Real Men Talk: How Important Are First Date Impressions?

A new decade has officially begun. A new leaf is ready to turn. Though we’ve made plans for our New Year’s resolutions, how can we get them to stick if we’re still holding on to our comfort zone?

No matter how many times we try to break our bad habits, I have to say that the worst ones extend deeply into our romantic lives. No matter how many times you want to have fun or go on a deep soul searching journey to find love, there’s bound to be a lot of frogs you have to kiss before you can find a prince.

Speaking of men, I still have yet to be someone’s Khaleesi and the search has been a painful journey that’s full of dark and terrors. No matter how many times I went on Bumble and Tinder dates, I realize that a handful of straight men (regardless of age, body type, race or occupation) think that they have the pass to present themselves however they want, assuming that a woman like me doesn’t care too much about how smelly his breath is, how stained his teeth are (eew!), how many pimples he has on his face (seriously, WHY?!), how hungover he looks, what his hair color or length is and how hairy his chest is. Now that we are in a social media-centric society, it’s becoming inevitable for us to present an artificial avatar of ourselves to the world as we whittle down the sides of a waist, sculpt cheeks, widen eyes and blur out angry red bumps with swift flicks across a flat glass-covered screen.

This issue isn’t going away anytime soon, but I do hope that we can start a conversation about it now. Although I originally proposed this discussion on first date impressions at the start of 2019, it feels rightfully appropriate now as we’re still trying to figure out who we are, what are priorities are for a partner and how we struggle to be our best regardless of whether we feel happy or sad.

Whether you’re straight, gay, bi or pan, I feel that dating is such a universal issue that affects all of us. Irregardless of a man’s sexual orientation, I realize that men are heavily affected on this side of the pendulum. Here, I’ve got a steady roundup of men of various backgrounds: Alvin (celebrity makeup artist/stylist/La Prairie ambassador), Aaron (beverage director at Zén), Marc (barista), Tony (sales engineering director), Hayes (mechanical engineer) and Shawn (writer/model). Having this second roundtable discussion on Real Men Talk carries over the same spirit of wit, intellect and high energies that sync with my ever-scattered ADD Gemini brain.

We talk about everything from dye jobs, manscaping, avoiding BO and the pressure to look hot on dating apps.

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Do This Don’t: Get A Mullet

Polarizing, divisive and dated, the mullet is ready to worm its way back into fashion. Thanks to Stranger Things, Miley Cyrus, Billie Eilish, Kesha and Zendaya (whose hair is a wig), there’s no way that we can escape that super choppy hairstyle. Short on top with longer ends at the bottom, this punky ‘do is not for the shy.

When I saw a mullet 10 years ago, it was Kristen Stewart’s haircut on The Runaways biopic, where she had super choppy layers with matte jet black hair to mimic Joan Jett. I had to admit that it disgusted me at first, but while I was googling photos of the band during zoology class in 11th grade, I knew that I HAD to have the haircut. However, I played it safe by constantly relying on my basic bob with bangs.

A couple years later in 2014, I was growing out my Miley Cyrus haircut and needed something to keep things cute. Since growing out a half shaved pixie cut was awkward as heck, my hairstylist at Sally Hershberger in Los Angeles and I agreed that it was time to do a baby mullet. The Joan Jett option wasn’t the most practical, so I gunned for the Marc Jacobs version, where a model with the same inky black hair had super spiky ends on top. Though it was similar, having a baby mullet was a great way to stand out among the sea of boob-length Pantene smooth strands on campus.

After growing out the baby mullet, I always kept it safe with a bob, pixie and shoulder-length layers without bangs. There was no middle ground for the lengths of my hairstyle. A round face like mine was hard to try a diversity of hairstyles. It was even harder for me to have fun with my own hair as countless magazines and blogs always advised moon faced ladies like me to stick to long layers and avoid forehead-grazing bangs.

Bored with all the options I had in the past, I loathed the idea of returning back to a pixie as I did it countless times. Ditto with a bob as I realized that anything that hits my chin makes my face look like a blob. Repeating my 17-year-old self again, it was time to pull up images of Joan Jett and her shaggy mullet.

When I saw my hairstylist last week, I asked him to cut my hair like that. He told me, “I haven’t cut hair like this in a long time” since he used to cut a handful of mullets in London. The moment the sharp end of the scissors snipped my hair, three inch long strands fell to the ground slowly falling down like falling leaves on a windy day. Shocked at the final results, I couldn’t believe that I was a totally different person. The girl I always wanted to be at 17 was staring back at my 26-year-old face. Free from all expectations of having to look more feminine, the mullet made me feel good about my slightly masculine appearance (i.e. squarish jawline), which I inherited from my dad. Much to my own surprise, the layers made my face look slimmer and they’re so easy to style!

Before we dip outta January, I firmly believe that you must try a mullet for once in your life. Trust me, your life will never be the same the moment you let it happen.