Whether allowing a gunshot wound to heal, recovering after a day fraught with eleventh hour heroics and narrow escapes, or just lying in the shadows so that he may go unnoticed as the past that’s been trying to catch up with him drifts by, the Highly Imposing Man ™ will often seek the refuge of a familiar place surrounded by his formidable trappings. The size and location of this sanctuary are not the most significant factors—although, the size should be comfortable and the location convenient. More importantly, the space should be appointed with a measured balance of utilitarian and totemic items that strongly identify with its denizen. Although luxuries will be present in the imposing man’s dwelling, they are never in overabundance lest they soften his resolve to rejoin the fray. To be clear, an imposing man’s solar is not a “man cave,” and should never be referred to with that ignominious designator given to those closets to which housewives consign slovenly husbands on game night so that they won’t make little messes—similar locking a cat in the utility room with a bowl of food so that the odor from the litter box doesn’t cause offense to the company.
Greyson Stone is not only a Highly Imposing Man™, he is the model upon which many of these advice columns are based. A few weeks ago, I was honored to attend a private bourbon tasting in his inner sanctum. The notice had been short, but so rare is the occasion that two imposing men are free on the same weeknight that I naturally accepted the invitation, decided on a favorite brand from my personal stock, and arrived at the appointed hour.
It’s important to note that comfort is king when it comes to selecting the appropriate attire for downtime. Having said that, regardless of whether you’re the guest or host, if you plan to be in the company of another imposing man, you need to select garments that are commensurate with your respective stations in life. Clothing should be attractive, functional, and fitted to conceal weapons. Even during friendly outings, imposing men have been known to challenge one another to an arm wrestling match or a duel for a bit of sport. Try to choose something that is classy, but not so expensive that you can’t replace it should it become bloodstained or burnt.
For this affair, I choose a plaid sports coat over a polo shirt with dungarees and Italian loafers; Stone dons a mostly black uniform of sorts, oxfords, and a dark blue brocade dinner jacket. A traditional pair of horn-rims is the sole accessory.
To say that Stone’s private study is the quintessence of masculinity would be both a minimization and a gross overstatement. It is imposing, and yes, manly, but it’s not as if there are bearskin rugs, phallic statues, and photographs depicting ♂. Stone’s space is a museum of heroic exploits, and to be sure, there are a fair amount of weapons and action photographs, but there is also the occasional garter belt or silk stocking awarded to him by a favorite lady after a memorable night of bawdy passion. In other words, there is an eclectic bent to the ornamentation that celebrates male virility and valor without making it appear as though a ship full of Vikings stabbed the testosterone out of everything within a five mile radius and horded it in his room. Among the items that are laid out for presentation are:
- Several daggers
- A collection of Renaissance long swords and fencing foils in a golf bag
- A bullwhip
- An extensive library featuring books ranging on subjects from knife fighting to Jimi Hendrix
- A chess board
- A leather bomber jacket
- A few family photographs
- A single-action .45 revolver
- And a selection of about a dozen and a half bottles of bourbon
After commemorating the evening with a photo op, Stone directs me to a pair of leather wingback chairs, where two Glencairn whiskey glasses and a pitcher of water sit on a wooden table. Look, we’re imposing men, so I am not in any way deriding shot glasses, tumblers, or paper cups. If your only choice is to drink whiskey out of an old Tab™ can or stay sober, you hoist the garish pink vessel and it’s bottoms up. If you’re going to have a serious night of drinking at your place, however, you may want to part with a sawbuck and buy some glassware. Stone’s love affair with bourbon demands the appropriate utensils so that he can appreciate all the wondrous aspects of his tawny mistress. In my case, the tapered aperture prevents me from tossing back the contents like a frat boy on dollar tequila night trying to catch a buzz before he hops on the redeye out of Cabo. Old habits die hard, and my bar etiquette may not have kept pace with the passing decades.
Over the course of the next few hours, Stone pulls down bottle after bottle of bourbon as his dog, Daisy, circles the floor in her vain search for an errant drop of amber elixir—tonic to chase away the memories of meaner days. Daisy is a bulldog that Stone rescued from the fighting pits, where if not for his intervention, she surely would have perished. In true imposing man fashion, Stone has rehabilitated the gentle beast and offered her room and board in exchange for nothing other than loyalty and friendship. When I ask Stone about her less than imposing moniker, he replies, “I intentionally steer clear of imposing names with this breed; they have enough of an image problem as it is.” And here we are reminded of one of the essential lessons of the imposing school of thought: purpose, and not testosterone, lies at the bottom of every action. After hearing his explanation, I agree that Daisy is a fine name for this regal bitch.
After about an hour, Stone hands me his single-action revolver. He casually mentions that it isn’t loaded, but it wouldn’t have mattered if it was. When Greyson Stone hands you a gun, you take the gun. The weight of the weapon feels good and natural in my hand, and I tell Stone that I think so.
“I probably should never not be holding a gun,” I say.
“Yeah, other than actually pulling out your cock and pointing it at things, it’s the next best thing. I appreciate you choosing the gun, by the way.”
We laugh for a good amount of time after that as I point the classic revolver at a dragon statue and unload a few phantom rounds into its gilded scales.
The drinking goes on as we listen to outlaw country music and punk rock— a thick mix of Nelson, Haggard, Cash, the Sex Pistols, and Dropkick Murphy laces the air. Eventually, Daisy finds her nip of whiskey at the foot of our chairs. When the hours grew small, Stone speaks a little to his philosophy:
“The actions of all men are motivated by either love or fear. If there’s an exception to that, I haven’t found it.”
To some statements there is no reply. Before I drive off into the night to contemplate the meaning of Stone’s words, I down the dregs in my glass, we shake hands, and wish each other well. As a reminder of the evening, I leave my bottle for Stone to enjoy at his leisure. We don’t know when or if we’ll ever see one another again, but such are the lives of imposing men.