IF there is one notion men should learn to discard as they get older, it's 'street cred'.
But many guys still believe this is something you can buy off the shelf. Recent news of the rise in sales of 'hip-hop headphones' or head cans among the older set suggests men still haven't learnt that street cred is not a commodity. It is something you earn, or it is bestowed on you, and it is also something which becomes more elusive as the years pass.
If in doubt, think former UK Tory leader William Hague in 1997 wearing a baseball cap at a theme park; the image that spoiled a whole political career.
Earlier this year, British Prime Minister David Cameron's communications boss Craig Oliver took the image of spin doctor a bit too far and was snapped with a pair of head cans designed by Dr Dre. He also carried a Crumpler man-bag around his shoulder.
(I was hoping to pick on a few politicians from our own bunch, but even the magnificent seven in the Aras race looked as if they all shopped in the same store on this week's TV3 debate with their safe dark suits. Apart from Dana, who wore red, but only to be expected from someone who loves snowdrops and daffodils, butterflies and bees and other kinds of everything. Spin it DJ!)
There's nothing wrong with a man bag for the sake of utility, by the way. I've got a man bag, but I just don't have very manly things in it, and I worry about being hit by a bus and the contents of said bag being discovered. I can see the wee news brief with the words: 'His man bag contained an apple, Seven Seas Joint Care capsules, a Fatboy Slim ticket stub, a Filofax of ageing contacts and a video of Sylvester Stallone's First Blood'.
My head is still ringing with the sounds of past decades, see, and a pair of head cans won't convince anyone otherwise.
Where iPod earphones are subtle, head cans make you appear more reclusive, and alien-like, particularly if you're going bald.
Also, because of the price tag (you could blow €300 upwards for a pair of Bose or Sennheiser cans) you make an easy target for those scumbags now adept at whipping mobile phones from the ears of unsuspecting pedestrians . . . unless you fancied forking out for a new set of cans designed by hardened rapper 50 Cent. He was shot nine times on the streets and famously survived, and he may have passed his secret on via his new headphones. But I doubt it.
Anyway, he's only 36.