have swag …or… have class

Time for a lesson, men.

Ever have a friend that kills a joke from overuse. Well, culture has executed the term “swag.”
According to the online Oxford Dictionary, swagger refers to “a very confident and arrogant or self-important gait or manner.”
Over time, the connotation of the “swagger” has shifted from negative to positive. A person with swagger, “swag” for short, was seen to carry themselves with confidence and have a cool aurora to them.

The MTV culture of my generation has laid hold of the word swag and ran rampantly. Swag has been used, abused, and misconstrued.
From hip-hop to t-shirts, swag has made an appearance and adopted a persona of pretty-boy-psuedo-thug.

Exhibit A                                      

Please, direct your attention to Exhibit A. The male in this image could be characterized (according to current culture) as having swag. He is rocking a ball cap for a sports team that he is likely unaware of but chose to wear because the letters complimented his outfit. His attire is very expensive and stylish (i.e. leather vest with faux fur collar, watch (assumedly a Nixon)).  The culmination of his wardrobe, along with his perfect smile and lip piercing would qualify this individual for the label of “pretty boy.” Also, notice the tattoos. The tattoos are an appeal to the “thug-life” image. These paradoxical labels are two dominant characteristics of a male individual who posses “swag.”

Exhibit B                                   .

Please, direct your attention to Exhibit B. The male in this image is a thug. Give attention to the excessive gang related tattoos. You may notice that this is a mug shot. This is because the “thug-life” typically consists of a prison cell and 3 crappy meals a day.

The contrast is distinct.
What can we conclude?
The boys in our culture expend tremendous effort to implicitly persuade others that they  are indeed the embodiment of all that is swag. In reality, true swag has been distorted and is now a gimmick designed to impress one’s peers with the notion that an individual is characterized by fashion, “thug” livin’, and a confident personality.

In the other hand, we have “class.” Similar to “swag,” class is associated with an individual’s appearance and behavior.
Specifically, a man with class is said to display an impressive excellence in style and personality.
A man with class does carry himself with confidence but all notions of arrogance are absent because a man with class is a gentlemen. You know, one who exercises charm rather than game.
A man with class may posses a swagger in its strictest sense but all childish tendencies have been outgrown. He still knows how to have a good time, but he does so in maturity not immaturity.
A man with class is sincere and respectable; songs about stealing, hustling, and pimping are not on his playlist.
A man with class is educated and understands the value of exercising the mind along side the body.
A man with class treats a woman as a lady and does not seek a hook-up, but, rather an opportunity to escort her on a date.
In short, class, not swag, is what men should posses.

So boys quit toying around with your fantasies of swag and become a man; pick up a book and learn some class.

Without doubt, I am confident that you can predict my choice. Forget the swag, I would much rather choose class.

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play a game of Quidditch …or… take a field trip with Ms. Fizzle

First and foremost. I’d like to extend my sincerest an apology for the lack of posts the past two days.
I have just been overwhelmed this past week with a exhausting agenda so my blog has been sitting on the back burner.
Who am I kidding, I can’t lie to you guys. This week has been very enjoyable. Simply fact is that my creative juices were not flowing so when it came time to blog, my fingers were not going.

Im sure you are all familiar with Quidditch. Its that game from that wretched Harry Potter novel/movie series. Okay “wretched” might be a harsh word. I’ve just never been intrigued by the story.

I wouldn’t be hesitant to bet that many do not remember who Ms. Fizzle is. Do the words, “The Magic School Bus” mean anything to you? I hope so. That is the wonderful animated series in which the fascinating Ms. Fizzle would take her class on spectacular field trips to places such as the moon, inside volcanos, and into the microscopic world as well.

I’m sure it is easy to guess which choice I am picking.
Fun fact, however, Quidditch is played internationally by many people. I do not know all the specifics to the game and how it is played but I do know that the international championship was in New York City last year.
I am actually fascinated with how a book can influence a culture so greatly. I, myself, would not mind playing a game of real life quid ditch.

Don’t be fooled though. There is not a chance that I would miss out on an adventure with Ms. Fizzle and a classroom full of my friends.

Who knows where we would take a field trip to. What I am sure of is that it would be a fantastic time that I would always remember.
A field trip with Ms. Fizzle is guaranteed to
2. Teach me a moral lesson.
3. Provide a fun time with my friends.
1. Be a once in a life time adventure in a place I would never experience without that magical school bus.


only talk in third person …or… never be able to call someone by name

It would be a lot easier to act casual when not calling people by name. I am a master at the “Hey, pal!” or “How’s it going, bro?” When in doubt, address someone using one of those friendly pronoun substitutes, right? I do this often because I am one of those people who claim to be “bad at names.”

Referring to myself in third person? Matthew never does that. Matthew thinks people are arrogant when they do that, as if they is important. Matthew feels out of place just typing in third person.

Constantly communicating in the third person would be more than irritating. Who would want to hold a conversation with me if I continually reminded them of who I am?
On the bright side, I could completely indulge in the hubris of it and employ epithets.
Not only would they change things up a bit but they would be useful to precisely portray my mood.

(wallow in Matthew’s graphic design skills)

So third person speak has its advantages.

Not being able to address someone by their name would not benefit Matthew in the least. While, I may be able to pull it off in normal social settings, I forecast a wide arrange of awkward situations.
Most people are going to assume that you simply forgot their name. No big deal when its someone you hardly know.
However, imagine playing sports. You need to know your teammates and their names. What happens when you are open for a pass and all you can yell is, “Hey Pal, over here!”
…not gonna go down well when you have a lot of “pals” on the field.
Or, even beter, what happens when your significant other notices that you never address them by their name. “Babe,” “Honey,” and “Sugga Momma” are only gonna cover you for so long.

In general, never addressing someone by their name is a quick way to offend them. Maybe I could go for a couple of weeks, or even months, but after a year or two someone is going to realize it and Matthew won’t have any friends.

Matthew may come off as egotistical referring to himself in the third person all the time, but at least he will get your name right.

Which would you rather?
Does (fill in your name here) agree or disagree with Matthew the Word Slinger.

underdress for a party …or… overdress for a party

Time to stick out.

Attending a social gathering while dressed above or below the expected standard of attire is an effective trigger for embarrassment. Every culture has an appropriate norm for clothing. Violating the norm may impose a negative impression on one’s reputation amongst their peers which is not desirable if one wishes to thrive in community.

Now, I am not supporting conformity or a shallow desire to “fit in.”
Meeting the standards of attire is a matter of etiquette. Blatantly disregarding a dress code or an unspoken expectation of attire brings into question ones respectability.
Day to day, anyone can choose to dress how they wish. Be unique, wear clogs if you so desire. However, at parties or social events, dressing according to the expectation is necessary; especially, if the dress code has been formally been made known.

Overdressing and underdressing are both violations of a dress code.
Which would I rather commit?

One of my life principles is to be over prepared rather than under. Regarding wardrobe choices, this would mean to overdress.

Attending a party underdressed expresses a sloppy and lazy personality or a lack of respect for the party and, more significantly, the host of the party. Plus, it is plain embarrassing to show up to a party underdressed. People notice and you really have no excuse.
However, the severity of the offense depends on the degree of formality that is expected.
If the attire is jeans and a button down t-shirt and you show up in ripped or faded jeans and a regular t-shirt then the circumstance would not be too significant because the party is casual to begin with.
If the attire is a tuxedo, very formal, and you show up in an expensive business suit then you will be noticed and may offend the host but at least you look presentable.
If the attire lands somewhere in between, such as business casual and you show up in jeans and a button up t-shirt while everyone else is wearing slacks and dress shirts then someone is probably gonna be asked to leave the party.

(I realize that this post is very gender biased. I am a male so I am only considering this in the context of male attire but I believe the principle still stands. Sorry ladies.)

Overdressing is the way to go. Showing up to any party overdressed does not cause to much harm. The only negative message that may be expressed is arrogance or snootiness. This may be very offensive in the wrong culture but for the most part overdressing is acceptable.

Especially in Southern California culture. If a party is very casual and I were to show up dressy then I may be embarrassed. However, in situations where one is supposed to dress to impress then their is virtually no limit to how impressive one should dress. SoCal has a very laid back culture so when we do dress up we take advantage of it.

Either way, I am going to stick out. I’d rather stick out like a boss than like a slob.

What would you rather?

trust everybody …or… trust nobody

Either I am doomed to a life of naiveté or torment from paranoid schizophrenia. Lovely.
The choices appear insignificant but the consequences are grave.


Okay, maybe I’m being dramatic.
Trusting everybody would be wonderful.
I’m sure that, despite my inability to distinguish truth from lies, people would not take advantage of my innocence.


Instead of ranting on and on about the infinite number of ways people would be able to screw with my folly if I were to trust everybody, I would rather show you the immediate response of one of my closest friends; you know, someone who should care for my well being.
Do I need to explain the terror I would be forced to endure if a  criminal discovered my ever trusting nature? Case settled.

Lets explore the other option.
Would circumstances be preferable if I was unable to trust people?
I would not be subject to believe everything I am told, negating the risk of jumping off a building on account of a friend’s suggestion.

Though, I mustn’t underestimate the relevance of trust to daily living. Consider every minute  interaction that involves trust.

Currently, I am sitting in Starbucks. While ordering my drink I paid with a 100 dollar bill. $95.55 was my change. The register only contained 5 and 1 dollar bills. This meant I had many green pieces of paper coming my way. I had to trust the cashier as she counted my change before  returning it to me.



Imagine how that exchange would have gone if I was unable to trust people.
First of all, I would not have trusted her competence to operate the register because I’m not a math wiz who can calculate the sales tax and determine the correct amount that I should be charged for my beverage.
Secondly, I would not have trusted her count of the change which would result in my frustration and recounting of the money, likely resulting in a the making of “a scene” in the middle of Starbucks.
Thirdly, I would not have been able to trust that the line of people behind me were not going to stab my problematic tooshie in the back.
Fourthly, I would not have been able to trust the person who made my drink! They could have poisoned me.

All this lack of trust would lead to my becoming infuriated with everyone around me resulting in an outburst and, plausibly, a thrown chair or two.
Eventually, I would not be fit to function in society. I assume, that a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia would soon follow and my moving into a psych ward would be imminent.

How could I trust anyone in a psych ward?

There is a risk but I would embrace the ignorance.

Which would you rather; to trust or not to trust?