Grooming & Manners Matter: no Need to be Born into Nobility, Royalty, Aristocracy

“MY DEAR CHUMS, how refreshing to see your refined noses in a good book! To those readers who have yet to make my acquaintance, allow me to introduce myself, I am Captain Peabody Fawcett, R. N. Retd, purveyor and manufacturer of simply first-class gentleman’s requisites, and intrepid traveller and adventurer to boot.

“As a long-time connoisseur of hair in all its glorious manifestations, I was delighted to receive an invitation to compile The Quintessential Grooming Guide for the Modern Gentleman. To muster this history and modern gentleman’s guide I have journeyed far and wide, encountering astounding characters and follicular experts whose generosity sharing work and stories is without parallel.” That is the introduction to the book by the author titled ‘The Quintessential Grooming Guide for the Modern Gentleman by Capt. Peabody Fawcett RN. (REDTD)’ published by Jacqui Small. Fawcett sums up his introduction to the book ‘All Hail the Hirsute!’

Presenting oneself and one’s hairs on the head is essential part of grooming. The book offers interesting facts about hairs, and how human beings dealt with them since the days of cavemen to the era of smartphones, and how and why one should pay attention to oneself and one’s hairs.


The book gives tips to readers as how to be a gentleman within one’s resources and with- or without noble ancestry, or royal lineage, or aristocratic background, or a noble parent. “The modern gentleman’s reputation is tribute to a way of life that gives expression to the highest personal standards. In the 21st century, to be a gentleman is no longer an accident of birth but a conscious decision; the decision to choose affability over surliness, discipline over disorder and consideration over churlishness. The true gentleman is a steadfast figure, enduring through history, transcending culture and class and always adapting to his time. In its current manifestation, released from a code of etiquette as suffocating as a starched collar on a summer afternoon, to be a modern gentleman is to present a distinctive personality, defined by healthy self-esteem and the ability to make the best of one’s given assets in every walk of life.”


The book discusses about gentleman’s requisites, tips to choose to frame one’s face (because how a man frames his mind is the mark of a man and has a bearing on how he will be judged by society); advantages of using hot towels at the time of shaving; aspects of health and hygiene in dealing with hirsuteness; routines and rituals of appearance; how to pay attention to appearance and profit; how to shave with a safety razor for a smooth shaving (wash your face with hot or warm or lukewarm water, prepare the skin – preparing the skin on your face for a smooth shave will make an inestimable difference to the final smoothness by using shaving oil, prepare the razor, use shaving cream on a badger brush as this is not only economical but prevents from using cans of aerosol shaving foam, place the safety razor against your skin at a 45-degree angle and let the weight of the razor do the trick – traverse the contours and valleys of your visage for the second time – and wash your face thoroughly with water, pat the face with cool or cold water.


At the start of shaving your facial follicle, you need to wash your face with hot water; at tne end of shaving, you need to wash your face with cold water.


Cold water calms the skin and closes the pores opened by the hot water on your face


-Since the first caveman painted his face to attract a cavewoman, men have strived for the look that suits them.

-Russian Tsar Peter the Great levied tax on men who grew beards

-Sometime before 2000 BC came the notion of shaving

-In medieval times barbers doubled as surgeons and dentists

-Alexander the Great of 4th century planted an Asian-inspired botanical garden in Athens to grow ingredients for exotic male beauty treatments

-Romans dabbed barley flower and butter on pimples (painted nails with blood and sheep’s fat)

-Onion juice and hog fat were used to cover grey hair and cure for baldness in medieval times.

-Hippocrates the Greek father of modern medicine was bald but he tried to restore his hair with several mixture of treatments – mixture of horseradish, cumin, pigeon droppings and nettles – applied futilely applied to his scalp

-How Ricki Hall became a model? ‘On a daytrip to London, in his 20s, he was working in his family motorbike shop, he was spotted by a model scout. “At the time I had a slicked-back Mohawk and one arm was tattooed and I had this big Freddie Mercury moustache. She told me she was really interested in my look and asked me if I fancied being a model. I thought she was having a joke but she put me in a taxi, took me to the agency and they signed me straight away. I had to move down to London almost immediately because Fashion Week was coming up and they were doing the casting. So, that’s how I became a model.” The man is known for his abundant beard. In 2016, Ricki shaved off his beard to raise awareness for Mesothelioma (a cancer associated with exposure to asbestos) for his father died of the disease.’

-Barbershop is not only a welcoming place to get a haircut, it is also the pulse of the neighbourhood; a time-honoured masculine sanctuary of community, continuity and conversation

-The rituals of disposing shorn hair in a barbershop are varied and vast (magical properties, evil spells, sorcerers)

-Hairs have a rite of passage: journey into adulthood

-Miguel Gutierrez is a nomad barber (and, a writer, filmmaker, entrepreneur). He has travelled to over 30 countries in 3 years. He was born in Liverpool to a Chilean father and a Chinese mother of Burmese ancestry. He has been smitten with barbering since the age of 4 or 5 and began cutting his mates’ hair at about the age of 14. ‘As a kid I used to love going to a barbershop run by an old Jewish guy who always had female barbers. I remember I used to love the smell of talc and the colognes; it wasn’t a fancy barbershop but it still had all these smells.’

-Indeed, hair can have significance as a rite of passage, to mark the journey into adulthood. A young man of the Masai tribe of Kenya, for instance, participates in a ceremony at the age of 24 in which his mother shaves his head, seated on the same cowhide on which he had been circumcised ten years previously.


The book ends by noting: “Yet manners, simple acts of consideration and kindness, remain the very cornerstones of civilisation, the principles which prevent us falling into base savagery. One cannot emphasise strongly enough the quintessential necessity of being well groomed.” Manners maketh man (opening doors not only for ladies but always and for everyone).