Stop being a mannequin.


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You’ve got your end of year company Christmas party coming up. You’ve been checking out Candice in accounting for a while now, and you know that men also gauge each others success by what they look like. You want to look like you should be given a raise, and you want Candice in accounting to WISH she could have the privilege of sleeping with you.


You know what looking good means because you read GQ, you watch movies, and now you want to be Ryan Gosling in Crazy Stupid Love. You want to walk into that room and OWN it. So down you go to your favourite department store… you may need a few different things so a boutique isn’t going to do it, also fashions change and you aren’t sure about spending R2K on boots that may not be in fashion next year.

As you walk in, the girls selling perfume act as if they want you, and you are instantly instilled with a false sense of bravado. You are the man. Now, what does the desirable man wear? There in front of you is… THE MANNEQUIN. The mannequin has been dressed by professional stylists with their finger on the pulse of current men’s fashion. It is in the entrance and from a business perspective it needs to appeal to the widest market possible in their targeted income group.

It looks good. its the GQ guy made of a plastic compound sculpted to Renaissance proportions, dressed like Ryan Gosling in Crazy Stupid love. Perfect, they’ve got everything you need, down to the CK fitted boxers. A little bit of Marky Mark will be perfect if you are able to feed Candice in accounting enough Tequila to get her home with you, or at least into the parking lot.

They have things more or less your size, you try stuff on, and all the boxes have been checked. R3K later and you are now dressed. Then you make the hair appointment… trendy hipster is in… you don’t need to bring the picture because the guy has just cut 20 guys’ hair in a line before you exactly the same way. He lies and tells you how cool you look. You get your beard trimmed to the perfect shape paying careful attention to what happens around the ears and under the chin. The cologne needs to be fresh but masculine, and thank your pretentious little stars you saw an ad of the new Paul Smith. Awesome. You’re ready.

You get to the venue and try and park somewhere else. To pull off the look you really should be driving a 1961 vintage BMW like the one in Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream”, but you’re not. You’re driving a  2013 Kia Picanto, incidentally the same car as Candice in accounting.


You walk in with confidence trying to pull off your new look. Over confidence rooted in insecurity. This needs to look like who you are when you aren’t at work. It’s something you casually threw on and it all just came together, even though you are trying not to wince from the blister quickly developing on your right heel.

There before you, scattered around the room like table talkers in a restaurant, are 20 other men who went through the exact same process as you. You are now wearing a uniform at best, and the only possible way to try and be authentic… oh wait, there isn’t a way.


You have walked into the room telling everyone that you have no style, no confidence, and that the shoes you are wearing are uncomfortable.

“Fashion says me too, style says only me.”
– Lynn Dell

Candice in accounting is flirting with Mike from human resources. He is still in his work clothes because it wasn’t convenient to go home. His suit is fine, he’s taken his tie off because it wasn’t comfortable… but he is very comfortable with who he is. He has nothing to prove, he is an interesting guy despite the title on his business card because he is real, and when Candice takes his pants off… the fact that he has very boring underwear on, is going to be completely irrelevant.


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