Tag Archives: Facebook

Ask a Grown Man: Vol. XIV

17 Jun

Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been back for years!  Let’s get to helping…

Grown Man,

I have a “man friend” whom I met in a Uni math class. We have become good friends and we occasionally go out for lunch, talk on skype, text, etc. The problem is I’m as single as could be, yet he has a girlfriend of 2 years. It is clear that their relationship is semi-dysfunctional and that they have fallen out of love. He knows I am looking for a relationship, and he even told me not too long ago that he would date me. I’m getting sick of waiting for him to break up with his girlfriend. What should I do? Should I stop talking to him altogether and walk away?

-Forever Single Young Woman

The Other Woman,

Let us first address the fact that this guy, like you, is involved with Uni.  And while I don’t want to alarm you, I will say that during my college years I dabbled in the Uni arts and it ended up leading me down some very dark paths. I still can’t see my college mascot without weeping and convulsing. In all seriousness though, what the heck is Uni? Sea Urchin (you’ll need to click here to get this joke)? University of Northern Iowa?  Maybe it’s just short for University, but that just seems redundant.  All math at your school is Uni math if that’s the case – so that doesn’t make any sense.

More to your question, however, is what to do with your “man friend” – we’ll just call him Unitard.  As I see it, one of three scenarios is playing out:

Go UNI's!!!

Go UNI Panthers!

Scenario one: He’s a good man who met you during math and realized that solving for x meant having you in his life.  Maybe he’s torn between two lovers and genuinely struggling with a difficult decision.  I hope this is the scenario, as it’s the one that’s most affirming to you and your awesomeness – TI-82 and all.  However, I said we’ve got three scenarios, so…

Scenario two: Unitard is pulling a classic, well-worn, guy-move which unfolds as follows:

1- Guy realizes a year ago that he wants to break up with his girlfriend.
2- Guy waits a year because breaking up is a giganto pain-in-the-protractor, and children like to avoid pain.
3- Guy snaps.
4- Guy becomes distant from his girlfriend.
5- Guy starts flirting with another girl because a) He’s trying to get caught and get broken up with (way easier than doing the breakup)  b) The other girl makes him feel rejuvenated, alive, passionate and all the things he’s been missing for the last year in his cruddy relationship.
6- Guy talks himself into believing that math-mistress is the right girl…while all along it had nothing to do with her and everything to do with him, what he needed, and what emotional void you – oops – she was filling.
7- Guy reconnects with, gets engaged to, and marries the original girlfriend.  Uni math is left wondering what she did wrong, why she wasn’t good enough, etcetera, etcetera.

The Other Woman, if this scenario is right (and history would tell us that it is), you’re not being wooed because you’re the greatest lady ever, but because you represent all that was lost with the 2-year girlfriend.  You’re funny, passionate, interested in him and easy (not in the gross way, but in the emotionally available way). You’re being used like methadone, and you deserve to be the singular focus of some man’s attention and affection.

So, my answer to your question is this: It’s time to exit gracefully. Maybe, like many great men, he’s just in a confusing place and his current actions don’t necessarily speak of his overall character and date-ability.  Fine.  When he breaks up with his 2-year girl, then you can resume flirting.  But for now, it’s probably best to let him sort his junk out without making you the obtuse angle of a triangle (you’ll learn that in Uni-201).

Hold on though, didn’t I say there were three scenarios?  Scroll up… I did!

Scenario Three: Uni is short for Universal Citizens of Galaxy 9, and this is all some sort of cult thing that I don’t understand. If this is the case, lace up your matching Nikes and have at it!

Thank you for your question, Other Woman…and for everyone else reading, I’ll be answering another question next Monday – ask away!

3.14159,
Grown Man

mind your social networking.

16 Sep

I’ve desperately wanted to tell every Grown Man (or their lady-friends that are the ones actually reading this site) to quit Facebook, Twitter, and all social networking.  Oh, how I’ve wanted to write lines like, “Seriously, why are you looking at pictures of your 6th grade lab partner’s honeymoon!?  Who cares? Go outside!” and, “Looking to cheat? Accept that friend request.”  Oh lord, I turn grizzled and cantankerous when it comes to social media.

Old school networking

However, this Grown Man isn’t a hypocrite. And, not only do I use the e-world to shamelessly promote this here blog and interact with “you people,” but I’m starting to come around to the fact that Facebook (and to a lesser degree, every other social networking option) isn’t just a fad — but a way of life.  I’m realizing that Facebook is not just about being stalked by old high school friends that you’d rather avoid, but one portal by which to produce and consume all business, entertainment, and socialization.  It is, in a sense, the new Silk Road, the new telegraph, the new email, and the Brave New World (or 1984?).

So, how should Grown Men responsibly harness the power of social networking while still remaining respectable and timeless?

1- Just say no. One of the main issues I have with all e-socialization is the wide swath of people that now have access to you and your life.  I’m not all freaked out about Internet security and “the man in the black helicopter” stealing “your secrets.”  I’m more concerned with the fact that you, me, and everyone in the world shouldn’t have access to you, me, and everyone in the world.  Here’s why:  As humans, we have a limited capacity for human connections.  Some theories suggest that we can’t really know more than 100 people well and, after that, our lives get filled with needless information and insincere friendships.

Bro.  For real, listen to me Bro.  I’VE GOT 4,380 freakin’ friends.  And, I’ve poked all of them.

Yuck, gross, c’mon! In truth, you only really know about 20 of them and the rest of them are simply pawns in your quest to feel popular without really knowing anyone.   What I’m proposing is that when you get a friend request, you ask yourself the following question:  Do I care to be in community with this person, or do I just want to be voyeuristic? If it’s option one, go for it!  If it’s option two, realize that nothing productive, respectful, or polite comes from simply looking in on someone’s life without participating in it.  If you don’t care for him or her, just say no to the friend request.

2- Just say no, again. Following the same logic as #1, I’d avoid doing a mass invite of people.  Be particular about who you enter into this community with. You wouldn’t walk into a football stadium and give everyone your email address, personal photo album, and diary would you?  Grown Men practice decorum and keep some mystery about them.

3- Be accountable. My biggest problem with social networking is that it makes wrecking a good relationship, even a marriage, easier than ever.  Here’s what happens:  You and your significant other are going through a rough patch (which will happen).  You’re feeling hurt, she’s feeling lonely, neither of you are particularly excited about the other person.  Now, she’s gone to bed and you check your email only to find that “[High School girlfriend who you lost contact with and remember as being one of the only people who understood me] has requested to be your friend.”  Well now, doesn’t that feel nice? She says, “Hi,” you say, “It’s been a long time,” she says, “Too long,” you say, “We should remedy that.”

Do you see what happened?  Your relational problems have lowered your defences and MyTwitFace (thank you, Conan) has provided a perfect opportunity to feel the attention and attraction you’re longing for. My friend, you are about to turn a rough spot in your committed relationship into and dark season with a person who, guess what!, is also not perfect and certainly flawed.

What I’m suggesting – no, begging – is that you give someone you trust your username and password.  The reason is simple, we don’t do dumb stuff in front of other people as easily as we do it in secrecy.  Which, parenthetically, is why being in a physical community where people can ask how you’re doing is a much better option for networking than interweb socialization.  But, I’m not grumpy old guy, so I’m not going to say that.  Anyhow, knowing that someone you trust is able to see your interactions will guard you from doing dumb stuff and allow you to enjoy your social networks in a responsible way.

You’re a Grown Man, mind your social networking.

Wow.  This was not a funny post, was it?  Well, I suppose it’s not always yucks and giggles on the road to Grown Manhood. But, because I fancy myself the jester of internet masculinity, I can’t end on such a Doug Downer note. To remedy that, I’ll leave you with this super special 4th rule:

4- Plant a garden. If you think playing Farmville is in any way an acceptable option for living your life as a Grown Man, you need to Apple-Q that junk right now and go outside.  For real, Grown Men should have dirty hands at the end of the day — not fake cows getting loose.  Your great-grandfather is rolling over in his grave.

you’ve got to read books.

24 May

I’ve spoken to a number of men who don’t read books, which is crazy.

But Grown Man, what’s the point of reading a book? Can’t I just watch TV/go to a movie and get the same information? Furthermore, it only takes two hours to get through a movie instead of a whole month for a book!

Here’s the difference: an I.V. versus a cheeseburger. Got it? OK, I’ll explain.

An I.V. gives you the nutrients you need but is completely void of taste or experience. A cheeseburger allows you to truly enjoy the process of nourishment with each chedder-ie, meat-ie bite..mmmmmmm, cheeseburger, mmmmmmmm. When you watch a movie you turn your brain off and ingest for two hours. Then, you clean the butter and Raisinets residue off your hands and leave the experience in the past. It’s very rare to find a movie that leaves you thinking and engaged.

However, a book takes you somewhere and lights up that gray mushy space that’s so often occupied by boredom and Rock Band. A book gives you some of the information but forces you, subconsciously, to fill in the blanks. When Hemingway talks of Spain, you find yourself sitting on a cobblestone street sipping Absinthe (don’t drink Absinthe, you’ll go nuts) and feeling the warmth of San Fermín.

Men, you need to awaken your mind. We spend many days doing the same thing over and over. It’s in our nature, it’s how we make money, serve our family, and do the job of being a grown man. But the mind becomes still – and then it gets restless. Not good.

But Grown Man, I don’t have enough time to read!

Here’s some simple math that proves you’re terrible at managing your time:

Here’s some good places to start:

1- Guy books: Tuesdays with Morrie (dad issues), Jurassic Park (dinosaur issues)
2- Classic, American, male authors: Hemingway, Vonnegut, Twain, Steinbeck, etc.
3- Biographies: Einstein, Truman, Adams, Lincoln
4- TIME Top 100 books of all time
5- Sports Illustrated Top 100 Sports books of all time
6- Magazines don’t count, they’re great, but more like a plate of sliders rather than the full cheeseburger.

Congrats, you just read 374 words.

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