Tag Archives: lady-friend

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.

Ask a Grown Man: Vol. XIII

8 Nov

Hey Grown Man,

I love the outdoors and everything about it. My idea of “a good time” involves kayaks, climbing harnesses, tents, and Wyoming.

My question is, what does this mean for my (hypothetical) lady-friend who doesn’t dig the outdoors? I can put up with cuddling on the sofa watching the Notebook, but enough’s enough.

Advice?

-Mountain Man

Mountain Man,

First, I’d like to publicly chastise you for coming up with your own nickname.  How dare you sir, how dare you indeed.  As the proprietor of this here blog, I take great joy in reading a question like yours and coming up with an oh-so-witty salutation.  For instance, I might have started this reply with, “Dearest Timothy Treadwell” or “Guy Who Secretly Loves the Notebook and is Seeking My Approval for His Nicholas Sparks Obsession.”  However, you did come up with a passable nickname, so… I forgive you.  On to more pressing matters.

At least the documentary was awesome

How is a man of the wilderness able to coexist with a woman of worldliness?  Oh no, wait, here’s a better one: How can a gentlemen of the outdoors love a woman of shopping mall stores?  I should’ve quit on the first one.  Anyhow, it’s a tough question.  Because really, there’s no silver-bullet that will somehow help you and this hypothetical woman co-exist in a perfectly balanced tent and town-house life.  The real question is: To what extent are you willing to compromise? Answering this question will go a far way in solving your initial query.

Here’s what I’m talking about.  Relationships aren’t meant to change or define, but rather to refine.  It’s a fine line but one that must be guarded at all times in order to avoid resentment from either party. While a dream scenario may be to get her to completely convert and become an REI shopping, Kavu wearing, get lost and love it type of person — she just may not be wired that way. Certainly you can understand, can’t you?  You aren’t wired to enjoy an evening of window shopping, dining at Chili’s, and cuddling at home in front of the latest Julia Roberts project, “Eat, Pray, Dying Career”.  But, even though you’re not going to redefine each other as individuals, you can still meet somewhere in the middle.  So, here are your options:

1- Compromise. If this woman is worth giving and taking a little bit for, do it.  Do your best to show her what you love about nature without overwhelming her but also suck it up a bit and learn how to give a crap about her world.  Compromise is key — for both of you!

2- Cheerlead. Sometimes, there is no middle ground and you’ve got to take a sideline, cheerleader, approach.  For instance, Mrs. Grown Man likes to run marathons. I, conversely, really like to not run marathons.  Therefore, I’ve got a job to make her feel supported without directly participating in what can only be described as 26.2 miles of insanity and torture.  So, I go to the races and clap with the rest of the wise non-marathoners and I make sure to tell her how amazing she is at least 50 times for each mile she’s run.  Mountain Man, Uptown Girl may not be able to get stoked about your world and, additionally, you may not be able to get jazzed about hers.  But, can you at least be excited and supportive of the other person. Right?

3- Be done. Everyone, you need to pay attention to the next statement: Marriage doesn’t fix anything that’s busted in dating or engagement — it only magnifies it.  Therefore, Mountain Man, if this is a big issue that no amount of compromise or cheerleading can fix, you’ve got to both ask each other if this is a relationship worth keeping.  I know this is an extreme response to a difference of interests, and I really hope you guys can find a way, but if you can’t and this is a big deal, it’ll only get bigger post-nuptials.  Sorry, bud.

So as I see it, those are your three options.  My encouragement to you would be to be bold in finding which of them works for you guys and pursue it with gusto.  Also, you really should move to Wyoming — it’s freaking beautiful out there, man.

Into the Wild,
GM

Ask a Grown Man: Vol. XII

25 Oct

I’ve got a TON of questions in ye ole’ Ask A Grown Man queue. So, we’re going to spend a couple of days answering them, changing lives, and kickin’ it Dear Abby style.  Let’s get to work….

Grown Man,

I am recently divorced.  It’s been ten years since I’ve even thought about dating, and I believe the world has changed quite a bit.  What do I do to get myself into the current dating scene?  A related question, what are your thoughts on e-dating sites?

Thank you for your time,
Michael

My Good Man,

Sorry about your divorce.  While you may be happy it ended, nobody ever goes into a marriage expecting it to fail.  I hope this season of your life hasn’t been too rough.  But, judging by your email, I’m guessing you might be emerging from those woods and ready to dip a toe back in the ever-so-treacherous dating waters — well done.  Allow me to shed some light on your questions.

First, a lot and nothing has changed in ten years. For example, in 2000 everybody was paying attention to hanging chads in hella-crazy Florida while at the same time – get ready for it –  women enjoyed being with a man who was polite.  Here’s another one: In 2000, every Gen Y-er was bemoaning the end of Boy Meets World (and Topanga) – also, eye contact and genuine interest in a woman’s life was getting guys second dates.

So 1998You see what I’m saying?  Basically, Michael, being a good man is always en vogue and ten years changes nothing except current events and fashion (no more paisley ties – ever).  However, and more to your questions, where do you meet Michael-worthy women?

Well, people say you should stay away from bars.  But, what I really think they mean is that you should stay away from places that you, on a normal day, would never go to.  For instance,  if you’re 45, don’t go to the bar that the super-trendy college kids frequent.  While it may seem like a good idea to be flirting with freshmen, it’s not the relationship you’re looking for.

In reality, you should be hanging out in places with people like you.  You should find the local Michael-like establishment(s) and set up camp.  Also, you might need to be creative and create hobbies or situations in your life that foster this kind of community.  Not a church-goer?  Maybe it’s time.  Are you a half-way decent baseball player?  Time to sign up for your local softball league. The bottom line is this: find a community, be bold in asking quality women out, pick yourself up when it doesn’t work, and be patient.  Then, like the shampoo bottles say, “Wash, rinse, repeat.”  Keep at it.

Or, there’s option b) on-line dating.  Here are my two cents on online dating.  Five years ago, it was a little odd and something that good, normal, non-super strange folks should have avoided.  However, the fact that on-line dating has become so popular has helped in shifting the balance from 10% Normal/90% Creep-a-zoid to 80% Normal/20% oogie. This change has caused me to rethink the validity of this option and give it my official, “I Don’t Know Man, If You Really Have To” seal of approval. There’s nothing better than meeting a nice lady organically. However, I realize we live in different and increasingly isolated times, and it gets progressively harder as you get further away from your 20’s to go au naturel. So if you must Michael, you’ve got my semi-support.

heHarmony,
GM

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.

get out of debt (part 2).

23 Sep

In case you didn’t read You’re a Grown Man, get out of debt (part 1). Here’s a quick recap — 1960’s Batman TV Show style:

Last time, on Grown Man

We learned that Grandpas are awesome (WOW!!!)

We found out that evil Dr. Debt is probably in YOUR HOME (ZOK!!!)

But just in the nick of time, Grown Man swooped in (WHAMM!!!) to save the day and let you know that your life is worth more than just money and possessions! (OOOOF!!!)

Then, just as you were about to stop reading, Robin came to the rescue and yelled, “What are you worth, and how can you find contentment in that?  It’s a hard question but one that’s really at the heart of our crazy spending!” (OPRAH-ED!!!)

Robin always was kind of a buzz kill.  Anyhow, let’s continue on with the reasons why you should get out of debt (KAPOW!!!) Okay, I promise I’m done with those now.  Here we go…

2- Debt destroys relationships. Even great relationships have an impossibly hard time navigating the waters of financial stress.  Research — real research, not like some junky middle school science fair project — has shown that couples are more likely to survive gigantic problems with children, in-laws, or sex than they are with financial issues. Yes, it’s that big of a deal and it a-bombs good couples every day.  If you love that girl, balance the budget.

Me an Ole' Betsy?

3- Men need to dream. They need to be able to entertain thoughts like, “Maybe I’d like to move out west when I retire and open a dairy farm” (and yes, this is a real one I had last week.)  Why do I want to be a dairy farmer when I’m lactose intolerant?  Hell of a question. In any event, being debt free gives us the freedom to entertain crazy thoughts like that or less bovine dreams like, “Maybe I’ll buy my friend dinner tonight” or “What if I gave away some money to good causes?”  We need freedom, it’s in our DNA.  And being shackled by debt locks us into a life that’s void of new horizons.

4- Trust is earned. My grandfather (a.k.a. The Great One) trusted the mailman. Because every time the mailman took five minutes out of his Friday to pay the tab, he was clearing his debt, clearing his name, and looking The Great One in the eye and saying (without saying anything), “What you give to me, I will take care of — even if it’s just a sandwich and nickel Coke.”

And that, Grown Men, is why people trust you.  Because you own what’s yours and take care of what’s others.  If you are in debt, you’ve let the world (and more importantly, yourself) know that you’ll take others’ money and not give it back.  Yes, I know you’re usually borrowing from “the man” who “has plenty of money, so why do I have to pay them back!?”  Because you said you would, and at the end of the day, your word is the only true currency you’ve got.

But Grown Man, I’m in debt for school!  Are you saying that’s wrong? Also, why didn’t you tell me that a degree in LaserDisc Repair wasn’t a good idea?

Let’s talk briefly about the terms “good” and “bad” debt.  Good debt typically refers to a house or an education where there’s a possible, if not likely, positive return on investment.  Conversely, bad debt covers everything else that rarely returns equal or positive numbers.  These bad debts are things like cars, credit cards, and that $200 eBay vintage Glowworm.  None of these things, except maybe the Glowworm, will end up yielding you a profit and are widely understood to be dumb ideas.  However, I want to flip-it-and-reverse it on you…

There is no such thing as good debt.

Oh my, how shocking!  Yes, I’m telling you that you should try desperately to pay off your house as soon as possible and not have school loans.  Yes, I’m saying what you think I’m saying — no debt means no debt. Zero.

Now listen, I’m a reasonable man. I know people can’t usually plop down multiple thousands of dollars for these things. But, I am saying that you should do everything in your power to turn your 30-year mortgage into a 15-year one.  And, if that’s not possible, consider if you’ve got the buying power to be in your home in the first place.  If not, turn your dreams of living some other person’s life into realities of living the life you have. Get a house you can pay for – quickly – and stop leaning on the bank to prop you up for 30 years.

As far as school loans go, do everything in your ability to pay your way through school.  Even if you have to wait a year, live like a pauper, and save a ton for tuition — do it.  It’s only in recent history that school loans became the norm.  It was never common for most people, including the generation before us, to take out money for education. And, because they didn’t, they weren’t handcuffed to interest rates and creditors during the second chorus of Pomp and Circumstance.  You, however, will be.  And trust me on this one, you don’t want that pressure right out of school.

Having said all of this, please know that you can still be a Grown Man and have debt.  In full disclosure, I have a mortgage.  However, you can’t be resigned to it being okay, as you were never designed to live a life playing servant to the lender.  You were meant to do great things, to use your mind, to keep your word, and to own your own life.

Here are a few ways you can start reclaiming your world and get out of debt (none of these suggestions are affiliated with Grown Man or have any clue I exist):

1- Listen, read, ingest, and do everything Dave Ramsey says.  He’s intense and brilliant with money management.  You need him.

2- Start using Mint.com.  It won’t make you not crazy with money, but it’ll show you how crazy you are.

3- Find your friend who is out of debt and trade his/her advice for beer (that you buy with cash!)

4- Talk to The Great One, he’ll straighten you out — and give you a Werther’s Original.

You’re a Grown Man, get out of debt.

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