Tag Archives: manners

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

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.

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.

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.

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!

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