Tag Archives: internet

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.

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.

Ask a Grown Man: Vol. VI

22 Jul

“Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends!

In one of your posts, you said that grown men should not call radio shows.  Does this stand on posting comments to blogs like yours?
-Brian Strickland

Life of Brian,

You’ve asked a fine question, my good man. Let me first say this – for real, thanks for reading through the old posts where I was trite, poorly edited, and not really focused on good content (Stop Ice Skating?!).  And, while I never go back and edit a post, I’d give my left – foot – to have another crack at Buy a Suit and Open Her Door. Oh well.  Like sand through an hour-glass, these are the days of our lives.

Back to your question.  I still maintain that calling radio shows is usually a poor decision.  In rare cases of great contests, it’s okay.  But for the most part, we use radio shows to throw out information in a non-relational way that really doesn’t move the ball forward.  And, while commenting on blogs could be viewed the same way, there’s a part of me that has to squelch the curmudgeonly old man inside and yield to a new way of communicating. For instance, yesterday’s Know How to Cook post yielded comments that were chock-full of good discussion, helpful resources, a few laughs, and even a bit of dissension.

There is a line, however.  This line is crossed when we begin to argue with each other and hide behind the anonymity that only the internet can provide.  At that point, there’s nothing that can replace a hearty handshake, a cup of coffee, and a thorough discussion on why men must Stop Wearing Skinny Jeans.  As the writer of this here blog, I have a responsibility to mind the funny/helpful vs. obnoxious/hurtful line.  As commenters and Grown Men, we should always be checking our motivations.

Your comments are welcome,

How/when did you know you had achieved “grown man” status?


Oh boy, do I want to be funny right now.  I want my answer to be, “I knew I was a Grown Man the first time I tipped my hat to a lady while riding a horse” or “I knew I was a Grown Man when Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall released a joint statement affirming that the testosterone-torch was now mine to carry.”  Sadly though, none of those answers are true.

The truth is, I achieve Grown Man status every day when I wake up and say to myself, “Today, I’m going to try hard to be a better man.”  I achieve Grown Man status when I make an extra effort to learn something new, focus on the world around me (and not me), practice a dying form of etiquette, or simply show kindness.  Conversely, there are many times when I fall short and don’t feel very good about the guy I’m being.  However, it’s in those moments that I try to remember that being a Grown Man isn’t about being perfect, it’s about trying – hard – everyday to up the bar for myself and the world that I live in.

Grown Man (before The Postman)

Okay, I’d like to be funny one more time before the post ends.  “I knew I was a Grown Man when I killed a tatonka and ate its still beating heart.”

Good question, Jodi,
GM (or at least trying)

Thank you for reading and being supportive of this Grown Man.  Until next week, keep asking those great questions…

Ask a Grown Man: Vol. IV

8 Jul

Gentlemen, start your engines….

Dear Ask A Grown Man,

I’m a 20-year-old woman and for sometime, since high school, I never liked guys my age. I guess you can say I have a thing for “silver-foxes”. My girl friends/guy friends think this is odd, and tease me about it. At the same time, I AM with an older man and we’re very much in love with one another. I can care less about what people say, but my boyfriend is more concerned about what people WILL say about ME in particular. What is the best way for my boyfriend to deal with this?

Anonymously yours,
Silver-Fox Chick

Silver-Fox Chick’s 85-year-old boyfriend,

Well, you’ve got a live one on your hands, mister. How wonderful is it to finally have a special lady to share Bunco and 4pm dinners at Golden Corral with!?  Furthermore, she can help you remember all your pills and ensure that the “damn internet is switched on!” Oh yes, my friend from the Greatest Generation, you’ve snagged a real whippersnapper.

Now, the question seems to be how you will deal with people giving her crap for ogling octogenarians.  And, because you’re a good guy, you should care deeply about how the woman you love is being treated.  But before I answer that question, I want to throw the Jazzy Chair in reverse and look at the bigger picture.

Do her friends have a point?

Damn it Grown Man, how dare you!  I was knee-deep in rice patties when you were still in short pants!

Now wait, “watch your blood pressure, honey”, and listen to me.  When all of our friends are telling us something, we should at least consider it.  The mere fact that we’re friends with them tells us that, at some point, we felt safe enough to bestow an extra measure of trust.  That trust, in good times, is a gift; and in contrary times, is uncomfortable but worth hearing out. So, the friends think this is “odd.” Let’s look at why…

Option 1: Gigantic age differences can sometimes, again sometimes, be an indicator of something deeper that has yet to be resolved. Here’s some simple math:

Young woman + issues (probably dad) = sometimes dating an older dude to fill that void

Don’t quit reading – please.  Because that first option takes a ton of liberties with your story and, in all likelihood, is not accurate.  But we’ve got to be bold enough when we’re in a relationship to consider the genesis of the attraction.  Only then can we move forward in a healthy relationship and quit responding to our past.

Option 2: People reject anything that’s different. “The Friends” were expecting Silver-Fox Chick to date someone in her normal (key word: normal) age range.  When she didn’t, they started goofing on her.  It doesn’t mean anything, it’s just how people who are afraid to say how they really feel, express themselves.  We’re all guilty of it.

J. Howard Marshall, you’ve got to feel great dating a woman who will put up with her friends teasing just to be with you.  And, assuming that Option 2 is the real cause for concern, I would let it go and proudly love this woman.  Over time, her friends will care more about the fact that she’s being treated well then the fact that you’re collecting a pension from the WPA.

“We can talk or not talk for hours!”,

How long do I have to be a grown man?


Mr. Martindale,

Probably until you stop asking that question, my friend.

Oooooo, so existential.

-GM Kierkegaard

Thank you for reading!  Until next week…ask away.

quit showing friends your favorite YouTube videos.

21 Apr

Seriously, quit it.

1- It’s never as funny/gross/unbelievable as it was the night before when you were avoiding your family by “finishing up some work in the other room”.

2- It forces the unfortunate viewer to laugh/cringe/freak out on command – which is pretty tough to do.

3- You can be interesting and funny without the aid of props. I’m just sayin’, Carrot Top vs. Jerry Seinfeld – who wins?

That is all. Good day.

quit using a dumb email address.

1 Apr

I’m going to get straight to the point. AwesomeWiener1981@mindspring.com is not going to land you a job, a lady friend, or respect.

Nor is:

You are an adult. Would you walk up to a stranger and say, “Hi, I’m Bro’sBeforeHo’s69, nice to meet you”? Think of what your email address says about you. It’s not a joke, it’s your name.

How about trying out an email with say, oh I don’t know, your freaking name in it. As a rule, avoid numbers, cars, alcohol, bands, trendy catchphrases or any other thing you think is cool. I can assure you, people will like you more if you switch from DontHaveACowMan@hotmail.net to GrownMan@gmail.com

%d bloggers like this: