Tag Archives: high school

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.

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.

Ask a Grown Man: Vol. IX

12 Aug

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

Dear Grown Man,

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

Thank you for reading.

Keep being Ab-fab-tastic!
-Nick

Refrigerator Perry,

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

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

What then, shall you do?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gus,

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

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

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

Quit using gay as slang,
GM

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

Ask a Grown Man: Vol. V

15 Jul

Good Thursday, Grown Men.  Let’s do this thang…

Dear Grown Man,

I work in one of those “cool” places where people come into work wearing T-Shirts, including the two owners. I wear casual button downs most of the time, so at least I’m making some headway.

What about shoes, though? [I cut out some stuff] Sneakers in the work place are for teenagers working at a fast food joint…it doesn’t matter how nice they are. So what should I be wearing?!

Thanks,
Ben

Benjamin,

We have two things to talk about.  First, you need to have a good old fashion uprising in your office. It is ridiculous that a man with your fashion forward mind should consider, even for a moment, working for those goons. Today’s the day, Benny Boy. Walk right in there, inform them that there’s no room for Ed Hardy in a Brooks Brothers world and demand their jobs. When they refuse, make sure they notice the pitchfork and torches that you and the other button-down-boys are holding and give them an ultimatum – either they dress like freaking adults, or they shall be brained.

Second, the fact that you’ve even considered what shoes to wear gives me a great amount of hope for you.  Allow me to honor your inquiry with some well-organized bullet points regarding shoe selection:

No kidding, I owned these exact shoes.

-You may not ever wear sneakers to work UNLESS your company is having some sort of outdoor activity that forces you all to walk in a 5k on a Saturday morning in matching t-shirts.  Even “teenagers working at a fast food joint” should have the work ethic to wear standard issue black restaurant shoes instead of flashy British Knights (or whatever the kids are wearing now).

-As you so astutely pointed out, your suit shoes shouldn’t be your 9-5 shoes.  You really need to own shoes that are only worn with your suit(s).  They should remain well polished and kept in the box until very special occasions.

-Your 9-5 shoes need to be somewhere on the spectrum between your Indie-boss kicks and the suit shoes.  I would avoid patent (shiny) leather and overly trendy colored shoes.  Brown or black, tasteful, and timeless are always good guidelines.  However, I respect a Grown Man’s decision to have a unique style, so if you must show some flair, do it in a way that doesn’t elicit memories of juice boxes and recess.

Ben, I hope this helps and thanks for giving a crap about how you appear at work.  Prepare for the uprising my friend – the revolution is now.

My Adidas,
GM

Why do men not give their girlfriends compliments after the first 3 months? My friends and I can get compliments from other men all day long, but the one she wants them from doesn’t give them.

-Christine

Christine,

Men DO give their girlfriends compliments after the first three months, years, and decades.  The “men” you are speaking of are hunter/gatherers who give compliments to lure women and get their fill of emotional and/or physical affirmation.  When these men finish the chase, they simply begin the process of discarding the carcass and moving on.  I assure you, the man you speak of is giving compliments to some woman – just not “your friend.”

Your friend,
GM

Until next week, keep asking those great questions!


get up early.

23 Jun

Wasn’t summer the best when you were a kid?  You’d go to sleepovers at your buddies house and play Tecmo Bowl until the wee hours of the morning. Then, you’d sleep late enough that your friends mom would peak her head in around 11:30 and ask the inevitable question, “Are you boys planning on getting up soon?”  No, of course you weren’t, there’s no plan for getting up, you’re 12 and you’re keepin’ it real!  Lazy summers are part of your childhood and one of the great luxuries of having nothing to do.

However, and I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, you’ve got stuff to do now and it’s time to wake up. It’s no longer cool to be sleeping until 9:15 and looking disheveled as you hide behind a 64 oz. Starbucks cup until 2pm.  For real, “Are you boys planning on getting up soon?”

Grown Man, first of all, I hate your blog.  Second of all, why would I get up earlier than I have to?  What’s wrong with my system of subtracting 27 minutes off the start of my first appointment and setting my alarm for that time?

First of all, I don’t care, you’re only reading Grown Man because you know your girlfriend will quiz you on it – and that’s fine with me.  Second of all, getting up early is part of what makes great men wise, refined, and disciplined.  Your method of dragging your butt into the day and riding the wave of espresso until you catch your first wind at 3:30 doesn’t allow room for things like study, reflection, and – wait for it – silence.

Um, Oprah called, she wants her blog back.

Nice early 90’s joke.  Gentlemen, the day comes at you like a lion.  Getting up early allows you to tame it and create in yourself disciplines like patience, temperance, and self-control.  Think about the difference it would make in your life if you took some extra time in the morning to orient yourself and prepare for the coming storm.  Okay, enough touchy-feely talk, let’s get practical:

1- Tomorrow morning, no matter how early you already have to get up, set your alarm for an hour earlier.
2- Take that hour to read, think, drink a good cup of coffee (preferably French Press) and NOT work on your iBerry.
3- Do that every day.

Grown Men, have you ever wondered why your dad or grandpa was ALWAYS awake before you?  Yes, it’s partly due to an enlarged prostate that makes him pee every time the wind blows.  But also, it’s due to the fact that he’s not a child anymore and he knows the value of greeting the day on his terms, with his agenda, and with the learned discipline to sharpen and quiet his mind.

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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