10 Things Every Man Needs Before He's 30


There will come a time when I am 30 years old. You too, dear reader. Let's metaphorically lock hands like Thelma and Louise and take this plunge together.

1. A Reasonable Alcohol-to-Investment Ratio

As a rule of thumb, you ought to spend more money per month on the future than on booze. Think up a long-term investment (or savings) plan, develop some simple rules for weekly drinking habits, and stick to them like shoes on a bar floor teeming with a spilled margarita.

Sure, the stock market is risky and weird and yada yada yada, but so is punishing your liver with $10 rail drinks. Take a calculated risk. Acquire a taste for club soda.

2. A Tailored Suit

There's nothing more dapper than having a fitted, perfectly proportioned suit sitting in your closet like a Batman cape in a crime-less city.

Granted, you probably aren't going to wear that suit much, if ever, unless you work on Wall Street or Capitol Hill. But you need to own it. You know, just in case your best friend-slash-roommate from college finally finds a plus-one who will actually tolerate his half-eaten-pizza-on-the-coffee-table habit.

Here's a tip: Go to Thailand, find a local tailor, and get fitted for a nice navy color.

3. An Inner Circle to Share Feelings and Stuff

At 30, being bros is not a thing. Your former bros should either be authentic friends or forgotten by then. And for those that you consider friends, foster relationships of meaning.

Yes, you can still bond over a 24-pack of light beer, just talk about stuff that matters, too. And do so intentionally free of sarcasm, judgment, and general buffoonery.

4. A Minimalistic Soap-and-Scent Repertoire

Quick, run into your bathroom and gather up everything with the word ax, old, spice, pert, or plus on the label. Then, throw it all away. Immediately.

Then, go to a nearby health-and-beauty store or poke around on the Internet for classy scents for gents. Pretty much every fellow smells like the stuff you can find at CVS these days, and pretty soon our air will be entirely penetrated with such smells, becoming the status quo. And then we're all doomed in a cloud of Cobra Zest or something.

5. Self-Awareness

I read this Robert Kennedy biography one time, and there was a subtle quote buried in chapter about his ill-fated presidential campaign. Bobby apparently said, "Know yourself and have some courage."

And that, my friends, is the greatest piece of wisdom I've ever known.

6. Something Stereotypically Gay/Straight

Straight dude: Hey, you're at least a little bit gay. Whether it's your obsession with the soundtrack to Les Miserables or the feeling of warmth you feel when you see Jon Hamm on the red carpet, embrace it. The music is good and the man is handsome. Nothing wrong with that.

Gay dude: Hey, it's totally okay to enjoy watching and talking about sports without a hint of irony. Be in awe of Tom Brady's game-management skills and be gripped by the brinkmanship of a double switch in a National League game.

Dude in Between: Hey, you can basically do whatever you want without fear of stereotypes, and that is awesome.

7. The Ability to Spend a Weekend With a Shut-Off Phone and Not Care

Honestly, you're not that important (neither am I). Hit the switch on your mobile device and don't touch it for two full days. The world will keep spinning. I promise.

No email. No texts. No Tinder. Read a book or have a conversation chock-full of eye contact with your significant other. Do this often, starting now.

8. A Fun Craft


Be good at something you don't get paid for and enjoy that thing. Like a hobby.

Don't hit 30 and imagine what could've been if you'd declared a different major, taken a different job, or pursued a loftier ambition. Instead, start carving out a little time to become a wizard at something, anything. But not global master of "A Boy and His Blob" on the original Nintendo. I'm already that guy. Sorry.

9. An Existential Crisis

If you haven't had that experience yet where you realize that literally everything is meaningless and you can't possibly even fathom what our expanding universe is expanding into, then you need to. It's acutely harrowing but also oddly liberating.

By the way, I'm checking this off my list right now.

10. A Go-To Drink

Mine is probably going to be a Dark 'N' Stormy. I'm still deciding though.