Tag Archives: food

Ask a Grown Man: Vol. XVI

1 Jul

We’re going to change it up a bit this week.  Instead of waxing poetic with one long answer to one great question, I’m going to do rapid fire answers to some recurring questions.  Sound good? Here we go…

Grown Man,

What’s your favorite movie?

James
Asheville, North Carolina

The Godfather II. Next question.

Wait, wait, wait, I don’t care if this is rapid fire, you’re not allowed to be lazy – WHY is The Godfather II your favorite movie? Isn’t it full of things you talk about men not doing? Also, why II and not I or III?

Fine, here’s why.  It’s awesome.  There’s no moral high ground, there’s nothing redeeming, Michael and Vito aren’t heroes, the mafia killed people, everybody treated women poorly, and any logic used by any character was almost certainly flawed.

However…

Al Pacino and Robert De Niro were stunningly good as Michael and Vito Corleone.  Not to mention the clothes, music, cinematography, depth of storytelling, editing, sound design (listen to the train in the Sollozzo and McCluskey scene), and casting are all perfect.

“He was stupid. I was lucky. I will visit him soon.”

And to your point about liking a movie that’s not very Grown Man-ish, to that I say, who cares? I’m not looking for movies, television, or music to impart some moral high ground, I’m looking to be entertained.  These things aren’t meant to raise us (or our kids) they’re meant to light up our minds.  So…you can read this blog for sound advice or, if you’re lucky, you can ask your awesome grandpa what being a Grown Man means.  But no matter what you do, don’t blame the messenger.  You are the owner of your influences and your actions.

Finally, regarding  your point about I and III.  The original Godfather wouldn’t be as great without the sequel, and the fact that you would ask about The Godfather III makes me angry.  You are on a one month suspension from reading Grown Man.

GM,

Where have you been?  You disappeared for over a year – and now you’re back!?  What’s with that?

Sincerely,
About A Million People

Short, true answer: Mrs. Grown Man and I busted out some kids.

Long, amusing answer: You need to start thinking about the You’re A Grown Man blog like you think about the McRib. Sometimes it’s there; sometimes it isn’t.  Why don’t they just keep it there year round? Nobody knows.  Why is the Filet-O-Fish always available but the McRib isn’t? It’s the greatest mystery of our age. However, what we do know is that when the McRib is on the menu, it’s a delightful morsel that satisfies our every desire.  When it’s gone, we remember how awesome it was and eagerly await its return.  Right now, the McRib is on the menu – go ahead and supersize it.

Hey Grown Man, I know you won’t answer this question, but why don’t you use your real name?  Why are you anonymous?  Also, your blog is amazeb*$#s.

Jeff
Scottsdale, Arizona

Thanks for the compliment, Jeff.  No, I take that back.  I do not thank you for the compliment.  I hate that word so much, and I am begging the folks who read this blog to create and sign some sort of petition stating that they’ll never say that word again.  Jeff, I’ve taught you better.  Gross.

To your question though, here’s why I’m anonymous: The guy who actually writes this has a name, a career, and all kinds of flaws.  Sometimes he writes GM for you – usually he’s writing it for himself.  If that fella lets GM do the talking, we all benefit.  Believe me, you don’t want to hear from the guy with a name – he is BOOOOOORING (but quite handsome).

That’s all for now, thank you all for asking such great questions.  Until next week, ask away…

I know it was you Fredo,
Grown Man

be quiet.

30 Jan

One of the phrases that drives me bananas during the course of day-to-day conversationis…  Well, actually I have to set it up properly to have the full effect.  Here’s the setup:

Manager:  Sales are down – way down.  Skippy, we’ve got to come up with some exciting new marketing strategy.  How about hiring a homeless guy to hold a sign? It’ll be perfect!

You (Skippy): Great idea, Mr. Manager.  I’ll head down to the shelter.

Manager: Hazaa!  [HERE COMES THE PHRASE I HATE] So like I said, we’ll hire a homeless guy to hold the sign. It’ll be perfect!

You (Skippy): Right, that’s what we just… anyhow, great.

Here’s the issue gentlemen: you talk too much.  It’s clear when guys use phrases like, “So like I said…” to not only say something, but also introduce the fact that they’re going to say it again.  Unnecessary.  Any man worth his weight in bow-ties needs to have the confidence to know that when they speak, they’re heard.  And they need to have the courage to know that if they don’t have anything to say, the world won’t stop, and they’ll still be significant.  Speaking more doesn’t equate to being more – it equates to lack of temperance.

Be quiet. Here’s why:

1- It gives you time to listen.  The coolest men ever are the ones that lean back, make eye contact, and listen to what you’re saying.  They don’t do that thing where they kind of pre-breathe/start a word as a verbal cue, indicating that it’s time for them to talk.  They just listen, and they communicate your value to you by not stepping over what you’re saying.  Additionally, they are smarter because they up the ratio of importing information to exporting yada yada yada.

2- You’ll have a voice when you do speak. As a man, when you say something, you want to be heard.  It makes you feel valued, and that, in turn, helps out with ye olde pride.  When you talk all the time, people tend to average out the time they listen to you and catch every ninth monologue. You don’t want this.  You want it all to count.  Be disciplined.

3- It’s cool.  Don Draper, Clint Eastwood, 007.

So like I said, be quiet.  I promise you, it’ll work out in your favor.

You’re a Grown Man, be quiet.

quit going to semi-strip clubs.

8 Oct

I’m disgusted that I have to write this article. For real, I can’t believe that seemingly regular guys who aren’t ridiculous enough to go to strip clubs (it’s never okay) have no problem frequenting semi-strip clubs.

Um, Grown Man, semi-strip clubs?  You made that up didn’t you?  I mean, c’mon.

Oh heck yeah I made it up, and you know why?  Because restaurants, bars, car washes, and anywhere else where employees are almost naked and survive on your tips for their perceived – again, perceived – flirting are employing the same business model as a strip club.  Let me say that again more simply: If a woman is almost naked in your vicinity, you’re no longer interested in chicken wings.

Grown Man, tell me you’re not talking about [no lawsuits for me] — I love that place!  Straight up, bro, for real, it’s just you and me now — I go for the food.

No, you don’t! And here’s how I know you don’t go for the food.  Men are visual creatures.  The entry point to our hearts, minds, sexuality, and yes, stomachs, is our eyes.  When we’re little guys, everyone thinks we have ADD (which in some cases may be true.)  But the reason all little fellas are ADD-ish is because they’ve yet to reign in their eyes. So everything they see, every new picture on a TV and every shiny object that flashes in the distance, is some new bit of stimulus for their brains to process.  When we’re big kids, we know how to control and maintain some level of attention, but we still see everything: every painted-on pair of orange shorts, every flirty look, and every giggle that is designed to raise the tip to 25%. By design, every second of your semi-strip club experience should engage your eyes, then your brain, and then your wallet.

If you think you go to these places for the food, you’re lying to yourself.  Because the truth is, if an almost naked woman served you a steaming plate of elephant crap, your eyes would change that plate into a Martha Stewart display of chocolate chip cookies made with Jesus magic and unicorn hair. Maybe the food is good – maybe it’s not. Either way, unless you’re a eunuch, you have no way of discerning that.

But we haven’t really hit the main point yet, have we?  Because up until this time, it’s all been about the establishment and how it’s designed to fool you, which I hope you believe.  But at the end of the day, part of the price we pay for living in a wonderfully free society is that even a sleazy business can exist if it’s able to.

The real issue here is that it’s denigrating. To women? Yes, but that’s common knowledge and über obvious. So who else might it belittle, disparage, and generally just cheapen? You, Grown Man, you.

Oh god, you’re about to go deep, aren’t you?  I’ve read enough of these to know that you like to round third with some Montel Williams action.

Gentlemen, you’ve been designed well.  Your propensity for seeing a woman and recognizing that she’s lovely is part of who you are and shouldn’t be viewed as a bad thing.  When you’re single, you should harness that part of you just enough to notice that there’s something worth summoning up the courage, putting on your big-boy pants, and asking her out on a date. When you’re in a relationship, use your eyes to grow closer, to be more committed, and to appreciate her, and only her.  You’re not ADD, you’re hard wired to be a visual animal.  Honestly, it’s a good thing.

What’s not a good thing is that your eyes (and all they lead to) are being fooled by semi-strip clubs.  Because you, me, all of us, are just dumb enough to think that maybe, just maybe, the giggle was real, the flirting was genuine, and that she’s super stoked about bringing you – wow, YOU – extra blue cheese.  Guess what, she’s not – no more than you care about the spreadsheet you created 2 days ago at work. She’s not remembering the dude who was super nice 2 hours ago. She’s working, and you’re doing a disservice to yourself by thinking otherwise.

In closing, let me say this: good chicken wings are a staple of any man’s diet.  If you’re mourning the loss of your favorite place because I’ve guilted you into submission, here’s what you need to do: find a local, Italian owned, pizza place that sells wings.  I can assure you, wings from a Mario Brother will put Hoo[no lawsuit]rs to shame.

You’re a Grown Man, quit going to semi-strip clubs.

slow down.

7 Oct

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  Nice to see you again.

I just got back from Greece and I must say that:

-Greek food is of the gods and should be mandatory consumption for all planet Earth.

-Sailing in the Aegean Sea makes even the doughiest and landlocked Grown Men (I might be talking about me) feel like a trident-wielding Poseidon.


self-portrait

-Exploring new places is good for the soul unless you get lost — in which case, Greece doesn’t participate in the popular “street sign” method of navigation. You end up walking forever to get to a place that was one block from where you started.

-Greek people are tremendous.  Well, not the one Greek guy who wouldn’t let us take a picture of him grilling an entire freaking octopus, but everyone but that dude is awesome.

-There’s nothing better than an uninterrupted week with Mrs. Grown Man (my wife).

Anyhow, it’s good to be back in the intensely jet lagged saddle and getting the opportunity to share with you something else that stood out to me whilst gallivanting around Greece — we move really freaking fast in America.

I first noticed my own Gonzales-ness when we sat down for our first Grecian meal.  In Greece, the waiter wanders over at some point, asks if you’d like water, disappears for a bit, comes back with the water, leaves again, asks if you have menu questions, leaves, takes an appetizer order, leaves, brings bread, asks if you’ve decided, leaves… you get it, it’s slow.  And this phenomenon doesn’t just occur at fancy restaurants where they’re trying to separate tourists from Euros, this is the norm.  They just take at least an hour to eat meals, even during the work day.

The second time I noticed that Americans move too fast, or was rather told quite bluntly that we’re on cultural caffeine, was by a local man named Simon who struck up a conversation with me.  By the way, Greek men actually talk to each other and converse quite freely with strangers.  Anyhow, Simon and I were doing the typical vacation chit-chat where I tell him where we’ve been so far and he asks me questions about American life (“No, most of us only know English — and poorly at that.”  “Yes, we have to pay taxes.”  “No, we don’t generally live close to our families.” “Yes, many people work 7 days a week in New York City.”)  Anyhow, he shared with me that his son had recently visited America and was shocked by the pace of our people.  To quote Simon (he’s speaking wonderful English by the way): “My son says you work all the time, talk on the phone all the time, and are always go go go.”  To Simon I replied (in average English), “Yep, that’s us.”

Grown Men, the Greeks have given the world a lot of great advancements over the years — philosophy, art, architecture, and the crossbow. Now they’ve given us, by way of Simon and yours truly, some important advice — we’ve got to slow down. 

Get ready for an old guy statement, here we go… everything we do nowadays is fast.  We multitask, we “grab a quick bite,” we value working 10+ hours at a breakneck pace, and we generally find every possible way to speed up our world.  I know you’re busy, aren’t you?  Yet don’t you feel like the more gadgets you acquire to save time and the more activities you squeeze into the iCal white spaces, the less actual time you have and the less you get done?  In the words of Kenan Thompson, “What’s up with that!?”  Here’s what’s up: going faster and doing more has diminishing returns on living a life of quality and purpose.

So what do we do? First, we acknowledge the fact that we do live in a fast freaking culture and, though two-hour siestas and evening strolls on the cliffs of Santorini would be ideal, we just don’t live in a society that always allows it.  Second, because we acknowledge that there are demands on our time that are extreme, we must force margins into our life.  Finally, we must guard those margins with all our might.

For example, let’s go back to the Greek (and I’m guessing rest of the world) tradition of taking longer meals: Every time MGM and I were served food, we would take a bite, make those weird mmmmm-ing noises, drink a spot of wine, and intentionally put down our forks.  By habit and culture, we were going to plow through the meal and easily move on to the next activity.  But, because we were doing everything we could to savor the time (and the tzatziki), we made ourselves put just the smallest margin of time around the simple, everyday activity of eating.  What if you started to do the same?  What if power lunches were replaced with just regular old lunches?  What if the morning cup of coffee wasn’t spent in front of CNN, with a newspaper, with the laptop, but rather on the back porch just injecting 20 minutes of silence into the day?  What if those small margins of time were placed strategically throughout every day?  What if I stopped asking questions?

A few weeks ago, I sold my iPhone and got a free, boring one.  Today, I sat with old and new friends for a one hour relaxing lunch.  Tomorrow, I’m going to put away the laptop, go out in the refreshing fall air, and start building a picnic table.  My encouragement to you is to do whatever needs to be done to slow down, create some pockets of free time, and enjoy life.  At the end of the day, it’s not what you’ve done or how much you’ve made, it’s how well you invested in the lives of others and used the time you’ve been given.

You’re a Grown Man, slow down.

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.

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