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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, November 13, 2006

Reminder to guys: no nose picking!

By Chris Richards
Washington Post

My shirt is ironed. My shoes are shined. My fingernails are clipped. My nose hairs are trimmed.

Big job interview? Hot date?

Nope. I'm meeting with David Boris and Brian Joyner, two local thirtysomethings on a mission to remind dudekind that well-trimmed nose hairs make all the difference on big job interviews and hot dates.

They're the dapper gents behind BeBetterGuys.com, a self-help Web site aimed at improving the habits of guys, bros, brahs and other varieties of unkempt young males.

Since launching in March, the site has published more than 100 articles on topics ranging from obvious etiquette ("No nose picking or crotch adjustment in public") to more nuanced sartorial tips ("On a single-breasted, two-button suit, button the top button only").

Many of their pointers are based on lessons they learned the hard way. "We have tons of self-deprecating stories of our trials and many errors," Boris says. "We take it seriously, but we have a lot of fun with it."

Almost all of their tips are simple and painless. As the site says, they're "like your older brothers without the beat-downs."

Q. Why does the world need BeBetterGuys.com?

Joyner: "Because guys are expected to magically know how to do everything from buying a suit to taking care of their apartment to knowing about wine and there are huge gaps in knowledge. There are lots of intelligent guys out there who don't get that promotion, and some really nice guys who don't get to go on a date with that girl. It has everything to do with appearances."

Boris: "Guys don't know that it's good to care. If you care about how you present yourself, everything else comes into place."

Q. How would you describe the site?

Joyner: "It's a guy's guide for getting a life. This is not about making you a perfect guy it's about making you a little bit better. ... I don't expect anyone to become Cary Grant because they went to our Web site. But at the end of the day, they're better informed."

Q. What's your favorite article on the site?

Joyner: "I enjoyed putting together the one on facials. I was apprehensive to go in and get a facial, but now I feel pretty good about it. On the way out, I saw that a buddy of mine had an appointment a half-hour after I did. Suddenly, writing it all became a lot easier."

Q. Some of the grooming articles seem cautious about appearing too wimpy.

Boris: "I think there's a difference between paying attention to things and being fussy. We're not perfect, but we do as much as we can. If you don't want to use hand cream, that's your call, bro. Just pay attention to this whole thing, and you're 98 percent ahead of other dudes."

Joyner: "None of this stuff is going to make you any less of a guy it's going to make you easier to approach. It's going to make employers want to talk to you, and for women, it takes the guessing out of it. She's going to see that you've got it together."

Q. How do guys grow up without learning these things?

Boris: "With each generation this type of knowledge becomes less and less critical to more and more families. People have speculated about the demise of the gentleman, and that comes from your family situation. My dad is a wonderful man, but style didn't matter to him. So if your dad's not talking to you about this stuff, where are you gonna get it?"

Q. So where did you guys pick up on this stuff?

Joyner: "It had to be my brother saying, "You gotta care. You're gonna get judged on this." Let's not kid. I'm an African American male. Everything I do gets judged on a slightly different scale than the average guy. I can't come to work looking like I had a late night. I don't get the luxury. My brother taught me to care about that."

Q. And not everyone has that big brother.

Boris: "And we recognize it. Next time you check out at the grocery store, look at the magazines: Cosmo, Marie Claire, Glamour, Vogue. Women have so many resources, and we have very little. We're trying to fill that gap for the regular guy."

Q. But what about men's magazines like GQ?

Joyner: "With GQ and Esquire, they require people to make huge changes in their lives to reach that level of living."

Boris: "I love GQ and Esquire, but the suits are 2,000 bucks. We're doing this for the regular guy. And the thing that the Web does best is that it's anonymous. No one has to know you're looking. There's a stigma attached to reading anything that might make you look vain."

Q. What are some men's fashion faux pas you continually notice?

Joyner: "Flip-flops, particularly in downtown D.C. You're not at the pool. You're not at the beach. This is grown-people space."

Boris: "I notice three main things: grown men with backpacks. My son has a backpack, and he goes to elementary school. Second, guys with nice clothes who never go to the tailor to get them fit to their body. Third, dudes with ratty shoes. Girls have 40 pairs of shoes and they need a 41st, bad. Women pay attention to everything about you, and they're gonna size you up."

Q. What's one pointer you'd give to a regular guy that they could use today?

Joyner: "Go to a tailor and get measured. Once you find out what your measurements are, buying clothes becomes a whole lot easier. If you don't get measured, you end up buying a bunch of stuff that doesn't fit, and it sours you on the whole idea of buying clothes."

Q. And after giving all this advice, what's one thing you feel you still need to work on?

Boris: "I can't stop talking. I will talk right over people. I'm a motormouth."

Joyner: "The regular practice of etiquette. It's easy in the rush of the day to let a lot of it slip."