A Guy's Guide to Watches

A Guy's Guide to Watches

10 things to consider when buying that first watch
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There comes a time in every guy’s life where it feels like something is missing on his wrist. After watching dad wear a watch for as long as you can remember, you have come to the realization where it’s time to start wearing one yourself. Whether you’re inheriting your great-grandfather’s classic timepiece or investing in a brand-new sport watch that has more features than you can count (oh, and it’s waterproof to 1,000 feet and can tell you the surf in Hawaii), here are 10 things to keep in mind when buying a watch.

1. Sport vs. lifestyle

This decision might be the most important of all. Think about how often you’ll be wearing your watch. Where will you be? Who will be around? Please never buy an expensive sport watch and wear it to a job interview, you’ll look ridiculous. My recommendation is to find a watch that can be dressed up or down and looks right in 90 percent of scenarios. This goes a little back to the leather vs. metal debate. Also, consider the style of the features. Are the hours presented as numbers or numerals? Numbers are generally less formal. Avoid crazy fonts or styles, you’re better off being conservative.

2. Color of watch face

This choice is critical. For you first watch, you’re best off getting a watch with a white face. Why? Easy. White goes with everything, it’s clean. You can’t go wrong. If you’re straying from white, a light tan or khaki is a decent substitute and will give a more classic presentation. Only buy a black-face watch if the band is black. Navy is probably the only other color you should consider, but it is much more fashion-forward. Stick with white for now and buy that one a few years down the line.

3. Band type

The key here is versatility. Your options here will be leather, metal, grosgrain (think sturdy fabric), metal and rubber. First, leather is a great option, it’s classic and timeless and can still be contemporary with the right watch face. The oils from your skin will naturally wear in the leather as you wear it, which adds character to the watch. Metal watches are also immensely popular and communicate power. They’re flashy, so if that’s what you’re looking for, go for it. Grosgrain should only be worn during summer; save this for a future purchase. Stay away from rubber. It’s cheap and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a watch where it looks good.

4. Band color

Another critical choice, although this one is a little more open to your preferences. If you're going with leather, brown and black are your options in most cases. Brown goes with nearly everything, while a black watch is a great second watch to complement that brown one. Gold, silver, black and rose gold are the most common colors you’ll find if you're buying a metal watch. Stick with gold for a more traditional look. Silver is more contemporary and generally matches with a bit more than a gold watch will. See previous note for comments on a black watch. Then there’s rose gold. It takes a special person to pull this off – it’s usually a color saved for women’s watches. Stick with gold or silver for you first one and go from there.

5. Special features

Right in line with 1., beware of investing in a watch that has features you will never use. Do you really care about what time it is in Dubai or phases of the moon? Water-resistance is definitely something to consider. Generally, you won’t need to know much beyond the time itself, the day of the week and the day of the month.

6. Number of hands

This consideration is fairly minor. Essentially the watch will either have a second hand or it won’t. The difference is subtle. A watch with hands only telling the hour and minute are considered more formal than one which includes a second hand. Unless you’re looking for an extremely formal watch, don’t worry about this too much, although it does bear consideration.

7. Brand

This is one topic that actually bothers me a decent amount. Sperry’s are great shoes. Ralph Lauren makes nice oxford shirts, polos, etc. Would you go to Microsoft to buy a microwave? Stick with brands that are dedicated to watches, they will almost always be higher quality. Don’t be that guy that strictly wears Vineyard Vines or Ralph Lauren, from his clothes down to watch. Keep Citizen, Bulova, Seiko and Skagen in mind.

8. Price

Far and away the most subjective point on this list. If you have 10 g’s to blow on a watch, go for it, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Truthfully, you can probably find a watch to meet your needs for as low as $40-50 if that’s your budget. I would stick within the range of $125-400. Anything less and you’re sacrificing some quality, any higher and you’re probably buying more watch than you need. Don’t hesitate about spending $200-300 on a watch you wear day in and day out. If you treat it right, it will last for years. When you think about it that way, $20-30 a year for a watch that easily lasts 10+ years doesn’t sound so bad.

9. Do you

Unlike some other parts of fashion and style where the rules are a little more rigid, your watch is just that – yours. This list is meant to give a good starting point for things you should at least be aware of when buying that first piece of ice to put on your wrist. If you really love that lime-green sport watch, do you and buy it. The key here is confidence. Rock it and wear it proudly.

10. Where to buy your watch

Think you’re ready to buy one now? Macy’s has an excellent collection hitting almost everything on this list. Don’t be afraid to shop around and take your time. I honestly went through every single watch on Macy’s website (3,500+ options) before I narrowed it to around 25 before slowly eliminating other options to the point where I found the one (shown above). Brown leather, gold metal, white face. Citizen is known for its quality and it’s an eco-drive so I’ll never need to replace the battery. It doesn’t tell me anything more than I need it to, and I can dress it up or down. Also check out Fossil, Kohl’s and brand-specific websites to check out your options.

PS: If you have an iPhone and like the idea of an Apple watch, do it. It screams class but might be a little too tech-oriented for some.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.prowatches.org/5-amazing-seiko-watches/

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No, I Don't Have To Tell You I'm Trans Before Dating You

Demanding trans people come out to potential partners is transphobic.
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In 2014, Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old Filipina woman, was brutally murdered after having sex with a U.S. marine. The marine in question, Joseph Scott Pemberton, strangled her until she was unconscious and then proceeded to drown her in a toilet bowl.

Understandably, this crime triggered a lot of outrage. But while some were outraged over the horrific nature of the crime, many others were outraged by a different detail in the story. That was because Jennifer Laude had done the unspeakable. She was a trans woman and had not disclosed that information before having sex with Pemberton. So in the minds of many cis people, her death was the price she paid for not disclosing her trans status. Here are some of the comments on CNN's Facebook page when the story broke.

As a trans person, I run into this attitude all the time. I constantly hear cis people raging about how a trans person is "lying" if they don't come out to a potential partner before dating them. Pemberton himself claimed that he felt like he was "raped" because Laude did not come out to him. Even cis people that fashion themselves as "allies" tend to feel similar.

Their argument is that they aren't not attracted to trans people, so they should have a right to know if a potential partner is trans before dating them. These people view transness as a mere physical quality that they just aren't attracted to.

The issue with this logic is that the person in question is obviously attracted to trans people, or else they wouldn't be worried about accidentally going out with one. So these people aren't attracted to trans people because of some physical quality, they aren't attracted to trans people because they are disgusted by the very idea of transness.

Disgust towards trans people is ingrained in all of us from a very early age. The gender binary forms the basis of European societies. It establishes that there are men and there are women, and each has a specific role. For the gender binary to have power, it has to be rigid and inflexible. Thus, from the day we are born, we are taught to believe in a very static and strict form of gender. We learn that if you have a penis, you are a man, and if you have a vagina, you are a woman. Trans people are walking refutations of this concept of gender. Our very existence threatens to undermine the gender binary itself. And for that, we are constantly demonized. For example, trans people, mainly women of color, continue to be slaughtered in droves for being trans.

The justification of transphobic oppression is often that transness is inherently disgusting. For example, the "trans panic" defense still exists to this day. This defense involves the defendant asking for a lesser sentence after killing a trans person because they contend that when they found out the victim was trans, they freaked out and couldn't control themselves. This defense is still legal in every state but California.

And our culture constantly reinforces the notion that transness is undesirable. For example, there is the common trope in fictional media in which a male protagonist is "tricked" into sleeping with a trans woman. The character's disgust after finding out is often used as a punchline.

Thus, not being attracted to trans people is deeply transphobic. The entire notion that someone isn't attracted to a group of very physically diverse group of people because they are trans is built on fear and disgust of trans people. None of this means it is transphobic to not be attracted to individual trans people. Nor is it transphobic to not be attracted to specific genitals. But it is transphobic to claim to not be attracted to all trans, people. For example, there is a difference between saying you won't go out with someone for having a penis and saying you won't go out with someone because they're trans.

So when a cis person argues that a trans person has an obligation to come out to someone before dating them, they are saying trans people have an obligation to accommodate their transphobia. Plus, claiming that trans people are obligated to come out reinforces the idea that not being attracted to trans people is reasonable. But as I've pointed out, not being attracted to trans people supports the idea that transness is disgusting which is the basis for transphobic oppression.

The one scenario in which I would say a trans person should disclose their trans status is if they are going to have sex with someone and are unsure if their partner is attracted to whatever genitals they may have. In that case, I think it's courteous for a trans person to come out to avoid any awkwardness during sex. But even then, a trans person isn't "lying" if they don't come out and their partner is certainly not being "raped."

It is easy to look at the story of Jennifer Laude and claim that her death was due to the actions of one bigot. But it's more complicated than that. Pemberton was the product of a society that told him that disgust towards trans people was reasonable and natural. So when he found out that he accidentally slept with a trans woman, he killed her.

Every single cis person that says that trans people have to come out because they aren't attracted to trans people feeds into the system that caused Jennifer Laude's death. And until those cis people acknowledge their complicity in that system, there will only be more like Jennifer Laude.

SEE ALSO: Yes, You Absolutely Need To Tell Someone You're Trans Before Dating

Cover Image Credit: Nats Getty / Instagram

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