Tag Archives: 80’s

Ask a Grown Man: Vol. XV

24 Jun

Grown Man,

From one grown man to another, can we agree that today’s 20-somethings are ridiculous?  I mean really…hipster, everyone gets a trophy, entitled kids?  C’mon Grown Man, help them out!

Gratefully,
Doug
Seattle, WA

Doug E. Fresh,

I’d like to begin answering your question by focusing on two completely unrelated points:

First point…Seattle is the greatest city ever.  I’ve spent some time there and must implore – nay – beg you to send me a doughnut from Mighty O’s and an espresso from Vivace.  I don’t know how you’ll get either of those to me fresh and warm, but that’s not my problem. ASAP, Doug, A-S-A-P!  My address is:

Grown Man
A House I Built
‘merica,
67650

Second point…Doug, did you realize that the original Space Jam website is still up and active?! This has nothing to do with you or anything you’ve asked, but I needed to tell the world so I randomly threw it into this post. Anyhow, you and the tens of other people reading need to go to this website and remember how amazingingly 8-bit the mid-90s were.

Now that we’ve got all that rigmarole out of the way, let’s finally get to your question. By way of review…

I’m Doug! I hate kids! I’m old and curmudgeonly!
-Doug

Douglas, three years ago, you and I would have been on the same page.  When this blog started, I was on a personal quest to transform every man into some idealized version of masculinity.  I railed against v-necks, skinny jeans, not carrying cash, and basically every fad/fashion that wasn’t timeless.  And while this was, arguably, the greatest, wittiest writing ever done by anyone in the history of the world – I don’t think I was right.

GROWM MAN! Are you saying you were WRONG!?  I thought part of being in an ivory tower was never having to admit you’re wrong!?

I know, and I’m sorry to disappoint you.  But I’ve observed something over the past few years that’s refined my thinking.  [Cue soft, reflective violin music]

The kid I worked with who inspired most of the early posts did something impressive – he grew up.  And as he grew up, some things became more Grown Man-ish. Things like: #13 – Ask a Girl Out (he did, and he married her), #44 – Be a Friend to Your Heartbroken Comrades (at his wedding, all his groomsmen cried and talked about what a loyal friend he is) and #74 – Slow Down (he’s present, he listens, and he has margin in his life).

Conversely, some things haven’t changed at all: #36 – Know the 7 T-Shirt Rules (he wears a shirt or tank-top to every event – and it’s awful),  #61 – Wear a Watch (he checks his iPhone – a lot), which ties in with #67 – Quit Screwing Around on Your Phone (he’ll literally play Candy Crush during a funeral if given the opportunity).

Mustache, check. Fixed gear, check.
Job, not so much.

Here’s the kicker though, the importance of  the things he doesn’t do is pale in comparison to the  value of the things he does do. What compels me to make fun of him in front of his friends and family is the fact that he’s wearing an American Flag tank top.  But what defines him is his character, friendship, and ability to love his wife and community well.  At the end of the day, being a Grown Man isn’t about what you wear, it’s about the trust that people have in you – and I trust this man, tank top and all.

Which, my dear Doug, brings me back to your question.  Yes, I think hipsters are ridiculous, what with their ironic glasses, vinyl copies of Bon Iver, and $200 vintage Chambray shirts.  However, when I was their age I was deep into my Dave Matthews phase, wearing Chaco sandals, and refusing to buy a suit because “Dave doesn’t wear a suit and he wrote #41 – whatever, DAD!”  And guess what? Some mid-30s-anonymous-blogger-guy was probably looking at me saying “grow up” – and he was probably right.  Every incarnation of youth is silly, Doug. Beatle-maniacs, hippies, gen X-ers, hipsters – all of them.  But what we can do is differentiate between what is an adolescent phase and what is real, rooted, and lasting – like a solid handshake, making eye contact, and meaning what you say.

However…we really have to force these kids to stop getting sleeve tattoos.  That junk’s going to haunt them someday.

Until next Monday, ask away.  Thanks for the question, Doug!

Ask a Grown Man: Vol. XI

10 Sep

What does a grown man do with unsightly hair (like back, chest…and other places)? In other words, are the French and David Hasslehoff grown men; or the shaved metrosexuals at the mall? I’m confused.

-Zach

Zach Attack,

You’ve posed an excellent question!  One that many a Guido and bear (of the San Francisco variety) have argued over.  Unfortunately, the answer isn’t definitive and requires some guidance (of the Grown Man variety). We’re going to do this SAT, read-and-answer-a-question, style:

1- You’re a hairy fella and, when you look in the mirror, you’re neutral or happy about what you see.  Additionally, your lady-friend also likes what she sees and even enjoys spending long hours french braiding your back.  Keep it or Shave It?

2- You’re a hairy fella and, when you look in the mirror, you think you look like a big old Robin Williamsesque beast.  You hate it, it’s gross, you wish you were smooth like “shaved metrosexuals at the mall” (an awesome reference by the way, Zach).  Keep it or Shave It?

3- You’re a hairy fella and, when your lady-friend takes a gander at you she loves you but is kinda grossed out.  She’s cool about it, but you can tell she’s also laying back and thinking of England every time she hugs you at the beach.  Keep it, Shave it, or Discuss it (oooh, tricky)?

Pencils down…ready for the answers?

#1 – Keep it! My friend, you’ve hit the holy grail.  You’re cool with it, she’s cool with it, and you shouldn’t have a care about that hair!  There’s absolutely no biological reason for you to shave (or keep) your body hair.  It’s purely an aesthetic decision. If all concerned parties are happy, flaunt those chest dreads with confidence.

#2 – Shave it! Again, what matters is that you’re happy with you.  It doesn’t matter what The Situation or The Hoff say, it’s your body.  If you’d be happier without body hair — go for it. Do I think you’ll look like a crazy albino dolphin?  Yes.  But at the end of the day, you call the shots about you.  Grown Men have confidence.

#3- Discuss it! It’s still your call with what you do to your body.  However, now that you’ve joined with someone and made the non-verbal contract that you’re representing each other, it’s probably a good idea to have the discussion as to why she doesn’t like the hair and what, if anything, you’re willing to do to help out (shave, wear more shirts, Flowbee?).  What you need to know is that if she’s not a big hair fan, it doesn’t mean she’s not a big you fan.  Everyone has certain likes and dislikes. Just talk it out and come to a nice compromise.  Also, if you think that maybe she’s also not a big fan of you — run! Hair will be the least of your problems, my good man.

Zach, at the end of the day, confidence is the name of game.  If you like the way you look, there’s no reason to change (unless you like wearing t-shirts to work, then you’ve got to change).  If your significant other is not a fan, you owe her the courtesy of a conversation and then, confidently, to do what’s right.  However, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this, none of our grandfathers shaved their bodies (unless your grandpa is Jack LaLanne).  It’s kind of a weird trend that I think Grown Men of the future will scoff at.

Hair today, gone tomorrow,
GM

Mr. Grown Man,

I’m turning 21 this week, and wanted this to be a time for celebrating a landmark age in becoming a proper Grown Man.  This is hard, of course, when most of my friends want to engage in some more traditional, downing-21-shooters debauchery.  Is there a way for me to celebrate my rights under the Twenty-first Amendment without being a total knob/landing in the hospital?

Growing Up Man

Mr. Growing Up Man,

Happy Birthday!  Turning 21 is a big deal.  Why?  I have no idea, drinking to get drunk is overrated and you’ve been eligible for the military for three years.  But still, it’s a culturally accepted right of passage, so I celebrate with you! Hazaa!

Zach, if he’s not careful

Let’s get to the point.  You are dead, spot, right on with your desire to celebrate the repeal of prohibition in a responsible way.  The only way I can tell you to do that – and this isn’t a fun answer – is to be bold and just do it.  There’s no tricky way. There’s no “Hey, tell your friends that drinking will interfere with your HGH supplements” kind of way, there’s simply just doing what you need to do to not make your first morning of your 21st year a miserable one.  I do have a few pointers though:

1- Don’t drink fast. The moment your friends see an empty glass, they will (and should) order you another one.   Don’t drink so slow that they know your nursing it, but if you slow the pace from “chug, chug!” to nice-and-normal, you’ll save yourself a ton a alcohol and still enjoy the night.

2- Eat before you drink. For real, one beer on an empty stomach is like three on a tummy full of McFatties Burgers.

3- Avoid drinking games. Drinking games are akin to trying to clean your dog with a pressure washer — it’s going to be efficient but tragically messy.  The moment your bro’s start screaming “pong, pong, pong”, you can be assured that it’s not a snarky 80’s reference (a la Grown Man), but a challenge for you to be throwing up in 10 minutes.

Other than that, I don’t know what to tell you.  I hope you don’t end up being a “knob” (great word, by the way) who lands in the hospital.  However, if you do, please send pictures, I’ll post them so we can all laugh at you.  Just be bold, you’ve got a good head on your shoulders and will do the right thing.  Happy Birthday, Zach.

Also, don’t drive or hook-up, you’ll regret it,
GM

Until next week, keep asking those great questions!

have a hobby.

30 Aug

I brew beer.  Why do I brew beer?  Well, I’m not 100% sure.  Because really, if I stop and work the math (which I hate doing) it doesn’t add up.  You see, the raw ingredients for a batch of beer cost around $40 for two cases (48 bottles).  Now that’s some cheap and tasty beer!  However, here’s what ends up happening:  I walk into my local beer supply store and glaze over.  I begin to realize how screwed I’ve been in the past by not having a $30 device for aiding in the partial mash process — oh the humanity!  Then, I get a feeling that some of the fermentation problems and pronounced notes of hops I had on the last batch were probably due to not cooling the wort (pre-beer mixture) quickly enough — “Yeah, I should probably pick up some supplies for a chiller.” No big deal, just another $50.  You see what’s happening, don’t you?  I’m getting ready to brew my next batch of Cristal.  But man o’ man, do I love brewing beer!  And at the end of the day, the value of sitting in the garage with my friends for three hours and drinking good beer while we create mediocre beer can’t be underestimated.  Grown Men, you need to find a hobby.  Let’s talk it out…

Here’s our working definition of a hobby: A hobby is a way to spend time doing something you enjoy that does not necessarily provide any monetary income and has little discernible, tangible benefit (other than happiness) to you or those around you.  Basically, a hobby IS fun and ISN’T work.  A hobby DOES occupy your brain and DOESN’T stress you out.  A hobby is, in it’s purest form, old school, little kid, OshKosh B’gosh, playing.

Basset hound

Image via Wikipedia

I suppose it started when we were little guys, spending a copious amount of time in the back yard just goofing around with the wagon or constructing a ramp for the Hot Wheels to jump Beau the Basset Hound (actual event).  By the way, what happened to Hot Wheels?  They used to be small versions of regular cars.  Now, they’re all futuristic and messed up.  I want a Hot Wheel of an ‘84 Ford F150.  I’m just sayin’.

Back to the point: gentlemen, you need to have playtime. It’s ingrained in your masculinity and can’t be denied.  There is a part of our psyche that, even in a fulfilling relationship and wonderful job, just longs to mess around, goof off, kill time, build something, wreck something, tinker, or be creative.  All of us need that one thing – we’ll call it a hobby – that gives us a measure of margin in our life where we’re not connected so intensely to the adult world and the expectations thereof. Wow, that was heavy.

Here’s a final thought about having a hobby.  I’ve clearly been avoiding naming actual hobbies because there are about one zillion options for how to have big boy play time.  I brew beer. In the past, I’ve done wood block carving, biking (that lasted for about 5 minutes), blogging, and a ton of other random things.

Grown Man, don’t you blog now?  I mean, wait, I’m reading the blog.  So yes, you do blog.

Good point, Mr. Observant.  Here’s what’s important to remember, I started blogging as a way to make my friends laugh.  Now, I’m on more of a mission with this site and must do adult things like pace myself, maintain boundaries, and sometimes even not write in order to enjoy writing again.  In short, this blog has crossed out of the hobby realm and into the something I like to do a lot realm (sorta like a job).  It’s a fine but distinct line.  When you find a hobby, make sure you know when it’s a pure hobby and when it’s a mini-job.  Because a mini-job is great, but the little boy in you still needs some mindless Hot Wheel time.

You’re a Grown Man, have a hobby.

Ask a Grown Man: Vol. X

24 Aug

Oh man, we’re gonna get deeeeeep today.  Dr. Frasier Crane will now take your calls…

 

Hi GM,
So, should Grown Men look for a mother for their children or the romantic “love-of-my-life-butterflies-in-the-stomach-the-one” woman?

-Kris Arruda

 

Kris,
I’m not going to lie. I cringed when reading your question for the first time.  There was something in me that just wanted to get a posse of women, come to what I’m quite sure must be your bachelor pad, and scream…

“KRIS, THEY’RE THE SAME PERSON!”

 

But then I realized that a) it wouldn’t be cool for me to be hanging out with a posse of women, b) I think you live in Brazil which is really quite a commitment for just yelling five words, and c) you’ve brought up an interesting point that bears discussing.

Let’s talk about the “love-of-my-life-butterflies-in-the-stomach-the-one” woman.  Because what we miss is what those butterflies are and what they aren’t.  They are, typically, lust and attraction, you know — the mojo.  And, because we’re essentially big dumb animals, it’s okay and normal to feel attraction to another person.  Butterflies are a good feeling and are designed, as a single man, to cue us in to women who we may be compatible with and therefore further the species via procreation.  However, the “butterflies in the stomach” feeling has less to do with long-term monogamy and more to do with a sense of compatibility which, don’t get me wrong, is extremely important — but is not the whole story.

Because what butterflies aren’t are indicators that we’ve found “the one.”  This is our brain tricking itself into thinking that attraction+physical contact=good relationship.  Our brain, however, is not always connected to the heart and needs to realize that initial attraction is common throughout animals, but emotional attraction is unique to only our species.  You may hear that other animals have the same level to connect, but believe me, dolphins don’t write love songs.  Wow, profound.

Mother or butterflies?So Kris, my good man, here’s what I want you to know.  The “mother of your children” (i.e. your wife and life-long parter) should be a woman who gives you those butterflies, who you totally go nuts over and can’t stop dreaming about, who you make mix tapes for, who you write poems for that will one day embarrass you and be locked in a box, and who your brain is screaming at you to procreate with because she’s giving you that wonderful, indescribable, mojo.  However, and this is a big however, there may be times in even the best relationships where you don’t feel the initial crazy lust/attraction/animal instinct feelings.  That doesn’t mean she’s not crazy-attractive, and it certainly doesn’t mean that you’ve traded romantic love for a less exciting version of it.  It means you’ve got work to do.

Sometimes, you’re going to have to wake up and say to yourself, “Today, I’m going to be a better husband.”  Sometimes, you’ve got to realize that it’s been way too long since you dated your wife.  Sometimes, you’ve got to charge the paddles and shock the heart into beating again.  Believe me, putting work into the marriage will insure that you never have to choose between “butterflies” (lust and attraction) and wife (love) — you get both.

Kris, I’m sure you wanted a funnier answer, but I’ve got a solemn duty to reinvent masculinity.  I hope you understand.  Good luck finding “her.”  Trust me, it’s well worth it.

“Butterfly kisses…”,
GM

After dating someone who turned out to be Less Than A Grown Man for 5 years (and yes, shame on me for not realizing it sooner), I’m now stumped as to how to approach the dating scene. Where-oh-where can I find nice Grown Men in their 30s and 40s? Suggestions, please! Or, better yet, personal referrals… 🙂

 

-Anonymous

 

Single sister,

First, I’ve got to correct you on something.  There’s no “shame” in dating the wrong guy for a while.  Maybe you learned something, maybe you didn’t?  Either way, you didn’t get married and you realized, at some point, that he was less than fantastic.  You did a good thing by getting out, even if it took a while.  And in fairness to you, guys can be pretty cunning — I’m working on fixing that.

Second, I have no idea how to approach the dating scene other than to say that any scene that is designed for dating is likely going to be a disaster.  My advice: find a place that has a bunch of people your age and dive in.  Maybe a sports league, a church, or a 21 Jump Street fan club?  I think I’m giving you bad advice now.  Anyhow, just don’t go to bars or shady online sites.  Guys who go there are more like the 5-year-disaster type and not like the future Mr. Fantastic.

Finally, I don’t have any personal referrals.  But fellas, if you’re reading this and feel you might be a good candidate, please email…

HelpAnonymousFindAGreat30or40yearOldGrownManWhoIsNotCrazy
AndWillLoveHerLikeSheDeservesToBeLoved@youareagrownman.com

Mr. Right,
GM

That’s all for today, gentlemen.  Until next week, keep asking those great questions.

Ask a Grown Man: Vol. V

15 Jul

Good Thursday, Grown Men.  Let’s do this thang…

Dear Grown Man,

I work in one of those “cool” places where people come into work wearing T-Shirts, including the two owners. I wear casual button downs most of the time, so at least I’m making some headway.

What about shoes, though? [I cut out some stuff] Sneakers in the work place are for teenagers working at a fast food joint…it doesn’t matter how nice they are. So what should I be wearing?!

Thanks,
Ben

Benjamin,

We have two things to talk about.  First, you need to have a good old fashion uprising in your office. It is ridiculous that a man with your fashion forward mind should consider, even for a moment, working for those goons. Today’s the day, Benny Boy. Walk right in there, inform them that there’s no room for Ed Hardy in a Brooks Brothers world and demand their jobs. When they refuse, make sure they notice the pitchfork and torches that you and the other button-down-boys are holding and give them an ultimatum – either they dress like freaking adults, or they shall be brained.

Second, the fact that you’ve even considered what shoes to wear gives me a great amount of hope for you.  Allow me to honor your inquiry with some well-organized bullet points regarding shoe selection:

No kidding, I owned these exact shoes.

-You may not ever wear sneakers to work UNLESS your company is having some sort of outdoor activity that forces you all to walk in a 5k on a Saturday morning in matching t-shirts.  Even “teenagers working at a fast food joint” should have the work ethic to wear standard issue black restaurant shoes instead of flashy British Knights (or whatever the kids are wearing now).

-As you so astutely pointed out, your suit shoes shouldn’t be your 9-5 shoes.  You really need to own shoes that are only worn with your suit(s).  They should remain well polished and kept in the box until very special occasions.

-Your 9-5 shoes need to be somewhere on the spectrum between your Indie-boss kicks and the suit shoes.  I would avoid patent (shiny) leather and overly trendy colored shoes.  Brown or black, tasteful, and timeless are always good guidelines.  However, I respect a Grown Man’s decision to have a unique style, so if you must show some flair, do it in a way that doesn’t elicit memories of juice boxes and recess.

Ben, I hope this helps and thanks for giving a crap about how you appear at work.  Prepare for the uprising my friend – the revolution is now.

My Adidas,
GM

Why do men not give their girlfriends compliments after the first 3 months? My friends and I can get compliments from other men all day long, but the one she wants them from doesn’t give them.

-Christine

Christine,

Men DO give their girlfriends compliments after the first three months, years, and decades.  The “men” you are speaking of are hunter/gatherers who give compliments to lure women and get their fill of emotional and/or physical affirmation.  When these men finish the chase, they simply begin the process of discarding the carcass and moving on.  I assure you, the man you speak of is giving compliments to some woman – just not “your friend.”

Your friend,
GM

Until next week, keep asking those great questions!


ask for her hand in marriage.

9 Jul

It’s wedding season in America.  We’re in the three-month period where every airport is filled with young, doe-eyed couples who can’t wait to get to Sandals for, let’s just say, a lot of “mommy & daddy” time.  However, it’s also a time of year where many young men start realizing that if they want to be booking their own flights to Fiji next summer,  they better pop the question – soon.  Breath deep fella, it’ll be okay.

Grooms-to-be,  getting married is a great thing (assuming it’s to the right person).  And in the course of an engagement, you will take part in a million rituals, some of them formal (the engagement dinner) and some of them informal (pretending like you care about flowers).  But one of them, in my mind, is the most important ritual of all and it’s the first one you’ll encounter – asking for permission to marry your lady-friend.

Here’s why this practice can’t be lost.  Men are, by default, predatory.  It’s in our nature and it’s a good thing.  We use this instinct to push ourselves to do well in our jobs, to ask women out, and to refine ourselves to be better men.  The downside is that women, who are every bit as smart as men (actually much smarter) can get duped by us.  Now, I’m not being disparaging of women – it’s quite the opposite.  Men just have a way of presenting an amazing image for a long time in order to win the girl.  We know it’s true, don’t we?  When we’re trying to date a women, we’ll buy flowers and make mix tapes (I’m keepin’ it real) every freakin’ day.  But very often, once we realize we’ve hooked them, the flowers stop and the Memorex goes mute.

The reason we ask for her hand is marriage is because you can’t kid a kidder.  When you’re sitting across the table from a woman’s father, he knows you, he knows your tricks, and he’s been you.  Asking for a hand in marriage is the ultimate litmus test of predator vs. good man,  worthy of my daughter vs. worthy of my Remington, husband vs. con-man.

Thus far, the reasoning for asking for her hand has been focused on the negative.  In all reality though, this lost form of etiquette is usually an incredibly positive move.  For the most part, by the time you get around to asking, everyone knows you’re going to do it.  Typically, everyone likes you and this conversation usually is just you being classy and them feeling valued.  Truly, 99% of the time, this is going to be a great memory for you and her family.

Before we finish and go about our weekend, let’s address one more point.  Dads aren’t as prevalent as they used to be. Sadly, a lot of the wonderful women we’ll get to marry don’t have a dad to ask.  Here’s my advice:  Over the course of getting to know your bride-to-be, you’ll get a sense for the most influential person(s) in her life.  When it’s time to ask, ask those people.  It doesn’t have to be a dad, in fact, if she does have an awesome dad, I’d consider including her mom and/or most treasured friends in on this conversation.  Why?  Why not.  While you don’t want to ruin all the fun of her making the “I’m engaged” calls, you do want to make sure that you have all your bases covered and that the people who she treasures most are on-board with you.  Again, it’s just what a classy, Grown Man does.

And fellas, when you do get up the courage to ask for her hand in marriage, don’t be a turd about it.  Make eye-contact, tell them how much you care for her, don’t be afraid to show emotion, and say, “With your permission, I’d like to propose to [girl who’s about to book tickets to Fiji].”

Go forth and multiply.

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