49 new rules of cool


This week's magazine is all about being cool. Not the sort of cool that means slamming jukeboxes and wearing leather jackets (Fonzie, take note), but the kind that epitomises the modern man.

Here, we've devised the new rules of masculine cool, 49 of them to be exact, taking inspiration from the coolest man of the moment, Ryan Gosling (read our interview here).

(Images: AllStar, Corbis, Rex Features, PA, WENN, Cameron Mcnee)

  • 49 new rules of cool


    Don’t: be a narcissist

    Do: reveal little

    Blame Big Brother, blame Margaret Thatcher, blame whoever the hell you like: ‘Me’ culture is a sickening disease that’s gripped the nation by the throat. Its symptoms? Fake tan, not buying a round, tweeting during dinner and repeated references to “my journey”. You should never talk about yourself, ever, other than in a dismissive way. If your life’s that interesting, you should be living it, not bragging about it.

    (Image: AllStar)

  • 49 new rules of cool 1


    Don’t: stay ageless

    Do: embrace growing old

    Women always enviously say that men get better as they get older. Listen to them. Show off the wrinkles, the greying hair, the accumulated bitterness… Still hide the paunch, though.

    (Image: Rex)

  • 49 new rules of cool 2


    Don’t: take arty pictures of yourself

    Do: get a retro digital camera

    “We can all see your arm stretched out, you posing git” is the only thing on people’s minds when they see your self snapped Facebook pic. Instead of documenting your new haircut, record the world on a retro-style digital camera.

    (Image: Rex)

  • 49 new rules of cool 3


    Don’t: drink lattes and cappuccinos

    Do: drink black coffee

    Moving past the obvious and overused “skinny caramel triple mocha frappe latte” coffee name ‘gags’, black coffee is simpler, healthier and tastes better.

    (Image: Rex)

  • 49 new rules of cool 4


    Don’t: read books

    Do: read e-books

    You have to embrace progress, and e-readers are incredible — that wealth of material on such a lightweight piece of kit. People who go on about staying loyal to proper paper books are quite obviously more concerned about being seen to be reading, rather than reading itself.

    (Image: Rex)

  • 49 new rules of cool 5


    Don’t: be a playboy

    Do: commit

    Instant gratification culture means you can play the field easily enough well beyond your 30s, but the reality is that it’s shallow and tragic. To have depth is admirable, and to get true depth, you must learn to support, fight with and ultimately love someone. That’s a simple fact.

    (Image: Rex)

  • 49 new rules of cool 6


    Don’t: be tactful

    Do: talk straight

    There’s a generation of scaredy-cats out there, and you should cut through all that by never mincing your words. Colleagues, women, pets all love it. Think Noel Gallagher and say the unsayable.

    (Image: Rex)

  • 49 new rules of cool 7


    Don’t: smoke

    Do: floss

    Just to be clear: only 0.01 per cent of the population look cool smoking, and they’re all rock stars and actors. It makes the rest of us look like Onslow from Keeping Up Appearances. At the opposite end of the spectrum, flossing is so in right now, it’s mental. Why? The sudden realisation that a teethful of rotting food is a tad unpleasant.

    (Image: Getty)

  • 49 new rules of cool 8


    Don’t: cover your body in tattoos

    Do: grow a beard

    It’s a simple fact that the more tattoos you have, the more boring you are. A well-kept beard, on the other hand?Well, let’s put it this way — do you want to be a teenage goth or Kris Kristofferson in Convoy? Exactly.

    (Image: Rex)

  • 49 new rules of cool 9


    Don’t: take the bus

    Do: cycle

    How have you overlooked the humble bicycle for so long? It’s cheap, green and it’ll improve your fitness. Plus, considering the stranglehold that traffic has on most UK cities, it will usually get you there quicker, too.

    (Image: Rex)

  • 49 new rules of cool 10


    Don’t: rebel against authority

    Do: be an authority

    Be the most well-read, the most informed, the most engaged with what’s happening in the world. Know your stuff, and you will be the boss in whatever situation you’re in, whether you’ve got the title or not.

    (Image: Rex)

  • 49 new rules of cool 11


    Don’t: go to the gym

    Do: exercise Outdoors

    Sick of running on the spot like a cartoon? Ditch the artificial light and flickering television screens of the gym and get yourself out into the open air. Whether you’re running along a river or cycling through a park, you’ll feel better, mentally and physically.

    (Image: Rex)

  • 49 new rules of cool 12


    Don’t: be mean

    Do: be nice

    Everyone has the propensity to be a snide git these days. Blog-culture ‘haters’, ‘anonymous’ comments on friends’ websites, it seems everyone is getting at everyone else behind each other’s backs. It’s not very becoming, is it? Rise above and as Patrick Swayze says in Roadhouse: “Just be nice.”

    (Image: Allstar)

  • 49 new rules of cool 13


    Don’t: be apathetic

    Do: be a geek

    By ‘geek’, we don’t mean you have to don inch-thick spectacles and develop an overbite. We mean be really into the things you’re into; immersing yourself wholly in the subjects you have interest in, be it films, bands or video games. There’s nothing more tiresome than someone who thinks they’re ‘above’ passion or excitement.

    (Image: Rex)

  • 49 new rules of cool 14


    Don’t: write a book

    Do: write a sitcom

    Months of toil and solitude in a darkened room only to have your masterwork hurled in a literary agent’s bin? Sounds fun, doesn’t it? These days, it’s all about sharing the load, the laughs and the tea-making duties with a friend or writing partner while you craft your own award-scooping comedy series.

    (Image: Rex)

  • 49 new rules of cool 15


    Don’t: wear chunky watches

    Do: wear understated timepieces

    Because you’re not a Premier League reserve team footballer, a rapper, or a deep-sea diver.

  • 49 new rules of cool 16


    Don’t: drink whisky

    Do: drink Tequila

    Whisky is a cliché. Tequila is the drink for men who want to enjoy their night out. That’s good quality, smooth and suppable tequila — not the cheap shot with a salt and lemon side. No one looks good while yakking into a pot plant.

    (Image: Getty)

  • 49 new rules of cool 17


    Don’t: kickbox

    Do: MMA

    Kickboxing is no longer the best way to de-stress away from the office. Mixed martial-arts classes, that emphasise the intelligence of the sport, are increasing in popularity as men look for more variety in their workouts — and no doubt the strapping physique that Tom Hardy acquired playing an MMA fighter in Warrior.

    (Image: Allstar)

  • 49 new rules of cool 18


    Don’t: work for a boss

    Do: work for yourself

    “Slave all day, without much pay… ’Cause I’m working for the man.” So sung Roy Orbison: a chap who would have agreed with our assertion that entrepreneurial self-starters enjoy life far more than company ‘lifers’.

    (Image: Rex)

  • 49 new rules of cool 19


    Don’t: watch the Premier League

    Do: watch grassroots

    Astronomical wages, the bottomless pockets of faceless owners, the members’ only Champions League… Top-level football doesn’t need or care for you, and neither should you it. Grassroots football, though — now there’s a place you can remember why you started going to the match in the first place. Friends, standing terraces, a pre-match pint, half-time pie, change out of a £20 note…

  • 49 new rules of cool 20


    Don’t: be greedy

    Do: be altruistic

    “The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good,” said Gordon Gekko in Wall Street. Well, we’re afraid that Gordon might have epitomised the height of sophistication in the Eighties, but that’s just not true any more. All right, he’s a little bit stylish, but greed most certainly isn’t. Volunteer, run marathons for charity, put others before yourself. It might not do anything for your bank balance, but it does wonders for your soul.

    (Image: Rex)

  • 49 new rules of cool 21


    Don’t: be an extrovert

    Do: be understated

    The quietest person shouts loudest, and modern man lets his actions — and not how loudly he can proclaim them — define who he is. Have some respect for the company you keep and, turn down those karaoke requests.

    (Image: Rex)

  • 49 new rules of cool 22


    Don’t: watch American cop dramas

    Do: watch European crime dramas

    The runaway success of bejumpered Danish thriller The Killing (pictured) has led to a foreign TV gold rush. Why tolerate more of CSI’s Scooby Doo plotting when Sky’s Italian saga Romanzo Criminale and FX’s unflinching French cop show Braquo have hopped over the channel?

  • 49 new rules of cool 23


    Don’t: get drunk

    Do: drink in moderation

    George Best once professed that “I spent 90 per cent of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted.” If ever there was a man who holds up as proof that while drinking the evening away might leave us with a funny anecdote or two, we’re simply better off exercising some restraint. Take your cool cues from European café culture, rather than that guy spilling his post-work pint while sporting a tie round his head.

    (Image: Rex)

  • 49 new rules of cool 24


    Don’t: own a drill

    Do: own a drill and know how to use it

    It’s no good having a state-of-the-art cordless drill gathering dust under the stairs. You should be able to proudly show guests the coffee table you made. Before advising them that it’s perhaps best not to rest their coffee on it.

    (Image: Rex)

  • 49 new rules of cool 25


    Don’t: stand alone

    Do: be a family man

    Forget the notion that a family man is lacking spontaneity or freedom. A family man is not only someone who has his priorities in order, but has also perfected the work/life balance in the most admirable of style. And if a man can’t be nice to his mum, he’s not worth knowing.

    (Image: Rex/ M & copyright 20th Century Fox)

  • 49 new rules of cool 26


    Don’t: book restaurants

    Do: go to pop-up eateries

    Late December jaunts around German markets aside, most men are guilty of being far too predictable when dining out. But with a burgeoning number of pop-up restaurants currently bringing first-rate dishes to scenic locations, that table you booked months in advance just seems a hindrance now. Spontaneity is in.

    (Image: Getty)

  • 49 new rules of cool 27


    Don’t: stay loyal to a genre

    Do: embrace eclecticism

    A 21st-century iPod should contain everything from bluegrass to krautrock, hip-hop to house and indie to soul. Aim to be more like Gilles Peterson and less like Tim Westwood. That’s good general life advice, too.

    (Image: Rex)

  • 49 new rules of cool 28


    Don’t: buy disposable

    Do: buy quality

    We’re not telling you to go round berating anyone who doesn’t own a Bag For Life — we’re just advising long-lasting, eco-friendly purchases. Although getting a Bag For Life wouldn’t hurt, would it?

  • 49 new rules of cool 29


    Don’t: splash out on Comedy superstars

    Do: champion Alternative comedy heroes

    Why squint at a millionaire comedian’s tired old gags from snow-capped stadium seats when the alternative is so much more exciting? From Stewart Lee’s acerbic meandering to Tim Key’s surreal poetry, a wide range of exciting comics are making serious strides.

    (Image: Rex)

  • 49 new rules of cool 30


    Don’t: play 5-a-side

    Do: play 18 holes

    Why graph your physical decline through a series of slowing kickabouts when you can spend quality time playing a game that actually allows for conversation? With players getting younger and cooler, and gear getting more stylish, it’s time to make your way to the tee.

    (Image: Curb Your Enthusiasm)

  • 49 new rules of cool 31


    Don’t: game as a multiplayer

    Do: stand alone as a singleplayer gamer

    It comes down to a simple choice: would you rather pit your skills against a well-pitched and expertly crafted campaign, or suffer cruel taunts of being “owned” after being shot in the head by some snotty 13-year-old in Arkansas? Exactly.

    (Image: Rex)

  • 49 new rules of cool 32


    Don’t: wear leather

    Do: wear suede

    Quite simply: Bono thinks that leather is cool. See? OK. So, instead, try breaking out the suede and instantly be both rough and smooth.

    (Image: Trussardi AW11)

  • 49 new rules of cool 33


    Don’t: dress monochrome

    Do: colour block

    You’re not a street mime, so break out of your black-and-white shell. It’s all about big, bold colours in 2012. You will not look like a children’s TV presenter, promise.

  • 49 new rules of cool 34


    Don’t: snowboard

    Do: surf

    Forget emptying your bank account, selling your worldy possessions and remortgaging your house to pay for the ski passes, bags of kit and ludicrously expensive mountainside food and drink. All you really need for an enjoyably ‘extreme’ holiday is a few friends, a moderately warm British coast and some rented surf boards. Plus, you won’t find too many midnight beach barbecues in the Alps.

    (Image: Rex)

  • 49 new rules of cool 35


    Don’t: have lunch on the go

    Do: eat homemade

    There’s nothing cool about a watery soup or limp sarnie that you’ve spent the best part of £10 on. It’ll take a little bit more effort, but home-baked potatoes, cleverly retooled leftovers and simple salads are the way forward for an envy inducing lunch hour.

    (Image: Rex)

  • 49 new rules of cool 36


    Don’t: read crime fiction

    Do: read fantasy fiction

    Unbelievably, thanks to Game Of Thrones, fantasy fiction is very much ‘in’. Let’s be clear, though: dressing up as a wizard at the weekend to have plastic sword fights with Colin The Orc is most definitely not.

  • 49 new rules of cool 37


    Don’t: show off your iPad

    Do: get a smart cover

    There’s no need for a gleeful show when you pull your iPad out now. Accept that the days are gone when people would look at you with awe. Buy a smart cover, for a more discreet and practical approach. Until the iPad 3 comes out, that is…

  • 49 new rules of cool 38


    Don’t: rubber-neck

    Do: help!

    It’s worth referencing that Ryan Gosling YouTube clip again. The way he breaks up the fight on the street while everyone else looks on — and indeed, films it — is most impressive. Everyone’s a spectator these days, but properly cool men should get involved. Just, y’know, don’t turn into a vigilante and get stabbed, or anything.

    (Image: Allstar)

  • 49 new rules of cool 39


    Don’t: carry a briefcase

    Do: carry a document case

    It’s simply not practical or necessary to use a clunky briefcase any more, and they look stuffy (and let’s face it, you only keep your lunch in there anyway). A document case, on the other hand, is lightweight, manageable and, when tucked under the arm, perfect for that man-about-town look. Or, if you’re northern, that just-been-to-the-butcher’s for-a-pound-of-beef look.

    Jermyn is £550 and will be available online at

  • 49 new rules of cool 40


    Don’t: wear brogues

    Do: wear loafers

    When something is as ubiquitous as brogues, you need to push on to something else. Or rather, slip into something else, as loafers, with all their attendant smart-casual European cool, are back.

    (Image: Rex)

  • 49 new rules of cool 41


    Don’t: get a curry in

    Do: make a curry from scratch

    You need spices. And lots of them. Start by slowly building up your collection with the key four (cumin, coriander, turmeric and garam masala), from which you can rustle up a curry that is tastier and more satisfying than even your regular takeaway’s lamb dhansak. Your bank balance, and belt, will thank you.

    (Image: Rex)

  • 49 new rules of cool 42


    Don’t: stick with a classic side-parting

    Do: embrace big, seventies hair

    Don’t run away! Come back! OK, we admit that the prospect of growing a Lego-esque Bee Gees barnet in preference to adopting a crisp parting might seem highly improbable, but trust us when we say that a thick, luxurious head rug says more about your exquisite manliness than any vintage leather jacket could. Big hair equals virility. Ask your dad.

    (Image: Rex)

  • 49 new rules of cool 43


    Don’t: wear suits

    Do: don bespoke tailoring

    With the advent of online service and Reiss Personal Tailoring, there’s no excuse for baggy trousers and jacket sleeves that graze your elbow. Savile Row style is now within the grasp of mere mortals. Once you’ve invested in a bespoke suit, you won’t look back.

  • 49 new rules of cool 44


    Don’t: avoid babies

    Do: hold that baby with confidence

    It’s not cool to back away, shaking your head, pulling at your collar when your friend hands you their six-week-old daughter. Take hold of the child, rock them in your arms, supporting their tiny head. Once you realise they’re not going to break, you’ll be picking up more babies than a pre-election David Cameron.

    (Image: Allstar)

  • 49 new rules of cool 45


    Don’t: make fancy cocktails

    Do: drink an old fashioned

    Sex On The Beach? It’s not 1987. Mojito? No one wants muddled mint in their teeth. Straight whisky may be out, but this Don Draper cocktail isn’t going anywhere: bourbon, angostura bitters, sugar, orange rind, soda water and ice. Mix one and feel like a Sixties ad exec. Minus the adultery and alcoholism.

    (Image: Getty)

  • 49 new rules of cool 46


    Don’t: own a dog

    Do: own a chicken

    It’s over. The Pedigree Chum ads, the poop-a-scoop, the hilarious paintings of mutts playing billiards — man’s best friend has had a great ride, but we’re now far too busy exercising ourselves to do the same to them. Instead, get a chicken. Everyone should still go to work on an egg, and there’s none fresher than one just laid by your very own pet. Just make sure you’ve urban-fox-proofed that coop.

    (Image: Rex)

  • 49 new rules of cool 47


    Don’t: chat on social media

    Do: have a conversation

    Remember when we used to interact with each other? It was great. Honestly, try it with some friends today. You’ll get lengthy anecdotes rather than 140-character summaries, real smiley faces rather than colon/bracket amalgamations, and genuine belly laughter rather than repetition of the acronym ‘Lol’.

    (Image: Allstar)

  • 49 new rules of cool 48


    Don’t: try to be cool

    Do: be cool

    Ultimately, the coolest thing to be is comfortable in your own skin. No matter what people tell you to wear, watch or eat, if you try too hard, you’re going to look about as cool as the Earth’s core. Who gives a damn? Enjoy yourself.

    (Image: Corbis)


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