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A Gentleman’s Guide to the Halloween Hookup

1028KMT - HalloweenHookUp_Hed

Advice from certified ladyperson and expert on all things sexy and scary, Michelle Ong.

Halloween festivities can sometimes feel like amateur hour¬—all your favorite haunts (heh) are packed to the gills, “Thriller” is playing for the 36th time, and you can barely keep yourself from punching the guy in the Kim Kardashian costume.

And yet, every time this most hallowed time of year rolls around, we slap on the face paint, go dancing like it’s the Second Coming and flirt outrageously with someone dressed like a meme. Why do we do it? Because transforming into someone else—with the aid of masks, feathers and the rest of it—gives us license to act like somebody else. Even if that somebody else is a drunk Sharknado.

After the jump, your quick-and-dirty guide to the three types of people you’ll encounter while pursuing your Halloween hookup.»

The Gentleman’s Guide to Breaking Up

Heartbreak Hotel

Persistence is generally considered a virtue. Also: knowing when to call it quits.

Today we’re talking about that second thing.

Because even with the aid of Valentine’s-enhanced romance—and the champagne, the roses, the long weekend in the woods—your last shot still came up short. It’s not that she isn’t a spectacular gal and it hasn’t been great getting to know her... but, alas, the time has come to part ways.

So take a deep breath. Prep some band-aid metaphors. There’s no sense in putting it off:

This is the Gentleman’s Guide to Breaking Up.»

A Gentleman’s Guide to Dancing in a Nightclub

Advice from resident dance expert and certified lady-person Michelle Ong:

As a lady with a deep, undying love for (disco) balls, there’s a reason why I only go to nightclubs with girls and gays: a lot of straight guys have trouble with dancing. A lot of you treat it like an advanced mating ritual you have to decode, or else you look downright pitiful, blinking nervously while shuffling around in a circle. But it doesn’t have to be like this.

Here is the essential 10-step, foolproof, lady-approved guide to dancing in a nightclub.»

An Inquiry on the Art of Dressing Up Denim

  • Najib Benouar

Here at Kempt HQ, we often receive letters from our readers—most of it adoring fan mail—but every so often we get a naked picture. Also every so often, we get a question from an inquiring soul. Which we sometimes answer...

This week, we received a letter in our inbox from a reader who was looking forward to heading to the Mondrian LA for an evening of cocktails and tapas but was at a sticking point: to wear jeans or not to wear jeans. That is the question.

On to our reader’s denim-based quandary, followed by our menswear blogger-savvied guidance.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Spectacular Public Failure

Donald Verrilli is having a bad week.

He’s the US Solicitor General, currently arguing for the constitutionality of Obamacare in front of the Supreme Court—and as of 24 hours ago, he was an easy favorite. Then came what some writers are calling “one of the most spectacular flameouts in the history of the court.” He stuttered, he rambled, he lost his voice, and by the end of the day, he had gone from an unknown technocrat to the most notoriously incompetent lawyer this side of Lionel Hutz.

But we’re not here to pile on. We’re here to offer some consolation to Mr. Verrilli himself. Don, if you’re reading, it’s okay. Do you need a hug? You do. Take a breath. Try to collect yourself. And for the next five minutes, forget about the crushing media scrutiny and listen to our words of wisdom.

You’ve just had a unique and transcendent experience, Donald Verrilli»

The Basics of Wearing a Sweater

As grizzled style veterans, we tend to focus on larger issues of style, cultural context and the relative quality of various brands. But as a recent reader email reminded us, sometimes it’s helpful to focus on the basics.

And we mean the absolute basics.

In this case, the problem at hand is how to wear a sweater without descending into a rumpled mess by the end of the day. The request goes like this...

Our desperate reader query, coupled with a wise and gracious response...»

Ann Landers On: The Male Earring

Ann Landers

Certain questions regarding matters of gentlemanly style and grace have repeated themselves for decades. Case in point: on three separate occasions—once in 1966 and twice in 1984—Ann Landers was asked for her advice on the subject of male earrings. Given Morgan Freeman’s bizarre determination to keep the fad alive in 2012, we felt it was as good a time as any to revisit the 50-year-old issue. To that end, in unauthorized collaboration with “Ask Ann Landers” circa 1943-2002, Kempt presents the first in a series of 2012 answers to questions posed by the style-seekers of yesteryear.

Ann Landers (and Kempt) on the male earring...»

The Gentleman’s Workout (and Other Advice From 2011)

Gentleman's Workout

Let’s be realistic. It’s the week between Christmas and New Years – you’re not going to your personal best mile time. Instead, consider employing The Gentleman’s Workout: Pack a gym bag. Leave it in the car. Find the closest steam room. Enter it with one large bottle of chilled water. Drink it. Take a cold shower. Enter the steam room with a second bottle of chilled water. Drink it. Take a slightly warmer shower. Utilize all toiletries/razors/ combs-in-jar-0f-blue-liquid saves/q-tips available in the locker room and, if applicable, enjoy a stiff cocktail in the clubhouse before returning home for a much-needed post-holiday workout feast.

Here are a few of our other humble suggestions from 2011…»

The Kempt Guide to Thanksgiving Travel


It’s a fair bet that in about a week’s time, you’re going to be taking a trip of some kind. And since time is precious, you’re going to want to arrive ready for a solid session of food, drink and general carousing, with wrinkles in your clothes or fatigue in your body.

Over the years, we’ve developed a near-failproof game plan for pulling off just that. It’s not complex, but it demands rigorous adherence and an almost monk-like resolve. If you’re up for it, we’ve enclosed the three key points after the jump…

Our three-step plan for getting off the plane unscathed…»

A Gentleman’s Guide to Halloween

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s coming. In just a week and a half, you’re going to be faced with a flood of invitations to costume parties, and you’re going to have to find a costume in the spirit of the occasion that doesn’t make you look like a complete doofus. We’re not going to lie to you, it won’t be easy—but we’ve got a few ideas on how to make it through unscathed.

The three things to remember this Halloween…»

The Kempt Guide to Wristwear

We’re in favor of flourishes.

So when gentlemen started adorning their wrists with colorful strings, beads and leather straps, there was a lot to like. It was spontaneous, and it was good. But with $100 lanyards flooding into boutiques, we thought it might be time to separate the inspired from the trendy.

So without further ado, our two cardinal rules concerning wristwear. Take them to heart.

Here’s what you need to know»

Silwia Jankowska Slinks


Hello, There: Fashion Copious checks out the portfolio of Ms. Silwia Jankowska, and we’re beginning to think every model in the city has a “slinking on the floor” shot… [Fashion Copious]

Oh Man: A familiar face takes stock of the “manly advice section of the bookstore. The verdict? You’d better learn to tape drywall. [Slate]

Roll Out: Esquire takes stock of the latest runway trends, as applied to what you already own. Get ready to roll those pant cuffs. [Esquire]

Music for SmartPhones: Brian Eno fulfills his destiny with a generative iPhone version of Music for Airports. Maybe he was too cool for Android? [Gizmodo]

What a Man Must Do


In case you missed your issue of Esquire this month, we’ve got an emergency dose of masculine wisdom. This one comes courtesy of Omar Tehawko who put together the poster at the left. He’s managed to narrow the Things a Man Must Do down to five simple imperatives:

1) Shoot a Small Helpless Animal 2) Visit Space 3) Punch a Lion in the Face 4) Fly a Jet Fighter 5) Save the Day

It might take some doing, but nobody said manliness was going to be easy. First, you'll need a lion with a glass jaw…

Choices, Choices


One of the highlights of Britain’s current turn in the style spotlight is the steady stream of heritage brands taking their star turn. This month, it’s Baracuta, a lightweight jacket company recently been favored by a J. Crew collab, a quasi-placement in the latest Bond flick and seemingly endless supply of good press.

Of course, a history of showing up on the shoulders of everyone from Steve McQueen to Joe Strummer doesn’t hurt.

We weigh your baracuta options»