Although summer is long gone and storms begin to beat at our front doors, there are a number of silver linings to the month of November, and we’re not about to let you forget them. From the beginnings of big holiday meals, beers and games to the sexy winter wear and even sexier elections, this month can prove to be your best if you let in the 10 best things about November.
No. 10 - Movember
Gentlemen, let the facial hair games begin! And for a good cause, too. November means it is time to let the mustaches loose in order to raise money to fight prostate cancer and bring attention to men's health issues in general. We men can be a stubborn bunch when it comes to taking care of ourselves, so grow your mo to help change that. Movember gala events are held all around the U.S. once the month is over, too, in order to celebrate a job well done. Take advantage of that.
No. 9 - Election Day
The time has come, fellow Americans. Only so often does a nation have a day to determine its rightful leader, whether you’re a quasi-political type in your own mind or not. Both the candidates have spent the last months rallying their troops, debating/interrupting each other with every breath and plugging our eyes and ears with enough campaigning for the next five elections.
Now, with the candidates neck-and-neck in the race, the time has come for Americans, or anyone they’ll let vote, to choose the right man for the throne. Barack Obama waits to see if the American people will stand by him another four years, with heavy focus on education and manufacturing within the U.S., while Romney hopes to undo the last four years, focusing heavily on health insurance and tax reform. It’s not a decision anyone can make for you, so do your research and pick the one who represents (more) your interests.
No. 8 - Chili & Stew, Dude
This is the start of the time of year when a man can enter the kitchen with confidence and take over. Although not all men were born with hands for making homemade fudge and gingerbread houses, many were bred for making a solid bowl of chili or stew.
These are the heavyweight holiday favorites that keep you warm, healthy and if you’re into it, a little spicy. Spend the season perfecting the art of cooking with these two things, and you’ll be glad you put on the apron. Every stew requires the right ratio of veggies to beef, and every chili needs beans and the right amount of zest, in case you didn’t know. Get those right and you’re golden. If you want to go a few extra steps, groom your fearless mustache and enter your best batch into the local cook-offs. That’s the car show of cooking, where men stand by their prizewinners, and occasionally somebody craps themselves (and it's totally worth it).
No. 7 - Christmas Decorating
When you’re all finished breaking necks and checking out in your first round of holiday shopping, you get to wrap your head around the idea of putting up Christmas decorations.
Although it may seem like a tall order to find a tree, hang up the tinsel that will haunt you for months and drown your home in fake snow, this is the right of passage for many men. It’s a time of year when it’s perfectly OK to get frustrated, smash porcelain objects against the wall, cuss loudly for the all the neighbors to hear and then calmly fix the strand of lights that broke the same day you bought it.
Christmas decorating is the mother of all family togetherness, so gather the crew and seek out the only tree that’s good enough for your home. Don't be the guy who buys a fake two-footer with no lights for the coffee table the night before Christmas. Get into the holidays early, Scrooge.
No. 6 - NASCAR. Hell Yeah!
In case you don't know, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series concludes in November with three exciting races that will determine who wins the Chase crown. Jimmie Johnson is the current leader once again, but he hasn't wrapped it up just yet. If you're one of those haters who thinks there's nothing more to racing than a guy driving in circles for hours at a time to the point of nausea before quenching his thirst with a chalice full of milk in front of a crowd of hillbillies and topless women, well, you may not be far off. But who cares? It's fun and we're damn proud of it!
No. 5 - Winter Style
For a man of style, the summer offers very little to the half-clothed, sun-drenched guy trying not to pass out from heat exhaustion. Luckily, winter and its weather come bearing a few more options for your wardrobe.
Whether you’re a man of style or a man of sweatshirts, everybody has their signature way of dressing. Bust out those scarves, blazers, leather jackets and high boots, gentlemen. It’s a war to look good and stay warm, so come prepared.
Girls like a guy with a sense of style, so leave the snowpants and ear muffs at home and find yourself a nice snow bunny to cuddle up with.
No. 4 - Cold Weather Drinks Upon Drinks
The one thing that is assured to get you through some of the tougher parts of the upcoming season is alcohol. It’s no secret that you can’t stand your in-laws, probably for the same reasons they don’t like you. Luckily, alcohol allows us to warm up to these grizzly bears and have a we-don’t-do-this-enough drink and a laugh session.
Take your pick: hot chocolate (with peppermint schnapps, no doubt), winter ales and white Russians. Doesn’t matter, they all go down smoothly. Depending on where you’re living and if a storm is blowing through your town, you’ll pick the one that matches up with your winter weather just right.
No. 3 - Black Friday
What more could a man ask for after a long day of eating mountains of food, completely comatose to the world, than to wake up at the ass crack of dawn the next day and wait in line outside department stores to shop? OK, trick question. Men, this is your hell. It’s like seeing the pearly gates of heaven before they realize you’re with the wrong group and send you downstairs.
Don’t bat your eyes too heavily, though. Black Friday may be the women’s version of Super Bowl Sunday, but it also means she may help you come out on top this holiday season while saving your wallet from exploding. It’s practically part two of a great American tradition, only you might get a big screen TV out of this one. And, there's always the chance she might want to go shopping on her own and let you have a day to yourself in your mancave. That's what we call a "keeper."
No. 2 - NBA/NFL Double Team
This time of year is the pinnacle of manliness, when two of the best sports, basketball and football, pile up at our door like a stack of Playboy magazines. Baseball and its overpaid, stiff-legged standstill players have gone, leaving plenty of TV time for some skull crushing and slam-dunks. The NFL has already delivered a number of solid weeks filled with big games and upsets, only to get bigger around Thanksgiving, and now we welcome basketball back at the start of the month with open arms.
With the impending return of Derrick Rose to lead his Chicago Bulls, Dwight Howard and Steve Nash dressing up in purple and gold and the rich getting richer in Miami, this year has the potential to be a downright dirty, competitive, lock-out-free season with anybody’s guess as to who comes out on top.
Next: 10 Best Things About October
No. 1 - Thanksgiving and Stuffing
Let’s finally address the elephant in the room, as well as the big turkey we’re all about to choke down. Thanksgiving is the day we declare as a country that we are all simultaneously grateful for all that we have -- at least until the following day when we weigh ourselves and clog the upstairs toilet.
Together we huddle like mice around the dinner table and enjoy a little tradition, including the underrated green bean casserole that steals the show, the gravy-drenched stuffing that nobody knows the ingredients to and the just-sweet-enough sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows that everybody keeps an eye on. Just remember, as the man of the house, it’s your God-given right to make an obscene toast, carve that turkey with your gut out, belch and pass out as you please in your recliner. That’s your recliner, and don’t let anyone forget it.
Whatever your pleasure, there’s always something at the dinner for everyone, including good eats and lots of thanks...and typically indigestion.