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A grooming guide for the older gentleman

Some dos – and a lot of don'ts – for the older guy
Don't kid yourself. Everyone knows its a rug.

Good day, senior gentlemen.

This month, I am offering grooming and style tips for men, specific to gentlemen of a certain age, that being men who still use the term 'gentlemen'. Ladies, you are welcome to share these tips. They might give you the opportunity to say "See, I TOLD you!"

First, let's talk about hair

Remember the days when you had luxurious locks of cascading hair? Remember when you had so much hair, you didn't know what to do with it? Sigh.

Today, as an old guy, you still have lots of hair. Unfortunately, it's in places where you don't really need hair. Let's start with the ears.

For reasons unknown, as we age our ears become a lush forest of hair. This looks terrible, and to leave it untended is entirely inexcusable. Ear hair trimmers are cheap, effective, easy to use and painless. They can also cut back on those rogue ear hairs that sprout on top of your ears. If you do only one thing in your life as an old guy, trim your ear hair. This is not negotiable. And as an added bonus, it might even improve your hearing.

Then there's your eyebrows. Up until middle age, the average guy never gave his eyebrows a thought. While women were plucking and shaping and darkening their eyebrows – and spending money for the privilege – we men blithely ignored them (unless you were afflicted with the unfortunate unibrow). Now, as seniors, our eyebrows have decided to make their presence felt, unaccountably growling long, rogue strands. Out of control eyebrows give you the look of a university professor who specializes only in the works of obscure British poets. If you want that look, fine. But most don't. Five seconds worth of careful trimming is all you need to get your brows in line. You can even ask your barber to help you. And if your barber suggests a trim, listen to him. 

So far, I have discussed lesser hair sites. The important sites are, of course, the top of the head and the face.

If you are one of those unfortunates who is bald or balding, you might have considered a toupee. This is almost certainly a mistake. By my unscientific estimates, 97.5 per cent of all toupees are terrible and painfully obvious. You can't go from losing your hair one day to being hirsute the next without everyone noticing and laughing behind your back. Even if you have the money to buy an expensive rug, there is no guarantee that it will be effective. I saw the comic Billy Crystal on TV the other day, and his toupee was as obvious as the ones Frank Sinatra wore in his latter days, the ones that looked like a single piece of aluminum foil. Remember that ridiculous rug Bobby Hull used to wear? William Shatner isn't fooling anyone; neither did Burt Reynolds. Elton John's wig is hilarious, but in his defence he makes no pretext of actually having a full head of hair. And those guys are rich! What are the odds that you will get a more effective toupee than millionaire Hollywood types with access to the best makeup people in the world? However, if you insist on a rug, go small. Ted Danson has worn a small toupee for years to cover his bald spot, and you'd never know it.

Second, if you're going grey (or gray, if you prefer), let nature take its course. We guys are rapidly losing our advantages over women, so why throw away this one? The only thing more obvious than a bad toupee is jet black hair on a wrinkled, pale face. I guarantee that nobody is going to say "Gee, look how young that old guy looks," but they will say "Gee, look how dark he has dyed his hair. Who is he kidding?"

Finally, a couple of pointers on clothes. If you know me, you might laugh that I would give style points. I'm blue-green colour blind, so I have depended on my wife to pick out appropriate clothing combos for me for years. But even I know that you should never, ever wear dress socks with shorts. Nothing sends out old man signals worse than the dress-socks-and-shorts combo. You are, however, allowed to wear sports socks with sandals if you have gnarly feet with overgrown toenails. No one should be forced to see that.  

And finally, if you've developed a mighty gut, do not tuck your golf shirt into your pants. A tight fitting shirt over a fat guy makes it look like you're carrying around a water-filled balloon under your shirt.

This concludes my fashion pointers for older men. Next month, fashion tips for older women.

(Ha! Just joking. I'm not crazy.)