I just finished listening to “On Killing” by Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman. It was a fascinating read and really opened up my eyes to the relationship men have with violence.
You may be asking yourself, “What does this have to do with clothing and why is this guy writing about it on a style site?”
As you can imagine, given what I do for a living, my mind is always looking for the application of any principle to a context of appearance, style, and aesthetics.
Well, here’s a copy of one of the notes I took as I was listening.
The primary reasons soldiers kill are pressure from the other men in their group, respect for their leaders, desire to not lose face with either, and a desire to contribute to the common goals of the group – not ideology, fear, or hatred. Tell me again that men don’t care what anyone thinks of them.
You see, the most common response I get from men who are resistant to what I do and a man’s general concern for his appearance goes something along the lines of:
A real man doesn’t care what anyone else thinks of him.
I’m sure you’ve heard it before. You’ve probably even said it to yourself a time or two – especially after feeling a particular sting in an embarrassing situation or social faux pas.
We develop a sour-grapes attitude in an attempt to convince ourselves that the shame we feel is wrong, not the action that led to shame.
The problem is that men both always have and should be concerned what other people think of them.
However, the difference is in caring what the right people think.
Because no, a man shouldn’t be so overly concerned with the opinions of the general population that it affects his day-to-day life.
Instead, he should be concerned with the honor, respect, and esteem of the men in his group.
Men will kill for those they love, respect, and admire – not because they hate “them” but because they love “us.”
This is a good and essential thing. It’s what ties human societies and cultures together and allows us to thrive.
Because human beings are social creatures and we need each other.
If you’ve seen me speak at a conference or have purchased my Style as Storytelling Course, you know that what I’m saying here is that men need to dress to their tribe.
Because doing so well improve your life.
If I were to show up at a Beckett & Robb shop wearing cutoff shorts and a tank top, I’d be hurting my own standing within the tribe, along with affecting the way our group is perceived and interacted with by clients or others who are “outsiders”
And if I were to show up at Burning Man with a three-piece B&R suit, I’d be hurting my standing within that group but wouldn’t care about how it’s perceived by outsiders, because the crowd that attends the event isn’t my tribe.
Any man who tells you he doesn’t care what others think of him is either a liar or a sociopath.
The key is to stop pretending that what everyone thinks matters. Focus on the people who are important and use your appearance to improve your relationship within that group and help the tribe accomplish its goals.