Tag Archives: first impression

mean what you say.

18 Oct

I’d like to introduce you to a friend of mine, his name is Tompkins (100% fake name use to protect the innocent and ensue hilarity).  Tompkins, like many of my friends mentioned in this blog (cool Randy!) has inspired this post by being a great man whom I respect a ton.  Let me tell you about Tompkins…

The great Publix Sub

With this I am well pleased.

He is a brilliant musician.  Man-oh-man, he can create music on an out-of-tune guitar whilst half-in-the-bag that, if I were given 10 years of formal training by Andrés Segovia and 6 months off to write, still puts my G-C-D progressions to shame.  In addition to being a musical phenom, he’s got a razor-sharp sense of humor, a gigantic knowledge of fishing, and the ability to make a sub that will – literally – make you cry the kind of tears usually reserved for new mothers or Butterfly Kisses.  In short, Tompkins is a great dude.

But you know what’s most impressive about Tompkins?  Well, probably the sub thing.  But you know what else is blog-inspiring about him?  The fact that he is well-known for meaning what he says.  For instance, if Tompkins says, “Yeah, I’ll be there” – he’s there.  If he knows he can’t fulfill your request, he says no.  In short, his yes is a yes and his no is a no.

A man’s ability to be able to say something and be fully trusted is paramount. And one of the ways we earn that trust is through the normal, day-to-day, interactions with people.  For instance, if a buddy calls and says, “Hey, wanna get the families together this weekend?” and you say, “Yeah, that might be nice” (knowing full well that Saturday is already booked and that you’re going to call him on Friday and give the brush off), what is that saying?  Well, it’s saying that a) you’re now, officially, an adult who does things like “get the families together” and b) your “yeah” can’t really be taken seriously.  What if, in that same situation, you replied, “You know, we’d like to (a little lie is okay), but we just can’t.”   While saying no may be initially disappointing to your house-arrested friend and unpleasant for you to express, in the long run, that no will speak louder than a retracted yes.

Grown Men, it’s not always easy to say what’s true.  In fact, it’s typically easier to give someone a soft answer or, if we’re being really honest with each other, flat-out lie when you have to say something that may be perceived by them as unpleasant.  All of us, to some degree, want to avoid conflict and maximize pleasure in our own lives and the lives of those we interact with.  In the Dr. Phil arena, it’s called being a “people pleaser”.  In reality though, a great lie we tell ourselves is that we please people more if we placate them in the short-run instead of being upfront and honest.  It’s just not true.

In your life, you’re going to want people to trust you and, not for a second, hesitate when you give a response.  Because really, and here’s the secret, if you can be trusted with little things like “Yes, I’ll pick you up from the airport”, you’ll earn the respect, privilege, and honor of being believed when you say big things like “I’d like to work for you” and “I do.”

If you say yes to something — follow through.  Do what you said you’d do.  Be where you said you’d be.  And affirm that you are someone that can be counted on.  If you’ve got to say no, say it and don’t look back.  At the end of the day, a man of his word is valued more than a man of pleasantries.  No?  Yes.

Take it from the sub-machine, Tompkins…

You’re a Grown Man, mean what you say.

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!

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!

quit screwing around on your phone.

26 Aug

This is the first post I’ve ever written where two of my close friends are going to read it and realize, “Hold on, wait, is he talking specifically about me?”  Yes, Zanzibar and Casey, I am.  Because you see, kind readers, Zanzibar and Casey have a problem. One tiny, entire-Internet-in-your-hand, Words With Friends, iProblem.  And, they’re not alone.

Gentlemen, we are on the precipice of a cultural shift. One that finds us teetering between connecting with the world around us, or choosing the red pill and disappearing into a sea of games, email, social networking, texting, et cetera, et cetera.  In short, guys are using their iDroidBerrys when they shouldn’t be — and it’s ungentlemanly.  Zanzibar, Casey, and all the other good men with a bad habit, allow me to give you the rules:

1- If you’re in a room with other people who could possible interact with you (social event, meeting), your amazing phone is stripped away of all cool features and is now only to be used for receipt of calls and text messages.

2- Should you receive a call or text during one of these social times, you need to know when it’s okay to even look at the phone and when it’s not.  While there are many exceptions to the rule, in general, you shouldn’t acknowledge the phone unless you’re expecting an important call.  In which case, you should forewarn the group that “The Blue Men might be calling at 8pm for me to fill in as their understudy” or something similar.  Barring that call from The Blue Men, you’ll need to pretend the phone doesn’t exist.

3- If you are talking face-to-face with a small group or single person, there is absolutely no reason on the planet why the phone shouldn’t be on silent and completely void of your attention.  If, and only if, there’s something important happening (like The Blue Men), you can preface your conversation with the “I might need to be rude…” disclaimer.

4- Use the Rubik’s Cube rule.  What’s the Rubik’s Cube rule, you ask? Here we go:  If it would be appropriate for you to pull out a Rubik’s Cube and start playing with it, it would be acceptable for you to screw around with the apps, games, texting, and other trappings of your ComputerPhone 5000.  Having stated that rule, is it appropriate to hop on and launch penguins during a staff meeting? Think about it…picture it…everybody is watching you play with a Rubik’s Cube, how odd!…ok, no, it’s not appropriate to launch penguins during the staff meeting.   Let’s try another one:  You’re standing in front of me and you get a Push notification that your 5th grade friend just “liked” your link about the newest Lego Starwars Game.  Should you check it?  Huh, let’s visualize the moment… “Hey, why in the hell are you playing Rubik’s Cube while I’m talking to you!”  So no, it’s not okay.

It is okay, however, to pop out the Rubik’s Cube while you’re walking around, sitting in a park, at home with nothing to do, or during other times of general leisure.  Don’t worry, you’ll still have plenty of time (if not too much time) to waste hours in front of your 4G god.

5- I’m going to blow through this rule quickly because it makes me kinda sick and hacky.  Here we go…  Do not use your phone (oh god, I’m feeling queasy), okay, do not use your phone in the (here comes the bile)…in the bathroom!  For reasons of hygiene, personal space, and overall weirdness, your iPhone can no longer be your crap-paddle.  I gotta move on, sorry…this is gross.

Zanzibar, Casey, and if I’m being honest, the Grown Man writing this post — we’ve got to keep the balance of relationships being paramount, and technology being novel.  Because, and this is the reality, cool technology will never stop being attractive to ADD guys who love shiny/noisy things.  From the wheel to The Terminator, all of our history and future will be marked with advances that make life easier but that also need to be met with temperance.  So go and enjoy your iDroidBerry, it really is okay.  But also make sure you put it away and make eye contact.

You’re a Grown Man, quit screwing around on your phone.

Ironically, this post is also formatted for viewing on a mobile device.  Please, please, please though — don’t read this in the bathroom.

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.


the size of your truck doesn’t matter.

18 Aug

So I was on a couple date the other night when the other fella at the table (we’ll call him Manute) declared, “Well, I’ve got some ideas for the Grown Man.”  The table snickered and then was exceedingly impressed when he produced a 3×5 card with neatly written, bullet pointed, ideas.  Clearly, this man meant business.

RIP ManuteOne of his ideas was something like, “Grown Men must have trucks. I love my truck, and when I see a guy in a little Honda, I laugh.”  At this point in the conversation, I slipped away into my own thoughts and began writing this post.  Because trucks, and cars in general, are something that men go ape-crap about.  Really, I don’t need to elaborate on this point, do I?  Guys love automobiles, it’s as American as TMZ and Double Downs.  But why? Why the obsession?

Manute had a solid point.  Trucks are awesome.  I’ve had a truck, someday I’d like another one.  There’s something about knowing that you can do basically anything in a good truck that makes them so appealing.  While most men drive the same six mile stretch everyday with their suitcase in the passenger seat and absolutely no adventure worthy of such a grand vehicle, just knowing that, if the need arose, you could haul two palates of sod or could quickly enlist a stranger to drive while you stand in the bed of the truck and shot at bad guys! Trucks rule.

But Gentlemen, we’ve turned the love of our vehicles up to 11 and need to dial it down a notch.  Being cool in a truck isn’t about having the truck, it’s about confidence.  My friend Manute doesn’t really laugh at poor Honda Civic drivers when he sees them – he’s too good of a man.  And, in fairness to him, he was sitting next to his girlfriend of 10 months and across the table from the two of us who basically knew him through the girlfriend.  The freaking guy had a lot of charming to do.

However, plenty of guys do see their vehicle as some badge of superiority in the caste system of masculinity. These are the same guys that put stickers on the back that read “It’s a Jeep thing, you wouldn’t understand” or display a picture of Calvin pissing on [insert rival truck company’s logo].  These guys are, wait for it…wait for it….NOW!  Compensating. They’re saying, “Don’t see me, see the truck.”  To these men I say, nothing on this planet will make you look cooler and stand out above the other men like a solid sense of self and a truck load of humility.  What’s important is that you like the truck.  It’s not about being held in higher regard than others, it’s about being your own Grown Man.  Confidence, confidence, confidence – it’s really the game changer.

Allow me to end with a story:  When I was 15, my grandfather gave me his car as he was upgrading to a standard issue, old dude Saturn.  For six months before I got my license, I went outside every day and cleaned the car, put a new and ridiculously loud stereo in the car, and generally just played with my new toy.  I loved that car and felt like the coolest guy that ever lived.  On the day that I turned 16 and finally got to drive it, I went everywhere!  My mom would mention two rooms away that we were running low on eggs… “No problem mom, I’ll be right back!” My brother would need to go to t-ball practice… “Oh geez mom and dad, you’ve had a hard day, let me take him!”  For real, I was the MAN in that car.

That car was* a 1.0 L, 3 cylinder, Geo Metro.  Not familiar with the Metro?  It’s a lawnmower with four doors that I literally had to fall into because I’m so tall.  And, even though that was one of the smallest, crappiest cars ever made, it was absolutely the coolest vehicle I’ll ever own – even when I finally get the 1957 Chevrolet 5100 (or one of the thousand other amazing trucks I drool over).  The man makes the Geo, not the other way around.

You’re a Grown Man, the size of your truck doesn’t matter.


*I totaled that car 13 days after I got my license.  16-year-olds shouldn’t be allowed to drive.

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