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The men commandments

The GQ guide to life is geared towards making yours as fulfilling as possible - from health, wealth and work to sex, success

1. The slower you move, the faster you die. 2. Money spent on dental work and travel is never wasted. Plan to die with good teeth and great memories. 3. A man should always have access to the best plumber, accountant and personal trainer that he can possibly afford. 4. Never cheat on a woman you are not ready to break up with. 5. You can skip anal sex and bondage, but you should try a threesome at least once. Expect a large part of it to be someone staring out of the window. Probably you. 6. Never marry anyone you do not intend to spend your life with. The average marriage lasts ten years, so the odds are that you will not spend your life with them. But that should be your intention. 7. Drugs should be behind you by the time you are 25, unless your day job is playing guitar for the Rolling Stones (lead or rhythm, not bass). 8. Never hit a woman, a child, an animal or a man who is incapable of breaking your jaw. 9. Never hit anyone you are not prepared to keep hitting.

10. Never hit anyone because you are drunk, although it is permissible to hit them because they are drunk. 11. Never hit anyone if you can avoid it. There are really only two good reasons to hit someone - you are fighting for your life or they have insulted your family. 12. If you hit someone, then try to keep it neat - don't throw wild, swinging punches. Your punches should be as straight as a piece of scaffolding, and they should snap back as quickly as they snap forward (as if you are catching a fly). The exception is hooks, which should be powered by your hips, not your arms. A good hook to the body will break your assailant's ribs - and his will. 13. If you get involved with a married woman, make sure she is happily married. An unhappy one will drag you into a war zone. The only exception is a married woman you want to spend your life with. 14. Good manners are important. There is never an excuse for rudeness. The quality of a life is largely about small human transactions, and politeness makes human existence bearable. 15. You will sometimes fail. There will never be a point in your life when you are too successful, too old or too wise to fail. Expect failure and let it put steel into your soul. Be made strong by your failures and be made grateful by your success. Like night and day, both will surely come to every life. 16. Look after your knees. If you play sport, then they will wear out quite soon. If you don't play sport, then they will wear out quite suddenly - almost certainly on your child's first sports day, during the parents' race. 17. If you and your woman have loud arguments, then you are with the wrong woman. 18. If you and your father have loud, shouty arguments, then this is completely natural but you should make every effort at reconciliation. The time that fathers and sons have together is limited. The tears you shed at your father's funeral should be tears of loss and grief, not of bitter regret. 19. There are lots of fabulous women in the world, but you can only truly love four or five of them in a lifetime. 20. What happens on tour, stays on tour - apart from genital herpes.

21. Public speaking and practising safe sex are two skills you need to master. You will be expected to do both, sometimes at the same event. When speaking to an audience, you should never rely too heavily on written notes, but nor should you try to simply wing it. Both will end in disaster. Have a stack of postcards in your pocket - one for every five minutes you will be speaking - and shape your speech, highlighting the big emotional moments and your favourite cheap jokes. No audience wants you to do badly. They all want to laugh, they all want to be moved, they all want to be entertained. Public speaking is one of those things where you just have to get through the pain barrier. When practising safe sex, make sure you do not get the thing inside out. This is surprisingly easy to do, and will make breakage, leakage and assorted disaster highly likely. You will probably have had a couple of drinks and it might be quite late. 22. Learn which bridge to cross and which bridge to burn. 23. Do not become a father until you are prepared to put another human being before yourself. 24. Never walk past someone selling The Big Issuewithout buying a copy. It's not charity. It's a job. 25. Success is built largely around the management of pain. Rocky Balboa advised: "It is not about how hard you hit - it is about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward." 26. Never buy anything from someone who knocks on your door uninvited unless they are clearly down on their luck. 27. Do not waste your time on jealousy, hatred or watchingWall Street: Money Never Sleeps. 28. When possible, get there by walking. 29. Friendship - true friendship with that special handful of people - takes effort. Left to itself, it will wither on the vine. So think about your friends. Love them and cherish them. Cut them some slack when they make mistakes. Friendship is important. But remember that we are all alone in the universe. Never be afraid to fly solo. You were born alone. You will die alone. 30. Think about your health, but don't be obsessed with it. Resist hypochondria. We are all going to die. But not just yet.

31. If you do not have regular orgasms, you will die. Your prostate gland will assume that you have no further interest in the human race and it will rise up and smite you down. When the coming stops, the breathing is never far behind. 32. Never sleep with a crazy girl, no matter what they look like. You learn the hard way that it is just not worth it - usually when they are standing on your driveway at four in the morning spray-painting "I hate you" on your next-door neighbour's car. 33. Love your work. Try to make your great passion and what you do for a living impossible to tell apart. This will make for a happy life. When everything else lets you down, work will sustain you - give you self-esteem, fulfilment, money, human contact and a reason to leave the house. At some point you will have to do a job you hate. This is to be expected - just make sure you know how to find the exit door. 34. Never trust a politician, a prostitute or someone who wants you to change your mobile phone, energy plan or true love for absolutely no charge. There is always a charge. 35. Strain every fibre of your being to resist hating someone you once loved. 36. For as long as possible, keep the weight off, the hair on and the cock hard. This is the holy trinity of eternal youth. Technology can help - look at Wayne Rooney or Hugh Hefner. But resist anything that makes you look like a 65-year-old dinner lady. 37. Seek wealth, but despise riches. A lack of money is the root of all evil. Nothing is more time-consuming than poverty. Money does not buy you happiness - it buys you time. 38. Expect to enjoy one dinner party in ten. Make an effort with the women on either side of you - and even the drunk man on the other side of the table. It is not meant to be fun. If you wanted to enjoy yourself, you would have stayed at home. 39. Nobody knows the full story of a marriage. Not even the husband and wife. 40. Most relationships do not end too soon. Most relationships go on for far too long. But never let your children grow up in another man's house. 41. The one with the power in any relationships the one who cares the least. 42. Stun them with your talent. Dazzle them with your genius. Never be halfhearted. Never be lukewarm. Attempt to knock every ball out of the park.

43. A thick skin will serve you better than a trust fund. 44. Be decent and kind to all the people who can't do anything for you. 45. Self-pity is more destructive than heroin. 46. Never sleep with her sister - unless she is the love of your life. And her sister is never the love of your life. 47. At the end of the day, you should avoid all clichs like the plague. 48. Happiness will come and go - the important thing is to recognise it when it is here. 49. Luck will be both good and bad - but relying on good luck is like counting on the postman to bring you a cheque. 50. Never lose your temper with airport security, crying babies or other drivers. Patience will relieve many of life's little miseries, but it is a skill that needs to be learnt and mastered, like a language or a martial art. 51. "Remember that the life of this world is but a sport and a pastime" - the Koran. 52. Only fat people skip breakfast. 53. Never drink at lunchtime unless it is some kind of celebration. 54. Heavy dinners eaten late at night mark the fast track to bad sleep, expanding waistlines and an early grave. If business commitments require you to be in restaurants late at night, then eat like a supermodel before a massive photo shoot. 55. The best cure for jet lag is sunshine. The best cure for a hangover is the Black Doctor - Coca-Cola (regular, not diet). The best cure for diarrhoea is live yoghurt. The best cure for a broken heart is another trip to the moon on gossamer wings. 56. Eat plenty of fibre. Dean Martin maintained that the key to his happiness in his last years was not fame, money or his friendship with Frank Sinatra, but the massive bowel movements he had every morning. 57. The best way to keep your body fit is all the hard, unglamorous stuff - sit-ups, pressups and being punched in the face.

58. Learn to trust your instincts. Only the dead go with the tide. Only the living can go against it. 59. Do not prepare - begin. Time is always accelerating. With every passing season, a year is always a smaller percentage of your life. 60. "Learn to live with what you can't rise above" - Bruce Springsteen. 61. Be unfaithful to every woman except one. 62. Once you are past 30, get regular medicals. An unexpectedly good calcium score on your arteries will mean as much as an unexpected blow job did when you were 17. 63. Routine is good. Routine sets you free. Routine gives structure to the unholy messiness of existence. But never develop a routine that you can't walk away from with five minutes' notice. 64. Have plenty of sex before you settle down. Lots of it. All over the world. With all kinds of women. If you can count the number of sexual partners you have had, then you haven't had enough. On his deathbed, asked about regrets, the poet John Betjeman said, "I wish I had had more sex." You should plan to say, "I wish I had had a bit less sex." 65. Avoid trouble. Stay away from the places - football grounds, pubs, cinemas, fast-food restaurants late at night - where you always get aggravation. And if you can't avoid conflict, then hit them hard and hit them early. Don't waste time talking. 66. Never look at a phone unless you have the time to deal with the problems it could contain. 67. Money spent on education is the one investment that will always show a huge profit. 68. "A lifetime is a flash of lightning in the sky" - Buddha. 69. Enjoy every sandwich. Originally published in the November 2011 issue of British GQ.

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