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Years ago, I found myself at Kate’s ten-year high school reunion. As I surveyed the room of her former classmates, I noticed a dichotomy in the trajectories that the males and females had taken. By and large, the women had kept themselves up; they still seemed vibrant, engaged, and in shape, even if they had had a few kids by that time. The years had not been as kind to the majority of dudes, however. Many were already overweight, out-of-shape, and looking pretty schlubby and dead behind the eyes. 

It was then that a moniker for the condition that seemed to be besetting these men came to my mind: Soft Suburban Dad Syndrome.

In the years since, I’ve noticed SSDS manifest itself in plenty of my peers, and from time to time, unfortunately, in myself as well. Soft Suburban Dad Syndrome develops in the decades after a man graduates from college, gets married, has kids, establishes his career, and, whether or not he literally settles down in the suburbs, moves further and further into the outskirts of a dynamic and adventurous life. With the passage of time, and the eroding of youth, the masses of men fairly give up on life and lose their edge. 

Marriage, family, white collar work, suburbia, and adulthood in general don’t invariably lead to a degradation in virility, vitality, and manliness. But unless an intentional, active effort is made to cultivate a countervailing force, such responsibilities and routines tend to lead to a busyness, inertia, stagnation, and malaise that can enervate one’s interests, mollify one’s penchant for challenge and growth, and extinguish the fire in the belly.

The components of that countervailing force have been thoroughly explained in AoM’s most classic and epic article: Semper Virilis: A Roadmap to Manhood in the 21st Century. But a helpful first step to following that roadmap is disganosing whether you’re suffering from Soft Suburban Dad Syndrome yourself, and which symptoms you most need to address. So below we offer 50 questions for self-examination, organized into the different areas of life where SSDS can crop up. Read; reflect; figure out where you want to push back on the domesticating defaults many guys sink into as they transition from young buck to mature man; and decide how you might change in order to maintain your strength — physical, mental, and social — into old age.


Literal softness constitutes the very tangible epicenter of Soft Suburban Dad Syndrome. As the post-college years go by, men often become more and more sedentary. Testosterone, muscle, and energy go down, while body fat goes up. This can turn into a negative cycle, where the more obese you become, the less you want to move, and the less you move, the more weight you gain.

Maintaining your physical prowess is more than a matter of health; strength and toughness (two qualities which are both vital, and not identical) affects every other aspect of your life as well, from your confidence and how you show up at work and in relationships, to what activities and interests you’re capable of pursuing, to the maintenance of your psychological well-being. As such, getting and staying in good physical condition represents the very foundation of fighting SSDS and leading a vital, fulfilling life.

1. Do you do at least 60 minutes of physical activity every 24 hours, or are you sedentary for 96% of each day?

2. Have you gotten your testosterone tested — and is it at a healthy level?

3. Is your waist bigger than 40 inches?

4. Can you hold a squat for 30 seconds?

5. Can you hang from a bar for 30 seconds?

6. Can you do at least five pull-ups?

7. Can you pick up your body weight and carry it for distance?

8. Can you standing long jump your own height?

9. Can you bench press your bodyweight?

10. Can you deadlift 150% of your bodyweight?

11. Can you get off the ground without using your hands?

12. What is the ratio between the time you spend watching other men play sports and the time you spend playing sports yourself?

13. When was the last time you pushed yourself so hard you couldn’t help but put your hands on your knees?

14. When was the last time you did a flat-out sprint?

15. When was the last time you crawled on the ground?

16. When was the last time you jumped

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Odds & Ends: October 27, 2023

Why Note-Taking Applications Don’t Make us Smarter. I like the concept of creating a super-powered cloud-based brain by capturing my thoughts and readings in a central note-taking application. My note-taking application will unleash an untapped torrent of creativity, I dream. Every time I try to put the idea into action, the results are always disappointing. This article will explain what could be causing the lack of enthusiasm. You can’t really outsource the old-fashioned way of thinking to a machine. Not yet, at least.

Clive Barker’s The Thief Of Always We have just finished reading it aloud to our family and everyone enjoyed it. Clive Barker is a prolific horror writer for adults. He also wrote this book aimed towards children. The story revolves around young Harvey Swick whose boredom drives him to the Holiday House where he spends each day experiencing all four seasons and major holidays. What could be more fun than celebrating Halloween and Christmas each day? There is a price to pay for all the fun. The second half is weaker than the beginning, but it’s still a good book for a pre-Halloween quick read.

Peak Refuel Backpacking Meals. Last week, the McKays backpacked in AR and ate these freeze-dried foods during our trip. These are the meals we like to take with us when backpacking. These meals are delicious and contain more calories (and protein) than most other backpacking foods. Beef Stroganoff, Chicken Pesto Pasta and Beef Stroganoff are two of the best.

WoodWick Candles Hygge is in order as the weather gets colder. Hygge, a Danish concept, is the idea of creating an atmosphere of coziness and relaxation in your home, especially during the darker and colder seasons of winter and fall. Hygge is a Danish concept that emphasizes the importance of candles. WoodWick makes one of our favourite candles. The wick, as the name suggests, is made of wood. When lit, it looks like a fireplace fire. It’s soothing. It’s great for meditations with fire.

Quote of the week

In a certain sense, a person who looks at the present through the lens of the future and takes into consideration his entire being, can be satisfied with his lot. . . If a person reaches the point of being so satisfied that they say, “I don’t want to learn any more or do anything more or be any further,” then he should be turned into a mummy. A mummy, of all things hideous, is the most hideous. And the most hideous mummies are the ones that run around the streets talking.

–H.W. Beecher

The Art of Manliness published Odds & Ends – October 27, 2023 first.

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Gifting Ideas for The Upcoming Season – Thanksgiving Edition

This article originally appeared here: Gifting ideas for the Upcoming Season, Thanksgiving Edition

Thanksgiving is not just about turkeys, pies and parades. It’s also a time to celebrate the warmth and joy of family and the expression of gratitude. The hearty meal may be the highlight of the day, but it is the thoughtfulness and care that goes into the gifts that we give to our loved ones that really embody this special occasion. The festive season is fast approaching, and there’s never been a better time to think about thoughtful gifts to show our loved ones how much we care.

Host/Hostess gifts

What do you give to the person who does all the work in the kitchen, if anything?

When in doubt, choose the classics. The combination of a fine bottle of wine and artisanal cheeses is always a winner. It’s the ideal gift to express your appreciation to your Thanksgiving host, offering a sophisticated touch to the festive celebrations.Customized Serving Trays: If you want to add that extra personal touch, consider gifting a customized serving tray. It can be engraved with a family name or special message. This keepsake will make their Thanksgiving spread a memorable one.

Gifts for Family

The best family gifts involve sharing experiences, making memories and cherishing our time together.

Board Games and puzzles: There’s nothing that brings families together more than a friendly competition. These gifts are sure to bring hours of enjoyment and engagement, whether it is a strategy game that tests the mind or a picture puzzle with a scenic view. They’re also a great way to bridge generation gaps, so everyone, from the grandma down to the youngest relative, can have a good time. DIY Craft Kits: Let your creative juices flow! These kits aren’t only for children; they can be used by the whole family. These kits are great for anyone who wants to get their hands dirty. They can be used to create Thanksgiving decorations, paint, or do any other crafty project. Who knows? Who knows?

Fashionable Gifts

Dressing up is a part of the holiday spirit. Why not give a gift that will add a little style to your celebration?

Varsity jackets are cool. It could be the nostalgia that they bring back, or their effortless style. These jackets are versatile and trendy, making them a wardrobe staple. These jackets are versatile and can be worn with anything. They’re a wardrobe essential. These unique designs are not only beautiful but tell a tale. These pieces make the recipient feel valued and remembered. They are a great choice for the holiday season.

Tech and Gadgets

Tech gifts today are not just flashy gadgets. They’re also tools that can enhance our everyday experiences.

Smart Home Devices – The future is intelligent, so what better way to enter it than by using smart home devices. These devices, whether they’re voice-controlled assistants or smart lighting or thermostats that can be controlled by a smartphone, not only make your life easier, but also modernize any home. These are the perfect gifts for those who want to stay on top of their game. They’ll elevate your living space. What’s a good party without some tunes? Portable Bluetooth speakers allow you to take your music with you wherever you go. Compact, powerful and boasting impressive

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Reviewing The Black Label Trading Co. Royalty Cigar

Black Label Trading Co. Royalty Cigar

Black Label Trading Co. Royalty Cigar

While scrolling through CigarPage’s catalog, I came across Black Label Trading Co.’s aggressive macabre branding and was immediately curious.

I am the target demographic for this brand; I have a black cat, my first concert was Iron Maiden, and I have a 12-foot skeleton in front of my house that stands year-round, scaring children and squirrels alike.

If the branding doesn’t pique your interest, knowing that this cigar won the 2023 Cigar Journal’s Best Boutique Nicaraguan Brand award should. Come along as I review the Royalty corona via the following categories:

Cigar FormulaCigar OverviewLook & FeelFlavours & BurnIdeal PairingsOverall Experience

You can use the links above to jump ahead or scroll down to learn more.

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Download the Black Label Trading Co. Royalty Cigar Matrix as a PDF.

Black Label Trading Royal Cigar Review Formula
Learn more about the Bespoke Unit Cigar Formula

Cigar Overview

Brand: Black Label Trading Co.Range: RoyaltyReviewed Vitolas: 5.5 x 42 CoronaWrapper: Ecuadorian CorojoBinder: HonduranFiller: NicaraguanFactory: Oveja Negra, EstelíHandmade: YesBody: FullEstimated Smoking Time: 60  MinutesPricing: $132 / Box [Buy Now]

The Royalty range uses an Ecuadorian Corojo wrapper, Honduran binder, and long Nicaraguan filler tobacco. The cigars are hand-rolled in Estelí, Nicaragua, at the Fábrica de Oveja Negra, which translates to “black sheep factory.”

Black Label Royalty Cigar with Box & Formula

Shop The Black Label Royalty Online!

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