How to Have Swagger

How to Have Swagger
Kojak, Lt. of Swag
Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Definition

What does swagger mean? To be honest, I was not sure of what it meant until a few months ago. The word has been tossed around quite alot for the past few years and I figured now is as good of a time as ever to give a complete breakdown.

According to the great modern dictionary, Urban Dictionary there are three definitions:

1. How someone presents themselves to the world around them.

2. A person’s style

3. Confidence and sophistication in one’s style and appearance.

To me, swagger is the special something that every person has in some way that draws people in or pushes them away. Not everyone has a swagger that is alluring or intriguing but does that do are essentially unforgettable.

In this hub, I will dissect and discern the rules according to swagger as well as what swagger is not. Call me the bus driver, I’m taking you to the school of swagger and class is now in session!

Rule #1: Your Swagger is Your Powerpoint Presentation

Before you get all out of sorts about what I just wrote, let me dutifully explain. A Powerpoint essentially let’s you know what you have learned, researched, and interpreted to your superiors. Swagger does the same thing to your family, friends, peers, and associates. Which means, you should always be prepared.

Unlike an actual Powerpoint, your swagger has no specific date or time that it will be revealed, it is always on display. When you are out in public, your swagger is ready for the taking- so you have to be ready, willing, and able to take up the challenge of facing the public. Here are some guidelines:

Dress the Part- Even if you are going to the grocery store down the street, it does not matter. You should look somewhat put together no matter if you are wearing the latest Missoni or your favorite sweats from college. If you look like you just got out of bed, that is how you will be addressed, so don’t get mad if you choose to do so.
Poker Face- Lady Gaga has famously sang about poker faces but I am not talking about fooling your significant other in a relationship. I am talking about the kind of poker face that makes you approachable but not in the running to be Bozo’s heir apparent. Which is clever way of saying, look somewhat amiable in public.
Confidence is Key- By confidence I mean the proper combination of assertiveness, insight, and attitude. Do not come in acting like Dirty Harry but you also cannot expect to make it as Charlie Brown. You have to have a good middle ground in order to be taken seriously and respected.

Hopefully this will help you understand what I mean by this but just remember that you get what you give.

Rule #2: Have a Swagger Icon or a list of Swagger Icons

I have said this before but notice all of these pop culture tributes to Mick Jagger. Well, in some universe of the young male mind, they think they can attract the same lure as the Stones’ frontman. While that may work for guys who look like Adam Levine, it is best to have a Swagger Icon who you can identify with on a real level. That does not mean you cannot have a celebrity Swagger Icon but you have to be realistic in what characteristics and qualities you want from said icons.

The best thing to do, in my opinion, is to make a list of people you admire for several reasons. Here is a sample list of sorts.

Childhood Role Model- By this I mean someone you have observed firsthand growing up, before your friends and your interests dictated what you wanted or needed out of life. For instance, parents, grandparents, siblings (if you’re bold), teachers and so on.
Cool Guy/Girl from Favorite Show/Band- As a kid of the 90s, I have firsthand experience with this. Take for instance the actor/actress who was everywhere or your favorite singer whose songs you memorized.
Iconic Character- This is could be anyone you thought was just the bees’ knees from fiction. Cartoon characters, movie heroes, television protagonists, and so on could fit into your list of your personal who’s who of swagger.

My three would be as follows:

My Grandma- I love my parents but there’s something about grandmothers that are irreplaceable and unforgettable. In addition to being a great cook, she was a great listener, a well-read bookworm, and had great taste in television.
Monica- She and Brandy were Britney and Christina before Britney and Christina, except they were more role model types (for the most part). I always loved how Monica made us focus on her talent rather than her appearance and sex appeal.
Bugs Bunny- Essentially, he is not only funny but the best non-human smart aleck in pop culture. And who can hate on a dude who cross-dresses and eats carrots?

Like I said, this can work any way you want it. But you have to know how to combine reality with enough fantasy to suit your swagger needs.

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Rule #3: Have a Swagger-Do List and a Swagger Don’t List

Everybody remembers those forget me not flowers and the reminder notes your mom sends every once in a while but there’s always a list you need to have for yourself, written or unwritten that is essential to maintaining your swag. If you get knocked down every once in a while, it’s okay but you have to at least try to operate within your own code.

Now do not get me wrong. I know there is Guy Code like the new show on MTV2, but honestly, everyone’s rules cannot be your rules or you lack swagger.

Creating a swagger do and don’t list is simple. Just think of things you are willing to do and won’t do. For me it’s quite easy. I will not do something that will put my health, well-being, sanity, or swagger at stake but of course mine is different.

So let’s break into what you should include in your respective lists.

Swagger Do List: This is essentially what you are willing to do for the sake of your swagger. It may not be the most popular choice but it is yours. A few examples possibly include:

How much public embarrassment are you willing to suffer for the sake of others, yourself, or your reputation? This could range from doing karaoke in another language to painting your chest for the Super Bowl which you are not attending.
What is your one piece of swagger armor? By that I mean, what makes you feel like The Boss? Some people have trademark shades while others of us have our handy dandy notebook :).
Where is your biggest source of swagger? This could range from reading one of those books that became a rom-com like He’s Just Not that Into You (not mine, by the way) or the book that made you decide you could not follow in your parents’ footsteps like Grey’s Anatomy.

Swagger Don’t List: I actually have a song that best outlines what I mean by don’t to me but you also have to have a general list for what you will say no to. Some don’ts could be:

What will you absolutely never do in public? That sounds like a hard question but let’s think about the fact that the Jersey Shore is a top-rated show.
What is a dealbreaker for anyone you associate with? This is quite easy for alot of us but again, some people don’t see it that way i.e. The Kardashians.
Which decade will you not repeat in your wardrobe? I’m an 90s kid but even I know there’s no way I am going back to rat-tails and parachute pants.

These are some examples but I am sure you have some of your own that you can add to your list. When all else fails, just listen to the words of my favorite swagger don’t theme song below!

Rule #4: Your Swagger Should Be Personal

While we all know the best Swagger Icons have borrowed from past Icons but you cannot live by the bread of other peeps’ individuality. That’s just Swagger Law.

Anyway, you have to personalize your swagger to fit your lifestyle, interests, hobbies, goals and dreams. It does not mean you cannot like the same song as your kid sister, but if you copied her entire Bieber Christmas CD, then you have a problem.

The best Swaggerists essentially are a working collage of swagger. They take bits and pieces from others and make it their own while adding their own touches in. For instance, this is another time to reference a chosen Swagger Icon and examine their lore in pop culture.

Below are some pieces that will individualize your personal swag.

Biggest Goal- Now, I am talking within reason like owning your own small business. But if you are a real swagger hero, you have a super secret goal that you write down and think about at night.
Greatest Moments from Childhood- Don’t get me wrong, there are things about childhood we have tried to erase from our memories but there are also things you know helped get to where you are now. Frame those and put them in your swagger cannon.
What Would Your Mom Say- I know not everyone uses this for swagger but it helps. Especially if your mom has a catchphrase that pushed you through school or made you laugh in the hard times, it’s fair game.

This should get you started, but as always your swagger should be edited and revised to fit the situations and events in your life.

See all 2 photos
The King of Nerd Swag, Sheldon Cooper
Source: Wikimedia Commons
See all 2 photos
The Queen of Sassy Swag, RuPaul
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Rule #5 Know Your Swag Type

Just like there’s a personality type, or so they say, there is also a swagger type. You have to know the types and take the test to determine your type. But until I get that smart and inventive, here’s the list of types of Swagger. Note: they can be intertwined to your personal needs.

Nerd Swag- I am most familiar with this type of swagger, because, well I am a nerd. Not the kind of nerd that has all the answers, but I have enough experience not being the cool kid to accept my inner nerd swagger. Besides, nerds have all the power these days :).
Too Cool for School Swag- For every ten nerds, there’s actually one cool person in school who actually doesn’t embarrass themselves. These are the people who usually end up being the Shawn Hunter to your Cory Matthews.
Silly Schoolkid Swag- This is someone who actually made decent jokes and played pranks in school but wasn’t too mean about it. Just think of your favorite late night host on the air.
Sassy Swag- If your playlist includes “You Betta Work” by RuPaul, this may be you. You are all about fierceness and ANTM marathons. Don’t worry, your catwalk is out there.
Hustlin’ Swag- Now before you get weary, don’t worry- I am talking about legal hustling like businessmen and Fortune 500 executives. If you save articles from the Wall Street Journal, this may be you.
Skilled Swag- If you spent all of your time making good doodles in school or work, this may be you. You have a skill that takes up any free minutes you have and are hoping to turn it into a career, this may be you.

These are six basic types that you may or may not fit into one way or another, but swagger exists in many ways.

Rule #6: You Must Have A Swagger Playlist

How could I end this hub without referencing the biggest source of alot of swagger, the playlist. Unlike other hubs, this playlist includes movies, music, and television. You don’t have to have all three but any combination of the sort to help improve your swag.

As always, be yourself. Don’t put something on the list that you are not into, interested in, or follow. That’s the opposite of swagger.

Movie Swagger Playlist

This should include movies you are familiar with and can identify with as well as quote at any random moment.
Don’t include a movie just because it’s popular or a classic, off beat and obscure movies help build your individuality just as much as the popcorn flicks.
If you don’t own a copy or have a copy downloaded, this can also be a good Christmas wishlist for the future. Here are some of my faves:
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off- I have mixed feelings about this so-called Honda Superbowl Commercial but Ferris Bueller was the OG of school skipping. Take that, Zack Morris!
The Dark Knight- I would consider this my absolute favorite superhero movie of all time. I’m interested to see if Christopher Nolan can top himself in the upcoming sequel.
Good Burger- I am goofy comedy lover and I can’t help but love Kenan and Kel. They were the 90s kid’s version of Abbott and Costello.

Television Swagger Playlist

Please pick a show you watch. There’s nothing worse than someone who says, “I’ve seen an episode” and then puts in their likes category on Facebook. Not cool.
It does not matter if the show is on the air or long departed as long as you can relate to it in some way.
You can also pick a specific season of a show if you think it’s officially Jumped the Shark. For instance, I would qualify the first three seasons of House and exempt the last five seasons. Again my examples:
Inspector Gadget- If you are a bumbling, forgetful person who forgets things as easily as you remember them, this is your show. That and that he probably has the best instrumental theme song of all time!
The Closer- Again, she may be clumsy and forgetful but she gets the job done when it’s necessary. I don’t condone her methodology most of the time, though.
Royal Pains- This helps disprove the stereotype that family members can’t work together. Not only that, but it’s quite interesting to see what scenarios happen to folks in the Hamptons.

Music Swagger Playlist

This is just as important as your workout playlist, if not more. So I would exempt any sappy love songs or mellow mood music.
Imagine yourself walking to the song down the street. That’s probably most important in developing this playlist.
Bad Michael Jackson- Um, hello? This is a no-brainer in my book of swag.
Jive Talkin’ The Bee Gees- It’s not Stayin’ Alive, but it gets the point across.
Into the Groove Madonna- Quite possibly my favorite Madonna song to dance to.

These are some basic examples, but hopefully this helps gets you started.