A Quality Watch
There used to be a generational divide with watches – older men wore them; younger men used their phones to tell the time. Now, though, we can all don watches that link to our phones and don’t just tell the time but let us know how our favourite football team is doing, what the weather’s like, and how many dozens of things we still have to do before the end of the working day. That’s progress, right? Or, alternatively, just wear a normal watch and tell the time with it.
A Proper Shaver
Having spent your 20s cultivating a beard, or pulling a four-month-old Mach 3 across your face – did nobody mention you’re meant to change the blades every now and then? – it’s time to splash out on a ridiculously manly electric shaver, with a massive cleaning attachment that reeks of alcohol and all.
You will now need to learn the sacred truth of the electric razor however: if you use it every single day, it works wonderfully. Miss a day out, and it will take three hours to get you smooth again.
At 30, you should probably be on a fixie, but you might prefer a basic road bike or hybrid. The more important age signifier is how you’re dressed, though. The number of normal clothes worn whilst cycling goes down in inverse proportion to your age, so you may by now be rocking a small hat and courier shorts.
You’ll know 40 is approaching when you find yourself in nothing but day-glo, skin-tight gear, wearing clip-in shoes that sound like clogs when you’re on the pavement, and riding a bike that costs more than your car.
A Record Player
It’s retro yet so now; classic yet on trend. Music sounds better on vinyl, and those big 12-inch sleeves certainly look better. It’s a signifier that you take music seriously, and know your stuff, but are not a hi-fi bore (yet). Do you ever actually use it? No, of course not. Well maybe every now and then to rip a vinyl-only release to MP3, but then never again. More advanced studies: buying a pair of decks and a mixer. And then never using them, either.
You’ve got games consoles stretching back to the first Playstation or even the Megadrive at a push, and they’re a part of your youth that you can’t bear to part with. Occasionally, on a drunken night with mates, reminiscing about classic old games will lead to a visit to the painstakingly arranged display cabinet or shed where you keep the consoles of yore for a joypad-wiggling trip down memory lane. And then 15 minutes later you’ll all be going, “Bloody hell, this game is impossible. And rubbish! FIFA on PS4, anyone?”
Nose Hair Trimmer
Just as it starts to recede from your head, hair starts to sprout from exciting new areas, as if to compensate. Yes, say hello to your 30s and a big “hi fellas!” to nose hair, ear hair, and those weird eyebrow hairs that are much longer than the other ones.
Unchecked, you’ll become the wolfman, so you’d best invest in a hair trimmer that will remove hair “hygienically”, whatever that means, and with only a middling amount of discomfort – about the same level as childbirth or fingernail removal, say.
Nothing says you’re slightly nearer maturity better than having a wine fridge or drinks cabinet specifically for alcoholic beverages. Especially if it’s globe-shaped, as that also suggests you’re a well-travelled man of the world.
Having a large amount of booze in your house says, loud and clear, “Yes, I like to party, but I am also able to buy alcohol and then leave it in a cupboard shaped like a globe, rather than consuming it all in one sitting, like some kind of mad tramp. I am an adult.” Well done, you. Advanced studies: owning the “correct” types of glass for different drinks. And a decanter.
Research shows that men in their 20's and teens are less able to do DIY than their fathers. Of course: their dads have had much longer to get good at it. But also, men in their 20's are rubbish! As a 30-year-old, it’s time to put down childish things and pick up a drill.
Imagine the deep feeling of self-respect you will get when you’ve successfully put up that shelf. You’ve only made seven drill holes more than you really needed to – and hey, that’s what Polyfilla was invented for – and it’s almost level. You are now a man, my son… And not some hapless 20-something know-nothing who has to go crying to his daddy every time he wants something screwed to something else.
This is another one that changes with the decades. In your 20's, you might use a cafetière or, more likely, instant. In your 40's, it’ll be some massive thing with steam coming out of it that costs as much as your bike (see above). Age 30? You’ll be wanting an old-style filter machine, as that’s what’s bang on trend. But you can’t really face the hassle of that, so you’ll get a pod machine instead.
Yes, we’re afraid it’s time for you to start getting obsessive over cuff buttons, vents and lapel widths. At least now you’re 30 you can hopefully afford something just that touch classier than Topman.
With men's suits and shoes, it’s generally worth spending more and thinking of it as an investment, but you could always buy a new Primark £40 suit every month instead, and look fresh that way. Up to you.