There’s an old proverb (or maybe it’s just the title of a Broadway play) that reminds us of the universal truth: “You can’t take it with you.” Though they’re talking about life after death, I believe it applies to your 40s, as well. If you’re a man on the cusp of middle age, there’s a long list of things you should be leaving in the past. I’m talking about everything from scooters that would be mistaken for a child’s to wildly age-inappropriate clothing to the single worst haircut any man can have—especially someone at your dignified station in life.
Now, without further ado, here are the 40 things you should probably say goodbye to immediately. And once you’ve cut these things out of your life, be sure to learn the 40 Words and Phrases No Man Over 40 Should Ever Say.
A Guy Fieri Haircut
The Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives host is 49, but even if he was 32 and Katy Perry, it would still be a bad look. Instead, try out any of the 15 Best Men’s Haircuts for Instantly Looking Younger.
Enormous Piles of Laundry
If you’ve ever uttered the sentence, “Aw crap, I’m out of clean underwear again,” it’s time to take a long, hard look at your life priorities.
Are you really doing shots so often that you need your own hard-liquor glassware? Be more refined; keep a bar stocked with the glassware and liquor to whip out, on a moment’s notice, the 20 Cocktails Everyone Should Know How to Make.
An AOL Email Address
The only people who still have AOL addresses are hipsters who only listen to music on vinyl and your grandmother who still connects to the Internet with a landline. And since we’re all shooting off emails on the go, you should adopt the only mobile email signature anyone should use.
You’re no longer the funniest guy at the frat party. You’re not even the quiet, shy one at the frat party. What on earth are you doing at a frat party?! Leave the party. Get a better tie. And while you’re at it, learn how to tie the thing properly too.
If you can’t pull out some cash or a credit card without making a loud riiiiipping sound, you’re legally not allowed to drive a car or own a home or sit at the grownups table at dinner. Also, you need a great, handsome wallet. After all, Real Men Carry Cash.
We can prove to you that a scooter is a terrible idea with one video. Nothing about this electric scooter commercial is based on real life. Nobody who uses a scooter as his main mode of transportation wears a suit, has a “9am meeting,” or exchanges flirty glances with beautiful women. Also, this scooter is called the Swagtron Swagger. Seriously? It’s like you’re asking to get pelted with monkey poo. (Also, it should go without saying that hoverboards fall into the category of banned items after 40, as well.)
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
There are so many better ways to announce to the world that you’re someone who thinks he’s a “warrior” at life. Why not just mount some ninja swords on your bedroom wall and call it a day?
Wine Bottles as Candle Holders
Unless you live in an Italian restaurant (and kudos if you do), this is not nearly as cute as you think. That said, there’s much the country does right: check out the 50 Things Italians Just Do Better.
Photo courtesy of Gemma Morgan on Flickr.
Certain Specialized Deodorant
If your package is consistently sweaty enough that they require a pharmaceutical fumigant, it’s time to see a doctor.
As we learned in this 2012 study published in the Journal of Research in Personality, people can correctly guess your age, gender, and income just by looking at your shoes. You know what bowling shoes reveal about you? That you’re a teenager with no money who steals his footwear from bowling alleys.
Sorry. You’re just a little bit too mature for this look. And if your defense of your favorite hoodie contains, “Mark Zuckerberg wears an old hoodie every day! He’s a CEO!” You’d be right. And I’d like to remind you that he’s 33. And for more style rules in your middle-age years, here are The Definitive Style Rules for Men Over 40.
Acoustic Guitar for Parties
In your head, it’s easy to convince yourself that everyone at the party is secretly hoping that a guy in his 40s will whip out a guitar and break into a one-man acoustic version of “Ants Marching.” But trust us on this one, they’re really not.
I know, this is a tough one. What else are you gonna wear when you’re trying to keep the chill vibes flowing and you’re kicking around the hacky sack with your best bros? Can we suggest shoes? And maybe lose the hacky sack?
Just because Tommy Hilfiger and Todd Snyder are making tracksuits now and Adidas insists that November 6th is “National Tracksuit Day” doesn’t make them okay. A tracksuit is just a gateway drug to a gold chains and Bermuda bucket hats. Run DMC is not a good look on a guy old enough to have been in Run DMC in the 80s.
No, instead, try out one of the 25 sexiest swimsuits for men this summer.
A Story Involving a Jail Cell
That crazy yarn about you and your buds committed a minor felony back in college is a sure-fire crowd pleaser. But if you begin any dinner party story with “You’ll never believe how I ended up in jail last weekend,” don’t expect an enthusiastic response.
A Key Chain Bottle Opener
There is always a bottle opener nearby. If there isn’t, maybe you need to ask yourself, “Am I currently at a location where it’s appropriate to be drinking alcoholic beverages?” Maybe you wait until after church to crack open that frosty beer?
We like playing a little Resident Evil 7 as much as the next guy, but if you’re playing so much that your thumbs are permanently calloused, you’ve been killing too many fake zombies and not getting nearly enough cardio and sunlight. Still, video games aren’t all bad. In fact, these 8 games are scientifically proven to make you smarter.
Burning Man Friends
Having Burning Man friends means that you’ve attended enough Burning Man festivals to have a Burning Man social circle. That’s waaaaay too much Burning Man, man.
Unless your name is Donald Trump, Aaron Judge, or Justin Beiber, you have no reason to be wearing a baseball cap. If you need a hat, there are better options, like these 10 perfect hats for men this summer.
A “Lucky” Piece of Clothing
Sorry, but that crusty old t-shirt that you refuse to wash isn’t the same thing as Michael Jordan’s so-called “lucky shorts.” Please don’t make us enumerate the ways that you’re probably not the Michael Jordan of your office or local pickup games.
It’s fine to live with other people. They’re called your wife and kids.
Who exactly do we think we’re impressing with our Spoon concert tee?
A Tinder Account
If your dating app of choice has been blamed for the rise of STDs in some states, it might be time to move on to the next best pickup scene; whistling at girls outside convenience stores. But on a serious note, if you are indeed on the market, you should try one of The Best Dating Apps for People Over 40.
There’s no good explanation for a wallet chain. Worried about losing your wallet? Unless you’re biking through rough mountain terrain, your concerns are unfounded. And if you’re biking through rough mountain terrain, what do you need a wallet for?
At your age, you should be more concerned with thread counts than whether your sheets have a cool illustration of Han Solo. And while we’re on the subject of beds…
A Bed without a Frame
If you’re just out of college and living with three other guys in a city apartment, a mattress on the floor is fine. (At least you’ve graduated from a futon.) But unless your life goal is to be a character in a Tom Waits song, you’re way too old to not be investing in the entire bed.
Nothing wrong with smoking a little weed to unwind after a long day. As long as it doesn’t involve a six-foot bong that you’ve nicknamed The Wizard.
The only person allowed to wear skinny jeans over the age of 40 is Iggy Pop. End of story.
Frozen Pizza Rolls
A freezer filled with pizza rolls and other microwavable junk food is not an option for the modern man.
An Unstamped Passport
You do realize that a passport isn’t just for threatening to leave the country when your presidential candidate of choice doesn’t get elected, right?
A Pulp Fiction movie poster taped to your wall is just one step above refrigerator magnets in the hierarchy of home decor. Don’t do this. Instead, follow Nate Berkus’s advice for decorating your walls.
A Girlfriend Born in the Clinton Years
Okay, so you don’t technically “own” a girlfriend, but she still belongs on this list. If she can only recall the three most recent leaders of the free world, you are officially dating too young, buddy.
A Tattoo Less Than Five Years Old
A fresh tattoo on a 40 year old isn’t cool or dangerous or a symbol of your unique personality. It’s the “buying a sports car because I’m terrified of growing old” of our generation.
A Fast Food Condiment Packet Collection
Taco Bell hot sauce is an occasional guilty pleasure, not a home kitchen staple.
A Buddy on Your Couch
No. You shouldn’t even be Facebook friends with this guy any more, much less letting him “crash” with you until his divorce finalized and he can get his own place to live. You know that’s never happening, right?
A Black Eye
It’s not that you can’t take a punch, it’s that you’re still finding yourself in situations where you have to take a punch.
There’s no reason you need that much room down there.
A Yellow Hummer
These gas-guzzling relics from the 90s already exist deep into no-go territory. But if you add this eye-popping color, you’re doing the only thing that can possibly make it worse.
Your Grandmother’s Hand-Me-Down Couch
Free furniture is a great thing when you’re in your 20s and struggling to get by. But saying “My grandmother slept on this couch in college” when you’re 40 is a cry for help.
A Selfie Stick
A grown man knows how to politely ask a stranger to snap a quick photograph.
Your Childhood Arts-and-Crafts Wares
That glazed clay bowl you made at camp is definitely not a suitable living-room centerpiece.
Put. The cards. Down. And walk. Away.
Beer Can and/or an Empty Liquor-Bottle Collection
Saving hundreds of empty aluminum cans and bottles of all the beers you’ve consumed over the years isn’t like covering a suitcase with stickers from foreign countries. It just makes people think, “Wow, this dude has a serious drinking problem.”
Sports Team–Themed Wall Art
One notable exception: if that Fathead of Aaron Judge is on your son’s wall.
Keepsakes from Fast Food Restaurants
Yes, your tumblers featuring Mayor McCheese and Grimace are collector’s items. But they’re maybe not how a guy in his 40s should be sipping on a weekend cocktail.
“Don’t keyhole the sack, brah,” is definitely what you would be saying if you were 22 and lived in your mom’s basement. But you’re not. Put down the footbag.
Or anything “norm core,” for that matter.
A Flip Phone
You don’t have to buy every new tech gadget that comes on the market. But using a flip-phone will instantly add 30 years to your age in ways that unhealthy living can only dream of.
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