About Standard Gentlemen

You may have arrived here looking for help with your beard or seeking guidance through a turbulent season of your life. Regardless of the reason, we are here to help. Standard Gentlemen was established in 2016 to assist individuals experiencing difficulties in life and those wondering aimlessly while searching for their purpose.

Standard Gentlemen seeks to address these issues through writing, consulting, and education that focuses on personal finance, fitness, nutrition, and overall lifestyle. Our founder, Trae McAbee, has a passion for service and helping others overcome the daily struggles of life.

The Standard Gentlemen Store was created to help support the overall mission to serve those struggling to find their path in life or those facing the storms life throws at us.  Our beard products were developed through Trae’s dedication to his own beard growth and his desire to create products that exceed his own expectations. Purchases made through our store allow us to continue furthering our mission to serve. 

Standard Gentlemen's development was interrupted by Hurricanes Matthew and Irma as they both flooded the homes of several people close to Trae. He set his business plans aside and began rebuilding these homes so that displaced friends could focus on restoring order to their lives. With his business plans back at the forefront, Standard Gentlemen is moving forward with a greater purpose and mission to serve. This is spelled out in our updated logo "Recover - Build - Grow - Evolve". Because life is hard. It will knock you down time and time again. We all face setbacks and make mistakes. You can overcome anything if you're willing to face it...including yourself. You are never alone, and we're here to help serve as a guide. 

We still have a lot of work ahead of us to develop this website. This site will be continuously evolving as we begin to delve into various topics regarding men's health and well being. We also know that many of these topics will be beneficial to women as well. The content presented on this site will also continue to grow with time. We don't pretend to know everything here. Our evolution is never ending. 

You can find us on Instagram and Facebook using the links below.  The LinkedIn link will take you to Trae's professional profile. 

 
LinkedIn.jpg

About Trae

I grew up in Spartanburg, SC on a small cattle farm that belonged to my grandfather. My parents, aunts and uncles built houses alongside its pastures. My parents divorced before I turned eight, and I spent much of my youth between homes, just waiting to get out and create my own life.

I obtained bachelors degrees from Coastal Carolina University in finance and from USC Upstate in accounting. I became a CPA and worked in public accounting for five years. I also became a NFPA certified firefighter during this same time. I was trying to strike a balance between my blue and white collar roots.

That need for balance led me to become a U.S. Secret Service Agent where I served for close to 10 years. I was significantly involved in public education along with new agent and law enforcement training while with the agency. I left there and became the Director of Fraud and Incident Management for EverBank Financial Corp. That ended abruptly, and I chose to take my life in a new direction by creating Standard Gentlemen, LLC.

My Story

I created Standard Gentlemen while following a calling to take everything I’ve learned and experienced in life and share it with anyone that is in need of guidance. I was once a lost kid with no direction in life and no one around to teach me what it meant to be a man, a father, a husband, or anything. Unfortunately, my parents weren't around enough due to their divorce. They were good parents. I just needed more of their presence in my life. A lot of life lessons were missed, and I ended up spending the majority of my life figuring things out on my own...one mistake at a time.

I've led a highly accomplished life, however, it was mostly a life spent searching for my place in this world...my purpose. I've done some amazing and unbelievable things, and I've made a lot of mistakes along the way. I'm human just like you, and I'm here to share my successes and failures with you in hopes that it will be a light in the darkness for someone struggling to find their way. The following is an overview of how I got to where I am today. 

My father's side of the family is basically business and accounting. My mother's side is military, police, firefighting, farming, and construction. I'm an even split between the two sides. Both blue and white collar, which made it difficult to chart a path for my life. I intended to join the military after high school. That was until I told my grandmother. She rather directly told me I was going to college, and I ended up with two bachelor degrees. One in finance and one in accounting. 

While attending Coastal Carolina University, I helped to establish a chapter of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity. I served as their Treasurer, President, and Philanthropy Chairman. The national fraternity had created its own philanthropy called the Ability Experience, which at that time primarily raised funds and awareness for the disabled. I became a team member on the Ability Experience's 1997 & 1999 Journey of Hope (JOH) teams. The JOH is an annual cross-country bicycling trip from San Francisco to Washington, DC. Team members come from schools all over the U.S. and each of us was required to fundraise $5,000 during the school year to be allowed the opportunity to spend our summer cycling with the team. Each day we stopped in a different town to work with the disabled and spread awareness through the local media. 

I had been a rather mediocre athlete and student up to that point in life...just trying to find my place in this world. I began to find my purpose and my voice while cycling with the 1997 JOH South Team. This journey was the most challenging, life-altering experience I could have ever imagined. I proved to myself that I could do anything I put my heart and my mind into. I realized that I was only limited by my own beliefs...my own fears. I had taken a chance on something amazing, and it altered the very fabric of my life. It opened my eyes to the world around me, and I wanted to see more. That led me to cycle again with the 1999 JOH North Team. I had gotten a taste of something amazing and desired more.

San Fran.jpg
DC2.jpg

After college, I went to work at my father's public accounting firm and shortly thereafter became a CPA. However, a passion for service had been lit inside me, and I struggled with a feeling that there was something amazing out there waiting for me. I tried to strike a balance during this time by becoming a NFPA certified firefighter and coaching local youth and adult Special Olympics swim teams. It was a makeshift blend of my blue and white collar roots. I never quite felt comfortable living completely on one side or the other, and it felt like I was leading a double life. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, I knew that something needed to change. I felt that I had been blessed with a lot of unique abilities, and they needed to be developed and put to use serving others. So I took a chance on a dream and risked my comfortable life and comfortable career for something amazing, and in 2004, I became a Special Agent in the U.S. Secret Service. 

20091026_190042000_iOS.jpg

I spent close to ten years in the Secret Service, and it was just as grueling as it was amazing. I had found a sense of balance as a financial and electronic crimes investigator along with the well known physical protection duties. I started out at the Columbia Field Office in South Carolina, where I also became a computer forensics specialist. After five years, I was relocated to the agency's headquarters in Washington, DC, where I worked large-scale data breach cases in their Cyber Intelligence Section. I spent my final year with the agency working full-time protection for the Treasury Secretary. I also spent a considerable amount of time providing public presentations along with electronic crimes training to new agents and foreign law enforcement partners. I authored cybercrime articles that were published and wrote talking points for the agency director to deliver to Congress. I traveled all over the United States and spent a fair amount of time overseas, which further opened my eyes to just how little I knew about this world or myself. 

I had married in 2007 while in Columbia, SC, and my daughter was born a couple years later.  It appeared that I had the perfect life by society's standards. Dream career, big house, cars, beautiful wife and daughter. Yet it was far from perfect. My willingness to give and sacrifice for my family made me a perfect scapegoat for my wife’s fears and failures. When struggles and hard times came along as they always do, she began consistently tearing me down mentally and emotionally. She turned and blamed me rather than working with me. Trying to manipulate my behavior because she wasn't getting what she wanted or felt she deserved. I feared losing my family and my daughter not having a father in the home, so I appeased her behavior and allowed it to happen. I share the blame as I only added fuel to the fire. I failed as a husband. When I took a stand against her verbal and physical abuse, she stopped trying to control me and began trying to control what everyone thought of me. She labeled me as an abuser of her and our daughter, which is always a guilty until proven innocent situation.

I did everything I could to avoid it, but I had to file for divorce. I had to let go of the idea of holding the family together and focus on being a father first. The divorce became explosive and over the following years she attempted to obtain numerous protective orders against me and initiated numerous child abuse investigations in three different states. New people and new places each time with no background of the previous claims. Everyone rushed in to protect the woman and child. There never was any evidence of abuse, but she still succeeded with one of the most severe parent alienation cases most family law attorneys have ever seen.

It eventually became obvious that she was the abuser and not me. Due to the alienation, a reunification schedule was set to reintegrate me into our daughter's life. When the divorce was finalized, I was awarded control of everything we owned, and I will never have to pay anything to support her. She was ordered to pay me nearly $83,000 in attorney fees that represented the hearings in which I had to defend myself from her abuse claims. I refused to delve into the mud slinging that accompanies most contentious divorces. I stayed true to the man and I am, knowing that the truth would eventually be brought to light.

20151017_191130328_iOS.jpg

However, that didn’t stop the abuse claims from arising in other states and when those were dismissed, she kidnapped our daughter and went to another state. That was the point when the Virginia Court granted me sole legal and physical custody of our daughter, and I took custody of her in South Carolina. She was ecstatic to be away from the situation she was in and living with me. It was absolutely amazing, but it didn't last. I had our daughter with me for just five weeks, where she was taken from my Florida home by law enforcement in the middle of the night. Her mother had went to South Florida where she had family and misled a judge there using the same old abuse claims. He gave her the order to take our daughter from me, even though none of us had ever lived a day in that county. A second judge ordered our daughter to be immediately returned to my custody and threatened jail time, which was ignored. The first judge returned and threw that order out. Even when presented with the custody orders, records from other states, and the case background, the judge entered an order denying me any contact with my daughter until she turns 18. This order and the court's failure to engage the Virginia Court were both violations of state law.

It took a year and a half, but the appellate court ruled in my favor due to the Florida Court’s failure to follow state laws. The Virginia Court has since asserted its jurisdiction and stood behind its order granting me sole custody. Hopefully, the Florida Court will soon dismiss its order interfering with my custody rights.

I've always been willing to co-parent and work for our daughter's best interest. It's unfortunate that she has been subjected to ongoing mental and emotional abuse as a result of her mother’s failure to address her own fears and insecurities. I've spent a considerable amount of time educating myself regarding relationships and mental health throughout this ordeal. I've felt that I needed to go above and beyond so that when the time comes, I'll be ready to guide our daughter forward and help her understand the mistakes that both her mother and I have made. Hopefully helping her to grow from this tragedy just as I have. 

I had resigned from the Secret Service prior to filing for divorce and began working for EverBank Financial Corp. as their Incident Management Director in 2014. The fallout at home had begun to make it nearly impossible to fulfill my duties as an agent. EverBank was a great environment to transition into, and I was later promoted to Vice President as the Director of Fraud and Incident Management. Unfortunately, that didn't last. I had three supervisors by the time my first year there had passed. The company had been undergoing significant reorganizations due to rapid growth and government regulation. My last supervisor had a completely different vision than my first one, which also conflicted with mine. That led to my position being one that was eliminated, but I was given a nice severance package. Things change and these things happen all the time in the corporate world. 

I never went to work for another company, I didn't have a passion to protect a company's profits and hope they listen to my guidance. I'm a passionate guy and most companies are passionate about their own mission, not security and fraud prevention. That's when I started Standard Gentlemen, LLC. I felt a calling to use my life and my experiences to help men avoid the mistakes that I made along the way. I quit trying to find something amazing and decided that it was time for me to create it myself. Due to a couple of hurricanes, I turned to my blue-collar roots and rebuilt homes for those displaced by the storms as I worked to determine what path this business should take. That's where I found out exactly who I was without all those bright shiny achievements. I'm a servant. I always have been and always will be. That's my purpose and my passion is helping others when life becomes difficult. 

I have had to let go of everything I once had and was. I started life over and began building a life I believe in, not the one society tells me I need to have. I've been broken, suffered through severe depression and unbearable grief, I felt my soul being ripped from my body when my daughter was taken from me, and I lost everything I once thought mattered. I shouldn't have survived the complete destruction of the life I worked so hard to build, but here I am. I'm still standing...taller than before. I wanted to give up hundreds of times and just throw in the towel. However, I've known that my daughter depends on me to stand up for her and her future, so giving up has never been an acceptable option. So I suffered the pain and faced my fears. I've learned life's greatest lessons through this tragedy, and I wouldn't change anything. It has forged me into a better man with a solid foundation.

If you're facing difficulty in life today, know that it is only temporary and you can overcome. Focus on your goals and your future. Don't focus on the storm you're facing. Use it to your advantage. Take it one day at a time. You're not alone in your struggles. Use them to help you evolve as an individual. Then reach back and help someone else struggling to find their way. 

If you're interested in hearing more about my background and a couple of crazy Secret Service stories, like the time I almost punched Lebron James in the basement of the White House, check out the below interview I had with A Taboo Life entitled “Redefining A Gentlemen”. Fair warning, it's over two and a half hours long. You can also find it on iTunes/podcast, iHeartradio, Youtube and Google Play under "A Taboo Life".

Trae McAbee is a truly accomplished man. He was a Certified Public Accountant, Coach for the Special Olympics and a Secret Service agent. Trae opens up about his life and his hardships as we talk in depth about masculinity, hardships and the tragedy of divorce.