Tag Archives: fighting

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.

break up with class.

1 Sep

If you’ve been reading You’re A Grown Man for any length of time, you know that I often write on the complexities of relationships.  I’ve written on being bold enough to ask a girl out, and on my own tragic (but apparently amusing to you heartless people) experience of being dumped.  However, it occurred to me recently that I’ve never addressed an important issue that all Grown Men should be prepared for — how to end a relationship properly.  We’ve gotta get this one right, guys.

Austrian melodic death metal band Perishing Ma...

Image via Wikipedia

For this post, I’m going to skip answering the question: should you break up with her?  The reason for this is because there are simply too many scenarios to adequately say yes or no without a trillion “what-if’s.”  Everyone has got reasons for the relationship ending — some of them valid, some of them ridiculous.  In the end, it’s really your call, and I’m not going to be the one to stop you from tossing aside the best woman you’ll ever meet just because she’s not super stoked about touring the country with your death-metal band. Where I will start, however, is under the assumption that you know you’re done and trying to figure out how to properly end it.  Let’s do this bullet point style…

-Rip the Band-Aid off: When you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach and you know, I mean really — you know it’s going to end — you’ve got to muster up every ounce of courage you have and not let the relationship go one moment longer than it needs to.  The reason is simple — she deserves it.  The day you started dating, oh that fateful day, you entered a non-verbal but very binding contract to be straight-up, brutally, honest with each other.

Grown Man, I didn’t do anything of the sort!  Straight-up, brutally, honest?  You’re a girl, aren’t you – I mean, c’mon.

Yes, you did enter a contract.  It’s called dating, and it’s what’s expected of you. You may not have realized it, but I can guarantee you that she did.  I’m not talking about love, marriage or anything else. I’m simply saying that honesty in every relationship is a non-negotiable. Having said that, the moment you’re done with the relationship but haven’t yet informed her, you’re breaking the contract.  And before the comments start flowing, yes, she owes you the same courtesy.

-Face it: I know you want to phone-in the break up, don’t you?  Isn’t it so much easier to just pick up the phone, not have to make eye-contact, and do the deed?  Even if the conversation lasts four hours, at least you can get your Farmville on while she’s asking you questions like, “Sooooo, [sniffle] when you said for[sniffle]ever, what did that mean?”  Ouch.

The truth is, phone, text, email, carrier pigeon, or any other non face-to-face option for breaking up is wholly unacceptable.  You owe it to her to be a man and have the difficult conversation in person.  Not only does it scream of class, but it’s respectful and polite.  I don’t have a fantastic justification for the “why” of this point, but I know she’s worth, at least, you putting yourself through the discomfort of taking on the chin and facing it.

-Get in and get out: You must absolutely end the relationship in an efficient manor.  As a rule, you get one hour of break up time per year of dating.  And yes, I am saying that a 6 month relationship should be ended in 30 minutes.  Why?  Not because it’s easy for you.  In fact, I wish you had to go through some multi-level purgatory for breaking that girl’s heart.  This rule exists to keep you all from going to the fight-zone and saying things that you’ll both regret.  When we (we=animals) get hurt, we fight.  When we fight, we hurt more — it’s a bad cycle.

When you’re ending the relationship, give her concrete reasons that aren’t hurtful about why you’re ending it, don’t attack her character, and when it’s appropriate, get the heck outta there.  She’s going to be upset (or maybe she’ll be grateful!) and you’re both going to be hurt.  It’s important that you realize that going through that hurt together is a disaster waiting to happen.

-Follow the rules: When you’re out of the relationship, you’re out of it.  Don’t text that night saying crap like, “I miss you” or “Farmville rules!” It’s only going to lead her on and make you look like you’re waffling.  Just like you’re done dating her, she needs to be allowed the space to be done dating you.  I’m not kidding on this one. If you guys say, “We’re not going to talk for a month,” stick to it.  If you don’t, you’re just extending the discomfort and breaking the rules.

Gentlemen, it’s okay to break up with someone.  In fact, it’s likely the most respectful thing you can do in the long run for a woman who you realize won’t be your wife.  However, you’ve got to approach breaking up like (I hope) you approach everything else: with mutual respect and humility.

You’re a Grown Man, break up with class.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask them. I might just answer them on this weeks Ask a Grown Man, Vol: XI!

carry cash.

23 Aug

The more I write this blog, the more I realize my grandfather may be the coolest Grown Man I’ve ever known.  And, even though he has an aversion to wearing a tie, eating any form of bean, and The Pope (I don’t share his disdain), he is typically my go-to Draper-in-residence (without all the skirt chasing and domestic violence).  So today, I’m thinking about my grandfather as I begin to talk about Grown Men carrying cash.  Why?  Because that old dude typically has a wad of cash in his sweat pants pocket that would make even the most seasoned of Chamillionaire jealous.  For real, I’m pretty certain that he’s been to K-Mart a number of times with a grand in small bills — not kidding at all.

So, why should you carry cash?  Because, like the Boy Scouts say, you’ve got to be prepared. Young men reading this blog, imagine the following scenario:  You’re on a date with a lovely lass when she spots one of those awesome Catholic (sorry Tilt-A-Whirl Of Lovegrandpa) church carnivals in the distance.  Without warning, your plans for a movie and some making-out have been thwarted and your evening will now look more like funnel cakes and Ferris wheels.  Bummer.  However, she wants to go and you quickly realize that you might be able to get some of that sweet kissin’ action on the Tilt-A-Whirl, so you concede. But wait, you’ve hit a snag, the movie theater is more than willing to accept credit cards for purchase, but the carnival is doing some serious IRS dodging and will only accept cash or cigarettes for rides.  Oh the embarrassment!  Oh the Tilt-A-Whirl!

Our society has become completely plastic (no offense to Joan Rivers) and we no longer require cash for a majority of our transactions.  I believe this shift came in 2004 when our greatest national export began accepting credit at all 1.8 quad-trillion golden arch locations.  Yep, that’s the year that McDonald’s got sick and tired of subjecting their 14-year-old register kids to men fumbling around in their wallets and holding up the line while begging money off their friends.  Until that time, we knew that even the most basic of American needs (Big Macs and those awesome apple pies) would necessitate even a dollar-menu’s worth of green.  But when they jumped ship, so did the fat country.  Now, we’re stuck at the carnival with a pissed off girlfriend and an ATM walk of shame.

Gentlemen, you’ve got to be ready for whatever comes your way. From carrying a pocket knife to having at least $30 in your wallet at all times, there are just some necessities for navigating this concrete world.  Back in the day, and I mean really back in the day, a man wouldn’t have left his cabin without a gun, some water (whisky), and a hat.  He knew that with these three things he could eat, sleep, be safe, and look tough as hell.  It’s time for us to reclaim that duty as men and make sure that we’re always well equipped with the bare minimum.

But Grown Man, what if I get robbed?  If they steal my wallet and I don’t have cash, all I have to do is cancel credit cards!

I love the “getting robbed” excuse for being ill prepared.  Because truthfully, most people don’t get pick-pocketed.  If you live in Compton or something, maybe you should consider not carrying a grandfather-wad of money. But most of you live in Generic City, USA and carry a $250 mini-computer in your pocket without giving it a second thought.  Are you really that nervous about not carrying anything valuable? I don’t think so.  Additionally, $32 bones given to some armed bandit isn’t going to break the bank — hopefully.  If it is, you’ve got bigger fish to fry and should probably consider becoming an armed bandit yourself.

That’s all for today, go to the ATM on your lunch break and enjoy the Tilt-A-Whirl.

You’re a Grown Man, carry cash.


quit your job with class.

13 Aug

I rarely, if ever, weigh in on current events. And though I read news like it’s my job, the reason it doesn’t show up on You’re A Grown Man is because it rarely has any connection with the timeless art of mature masculinity.  Recently though, the story of Steven Slater has become big news and is in the process carving a new niche of acceptable behavior for men.  Gentlemen, we can’t let this happen.  Something must be done.

In case you’re not familiar with Mr. Slater’s story, here’s a recap of what we know – not what’s being reported and refuted, what we actually know:  He worked as a flight attendant for JetBlue.  Something (a bag falling, someone was rude, we don’t really know everything) got him mad. Then, he said some angry words on the PA, stole a few beers, and deployed/slid down the emergency exit slide.  He was later arrested for criminal mischief and reckless endangerment.  Now, the country is freaking out over him and going so far as to call him a “working class hero”.  This is insane, not to mention disrespectful to John Lennon.

Guys, at no point did Steven Slater do anything right.  From the moment he allowed his anger to win and then broke the law in some movie-like exit, he was shirking his responsibilities and taking the easy road, or slide, as the case may be.  The way a man leaves a job is not by losing his shiz and storming off as that’s what children do.  And when children have temper tantrums, we correct them – not praise them.  We quit with dignity, we quit without burning bridges, and we quit like Grown Men.

Here’s how you should quit your job:

1- Wrap your head around the fact that you’re quitting. Really, it’s okay to quit a job.  I’m not going to get into all the factors of how multiple jobs will look on your resume, as this is a different conversation for every man.  But what we must know is that very few of us go to work for “the company” and retire with a gold watch after 50 years.  There may be times in your life where leaving Company A for Company B is beneficial.  Or better yet, leaving Company A for Company Self-Employed!  In any event, you’re not disappointing your lineage by strategically quitting a job.  Sometimes, you’ve got to move on.

2- Set a meeting. When it’s time, you’ve got to do it as soon as possible.  Very few realizations will turn your stomach like knowing that you’re about to jump ship (airplane).  When you’ve given yourself the mental green light to be done, be done.

3- Thank your superior and get the hell outta there. There’s nothing else you need to do in this meeting other than say “Mr. Spacely, I have made a decision to leave my position here at Spacely Space Sprockets. I’ve enjoyed this opportunity and it’s been a pleasure working with you.”  Then, shut up.  Now, your job is just to reply – you don’t need to say anything else.  If she asks when you’re quitting, you reply with “I am more than willing to work hard for as long as you need to find a suitable replacement.  I leave it up to you.”  If he asks why you’re quitting, do not take this opportunity to begin trashing every co-worker, business practice, and poorly stocked break room snack bar.  You’re quitting and now no longer have any reason to change the business.  What you need to do is say something about moving in a different direction with your career and then, you guessed it, shut up and get the hell outta there.

4- Make eye contact and shake hands. This is just what men do.  And, in the midst of quitting, you need to be especially respectful, poised, and confident.  Leaving your bosses office with him or her respecting you (even though they may be displeased with you) is one of the hallmarks of a Grown Man.

Grown Men, it’s important that you quit your job with class.  At no point in the story of Steven Slater cracking did he do any of he aforementioned steps and, therefore, is not worthy of our adoration in this arena.  Listen, I know times are hard and many of you are reading this blog while in the midst of searching for a job.  And really, I feel for you – these aren’t fun days.  But gentlemen, at the end of the day, a “working class hero” is someone who keeps his composure, doesn’t steal from the company (the beer, remember?), and quits with forethought and class.

Steven Slater, I hope you’re reading.

Ask a Grown Man: Vol. VIII

5 Aug

Let’s do this…

Hey Grown Man,I went through a phase during my early–mid/late twenties (not my bi-curious phase. get your head out of the gutter grown man) where if I knew I was going to disappoint a person/friend/girlfriend with bad news (not bad news like my grandmother has diabetes, but bad news like I won’t be able to join you on Friday night at bar X, or, I won’t be able to join you in August to go to Europe) I just wouldn’t pick up the phone and call…or answer their phone calls to me. When I quit my job at Circuit City my freshman year in college, I’m ashamed to say I just stopped showing up.

As a “growing man” I’ve learned that upfront, honest communication works really well. “Grown Men” make an effort to communicate, they take initiative to communicate first, they communicate clearly and succinctly…and they do this especially when the news is bad. I’ve found that I respect this in people when I see it in my business or in my personal life.

I don’t know if you’ve already discussed this topic but I’d like to hear your thoughts Grown Man.

Forthcomingly yours,
Jacob

Jacob,

What a fantastic question.  Really, the question was not only very well put, but also answered in a way that leaves me with little to say other than, you’re totally right.  However, because I’ve got a blog to write, I’m obligated to say you’re totally right in several hundred words with a few obscure pop-culture references and a barn-load of sarcasm and judgment.  Here I go…

Being a man means different things to different people.  Yet, with many male ideologies floating around, there are some nonnegotiables that all Grown Men should heed.  Here are a few of them:

-Start and end a conversation with a hand shake and eye-contact
-Be kind to people
-Always try to better yourself
-Quit wearing sweatpants

Grown Men, Jacob has added a tremendous one to the list that must be addressed – don’t shirk on communication.  In our lives, we all have difficult, unpleasant, or at least mildly uncomfortable conversations that confront us.  Even the most zen of men are going to find themselves with that familiar feeling of knowing that before them lies a choice: avoid and ignore or face it head on.

Grown Men face it head on.  We do this because ignoring a situation leaves others hurt, leaves questions unanswered, and puts you in a position of not being respected.  We do this “Not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard”. And when we have the hard conversations, we’re looked at as men that, right or wrong, can be trusted to do what is necessary.

One more thing: What is “it” that we have to face?  Well, look no further than Jacob’s question for that answer.  It is anything from simply disappointing a friend (“Sorry, I can’t go to lunch, I’m really portly and just started Fatkins.”) to quitting a job (I can’t blame you Jacob, Circuit City sucked).  These kinds of decisions require of you to step up and do precisely what you don’t want to do: “make an effort to communicate, take initiative to communicate first, and communicate clearly and succinctly.”  Well put, “Growing Man” (snicker).

Team Jacob, thank you for presenting a great question and answer.  We all need to be reminded of this every now and again.

Team Edward?,
GM

Grown Man,

Is there anything my boyfriend (emphasis on boy) can do to make up for ruining my birthday?

Sincerely,
Hurt Birthday Girl

Hurt Birthday Girl’s Almost Ex-boyfriend,

Sir, you’ve really screwed up this time.  And, while I’m sure you’ve messed up before (remember Tijuana?), “ruining a birthday” is literally, almost, unforgivable.  I don’t know what you did to ruin it, but it was bad enough that your almost ex-girlfriend emailed some dude’s blog, anonymously, and called you a “boy” – BURNED!

But, I believe that you’ve got it in you to redeem yourself.  Why do I think this?  Because she obviously thinks there’s something you can do to make up for it, or she wouldn’t have written me.  So, I’m going to help you out.

What you’ve got to do is find the inverse of whatever you did to “ruin” the birthday and do it, a lot.  For example, let’s say you gave her a Weight Loss Yoga DVD for her birthday.  Well,  the inverse of Weight Loss Yoga DVD is making her an awesome dinner every night for two months and spending that dinner telling her how freaking beautiful you think she is.  Do you see what I’m saying?  Let me try again.   Let’s say you decided that a great night for her would be watching you build your model trains and get super pissed because the “damn drawbridge won’t go up with the new servo!”  Oh boy, good one – nerd.  The inverse of this is probably getting an outdoor hobby and letting her go to find a dude that’s not so, well, like you.

In any event, you need to work very hard, every day, and with great forethought to find the appropriate inverse and make this right.  Hurt Birthday Girl is, I’m sure, a forgiving and kind woman who may eventually come around.  But fella, you’ve got to get to work.  Good luck, we’re rooting for you.

16 candles,
GM

Ask a Grown Man: Vol. VII (Wedding Edition)

29 Jul

I’m shocked that I actually got guys to ask wedding questions!  Nice job, gentlemen.  Let’s do this…

Dear Non Man-child,

I am a grown man of 30 and so is my fiancée to be (30 yrs old, not a man), and we are wondering what the most appropriate way of telling future wedding guest, we would rather have cash instead of gifts?  We both have more than enough toasters, pans, plates etc and would rather take the money and run (due to age and stage).  Is there a nice and easy way to accomplish this without pissing people off and making me look like a D-bag?  Or am I going to have to spend the first six months of marriage making Target returns?

Love and hugs,
Luke

Cash Money Millionaire,

Oh Lord, you’re so ungrateful!  “I’m Luke, I don’t want my grandma to get me a punch bowl – my 40-year-old (male) fiance and I already have 50 zillion punch bowls! We don’t have time to return this stuff – we’re upwardly mobile 30-somethings that simply must be at every indie movie premier!”

Just messing with you, Mr. Skywalker. You’ve asked a solid question that I bet a lot of couples are afraid to ask, and I’m happy to answer it.

Cash as a wedding gift is likely the most logical present.  Really, it’s a win-win for both parties involved.  You and the Mr. can use it to buy whatever you may need, and you don’t have to fuss with non-registry duds, duplicates, or as you said, “six-months of Target returns.”  Additionally, the giver can simply stuff an envelope and save an exhausting trip to commerce hell.  Everybody wins, right? Well, kinda.

Giving a gift at a wedding is really for the giver.  People want to know that they’re supporting you and your spouse in your new endeavor.  While you could clearly accomplish the same means with cash, people get a vibe that maybe they’re just chipping in on that month’s rent – which lacks the sentimentality.  I fully understand why you and your husband-to-be don’t want another toaster, as it’s quite difficult to get Sandals Jamaica to accept a Cuisinart for your couples massage.  However, you may have to meet in the middle. Here are some options:

a) Register at a place that’s fantastic at returning merchandise (like Bed Bath & Beyond, not like Target – they’re literally the worst).  Then, when people inevitably don’t get excited about giving you money and insist on buying dip trays, at least you’ll be guaranteed cash for the return.

b) Spread the word among your family and wedding party that cash would be rad-tastic.  They’ll understand and, in turn, tell others. At the end of the day, the cash discussion is probably best served (and the least tacky) by having face-to-face discussions.  I really don’t think it’s good manners to put it in the invitation.

c) Register at a bank.

d) All of the above.

Luke, you’re in a hard spot that I bet a ton of people find themselves in.  You’ve got everything you need (“toasters, pans, plates, etc.”) but wouldn’t mind some start-up funding on your new enterprise.  And while I wish it was totally acceptable to go all cash, especially for folks like you and your groom (I’m not dropping this joke) who are well established enough as individuals that you don’t require most of what’s considered a wedding gift, we’re just not there as a society and I think you’re going to have to make some returns. Hopefully though, getting the cash conversation out there and registering with generous businesses will alleviate some of the burden.

Good luck to you and your lovely fiance! I’m sure she’s wonderful.

All about the Benjamin’s,
GM

I’ve got a question for you, GM.

I asked my best friend to be the best man in my wedding – because he’s been my best friend.  Now that the wedding is approaching, he seems unsupportive and I don’t think he likes my fiancée.  How would you handle the situation in a classy way?  Is this something I should have asked him about before asking him, or should he have declined to be my best man?  I just feel that the person who is my best man should also be supportive of the wedding itself.

Kind sir,

This is one crappy situation.  I can’t imagine struggling with your friend and trying to honor your fiancée at the same time – I’m really sorry you’re having to deal with this junk during a time that should be anything but dramatic.

That being said, your friend must be politely taken to the woodshed.  I don’t know the back story of why he could possibly dislike your fiancée, but in the final analysis, you owe it to her to take care of this.  The final sentence of your question was spot-on.  The best man should indeed be supportive and have your back completely as you stand there with your bride – no exceptions.

Grown Fiancé, the classy way to handle the situation is do what, I presume, you already know you have to do – have “the talk” with your best man.  There’s nothing harder than taking a situation like this head on, but there’s also nothing more effective.  He needs to know how you feel, he needs to be given the opportunity to share his side, and at the end of the day, you need to both move forward in honoring your bride-to-be by making sure that this guy is 100% on board.  If you can’t see eye-to-eye and get him to a place where he’s supportive, then he’s effectively voided his best man contract and needs to be uninvited. You simply can’t allow that tension to be a part of your wedding.

I know you’ve got it in you to do the right thing. I’m sorry you have to do it but appreciate you making the first of many bold moves to fiercely defend and respect your wife.

Good luck,
GM

That is all, Grown Men.  Until next Thursday, keep asking those great questions…

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