Wine-Tasting Etiquette

 

wine glasses and spittoon

 

Wine-Tasting Etiquette

Wine is one of the oldest and most storied alcoholic beverages:  The ancient Egyptian nobility imbibed it at lavish banquets; it was so important to the Greco-Roman world that there was a god of wine; and according to the Christian faith, Jesus transformed life-giving water into precious wine in his first recorded miracle. But despite the prominence of wine throughout much of human history, many men remain intimidated by it.  And of all the activities pertaining to “the beautiful liquid,” official wine-tastings arguably cause the most trepidation.

But a gentleman of the world must know the ways of the world. And since he is almost certain to be invited to an official wine-tasting at least once in his lifetime, he should know the etiquette associated therewith.

The senses of smell and taste are so intertwined that something can smell as it tastes and taste as it smells.  At a wine-tasting, of the five senses, the senses of smell and taste are of paramount importance (with the sense of sight coming a close third). As such, rule number one at a wine- tasting is that extraneous scents and flavors are to be avoided.

Wearing perfumes and colognes to a wine-tasting is an absolute no-no for olfactorily obvious reasons. Even scented body lotions or garments laundered with fragrant detergents should be avoided (Perhaps one day wine-tastings will be conducted in-the-nude, but until then…). Likewise, perfumed hair conditioners—especially because of the proximity of hair to the nose and mouth—are considered particularly egregious. Also, a taster’s palate should be as neutral as possible:  Consuming smoked or heavily spiced foods shortly before a wine-tasting can adversely impact the appreciation of a wine.  Some purists even insist that a taster should not brush his teeth for several hours preceding a tasting—not even if the tasting occurs in the morning! And attempting to circumvent the no-brushing rule by chewing gum or eating breath mints is a sure prescription for a disaster of gastronomical proportions.

Generally, a wine-tasting will be presided-over, whether by a sommelier, a wine merchant, or a knowledgeable pourer.  While more casual tastings may take place at a bar, more formal tastings are typically conducted with tasters seated at a long banquet table.

When multiple wines are being tasted, the general approach is to begin with whites before reds, young wines before old wines, delicate wines before robust wines, dry wines before sweet wines, etc.

The typical “equipment” for a wine-tasting is wine glasses, a linen napkin (for pat-drying one’s lips after spitting into the spittoon—but more on that later), individual spittoons (thank God for that courtesy!), and, on occasion, offerings of water crackers, plain bread, or mild cheese to “reboot” the palate when “palate fatigue” sets in after so many wines have been tasted that the taster’s ability to distinguish the characteristics of one wine from another becomes blurred.

To rid a wine glass of any trace of the detergent with which it was washed, the person conducting the tasting will pour a little wine into each taster’s glass, then, holding the glass by its stem, tilt the glass while rotating it, thereby allowing the wine to coat the entire interior surface of the bowl of the glass. Then, of course, that rinsing-wine, no matter how precious, is discarded into the spittoon. (Drinking the rinsing-wine would be like drinking the water in a fingerbowl!)

Once the glasses have been prepped as described above, whether by the pourer or by the tasters themselves, the tasting begins, the operative term being “tasting” (as opposed to drinking!).  As a wise Italian once said, “We taste with our mouths, not with our stomachs.”

Bottle by bottle, a mouthful-quantity of wine will be poured into each taster’s glass. Whether white wine or red wine, the taster holds the wine glass upright by its stem (whether elevated off the table or with the base of the glass upon the tabletop), and swirls the wine for two or three seconds so as to aerate it, thereby releasing its aromas and flavors. Then, holding the wine glass about one inch from the nose, the opening of the bowl tilted towards the nose, the aromas of the wine are gently inhaled via the nostrils and slightly parted lips, thereby heightening the perception of the wine’s flavor since both the senses of smell and taste are engaged.

After the fragrances of the wine have been explored and appreciated, it is then time to taste the wine primarily with the mouth: A small amount of wine is taken into mouth and allowed to “set” for a second or two before it is swallowed so as to ascertain its drinkability.  Immediately thereafter, a more complex tasting occurs:  In a process called “aspiration,” more wine is taken into the mouth then gently swished around the closed mouth while simultaneously being aerated by gently clenching the teeth, slightly parting-pouting the lips, then inhaling through the nostrils and slightly parted pouted lips. [For some tasters—quite understandably—the aspiration process looks too ridiculous and sounds too disgusting to be entertained, regardless of its alleged efficacy.] Once the wine’s qualities have been determined, it is released from the mouth into the spittoon; the mouth is pat-dried with the provided napkin; and the remaining wine in the glass is also discarded into the spittoon.  (Incidentally, spitting into the spittoon should be done as elegantly and uneventfully as possible. It should, for example, never rise to the level of animation with which one would hawk and spit upon an archrival’s grave!) The wine glass is then placed onto the table in preparation for the next wine. If only one or two wines are being presented for tasting, the remaining contents in the glass may be drunk rather than discarded into the spittoon. But if many wines are being tasted, the tasters must be mindful to do their work with their mouths, not with their stomachs, for multiple glasses of wine, especially whilst not eating, will leave many a man in a drunken stupor.

Fresh glasses are not generally provided for each wine to be tasted.  Instead, the pourer will “rinse,” as described above, the tasting-glass with the wine to be served, thereafter pouring fresh wine from the bottle or decanter into the prepped glass.  If multiple wines are being tasted, glasses will be changed when switching from white wines to red, or from dry to sweet, for example.   Rinsing glasses with water is highly disfavored since even miniscule quantities of residual water can adversely alter the profile of a wine.

At the end of the tasting, the specialist is thanked.  When the tasting is conducted at a bar by a bartender, he or she is generously tipped.

Finally, a gentleman who participates in a wine-tasting should always arrange for a designated driver.

 

Wine glasses

Wine-Tasting within the context of Wine-and-Food Pairings

Wine-tastings are sometimes conducted as wine-and-food pairings, where dishes are presented as complements to the featured wines.  At pairings, each course, typically from appetizer to dessert, is presented with a different wine that is poured into its designated wine glass.At a wine-and-food pairing, the wine is expected to be drunk, not merely tasted.  So spittoons, thank God, are not provided, for to have them would make for a most unappetizing occasion. Also, thank God, no aspiration antics are indulged in. Instead, the wine is savored with the meal, just as would be the case at a dinner table or in a restaurant. Only the desired portion of each wine need be drunk. At the end of a particular course, its corresponding wine glass is removed when the dishes for the course are being cleared from the table.

Generally, a wine-and-food pairing is conducted in a restaurant, with a sommelier or wine merchant officiating.  Under such circumstances, the waiters and waitresses are tipped and the officiant is thanked.

And as is the case whenever alcoholic beverages are being consumed, designated drivers should be employed to safely transport tasters to and from the event.

 

 

 

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Wayne James’ Seasonings for Men Coming to Market in October 2017!!!

 

WJS All Purpose.JPG

 

Fashion designer, former senator, men’s lifestyle influencer, and Manly Manners author Wayne James will unveil his new line of herb-and-spice blends and dry-rubs specifically formulated for the 21st-century man in October.  Called Wayne James’ Seasonings for Men, the line features five all-natural, no-preservatives, kosher blends:  all-purpose, salt-free, seafood, vegetarian, and game/holiday.

“My aim was to introduce a line of ‘quick-fix’ seasoning-blends that enables the novice as well as the expert to prepare gourmet-flavored meals in a matter of minutes,” James said.  “The modern man is flavor-conscious, but he is also very busy. He therefore needs a product that gives him quick, easy, but excellent results. Today’s man wants a seasoning that allows him to effortlessly expand beyond the backyard grill. And if adding some sex appeal to each meal is part of the deal, then so much the better.”

Blended and bottled in Maryland, spice capital of the United States, James’ packaging is decidedly and distinguishingly masculine:  glossy black caps; minimalistic black labels with gold lettering; detailed ingredients and nutritional listings. “The packaging nods at quintessentially male products such as distilled spirits, shaving creams, cigars, and condoms.  I want men to instinctively reach for the bottles, whether on a supermarket shelf or in a kitchen cabinet.  The packaging looks manly—as if to say, ‘I am more potent than other seasonings,’ ” James said.

But James’ line of seasonings is not off-limits to female customers.  “I definitely see women purchasing the seasonings for the men in their lives—as gifts or to encourage them to demonstrate their masculine prowess in the kitchen.  I also envision women purchasing the products for themselves, perhaps out of curiosity at first, then because of the seasonings’ distinctive flavor-profiles.

All five blends are based on recipes that have been in James’ family since the mid-1700s and feature 18 to 29 ingredients. And the designer, a gourmand in his own right, is no stranger to the food industry:  In 1993, rather than launching a fragrance like most other fashion designers, James introduced the Carnival Seasonings line which sold in outlets such as Fresh Fields (now Whole Foods), Dean and Deluca, and in military commissaries.

“Our business model has now shifted to online marketing to meet the demands of the modern customer,” James said. “Wayne James’ Seasonings for Men will be available in a few key stores around the world; but for the most part, customers will have to purchase the product online on Amazon, eBay, and ShopAtWayneJames.com.”

 

WJS All Purpose.JPG

“Guidance”–a poem about life

Guidance

In all matters, be guided by love. Therefore, in your interactions with all things created, animate and inanimate, show kindness, patience, and respect. Always be trusting and forgiving  and filled with hope. And know that jealousy and envy are cancerous  to the mind, the body, the spirit, and the soul. They are not manifestations of love.

Many negative thoughts are unfounded; there is much more good in the world than bad.  Think only good thoughts, for they will give birth to good feelings, which will, in turn, inspire good deeds.   In all of life’s experiences, extract the good, hold it close to your heart,  and leave behind that which is bad. And in the end of Earthly existence, know that you take with you only the things that you have given away.

Everyone is a genius. Each person, because of his uniqueness, is the best in the world at something, no matter how small or peculiar that thing may be. Your genius is your ancestors’ and the Universe’s special gift to you:  Your genius is your particular reason for your particular Earthly existence. Listen to your nature, for through your likes and dislikes, your propensities and your penchants, your genius will reveal itself unto you. And live your life boldly and fearlessly, guided by love, in order to uncover that genius, for it is when you find and develop your genius, then use it to make the world a better place, that you honor your ancestors and the Universe for having created you. Therefore, be great in your own, unique way. And share your unique greatness with the world.

Squander not your youth; it is a very special—but very brief—time in your life. Have diverse interests, and cultivate different talents; be able to adapt to changes in life.  Use youth’s strength and resilience, its fearlessness and creativity, its aspirations, to build a strong foundation for the rest of your life. Develop self-discipline. Take wise risks. Be brave. And let your love-filled heart lead the way. While young and strong, see the world, for there are wisdoms and understandings derived from travel that cannot be revealed in books or learned in the most hallowed halls of academia. And forge friendships and embrace lovers wherever you go in the world, for the future of world peace depends upon the realization  that humanity’s similarities far exceed its differences.

Pursue a salubrious lifestyle; good health is one of life’s greatest gifts and should not be wantonly compromised. Therefore, avoid practices and substances that harm the body, and know that a healthy body is inextricably linked to a mind that is at peace, and a peaceful mind derives from a peaceful soul. So, live an honest life, which allows for restful sleep, for sleep renews the body, the mind, and the soul.  Avoid things that anger your spirit.

Enjoy the physical pleasures of life, and refine your intellect with education, for the body and the mind are conduits for the evolution of the spirit.  Eat well; drink well; and surround yourself with great art and music. Enjoy nature. Claim and celebrate your sexuality, even if unconventional; and have beautiful, loving sex, for it inspires and informs much of life. Through reading, exposure, and stimulating conversation, digest the greatest thoughts of the greatest thinkers. By any means possible, uplift your spirit.

But beware that, though rare, there is evil in this world. Therefore, exercise reasonable caution in your encounters and in your dealings. And listen to your soul. It will guide you to safety, for it detects what the ears hear not,  discerns what the eyes see not, comprehends what the mind fathoms not. The soul, in all its goodness, naturally repels evil…. Tolerate abuse from no man; happiness is your birthright. Be wary of persons who, in words or actions, are selfish, denigrate love, and discredit happiness;
oftentimes, their mission is to cause you emotional harm. And be cautious of those who are always quick to report bad news and vicious rumors, but slow to congratulate or celebrate in your successes. To the extent possible, without forfeiting your physical safety, respond to aggression and violence with peace and kindness. It is amazing how weak and cowardly hatred is when confronted with love.

In life, as you pursue your dreams, you will stumble and fall, fail and face seemingly insurmountable challenges. But do not dismay, for such transgressions and setbacks, if goodness is in your mission, are to strengthen your resolve for enduring life’s greater challenges and graciously receiving life’s even greater rewards. Always remember that hurdles along the road to success, when surmounted,  provide you with a clearer, elevated view of your destination.  So take delight in hard work and personal crucibles, for few good things come easily. Always embrace an opportunity to reinvent yourself; it is the healthy way to adjust to the vicissitudes of life.  And always know that when life closes one door, it opens another.

When wronged, do not embrace animus; it is not of nature and, therefore, is not of God. Holding onto animosity erodes your spirit and diminishes the light that emanates from your soul.  Take delight in no man’s demise. And wish ill for no man—not even your enemies, for such thoughts pollute the world. Besides utilizing what avenues are legally available to you, let God, Life, the Universe, and Karma exact justice upon those who wrong you, while you strive for happiness.

Likewise, do not judge others, for only God fully comprehends their circumstances.  Know when a relationship has run its course; all relationships are not meant to endure forever. And do no devote your life to changing any man. Instead, give guidance and encouragement, lead by example,  and pray for his enlightenment. Many people are as they are for reasons unbeknownst to you. And in this beautiful, interrelated world, things reveal themselves as they should, when they should.

Honor your family, especially your ancestors; they, with all their brilliance and all their flaws, are a major reason for your physical existence. And honor your friends,  for it is they who are at your side when family cannot or will not. They are a part of your life by choice. Be sure to take neither friends nor family for granted;  they, too, need to be nurtured and lovingly affirmed and reaffirmed. Forgive them when they wrong you, for like you, they make mistakes. Tell them and show them that you love them. And each day, pray for life’s blessings to fall upon them.

Realize that life can change drastically or be extinguished in an instant; the difference between total bliss and total tragedy is oftentimes a split second or a fraction of an inch. So, each day, live life not as if it is your last day, but as if it could be your last day. Try to be on good terms with all people; it is fascinating how often our paths re-cross. And try to atone your wrongs, for they weigh upon the soul. Keep your personal, private, and financial affairs in order. And save, not just for your times of unexpected need, but also for the needs of others, for you are your brothers’ keeper…. Regardless of positions achieved or talents demonstrated, regard no man as more important or less valuable than another. And before departing this world, share your knowledge so that the generation that follows can surpass the one that preceded it.

Take time to understand what true love is so as to recognize what true love is not,  for many things masquerade as love.  And seek answers to life’s great mysteries:  No question occurs to a mind that cannot fathom the answer.   Understanding the existence of Nothingness and the Eternity of Infinity are all within human grasp.  The Universe made us, therefore we must understand the Universe. It is our obligation.

Claim your oneness with all creation, even things inanimate. We are all brothers and sisters. Who can refute that it was the rhythms of the seas and of the winds that first inspired music? And while in cosmic reality everything that appears is, in actuality, not—for there is no beginning and no end, no life and no death, no time, no space, no here or there, only Nothingness, Eternity, Infinity, and the Spontaneous Manifestations of Things Opposite—in this perceived reality, which we call Existence, we must love and take care of each other, for we are one.

Wayne A.G. James                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       July 19 – 20, 2011

The Etiquette of Trans-generational Marriage–when older people and younger people marry each other

Trans-generational marriages

A trans-generational marriage is a marriage where there is a significant age and/or maturity disparity between the two parties. When an older man is dating a significantly younger woman, he is, for the most part, regarded as a “dirty old man” and she, a “gold digger”—until the couple is officially married. Thereafter, he is simply regarded as an older husband and she, his young wife—unless, of course, he is extremely wealthy, in which case the young wife retains her pre-nuptial characterization, only intensified. In the much-less-visible cases of significantly older women dating younger men, such women are regarded as “cradle-robbers” or “cougars,” and their young men are viewed as gigolos—until marriage, at which point the women are labeled as “nymphomaniacs” and their young husbands, “opportunists.” Where the older women are exceedingly wealthy, their post-marriage status reduces to “fool” and their young husbands’ are elevated to “shrewd.” But regardless of the scenario, the institution of marriage tends to impart an overall degree of dignity, no matter how minute, to such relationships. In many societies today, men are not able to marry each other. So for the most part, when an older man forms an intimate union with a younger man, their relationship tends to be described by outsiders as one between a “sugar daddy” and his “boy-toy.”  And in the jurisdictions where same-sex marriages and unions are legally recognized, the sugar daddy/boy-toy characterization tends to continue into the marital phase of the relationship, though with an elevated sentiment—especially when the older man is not exceptionally wealthy and/or the young man not exceptionally beautiful.

When an older person marries a younger one, the onus is on the older person to make concessions for those age-consistent characteristics of the younger spouse that may present challenges in the marriage. In trans-generational relationships, the older spouse is at once parent and spouse, and the younger person is both child and spouse. The fact is that the older person has already lived through the stages being experienced by the younger; and just as the older spouse, in his younger years, should have had the opportunity to experience life, so should the younger. To do otherwise would be the equivalent of telling a pre-teen that he should not eat candy because sugar is bad for his teeth, or asking a teenaged boy not to masturbate. The major challenge of trans-generational marriages is that neither spouse is fully prepared to deal with the maturity level of the other spouse. But between the two, the greater responsibility for accommodation falls upon the older for the reasons presented above. Very few older spouses, however, are confident or self-assured enough to endure the emotional challenges that are likely to arise in trans-generational marriages. A good beginning-point for tackling such challenges, however, is for the older spouse to revisit his life when he was the age of his younger spouse. (See above, “The Social Evolution of a Gentleman Within His Lifetime—An age-line”). The ability of the older spouse to empathize with the younger spouse is crucial to the success of the marriage. And the younger spouse must be willing to sympathize.

Though relationships evolve, the impetus for many trans-generational relationships is sexual attraction and an admiration for the vivacity of youth on the part of the older spouse, and financial security and respectful admiration on the part of the younger spouse. But it is oftentimes those very things that can complicate such relationships, for the longer the marriage endures, and the older the older spouse becomes, the less sexually compatible he becomes for the younger spouse. And the more financially secure the younger spouse becomes in his own right, the less relevant the financial security provided by the older spouse becomes. So, like a candle burning from both ends, such is the nature of many trans-generational relationships. And while the financial security issue tends to be less divisive where there is true love between the parties, the sexual incompatibility issue tends to intensify with time: A 20-year-old is more likely to find a well-preserved 45-year-old sexually attractive than is a 55-year-old likely to regard a well-preserved 80-year-old as sexually attractive.  And if the younger spouse is anything like the older spouse, when the older spouse is in his 80s, the younger spouse will be sexually attracted to people 20 years younger than he/she—people in their 30s, not people in their 80s. The solution in such circumstances, therefore, is for the older spouse, again, to make the accommodation, thereby allowing the younger spouse to satisfy some of his sexual needs outside the marriage. And the older spouse should also do all within his power to maintain his physical appearance and mental health. It is the responsibility of the younger spouse, however, to ensure that his extra-sexual relationships do not intrude upon his sexual, emotional, and spiritual commitments to his spouse; his extra-sexual relationships cannot rise above the level of hedonistic sex (See chapter, “Sex in the 21st Century—No Holds [or Holes] Barred!”) if the integrity of the marriage is to be preserved and nurtured. In addition, recognizing the dignity of marriage, it is incumbent upon the younger spouse to ensure that his/her interest in extra-sexual relations be openly discussed with his/her spouse (The older spouse should be quite capable of comprehending that interest since it was those very trans-generational sentiments that led to the formation of his/her marriage.); that there be mutual agreement; that the extra-sexual relationship be handled with utmost discretion and respect so as to preserve the dignity of the marriage and that of the older spouse; and that the extra-sexual relationship never take precedence over the duties and responsibilities of the spousal relationship. In cases where mutual agreement cannot be achieved, the younger spouse must honor the wishes of the older spouse since sexual incompatibility in the later years of marriage should have been anticipated at the formation of the marriage. Such is the proverbial marital bed made by trans-generational couples, so the younger spouse must be prepared to lie (no pun intended) in that bed. The moral of the story, then, is that trans-generational marriages, though not impossible, are exceedingly complicated. And very few people possess the level of maturity required to commit to and maintain happiness throughout such unions. It would behoove a gentleman, therefore, to exercise extreme caution before entering a trans-generational marriage or union.

 

 

The Rules for Same-Sex (Man-to-Man) Dating

When Boy Meets Boy

By the middle of the 1980s, a little over a decade after the 1969 Stonewall Riots, same-sex relationships had left the confining environments of the closet and the underground club and had made their way onto backstreets and alleyways across the Western World. And with that coming-out emerged a set of social rules for same-sex dating aimed at maintaining dignity and decorum in an activity that—had it been left to the devices of couples comprised of double doses of testosterone, machismo, and ego—would have been transformed into veritable business transactions rather than genteel interaction. (After all, dating is supposed to be fun, romantic, or, preferably, both—not an exercise in dinner table accounting.)

So, when a young man takes a romantic interest in another young man and invites him out on a date, the same general rule applies:  inviter pays for invitee, including the tip. End of story. And if one date turns into multiple dates, tabs should not be kept as to whose “turn” it is to invite whom next. If that is the case, just go dutch from “jump street,” become business associates instead of lovers, and forget about dating!   Again, dating is supposed to be fun, romantic, or, preferably, both.

 

And there are other rules for man-to-man dating:

-When a man approaches a stranger at a bar in order to engage conversation and a pleasant conversation ensues, it is incumbent upon the man who made the approach to offer a drink; however, when both men have been previously introduced or are friends, the man who was first situated at the bar should offer the drink, the rationale being that he is the “host” of sorts, welcoming his friend to the bar.

-A gentleman seated in a restaurant waiting for his gentleman-date to arrive should rise in order to greet his date as he approaches the table.

-When both men enter a restaurant together where there is a maître d’ stationed at the entrance, the maître d’ will lead the way to the couple’s designated table, followed by the invitee, and then the inviter. Upon arriving at the table, a properly trained maître d’ will pull out a chair for each gentleman and may even assist each gentleman in positioning his chair once seated.  When entering a restaurant where there is no maître d’ or waiter to show patrons to their seats, the inviter-gentleman should lead the way to the table of choice, followed by the invitee-gentleman. Upon arriving at the table, the inviter should pull out a chair for the invitee, but he should not assist the invitee in positioning his chair once seated (as he would be obliged to when accompanying a lady). Once the invitee-gentleman is properly situated, the inviter should then pull his own chair and seat himself. When exiting the restaurant, the invitee should proceed first, followed by the inviter, the rationale being that there are no more preliminary courtesies (such identifying suitable tables and the pulling out of chairs) that the inviter must extend to the invitee.

-When ordering from the menu, each man is expected to indicate his own choices to the waiter or waitress.

-After sitting, if one man must take leave of the table for any reason, the remaining gentleman should not stand upon his friend’s departure from the table or upon his return. (Of course, when a gentleman is dating a lady, he must stand upon her departure from and return to the table.)

– While walking together on public streets, the inviter-gentleman should walk on the curbside, for he is in effect the host of the evening, and had the date taken place in his home, he would have been obligated to attend to the needs of his guest.

-The inviter should open doors for the invitee as well as permit him to enter and exit revolving doors and elevators first. If both men are sharing a car, the driver, regardless of his inviter or invitee status, should open the door to the vehicle for the passenger-date, closing it after the date is safely inside the body of the vehicle. Immediately after sitting, the passenger-date, before securing his seatbelt, should reach across the car and open the door of the driver.

-And the end of each date—no matter how long the relationship has endured or how frequent the dates—the invitee should thank the inviter for the outing, following up the next day with a handwritten thank-you note, a special electronic message, or telephone call.

When gentlemen date each other, each man must be especially mindful to be gentle and attentive to the other.

 

The Ten Stages of Life

The Personal Evolution

During the first decade of life, children want, more than anything else, to feel loved, safe, and protected by their families; and when those needs have been met or sufficiently satisfied, children want freedom to play. Friendships, generally entered into with little reservation, are primarily in situ, with not much interaction amongst the young friends continuing beyond the venue that brings them together. Sugar is their equivalent of the sex (and sometimes, drugs) they will so crave in their subsequent decades.

During the teenage, pubescent years of the second decade of life, children begin seeking emotional independence from their families, opting instead for acceptance, emotional support, alliance, approval, and recognition from their peers. There is very little selection process in their choice of friends; practically anyone within their age range is a potential companion. There is a preoccupation with thoughts of sex. Thoughts of the future—goals, higher education, careers, status, etc.—begin to emerge. Opinions are frequently voiced as their newfound sense of independence seeks expression.

In their late teenage years and the first years of their third decade—in their early 20s—young people get the urge to redefine themselves, oftentimes moving away, sometimes ostensibly for college or for work, in order to shed one identity and develop another.  Many of the friendships of the second decade that are incompatible with the new self that emerges fade into childhood memories, and the process of engaging new friendships becomes significantly more efficient and discriminating: Only friendships that complement the new self are nurtured. As the young adult in his 20s makes his way in the world, his major support network—emotionally, socially, and sometimes financially—is his cadre of close friends.  Some of the friendships forged during this period endure a lifetime. The first profound experiences of sexual and emotional intimacy typically occur in this decade, oftentimes with lifelong effects. The 20s is arguably the most liberating, creative decade of a person’s life:  He is emancipated from his parents and their expectations; he is surrounded and supported by his emancipated contemporaries and their oftentimes-liberal outlooks on life as he takes his first steps into life as a young adult; and he has not yet committed himself to starting his own family. A person in his 20s is as inclined towards taking risks as he will ever be in life. People in their 20s regard themselves as special and endeavor to change the world. Career choices are generally exploratory and eliminatory

People in their 30s begin settling into their work-choices, the vocation-exploration phase of the previous decade having created and eliminated certain opportunities. Emotionally and socially, people become more nuclear as their circle of close friendships, which was almost all-encompassing during their 20s, is drastically reshaped as friends move away for work-opportunities and others marry or commit themselves emotionally and intimately to partners. Many people stop believing that they are special and abandon their dreams of changing the world or achieving great things. Much time and energy are spent on building family and intimacy. People become more introspective and Existential, realizing that their lives will be primarily determined by their decisions.

People in their 40s begin resigning themselves to the people they have become; they begin coming to terms with themselves—good, bad, or otherwise. The opportunities to form new, profound friendships are significantly diminished, with most new relationships being the result of professional interaction. For “forty-somethings,” anyone invited to enter their lives must take them as they come or leave them as they are. New friends must meet certain tried-and-tested criteria. People become more emotionally efficient, having learned over the years how to deal with triumphs and failures, losses and gains.

People in their 50s, recognizing that they have entered the second half of their physical existence, begin a process of self-assessment, focusing on whatever they determine to be the most important things in life. Much time is spent pondering legacy.

Many people die in their 70s, so people in their 60s begin concerning themselves with health and longevity. Eating healthily, minimizing stress, and focusing on the well-being of family and community become exceedingly important. Sexagenarians begin “giving back” to the societies and institutions that nurtured them. And as their friends begin dying of natural causes, they become very mindful of their own vulnerability to time. People in their 60s begin a process of mending salvageable relationships and correcting wrongs. Many of them return to religion; rebuild relationships with their siblings as their offspring begin focusing on their own lives; and rekindle old friendships. People in their 60s conscientiously begin the spiritual journey.

People in their 70s, because death of their contemporaries seems to surround them, begin readying themselves for death—as untimely as it may be. Society and its views become less significant. Like children in their “terrible twos,” septuagenarians begin reasserting themselves as free individuals, unrestricted by expectations, rules, and other people’s opinions. Their physical, mental, and spiritual selves are as much in equilibrium as they will ever be in Earthly existence.

People who live into their 80s realize that they have been specially blessed with longevity. But they also realize that each day is a gift.  For every day of physical exertion, two days of recuperation are now required. So octogenarians become more selective in their social outings and activities. Rest and peace of mind are prized above all. Days are structured, with particular activities being scheduled for particular periods in the day. Long conversations are cherished. Intimate knowledge of family history, as well as accounts of life’s experiences, is shared with loved ones.

Though there are some examples of professionally and socially active nonagenarians and centenarians, for most of the few people who live into their 90s and beyond, life is on “automatic pilot.” The daily routines established during their 80s are adhered to, but simplified. Appetite is diminished. Interest in worldly things wanes. Few things surprise the elderly, for they have seen much. Their major regrets are the things they had the opportunity to do but did not do. As with children, who have just come from the spirit world, the elderly, en route back to the spirit world, become acutely aware of the spiritual realm.  Thus, they sit and ready themselves for the moment of physical death.

 

Manly Manners by Wayne James Receives a Laudatory Review from Kirkus

 

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Kirkus Review

…James’ encyclopedic knowledge of many topics, his ornately mannered prose, and even his winking tone of self-aggrandizement (each chapter has an epigraph attributed to James himself) are all effective contributions.

 

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Debut author James offers young men advice on how to comport themselves in this self-help guide.

For fashion designer and former U.S. Virgin Islands senator James, proper behavior and presentation are the signifiers of a true gentleman. This book, modeled after classic etiquette guides, such as William O. Stevens’s The Correct Thing (1938) and Amy Vanderbilt’s New Complete Book of Etiquette (1963), seeks to provide up-to-date instruction for contemporary men while also attempting to “chart new territory, in some instances addressing topics that would have been regarded as taboo by previous generations.” In chapter after detailed chapter, James offers comprehensive insight into the etiquette surrounding hygiene, sex, table manners, bathrooms, conversation, dating, entertaining, dressing, going out in public, traveling, and even planning a wedding. The author covers everything from the correct order for guests to enter a formal dining room, to how to fashion an improvised bidet, to what a gentleman should do if he finds himself sexually aroused during a therapeutic massage. With many accompanying diagrams and lists—including the Wayne James Continuum of Human Sexuality, the Seven Elements of Internal Beauty, and dossiers on various cultures around the globe—the author provides a polymathic description of the world for people who wish to experience it to the fullest in a gentlemanly fashion. That said, the book is more than 800 pages long, including the index, and characterized by an unrelenting tendency to catalog things. The chapter on planning a wedding, for example, could be a book by itself, with a 44-page section dedicated solely to properly addressing invitations. Even the acknowledgements at the beginning of the book take up 16 pages. (What’s more, this is only the first book in a planned trilogy.) Even so, James’ encyclopedic knowledge of many topics, his ornately mannered prose, and even his winking tone of self-aggrandizement (each chapter has an epigraph attributed to James himself) are all effective contributions. Etiquette is ultimately about appreciating the rich tapestry of human experience, and James enthusiastically delights in its minutiae.

A comprehensive and idiosyncratic guide to male etiquette in the modern world.