Justin’s Mad Men Rule No. 1: “If it feels good, go with it.”
I learned this simple lesson early. I had stopped at Cottage of Tailoring in Clintonville to get fitted for my suit, which I had bought heavily discounted at a Gabriel Brothers in West Virginia a year ago and haven’t worn since. Turns out the suit fit perfectly right off the rack. After trying on the suit for the seamtress, she looked me up and down and said those eight words. This quickly became my mantra for the rest of the makeover.
Pro-tip 1: Value honesty in business transactions.
Pro-tip 2: Seriously, take your suit to a tailor. I was lucky. You probably won’t be. The right fit really does make all the difference.
Pro-tip 3: Come up with your own mantra. Anything from “Swingers” will work well in a pinch.
Justin’s Mad Men Rule No. 2: Ain’t no shame in accessorizing, fellas.
Hemingway used to say his stories only contained an iceberg’s tip of information. Facts and details that were cut from the final draft still gave his words a weight of authority that the reader could intuitively sense. Similarly, accessories, though small, provide subtle substance to your look. For example, pictured here: a tie-clip, horn-rimmed glasses and flask. Not pictured, but still important to making me feel like money: A money-clip stacked with cash, a pocket knife and pocket-watch, both passed down from my father.
Pro-tip: Tie-clips and money-clips can be found relatively cheaply at thrift and antique stores.
Justin’s Mad Men Rule No. 3: Trust is the greatest currency.
Columbus is fortunate to be home to several great old-fashioned barbershops with a modern flair, so my options for a haircut and straight razor shave were plenty. In the end, I opted for Vice Barber in Clintonville, mostly because Mitch Geiser is my regular barber. For real, I’m not putting my beautiful mug in the hands of any ol’ fool with a sharp blade. As Geiser told me: “The reality is the stakes are high; the razor is sharp. It all has to do with the trust of your barber. That's one big reason I like to post pictures and do videos, and everyone gets a straight razor shave on their neck after a haircut to hopefully give people some level of confidence that this isn’t the first time I'm giving them a shave.”
Pro-tip 1: If you don’t have a barber you trust, ask a friend for a recommendation. I tried out several barbershops upon moving to Columbus two years ago until settling on Vice.
Justin’s Mad Men Rule No. 4: A straight razor shave can be better than any cocktail.
I was, not surprisingly, filled with trepidation prior to Friday, the day I was to say goodbye to my beard, a faithful companion for the last six or seven years. So it was with some bit of wonder when I had the following exchange with Meghan Ralston, Alive photographer, during my first moments of beardlessness: “Justin, you look relaxed.” “I know, and I haven’t even started drinking yet.” “Who needs day drinking when you have a barber?” For real. That ish is re. lax. ing. From the warm washcloth to the application of shaving cream to the brief hand massage to work in the cream to the cold washcloth at the end to close my pores, I’ve rarely felt more at ease.
Pro-tip: Seriously, spend the money for regular, authentic straight razor shaves. They’re almost better than massages.
Justin’s Mad Men Rule No. 5: Day drinking at the office ain’t no joke.
In theory, what could be better than day drinking at the office? Turns out, it kind of sucks because, ultimately, you still have to get crap done. Fortunately for Jackie and me, no heavy lifting was required of us Friday after downing three cocktails over a three-hour span at Downtown’s Manifesto and Bexley’s The Top. Sure, the Alive staff had drinks during lunch for a “brainstorming session.” In the end, though, nothing of substance was accomplished. Our potential top-10 lists include: the top cancers, the benefits of smoking and words we can’t print. At one point, I tried to convince my boss my lips were chapped because I no longer had a mustache as protective cover. His response, after laughing at me: “You’re over-thinking this.”
Pro-tip 1: If nothing else, camaraderie was built, right? Riiiighhtt.
Pro-tip 2: Stick with classic cocktails, such as an old fashioned, sazerac or Manhattan.
Pro-tip 3: Recalibrate your drinking-brain when imbibing cocktails. They’re expensive, but also high in alcohol, so you won’t need to drink as much. This should be your approach: sip, pause, wait some more, sip, again wait some more, make a joke, carry on a conversation, sip again.