each morning. This decision is not one that should ever be rushed, nor should it be trivialized, as the resultant selection will linger for the remainder of the day until eventually corrected that evening with a potential, and welcome, sigh of relief.

For most men, symmetry is the most common selection criterion, but some do like to go with a surprise methodology that may invoke that well known law of uncertainty and mystique. Others may match colour, size and complexity to complement their prevailing mood. Some may utilize a delayed surprise and shock strategy that requires a pointed unveiling, at the appropriate time, to reinforce and embellish an important event. For me, I go with an approach that is built entirely around complete randomness, however, having them is a non-negotiable life necessity.

Women and children have also been known to partake in their use as they reinforce diversity and are not bound, nor limited, by any classification of stereotype, nor allocated gender.

The items are ageless and can be passed down between generations to signify belonging, prestige, heredity or just plain and simple usefulness. Some are priceless, others may be worthless, but their value is indeed calculated in the eye of the beholder.

They are typically seen in the corporate office, but no restriction applies to their use as they are not bound by any regulations, statutes, or HR policies, and are free to participate in any public, or private, work, or social environment.

Some say they were first observed in the 16th century. I say their use is timeless, and they shall prevail for many centuries to come bringing a sense of satisfaction and continued personal self-esteem for all generations!

They are a sign of personal innovation, creativity and confirm your undeniable link to shirt fashion.

Yes, they are cuff-links. May you wear them with pride, savor the experience, and enjoy the looks of nodding approval from your colleagues, friends, and even those you don’t know yet (but they will undoubtedly know you)!

Membership in the League of Hairy Chested Men

Hairy chest

There are many “taboo” topics that are typically not talked about in a public forum, and particularly not in the corporate office. Similarly, these items of private interest are also not privy to the benefit of being found in numerous blog post searches, nor other forms of the social networking media.

No, I’m not talking “women’s issues”, I’m talking one that has been baffling men for thousands of years and I think it is time for it to make an appearance without any fear of reprisal or public humiliation!

I for one, have embraced my DNA heredity right of manhood and display my male characteristics to the fullness. How do I feel you may ask? Brilliant, and I encourage all men to follow my lead and embrace their god given right to show it!

Yes, I’m a full member of the “League of Hairy Chested Men”. That’s right, I have copious amounts of chest hair and I’m not ashamed to show it, in fact, I flaunt it whenever possible!

Now all you clothing fashion designers reading this blog post, take note as there are some important and key learnings here for you. Now that I have your attention, please consider the following points when next you develop a shirt for men:

Buttons: There are too many. You can increase your profits by eliminating the top three buttons, as they are superfluous for the hairy chested man. We like to flaunt our masculinity and these additional buttons just get in the way of our exhibitionist tendencies.

Fabric Thickness: Don’t skimp here! Men’s chest hairs are sneaky little creatures and they just love peering through the cloth. The result is an itchy chest and a look that can be a tad prickly to the observer.

Colour: Not white, as we don’t want our hidden hairs taking over the surreptitious show from those that have been formally allowed to preen in a public and approved manner.

So, to all you women read this post, the future of men’s chest hairs are indeed in your hands. You have the power to encourage your menfolk to show their hairiness and to join me in the global quest for chest hair freedom!

To all you hairy men…..be seen, be hairy! It’s a great feeling of empowerment!

Image: Shutterstock

The Office Revolution

Boldly Masculine Design

The alarm bell screeched with maximum volume! The Manager’s heartbeat immediately started to pound loudly as this was the first time that she had heard the sound, after all, it had never actually gone off before….ever! Other Managers around her also started to run around in a panic as they too had no idea what to do. The worried Managers huddled together as they quickly searched through their book of corporate policies and procedures. Finally, on page 272, there they found the answer. It was a “non-conformity” alarm! But how was it activated, and how do they stop this continual noise permeating through their normally quiet office floor?

Unbeknownst to the Managers, one of their employees had decided to mount a personal revolt!

Let’s go back to 8:30 AM that morning to understand the origin of this mystery!

Employee number 468136, aka Bernard Smith, arrived at his allocated work station. His desk was the same as every other desk on his office floor. It was white, immaculately tidy, a computer placed centrally, 4 piles of primary coloured folders on the left side, and had a standard black chair with his name branded on the back. Bernard was dressed in his black suit, white shirt and company embellished logo tie, just like all his fellow male workers.

At precisely 8:31 AM, each employee started to type on their computer and the day commenced just like every other day. However, at 8:32 AM, Bernard stopped work. He looked up and down the line of desks, each positioned in a perfectly straight line so as to not break the red laser beam, and thought…..”enough”, as a bead of sweat slowly rolled down his forehead.

To the amazement of those sitting around him, he took off his tie and undid the top button of his business shirt. Silence and an uneasy feeling quickly started to prevail. Bernard had taken the first step to his creative freedom and it felt good! As his confidence increased, he messed up his 4 folder piles. Then he did something completely radical, he moved his desk over the laser line and turned it by a full 180 degrees. He was now facing into the office, rather than a wall!

Little did Bernard know that once his newly re-positioned desk broke the red laser beam, an alarm would be triggered……

The Managers now knew the cause of the alarm and initiated an immediate and successful remedy. They decided to quickly reconfigure all work desks with Bernard’s new alignment so each and every desk now faced inwards. Once again quietness was instilled in the office as all desks now looked precisely the same as all the others. As the week progressed, the bewildered employees slowly got used to their new desk view until normality once again was achieved.

But not for Bernard, he still had no tie around his neck and there was no way he was going back to that form of corporate fashion control. He liked his messy folder pile and the air movement around his uncollared neck. It was time for revolution……!!

Appearances are indeed everything?

8191448222_4192999f5b_q

Ok, it was agreed, I would be “Fabian Rizzo”, the famous ballet dancer from New York (USA), Fabian would be me, “Steven Cramer”, the “alleged founder” of the world renowned “Dram” whiskey distillery in Pitlochery (Scotland).

We would meet at the select, and might I add, very exclusive Melbourne socialite dinner party at different times and collect “our” nametags and then the personality pretence would commence in earnest.

I arrived first, wearing a strikingly loud, and as equally wide, pinstripe suit complemented with a white linen tight fitting shirt with the top three buttons undone allowing my copious chest hairs freedom to peruse all observers. I did think that my bright purple socks where a tad over the top, but they seemed to work well with my thin black pointy leather shoes. Maybe the orange floral handkerchief was a little too metrosexual, but what the heck, I was “Fabian Rizzo” after all, wasn’t I!

As I arrived at the well-staffed dinner party reception table and announced my name, I was immediately swarmed over by a large number of the “beautiful people”, many of which were obviously fashion models, and to my relief, the majority of them were woman!

But my famous nametag wouldn’t be sufficient to ensure a successful evening, I had to “act the Fabian” so my walk, voice delivery and other unique mannerisms needed to prevail. The more I delved into the character, the more responsive my audience of vast admirers responded and the greater my performance. Yes, I did have a successful night, but that part will remain private, after all, one can never be sure who is actually reading these blog posts!

But I was only half the story. “Steven Cramer” also arrived at the reception table about thirty minutes after “Fabian Rizzo”, dressed in a fashionable and unpretentious dark tartan suit. His business shirt did portray some loud chunky gold cufflinks, and a tie with a full Windsor knot adorned his shirt. With a loud and deep toned Scottish accent (which sounded quite authentic by the way), he announced his name. After a brief few seconds, he was then quickly surrounded by an array of other professional looking men and woman who had a look of financial affluence and success wofting from their persona. However, to the trained eye (mine in this case, who was watching from the other side of the room), they were a gabble of bankers, stock market analysts, politicians, lawyers, a couple of alcoholics who were seeking the possibility of a fine “Dram” drop prior to making it to the dinner reception, and a variety of other “unclassified hangeronerers”. “Steven Cramer” was brilliant as he announced his market predictions for the upcoming whiskey market and provided his confidential and creative insights on what made a good glass of the Scottish liquor. Rumours were that he also managed to have quite a successful evening from various anonymous reports the following morning.

Now you may be wondering how these exploits of disguise benefit those that work in the corporate office or any other organization? Well, it all comes down to how people become fixated with the personal image associated with an individual and whether it is really deserved or not. It is quite common for employees to be impressed by a manager’s job title and play along accordingly thinking that they might benefit from the association. Some people tend to be too easily fooled by the public “label” that disguises the person wearing it, and should focus more on the actual person inside the “labelled garment”.

It is also interesting to observe from a third person perspective just how your co-workers actually view you as exemplified by this famous “Fabian Rizzo” and “Steven Cramer” role reversal. Similarly, whether these colleagues are really interested in you, or the role you portray?

PS: In case you were wondering, yes, “Fabian Rizzo” and “Steven Cramer” did indeed compare notes the following morning and the learnings were quite interesting for both individuals.

Bow tie Leadership

Bow Tie

Should you be looking for a symbol of change in your corporate office? Well, look no further than a bow tie! Besides providing the wearer with some upper collar shirt pizzazz, this stylish and fashionable enhancement will set the custodian with a unique and highly noticeable position of business grandeur amongst your fellow work colleagues.

Let’s start with the basics. Firstly, forget your clip on bow tie, seriously, what’s the point! These are OK if you are 3 years old and don’t know any better and probably can’t tie your shoe laces either. However, if you are an adult, it must be a hand tied bow tie. Once you have mastered the tying procedure, a certain sense of personal achievement will have been attained, a skill that the wearer can most definitely list on their CV with pride and accomplishment.

In my office, I recently had the joy of adorning a bow tie for a 6 week period. I decided to wear this fashion statement to personally support a cultural change management program that had been initiated within my organization.

Now besides getting quite a few inquisitive looks from strangers I traveled with on public transport to and from the office (I still think it was bow tie envy), and from those I work with in the office, to me, the bow tie experience was quite profound and enlightening. So, what did I learn from a corporate leadership perspective that can be used in a change management program?

1. People noticed the bow tie (if you want to be a leader, you need to be noticed).

2. You can’t wear the same coloured bow tie each day (a leader needs to tailor the message for co-workers that can be readily understood, it can’t be a general communication).

3. The bow-tie was hand tied (it takes skill and some persistence to be a leader, the process needs to be practiced).

4. Bow-ties don’t suit everyone (some people like to follow…..and wear the traditional long length and rather boring and conservative tie, but then again, we wouldn’t want everyone wearing a bow tie!).

So, next time your organization is thinking of implementing a program of change, may I suggest you go and purchase a hand tied bow tie and start wearing it in the office. Yes, you will be noticed, you will feel different from the masses, but you will be making a fashion statement, and you will be a Leader!

Shirt Wear – Guidelines for Corporate Creativity

Shirt

You know…the business shirt is quite an amazing source of innovation and creativity and has a unique and strategic place in the corporate office. However, many wearers do not recognise this fact, or its importance. So let’s explore this grand piece of clothing a little bit further.

The key shirt characteristics that define your shirt wearing creativity are:
• The colour
• The buttons
• The in/out tuck

Colour:
Most shirt wearers in your typical conservative corporate organisation tend to wear the stock standard white shirt. Need we say anymore, except, this probably explains why these companies are quite boring and lacking innovation!
When colour is introduced; now we are talking! These colourful shirt wearers tend to have that increased level of flamboyance and “oomph” that supports the generation of new ideas. Other areas for creative differentiation are the optional stripe or pattern.

Buttons:
The typical business shirt has seven buttons in the main frontal section, and a smaller button on the sleeves (assuming that this is a cufflink shirt).
My extensive research (based on extensive individual research I might add), is that the number of buttons done-up greatly influences the shirt wearers level of freedom which I assert has a direct correlation with creativity.
The optimum level of thought freedom appears to be attained with no buttons done up….yep that hairy chested high air-flow look! When all the buttons are done-up, “theory” states that creativity is proportionally reduced. Owing to HR T&Cs of acceptable dress in the corporate office, I would suggest the top two buttons being undone, if not completely removed to ensure that happy creative compromise with the official corporate guidelines.
Another option is to undo the small buttons on the shirtsleeves and roll your sleeves up, once again, a certain freedom of corporate constraint seems to prevail as a consequence.

In/Out Tuck:
This is indeed a very personal choice. Some people like to have their shirt tucked in, others like it out. However, when wearing a suit, having the shirt out does tend to make you look rather uncouth hedging towards that bogun looking classification. However, if it improves your ability to think with your shirt flapping around your bottom, well, each to their own!

Now, I haven’t explored the choice of hooks and eyes, or zips, as an alternative to buttons, but would welcome any constructive feedback from any readers of this blog post that might be beneficial to the argument being proposed above (which of course is all tongue in cheek!).

In conclusion, may I suggest that you view your business shirt as a key factor in the development of a culture of innovation in the corporate office.

Coat Buttons Undone

Winter Walk

In the colder months of the year, should you quickly glance at the commuting business person when they are travelling to and from the office, it is most likely that you will notice a common corporate appearance – black coat, single coloured scarf and the occasional dark gloves. If it is raining, the umbrella is usually of a colour to complement the coat, once again…black.

However, when this worker arrives at the office and disrobes their black coat and scarf, there is an observed vibrancy of coloured shirts, ties, suits and skirts.

To me this is an interesting conundrum.

All these workers have a similar external appearance as typified by the black coat, yet once the “coat buttons are undone”, each of them has their own unique dress style that expresses their individual personality.

So in the office environment, don’t judge a person’s character and capability by their external persona. Try to get to understand them better when they have been given the opportunity to demonstrate some of their hidden talents!