Tag Archives: college

Ask a Grown Man: Vol. IX

12 Aug

La Di Da Di, we like to party, we don’t cause trouble, we don’t bother nobody

Dear Grown Man,

Good day, good sir! I have been the “gay friend” all my natural life. I am a larger man, so I try to be extra nice to women to not freak them out as much. (Lets face it, lineman build and 6’6″ is kinda scary). My question is: How do I stop this “gay friend” nonsense? Should I try to play the jerk card as recommended by some of my more successful “brochachos”?

Thank you for reading.

Keep being Ab-fab-tastic!

Refrigerator Perry,

Man, do I feel for you.  I can hear the frustration in your writing and know that you feel you’re at a crossroads: Do I continue to be a nice guy, or do I change my approach in hopes of landing a lady-friend?  It’s a hard spot to be in, and I’m sorry.  Nobody can blame you for wanting, deeply, to be in a good relationship.

Having said that, I have something very important to say that you must hear.  Are you ready? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! The advice you got from your “bro-chachos” is total crap and must be ignored.  The reality is, being a jerk DOES work.  And, it works because some women haven’t had the privilege of being treated well and think that a man who’s aloof, rude, and ungentlemanly is the norm or, at least, a “project” they can reform.  Those women are mistaken and the men who prey on that insecurity are unacceptable.  You, my good man, are not permitted to go down that road.

What then, shall you do?

Step 1: You need to start believing that you are worthy of being cared for – just as you are.  Your sizable stature will be (and may already be) attractive to women. Additionally, you may feel that being like the other perfect people will be the way out of singledom forever.  This, however, is a lie we tell ourselves and just isn’t true.  What is important is that you recognize that you are a good man and that nothing is wrong with you.  For real, your acceptance of yourself  will be vital to your progress with women.  Because, and here’s the secret, confidence is the name of the game.

Step 2: Keep being tremendously genuine, caring, and nice.  Don’t waver, don’t change at all, and don’t listen to the voices around you.  Nice guys don’t finish last, they finish with long lasting relationships that are fulfilling.

Step 3: Be bold.  I wrote a post a while back before people were reading titled Ask a Girl Out. But, in case you’ve got better things to do than read some stupid blog, essentially what it boiled down to was: At some point, you need to be brave and ask a women out on a date.  No more getting a vibe, no more waiting for the perfect moment, just put on your big boy panties and ask.  If she says no, be graceful, have your night of mourning, and continue to be respectful towards her.  Nick, you don’t need more friends, you need courage.  Do it.

Step 4: When step 3 fails and she says no (which she will, it happens to everyone) go back to step 1, tell yourself you’re a good guy, don’t change a thing, and ask another wonderful, smart, funny, differentiated, tall?, woman out.  Dating is like shampoo: wash, rinse, repeat.

Nick, we’re all rooting for you!  Send me a picture of the engagement.

6’1’’, formidably large, and married to a remarkable Grown Woman,

I’m not gay, but one thing that I’ve noticed is that is a Grown Man is not necessarily straight. Am I right?


You are right.  You’re a Grown Man is a blog for all men.  Being okay with crying, loving babies, hugging each other, and everything else I rant about is universal.  In fact, I’d say that most of the advice could even be applicable for Grown Women as well.  In any event, common courtesy and etiquette knows no limits.

And, while we’re talking about it, I’d like to say that I acknowledge that in most of my writing I clearly come from a straight guy perspective.  Well, that’s because I am a straight guy and it’s just easier to write what I know.  However, to all the Grown Gay Men who enjoy this blog, please know that I respect the heck outta you and hope you’re okay with my gender specific language.

One more thing, I love how straight guys preface anything remotely, even stereotypically, gay with a declaration of orientation. I’m not gay, but I love Rufus Wainwright and AntiquingI’m not gay, but these pumps are killing me.

Quit using gay as slang,

As always, thank you for reading and keep asking those great questions!

get your facial hair under control.

28 Jun

I’ve gotten more emails about this topic than anything else.  And guess what, most of them are from women!  I wonder if that means anything?  Huh.  Maybe our lady-friends are trying to tell us something? Oh no, it must be a coincidence.  Anyhow, here’s a typical email I receive:

“Dearest Grown Man,  I imagine that you’re smooth like Barry, and your voice has bass, you’ve got a body like Arnold with a Denzel face. Anyhow, my boyfriend has this terribly scraggly beard, can you tell him he has to shave it?


Gentlemen, your follicles are becoming your foe.  The woman in your life are telling you so, Don Draper’s telling you so, and now – I’m telling you so.  Facial hair is not a means of self-expression, it’s one of the few options your body gives you to subtly manipulate an otherwise lackluster appearance.  It’s time to learn the rules:

1- You must give your face daily attention.  Many of the men I know go a week, or tragically a month, between giving their face any mind.  They seem to think it’s subtly growing out and nobody notices.  Let me assure you, we notice.  The reason you don’t see it is the same reason you don’t notice that the trash is full, the dog hasn’t been fed in two days, and the children appear to not be wearing pants as you’re driving to the store.  You, my good men, have a one track mind.  On a typical day, you have a very narrow focus:  get up, coffee, work, soccer practice, food, History Channel, sleep.  What I’m telling you is that somewhere between “get up” and “coffee”, you need to check a mirror and manicure your mug.

2- Mind your fads.  Back in the day, when Magnum was chillin’ with Zeus and Apollo, mustaches were awesome.  I’m not going to mock the mustache as, at a point in our history (key word: history), it was acceptable to get married, interview, and live life with a caterpillar on your upper lip.  However, times have changed, and you need to progress.  While I can’t begin to name all the fads in mens facial hair, I will say that a few of recently deceased are:  goatees, soul patches, and fat-guy-neck-beards.

3- Febru-hairy, no-shave-Novermber, etc. are not going to get you a job or lady-friend.  Now listen, I’m not going to get intense on this point and say you can never do it.  I’ve got some really respectable friends who take to growing a handlebar mustache once a year or stop shaving for a period of time to get a laugh.  Believe me, I get it.  However, these are periods of time – not the default.  By default, your facial hair needs to be tidy and unnoticeable.

4-  If you’re dating/married, ask her opinion – her honest opinion.  If she says something like, “Oh, I guess, um, yeah, I like your beard the way it is. It’s really cool how you can tuck it into your belt when we go on roller coasters.  I’d just love to see what it might look like if it was just at your chest though.  I mean, you could still tuck it into your ZZ Top t-shirt when we go to Six Flags.”   I’ve said this before, but when you decide to pair-up with someone, you’re representing them.  You don’t have to lose your individuality, but you do need to find a balance.

5-  Really, the only facial hair options are a full, well trimmed, beard – or nothing.  At the end of the day, everything else is just a look that’s really not helping your cause.  Just suck it up already and do what you know you need to do.

Hair today, gone tomorrow.

be a friend to your heartbroken comrades.

22 Jun

True (and embarrassing) story:

Many years ago I was dating a girl.  It was one of those relationships where you know, I mean really really know, right away, that this is “the one”.  Long story short, that girl broke up with me after two weeks.  Might I have been a little too intense and freaked her out with all that “forever” talk on the first date?  Likely. Might she have been wise to drop me because I was basically a gigantic child who had zero capacity for a mature relationship? 100%, yes.

Anyhow, she breaks up with me in the afternoon and I called my friend using a gigantic Zack Morris phone and told him what happened.  He said he was sorry and wanted to know if I needed anything, I told him I was fine – I was lying.  Upon returning to my apartment I began what can only be described as a downward spiral of snot, tears, beer, my roommates cigarettes, Johnny Cash b-sides, and half-written letters of forlorn love.  “Seriously, you and I were meant to love each other!  What if you’re not allowed to break up with me?  What if I say no! No. You can’t break up with me, I love you too much.  We’re knit together in a tapestry of memories.” Oh god, I have to stop, this is really humiliating.

Here’s how that night ended.  I’m laying in the middle of my living room floor à la a dog on the pavement in summer.  Things have gotten dark – I am crushed.  There’s a knock on the door.  I grunt for whoever is there to come in.  Is it a robber who wants to kill me? WHO CARES, SHE’S THE ONLY PERSON THAT’S EVER KNOWN ME! However, it wasn’t a random murderer who was polite enough to knock, it was the aforementioned friend with two more friends – each of them were carrying six 12oz. friends and suitcases full of empathy.

That night, those guys didn’t say crap like, “Quit crying, there will be other girls” or “No, we don’t want to hear your poem titled The Heart Died Today”.  Those guys just sat there as I talked about how bad I felt.  They responded with phrases like, “I’m sorry, man” and “Yeah, that really does suck”.   They spent the whole night just letting me go through the process, bringing me beer after beer and, when appropriate, injecting moments of humor and levity in hopes of gently bringing me out of the spiral.

Grown Men, that’s what we’re supposed to do. We’re supposed to be a particularity great friend for our comrades in times of need. Being broken up with, as most of you know, is one of the worst feelings ever.  Paul Simon wrote the lyric, “Losing love is like a window in your heart, everybody sees your blown apart, everybody feels the wind blow.” When a buddy is in the midst of breakup pain, be present, don’t judge, and just feel the wind blow.  I can assure you, they will thank you for it later.

One more thing.  When the night is over and everyone meets up for the next days Frisbee Golf game, it is illegal to embarrass that guy because of what he said or how he acted the day before.  Guys get a pass for all heartbroken behavior – for a time.  If it’s a week later and they’re still be a baby, unleash your best mocking.

P.S. I ended up getting to marry the aforementioned girl when I was older and less of an idiot.  I guess all that “forever” talk was pretty astute.

start calling people ma’am or sir.

16 Jun

Like standing when a lady enters the room, calling someone ma’am or sir is one of the finer points of etiquette that’s losing its footing with the current generation.  And while I’m okay seeing some things die off from that era (like those weird Organ stores in the mall), the common courtesy of a respectful address is a baton worth carrying.

Gentlemen, my encouragement to you is that you default to calling people ma’am or sir or, if you’re hella’ English, madam and squire.  Why?  Because it’s classy.  When the lady at the check-out counter says, “Thanks for shopping at Fatties” and you say, “Yes ma’am, thanks for your help,” people behind you in line are going to say, “Now there’s a real captain of industry type!”.  When your Uncle, who likes you because he knows that you know and are cool with “it”, introduces you to his new “friend” and you say, “Pleasure to meet you sir,” everyone around you will have a reverence for your maturity.

Dude, I’m not saying that Old English crap.  I’m keeping it real with bro or pal!

Otter, Animal HouseBroseph, we’re not in your frat house getting stoked about the huge “Killer BP” party (Beer Pong).  You’re an adult, and you live in the real world. Bro, pal, chief, Dr. Wang, etc., are all reserved for the close friends who put up with your idiocy.  Put away the toga and bust out the manners.

Here’s a word of caution, you’re going to get some push back on this ma’am/sir thing.  When you call a guy sir, he’s probably not going to say anything and just think you’re respectful.  When you call a lady ma’am, you may get a surprising, “Don’t call me ma’am, I’m not old enough for that!”

First of all, yes she is.  But we always want to respect that our XX sisters are a bit more sensitive to age than the XY’s, so here’s a line I use all the time that works like a charm:

Very old lady: “Ma’am? I’m too young to be called ma’am!”
Grown Man: “I can assure you [looking square into her eyes], it’s about respect, not age.”

Snap!   I’m telling you, the “respect not age” line will defuse the bomb 99% of the time and lets them know that, in fact, you are just calling them ma’am because you’re polite, not because you see them as your elder.

Here are a few closing rules for ma’am and sir:

– Use it for everyone, regardless of age.  11-year-old kids know when they’re being respected and will appreciate an adult talking to them that way.

– If someone says, “Oh no, please, call me [insert name] Murdock”, feel free to do it.  In fact, it’s better etiquette to call them by their name than to ignore the request.

-Avoid saying ma’am in southern accent, lest you sound like Matthew McConaughey (alright, alright).

Thanks for reading, kind sir.

Remember, tomorrow is Ask A Grown Man Thursday.

care about the environment.

11 Jun

I have a theory that once-a-week the trash man puts a gigantic “We-Cycle” magnet over the “Kill Everything” logo that’s usually on the side of his truck. Then, he drives around and picks up the little blue bins of faithfully sorted cans and newspapers and heads directly for – wait for it – the dump. I am crazy, I admit it, but tell me you haven’t considered that?

However, I keep sorting those recyclables, taking them out to the curb (usually when I hear the truck down the street), and feeling the distinct sense of pride that maybe, just maybe, a baby seal won’t choke to death on my Dogfish Head bottle.

Very few issues have polarized the great Grown Men I’ve known more than the environment. I’ve found that there are three categories of environmentalism:

The Rush to Judgements: “All this greenhouse talk is just Chicken Little nonsense! I’ll feed a dolphin styrofoam if I want to!”

The Composters: “We must do everything in our power to address and fix The Inconvenient Truth that human beings are killing the planet! Where’s your cloth shopping bag?!”

Yet many men, a majority in fact, don’t give the environment a second thought, I call them…

The Blank Slates: “Oh my god, bro, we have to do this – Mustache May is going to be SICK!”

Well done guys.

As a side note, all three of these categories of men agree that 1.7 million gallons of BP oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico probably isn’t good for the complexion of turtles. Moving on…

This rest of this post is for the Blank Slates. Why? Because the Rush’s and the Composters have placed such a firmly cemented ideological flag that they can’t be spoken to about this topic. But the Blank Slates, oh the dear, sweet, Blank Slates, those guys will believe anything! “Bro, that girl’s checking you out!” “Bro, I bet you can hit the pool if you jump!” “Bro, that Chocolate Axe is tiiiight!”

Blank Slates, let’s establish the bottom line – the environment is real. How do we know that? Because you’re breathing, eating fruit (loops), and alive. Good, so that’s out of the way. And gentlemen, it’s probably a good idea for you to do everything you can to be a good steward of the environment.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, Grown Bro – what the hell’s a steward?”

I’m so sorry. A steward is someone who maintains, manages, and takes care of something. For instance, when you go home from college for a weekend and yell for your mom to bring you “grape soda and Funyuns – ASAP!”, that’s her being a steward to you. When you have to take attendance at your chapter meetings, that’s you being a steward to your “sweet as hell fraternity”. I’ll put it more simply – steward = helper.

Here’s the bottom line: Help out the environment. Maybe it needs it and The Composters are right, maybe The Rush’s are spot-on and we don’t understand the regenerative powers of our planet and all our Y2K-ness just comical. Either way, if you have an option to recycle, why not do it? Maybe my aforementioned conspiracy theory is correct, but maybe it’s actually being recycled – what difference does it make to you? Let’s error on the side of being helpful and not ideological.

Plus, Grown Women will think you’re super in-touch with yourself and enlightened – which can’t hurt your chances.

quit going to weddings empty-handed.

28 May

It’s wedding weekend for me (2 of them!) which means a)I’m going to be dancing like a nerdy white man and b)Bed, Bath, & Every Other Trendy Home Store has a bit more of my currency. And you know what? I’m okay with that.

Gentlemen, you must always bring a gift to a wedding. If you’re old enough to buy your own under-roos and vote, you’re old enough to get the betrothed a present. Let’s talk about that present.

First, buy something off the registry – no exceptions.

But Grown Man, I saw this super cool neon [insert beer company] sign that my friend, the groom, would love!

You’re right, HE probably would love it. However, you don’t know what that man is going through. His Ben Harper posters and super sweet University of Low SAT’s flags are finding a new home in the garage and/or donation pile. All of a sudden, he’s really into OxyGrip Salad Tongs and is worried out of his mind about the velum ripping on the wedding invitations. For real, your friend is changing, not in a bad way, but in a way that you, a Grown Man who’s unmarried, can’t understand. If you are married and still want to get the neon sign, c’mon – you know better.

Having said all of that, go to the home store and pick the coolest thing you can find that is ON THE DAMN REGISTRY! Maybe there’s some sort of tea infuser? Great! Now you can make jokes about tea bagging him. Maybe there’s a set of 5000 thread count Egyptian sheets? Perfect, you can make jokes about your own sexual repression and him getting some on those sheets.

Wedding gifts aren’t about extravagance, they’re about thought. It’s your way of saying, “I care about your well-being enough as a couple to get you a dish towel and gravy boat.” Believe me, they’ll appreciate your effort more than you know.

I don’t have enough money to buy them a gift!

Yes you freaking do. Think of it this way, if you went out for dinner and all you can drink generic beer, how much would you spend? Let’s say you added in the cost of dinner mints and a d.j. playing Black Eyed Peas for four hours? Bingo, you’ve at least hit the $20 mark. If you can’t find anything on the registry that fits your budget (the cash in your duct tape wallet), just get a gift card. I can assure you that even a meager gift card will mean a lot to your friends.

Guys, here’s the bottom line. You may be in college, you may be on a fixed income, you may be stupid with your money, but don’t go to a wedding without a gift. Even if you can’t afford much, get something. It’s classy, it’s important, and it’s what a Grown Man does.

%d bloggers like this: