There used to be this guy in the office. It was a corporate head office. We dealt often with clients from all walks of life. The guy was a competent executive. That isn’t damning with faint praise. Many were incompetent. This guy, let’s call him Albert was very competent. If you wanted something done right everyone knew it was safe to leave in Frank’s in-tray. It would get done in a timely fashion and it would get done right. Albert was a fit guy too. He took care of himself. He went running after work. Then he began training for a marathon. Therein lay the problem. This was in an era before it was popular to have showers in workplaces. So Albert (let’s now call him Smelly Albert) began running each lunchtime. You have to admire his dedication. Albert surely washed in the morning, but in the afternoon, well he was pretty whiffy.

Staff began to see Albert as not quite the go-to guy anymore. And meetings with clients were generally out. The point being the way he presented himself at work as far as hygiene goes certainly undermined his image of inflatable professional conduct. Maybe it shouldn’t have. But it did. People didn’t want to go to Albert, and when the company finally got with the times and installed showers — everyone (including Albert) was very glad.

Hygiene is kind of something that you’re just supposed to know. If you’re like most guys then the full extent of your formal training is probably as a teenager being taken aside by your father one Saturday morning and shown the way to spray on shaving foam — along with the basic technique of how to drag a disposable razor across your face. That’s it. “You work the rest out Son.”

Perhaps you did. Maybe you miss a few steps here and there. Maybe it’s kept you going fine through college. So why should you change the habits of a lifetime now?

Personal hygiene absolutely defines how people perceive you. We can’t say that enough. Personal hygiene absolutely defines how people perceive you. There. We said it again. Shower or bath daily. It’s fine to be sweaty while you’re exercising (part of being a well-rounded person is exercise and taking care of yourself), but smelly in public is a no-no. If you don’t wash properly it doesn’t matter how charming you are — everyone from co-workers to friends, to prospective girlfriends, to small animals in the street will find you objectionable. There just isn’t any way to escape it.

Showered or bathing taken care of? Great. Don’t stop there. Make sure you take care of the up-kept on your haircut and beard. Trim your beard. Avoid stubble unless you’re Don Johnson and it’s 1985. Hair products, such as gel or wax are great to keep your haircut in place but don’t go overboard and end up looking too “greasy” or with hair that’s stiff as a board. Take a comb with you.

As a gentleman your communication with others is vital, and your breath like an ambassador reaches the people you’re attempting to communicate with first. Brush your teeth and use mouthwash and floss. You might have the eloquence of a Shakespeare or Byron, but really none of this will matter if your mouth smells like the inside of a sewer. A gentleman makes at least a yearly outing to a dentist!

Don’t overlook small details like trimming nails and toenails.

Deodorant. What kind should a gentleman choose? Don’t overthink it. Just use it.

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