It's hard to pinpoint when the revelation comes. Maybe it's when it takes three cups of coffee instead of one to shake a hangover. Maybe it's when you end up bringing earplugs to a rock concert. Or when you've spent all day watching a "House Hunters" marathon. Whatever the tipping point is, every man in his mid-to-late 20s must eventually face the undisputed truth—college is over.
We'll let that sink in for a sec. Ok... still with us? Then it's time to start parting with the furniture, clothes and concepts that may be arresting your development. And, no, relying on your significant other to keep your path to maturity clear isn't going to cut it. “It’s up to you to bring order to post-adolescent chaos,” says Kay Hymowitz, the author of Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys. So drag out the trash bin and start taking baby steps into adulthood. Here are just a few suggestions on what needs to go to get you there.
There are so many reasons why a futon is a bad idea. Let's start with how incredibly uncomfortable they are. "Not only do most futons resemble extra large laundry sacks stuffed with clothes, they're not giving you the proper physical support you need when you sleep," says Vern Yip, host of HGTV's Deserving Design. As a 30-year-old adult, your bed and couch should be two separate things, not a single piece of furniture that hurts both your spinal cord and your dignity. "A futon serving as your sofa is essentially like having a folded up mattress sitting in the middle of your living room," says Yip. So unless you're a hit man laying low for the night, put the futon out to pasture.
2. RAMEN NOODLES
It's hard to argue with the logic of Ramen noodles when you're a dirt poor college student. But at 30, the criteria for a meal shouldn't be whether it costs less than a quarter. "Ramen noodles are for children," says David Burke, the chef and owner of seven restaurants (including Townhouse in NYC) and a Top Chef Masters competitor. "It's the same reason why you don't eat Fruit Loops at the age of 50." He recommends broadening your culinary horizons with exotic cuisine like handmade pastas, which aren't quite as loaded with saturated fats and MSG. If you need some assistance planning your meals, check out our Guy Gourmet blog.
3. DIRTY BATHROOMS
There's something undeniably badass about a filthy rock club bathroom—the legendary commode at CBGB's is just one example. But that scummy, toxic charm doesn't translate to the home of a 30-year-old man. If your bathroom didn't help launch the Ramones and yet still looks like a place where junkies hang out, it's probably time to reassess your hygiene habits. Consider that researchers at Penn State University did a study of almost 500 bathroom sink drains in 131 buildings around the country and discovered a high frequency of Fusarium. "It's a fungus known to cause potentially blinding corneal infections," says lead researcher Dylan Short. It can also lead to ringworm and dangerous skin infections that have been compared to leprosy. Scared you straight yet? Get out the damn Clorox.
4. NOVELTY CONDOMS
Safe sex isn't something that gets less relevant as you get older. But a penis with the smirking face of Gene Simmons isn't a good look on somebody in their third decade of being alive (or anybody else for that matter). And that doesn't even take into account that off-brand condoms may not offer much protection if they're heavy on gimmicks and low on STD preventative material. Although putting something on is better than nothing, keep in mind that more than a third of guys in a Men's Health test group rated a good ol' fashion Trojan as their favorite condom. Just make sure the thing is on right. Fumbling around with condoms is yet one more thing you should say goodbye to once you hit your 30s.
5. CREATIVE FACIAL HAIR
Sure, facial hair can be a great way to create a new identity with very little effort or expense. But when you’re 30, you shouldn't need a Fu Manchu or a Handlebar to announce to the world, "Hey, look at me! I'm unique and interesting!" Amanda Sanders, a New York-based image and wardrobe consultant, says that facial hair is unprofessional and silly "unless you work in a record store." If you still insist on abstaining from razors, at least do your homework. In a study by researchers at Northumbria University, a group of women rated the same face with various degrees of facial hair. The face with a light stubble, the result of just a day or two of not shaving, consistently came out on top. So think Jeff Winger. Not Starburns.
6. PLASTIC VIDEO GAME INSTRUMENTS
Never mind that Guitar Hero and Rock Band have already been supplanted by the latest shiny new objects in the video game world (hello, XBox Kinect). The fact that you have a chintzy drum set with colored pads and an axe that looks like it was made from Hasbro in your living room won't exactly impress the ladies. In fact, Adam Carolla, who writes the MH column What's Wrong With Men, thinks you should consider ditching digital simulation altogether. "I love the actual feeling of being in a car, feeling the engine's going to explode every time you shift," he says. "[Driving games] feel weird and sort of slippery-slopish. That maybe why kids are 100 pounds heavier than they were 30 years ago." In other words, go outside, learn how to play a real Fender Strat—and buy a Lamborghini.
7. FAKE PLANTS
We understand that you're a busy guy with a lot of responsibilities and you don't have free time to take care of a living thing. But house plants aren't like kids. They aren't even like dogs. Just water them once or twice a week and you're done. Synthetic plants "suck life out of a home," says HGTV's Yip. "Unless you live in a windowless cave, there is a plant that will fit your specific natural light situation and your ability to take care of it." He recommends spending a little time at your local nursery and exploring the options for living plants. "As a last resort," he says, "go for a preserved boxwood. At least it was once real."
8. BEDSHEETS FROM HIGH SCHOOL
You may think you're keeping those Boba Fett sheets on your bed because it's ironic, but you're not fooling anybody. What passes for irony in your 20s looks more like wistful sincerity in your 30s. Nevermind that—if you really want to have her stay over the night—you're going to need some comfortable bedding that has a thread-count over 50. We recommend Garnet Hill Signature Flannel (from $34-$124, Garnet Hill) or the Pure Beech Sateen Sheet Set ($10 for king size, Bed, Bath and Beyond). No matter which way you go, choose natural fibers, such as cotton, and avoid synthetics, which are less absorbent of the nearly half gallon of sweat and oil you secrete every night. Yeah, we know—ew, indeed.
9. SENTIMENTAL PORN
We're not telling you to get rid of all the porn on your computer. We're just saying that maybe you don't need so much of it. Brittany Andrews, star of such adult films asBlondes in Bondage and Femdom Ass Worship 7, says the best way to get rid of all that incriminating evidence is to "encourage a hard drive crash." If you've collected enough smut, that's probably on the horizon anyway, but there are less destructive ways to reduce your porn eco footprint. A reasonable collection should be in the megabytes, not gigabytes (keep in mind that ten percent of adults admit to having an internet porn addiction, and 70 percent of those are men). So consider taking a break from streaming and downloading stuff from RedTube for a few months. It may not only save your hard drive—it can even save your sex drive.
10. SHOTS WITH MORE THAN ONE LIQUOR
Remember when your liver was seemingly made out of steel? Yeah, that's not so much true anymore. But if you must drink hard alcohol to excess, find a genre and stick with it. Once you start with a brown liquor like bourbon or scotch, that should remain your color palette for the remainder of the evening. No tequila or vodka or Jäger shots. And for the love of god, avoid any cocktails with multiple liquors and deceptively sexy names. A 30-year-old man ordering a "purple hooter" of his own volition is just making a thinly-veiled cry for help. For tips on how to upgrade your alcohol IQ, check out theRegulars blog and the Men's Health Living feature "Drink Like a Man."
11. AVOIDING THE DOCTOR
According to a recent survey by the American Osteopathic Association, just two-thirds of men in their 30s have seen a primary care physician within the last year. That may have worked in your 20s, when the majority of your health concerns were of the "emergency" variety. You didn't need to go to a hospital unless a bone was sticking out or you couldn't stop the bleeding. But things get more complicated in your 30s. "Men often wait to see a physician until they are sick," says Dr. Joseph Giaimo, an osteopathic internist and AOA Trustee. "But addressing warning signs of heart disease and other illnesses now can help prevent chronic disease in the future." Hell, if you ask nicely, the doc may still even give you a lollipop.
12. FRAMED BLACK LIGHT POSTERS
When you were living in a dorm, a Grateful Dead poster taped to the wall was perfectly acceptable retro decor. But as a 30-year-old adult, "your home should be a physical manifestation of you," advises Yip, "and poster art says that you're not sure who you are." Finding actual art that reflects your unique personality may sound like a daunting task, but not if you know where to look. Yip suggests visiting websites like aperture.organd artspace.com. "They offer affordable fine art photography from some of the most respected fine art photographers in the world," he says. If that’s still too rich for your blood, find a local student art. If you're lucky, you can get amazing original art for less than your monthly cable bill.
13. ACTION FIGURE SHRINES
We know staring at that Yellow Power Ranger brings back fond memories of a simpler time. But you don't want to turn into a 30 year-old virgin do you? (Hey, you never know when it can grow back, even if you've already lost it.) There's nothing wrong with holding on to a few last vestiges of innocence, but nostalgia can often transform into neurosis. Just ask Matt Paxton, who runs his own clutter-removal company that's been frequently featured on the A&E reality show Hoarders. "We've seen a lot of dudes in their 50s who still have the train sets from their childhood instead of a wife," he says. "It's really sad." Consider this fair warning. Now excuse us while we sort out which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are keepers. Sorry, Donatello.
By Eric Spitznagel
Article from Men's Health