Tag Archives: wedding

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

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.

break up with class.

1 Sep

If you’ve been reading You’re A Grown Man for any length of time, you know that I often write on the complexities of relationships.  I’ve written on being bold enough to ask a girl out, and on my own tragic (but apparently amusing to you heartless people) experience of being dumped.  However, it occurred to me recently that I’ve never addressed an important issue that all Grown Men should be prepared for — how to end a relationship properly.  We’ve gotta get this one right, guys.

Austrian melodic death metal band Perishing Ma...

Image via Wikipedia

For this post, I’m going to skip answering the question: should you break up with her?  The reason for this is because there are simply too many scenarios to adequately say yes or no without a trillion “what-if’s.”  Everyone has got reasons for the relationship ending — some of them valid, some of them ridiculous.  In the end, it’s really your call, and I’m not going to be the one to stop you from tossing aside the best woman you’ll ever meet just because she’s not super stoked about touring the country with your death-metal band. Where I will start, however, is under the assumption that you know you’re done and trying to figure out how to properly end it.  Let’s do this bullet point style…

-Rip the Band-Aid off: When you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach and you know, I mean really — you know it’s going to end — you’ve got to muster up every ounce of courage you have and not let the relationship go one moment longer than it needs to.  The reason is simple — she deserves it.  The day you started dating, oh that fateful day, you entered a non-verbal but very binding contract to be straight-up, brutally, honest with each other.

Grown Man, I didn’t do anything of the sort!  Straight-up, brutally, honest?  You’re a girl, aren’t you – I mean, c’mon.

Yes, you did enter a contract.  It’s called dating, and it’s what’s expected of you. You may not have realized it, but I can guarantee you that she did.  I’m not talking about love, marriage or anything else. I’m simply saying that honesty in every relationship is a non-negotiable. Having said that, the moment you’re done with the relationship but haven’t yet informed her, you’re breaking the contract.  And before the comments start flowing, yes, she owes you the same courtesy.

-Face it: I know you want to phone-in the break up, don’t you?  Isn’t it so much easier to just pick up the phone, not have to make eye-contact, and do the deed?  Even if the conversation lasts four hours, at least you can get your Farmville on while she’s asking you questions like, “Sooooo, [sniffle] when you said for[sniffle]ever, what did that mean?”  Ouch.

The truth is, phone, text, email, carrier pigeon, or any other non face-to-face option for breaking up is wholly unacceptable.  You owe it to her to be a man and have the difficult conversation in person.  Not only does it scream of class, but it’s respectful and polite.  I don’t have a fantastic justification for the “why” of this point, but I know she’s worth, at least, you putting yourself through the discomfort of taking on the chin and facing it.

-Get in and get out: You must absolutely end the relationship in an efficient manor.  As a rule, you get one hour of break up time per year of dating.  And yes, I am saying that a 6 month relationship should be ended in 30 minutes.  Why?  Not because it’s easy for you.  In fact, I wish you had to go through some multi-level purgatory for breaking that girl’s heart.  This rule exists to keep you all from going to the fight-zone and saying things that you’ll both regret.  When we (we=animals) get hurt, we fight.  When we fight, we hurt more — it’s a bad cycle.

When you’re ending the relationship, give her concrete reasons that aren’t hurtful about why you’re ending it, don’t attack her character, and when it’s appropriate, get the heck outta there.  She’s going to be upset (or maybe she’ll be grateful!) and you’re both going to be hurt.  It’s important that you realize that going through that hurt together is a disaster waiting to happen.

-Follow the rules: When you’re out of the relationship, you’re out of it.  Don’t text that night saying crap like, “I miss you” or “Farmville rules!” It’s only going to lead her on and make you look like you’re waffling.  Just like you’re done dating her, she needs to be allowed the space to be done dating you.  I’m not kidding on this one. If you guys say, “We’re not going to talk for a month,” stick to it.  If you don’t, you’re just extending the discomfort and breaking the rules.

Gentlemen, it’s okay to break up with someone.  In fact, it’s likely the most respectful thing you can do in the long run for a woman who you realize won’t be your wife.  However, you’ve got to approach breaking up like (I hope) you approach everything else: with mutual respect and humility.

You’re a Grown Man, break up with class.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask them. I might just answer them on this weeks Ask a Grown Man, Vol: XI!

Ask a Grown Man: Vol. X

24 Aug

Oh man, we’re gonna get deeeeeep today.  Dr. Frasier Crane will now take your calls…

 

Hi GM,
So, should Grown Men look for a mother for their children or the romantic “love-of-my-life-butterflies-in-the-stomach-the-one” woman?

-Kris Arruda

 

Kris,
I’m not going to lie. I cringed when reading your question for the first time.  There was something in me that just wanted to get a posse of women, come to what I’m quite sure must be your bachelor pad, and scream…

“KRIS, THEY’RE THE SAME PERSON!”

 

But then I realized that a) it wouldn’t be cool for me to be hanging out with a posse of women, b) I think you live in Brazil which is really quite a commitment for just yelling five words, and c) you’ve brought up an interesting point that bears discussing.

Let’s talk about the “love-of-my-life-butterflies-in-the-stomach-the-one” woman.  Because what we miss is what those butterflies are and what they aren’t.  They are, typically, lust and attraction, you know — the mojo.  And, because we’re essentially big dumb animals, it’s okay and normal to feel attraction to another person.  Butterflies are a good feeling and are designed, as a single man, to cue us in to women who we may be compatible with and therefore further the species via procreation.  However, the “butterflies in the stomach” feeling has less to do with long-term monogamy and more to do with a sense of compatibility which, don’t get me wrong, is extremely important — but is not the whole story.

Because what butterflies aren’t are indicators that we’ve found “the one.”  This is our brain tricking itself into thinking that attraction+physical contact=good relationship.  Our brain, however, is not always connected to the heart and needs to realize that initial attraction is common throughout animals, but emotional attraction is unique to only our species.  You may hear that other animals have the same level to connect, but believe me, dolphins don’t write love songs.  Wow, profound.

Mother or butterflies?So Kris, my good man, here’s what I want you to know.  The “mother of your children” (i.e. your wife and life-long parter) should be a woman who gives you those butterflies, who you totally go nuts over and can’t stop dreaming about, who you make mix tapes for, who you write poems for that will one day embarrass you and be locked in a box, and who your brain is screaming at you to procreate with because she’s giving you that wonderful, indescribable, mojo.  However, and this is a big however, there may be times in even the best relationships where you don’t feel the initial crazy lust/attraction/animal instinct feelings.  That doesn’t mean she’s not crazy-attractive, and it certainly doesn’t mean that you’ve traded romantic love for a less exciting version of it.  It means you’ve got work to do.

Sometimes, you’re going to have to wake up and say to yourself, “Today, I’m going to be a better husband.”  Sometimes, you’ve got to realize that it’s been way too long since you dated your wife.  Sometimes, you’ve got to charge the paddles and shock the heart into beating again.  Believe me, putting work into the marriage will insure that you never have to choose between “butterflies” (lust and attraction) and wife (love) — you get both.

Kris, I’m sure you wanted a funnier answer, but I’ve got a solemn duty to reinvent masculinity.  I hope you understand.  Good luck finding “her.”  Trust me, it’s well worth it.

“Butterfly kisses…”,
GM

After dating someone who turned out to be Less Than A Grown Man for 5 years (and yes, shame on me for not realizing it sooner), I’m now stumped as to how to approach the dating scene. Where-oh-where can I find nice Grown Men in their 30s and 40s? Suggestions, please! Or, better yet, personal referrals… 🙂

 

-Anonymous

 

Single sister,

First, I’ve got to correct you on something.  There’s no “shame” in dating the wrong guy for a while.  Maybe you learned something, maybe you didn’t?  Either way, you didn’t get married and you realized, at some point, that he was less than fantastic.  You did a good thing by getting out, even if it took a while.  And in fairness to you, guys can be pretty cunning — I’m working on fixing that.

Second, I have no idea how to approach the dating scene other than to say that any scene that is designed for dating is likely going to be a disaster.  My advice: find a place that has a bunch of people your age and dive in.  Maybe a sports league, a church, or a 21 Jump Street fan club?  I think I’m giving you bad advice now.  Anyhow, just don’t go to bars or shady online sites.  Guys who go there are more like the 5-year-disaster type and not like the future Mr. Fantastic.

Finally, I don’t have any personal referrals.  But fellas, if you’re reading this and feel you might be a good candidate, please email…

HelpAnonymousFindAGreat30or40yearOldGrownManWhoIsNotCrazy
AndWillLoveHerLikeSheDeservesToBeLoved@youareagrownman.com

Mr. Right,
GM

That’s all for today, gentlemen.  Until next week, keep asking those great questions.

wear a watch.

10 Aug

That’s it, I’m throwing in the towel…I literally can’t take this anymore.  For the last week, I’ve been writing about feelings, weddings, love, relational dynamics, et cetera, et cetera – and I’m going crazy.  I’m a sensitive man, but if I spend one more moment trying to wrap my head around the etiquette and emotions of a wedding, I’m going to cry (irony?).  So today, we’re gonna rock this post like it’s March of 2010 and I’m going to get hella-specific about one issue.

You’re a Grown Man, wear a watch.

But Grown Man, I have a phone that gives me the time!  And it’s not just any phone, it’s a freakin’ jail broken iPhone 4 – sucka!

Here’s why you shouldn’t be using your phone as your primary time keeper.  It’s just not polite, when sitting with a person, to slyly pull out your brick-of-an-iDroidBerry, push a button, and check the time.  Everything about that transaction screams of you not giving a crap about the conversation.  And though that may be true, is not the way a man presents himself.  For real though, I trust that you’re only checking the time, it just appears as though you’re glancing at the recent Words with Friends updates.  Oh my god, I can’t believe the word PacManFever was accepted!

Alright, so hopefully you get the point that your phone isn’t your watch.  But why should Grown Men wear watches at all?  There are a few reasons:

-Grown Men are punctual. There will be a full post about this later in the week, so I’m not going to go into it.  For now I will just leave you with this little adage: Early is on time, on time is late. That just happened.

-Watches project confidence. A watch has a very subconscious effect on the people who see it.  There’s something about the small accent that tells people you value punctuality and fashion.  Conversely, seeing a man without a watch doesn’t scream of immaturity, but it doesn’t help your cause.  Without a watch, you get closer to confidence-neutral, which won’t bode well with potential lady-friends, colleagues, or other Grown Men.

-They look cool. The “Don Draper” factor can’t be ignored. And, as there are very few acceptable pieces of jewelry that a man can wear (cuff links, cool tie clip, wedding ring, glasses, that’s it), a watch is a small exclamation point on a well dressed fella.  While I’ll leave it up to you to determine what’s classy and what’s not, I strongly suggest, nay, demand that you pick a watch that’s timeless (snicker) and appropriate.  Bright yellow bands and Mickey Mouse are out.  Here’s a rule: Picture your watch on Clint Eastwood.  If if looks cool on him, it’s a winner.

And that, my good men, is the end of the post!  No feelings, no love, just good old fashion advice and judgment.  That felt good.

Grown Men, synchronize Swatches!

be a good best man (part 2).

3 Aug

Never, in the long and storied four month life of this blog, has a topic been more requested.  You all have clearly been scarred by some truly terrible toasts, and for that I am sorry.  Someday, when inspiration strikes, I’ll do a full post on toast etiquette.  For now though, I will address best men who, in a typical wedding, will be called upon to raise a glass.  Let the healing begin:

1- Be funny, but not too funny. Let’s cut to the chase. You’re talking about this man in front of his freaking grandparents, you can’t bring up stuff that’s going to humiliate him!  It’s okay to be funny and even do one, uno, singular roast-type joke that won’t cross the line (“My first memory of James was changing his diapers – when I was his babysitter!” [crowd snickers – you’re done])  But then, you’ve got to quell your desire to be publicly funny and realize that: a)you’re probably not funny, b)you’re coming dangerously close to really making a fool out of you and the groom, and c)this isn’t your big break at making it as a stand-up comic.  Save it for the Apollo, my good man.

2- Be warm and willing to show emotion. The main goal of your toast is to salute the bride and groom and lend your voice to the chorus of people who are affirming the newlyweds.  Therefore, you need to get beyond humorous anecdotes and actually say what you like about the groom, his new wife, and their relationship. If you feel like you’re about to cry, pull out your handkerchief and keep going.  There’s nothing emasculating about loving your friend and expressing that emotion.

3- Keep track of time. One of the great traps that we fall into as men is thinking that if some is good, more must be better.  And while this theory works like a charm with Cuban sandwiches and college football – it’s the death of a good toast.  Here’s what you need to do, think about your toast ahead of time and stick to the game plan.  Even if it’s going really well, don’t change direction or freestyle! Make like Seinfeld and get out while you’re on top.  If you don’t, it’s going to be a disaster and people will get bored (like everything Seinfeld’s done since SeinfeldThe Marriage Ref?!).  I’m going to just go ahead and say it right now – you’ve got two minutes, tops.

4- Don’t toast drunk. I’m not going to write a long exposition on this one other than to say that it’s never in your best interest to be sloppy drunk.  Being inebriated basically kills your ability to act like a Grown Man and generally leads you way too close to the not-respectable line.  Additionally, you being drunk and trying to give a good (meaning actually good, not train wreck good) is literally impossible.  Hear me say this: 100% of the time you will make the people that witness your Dudley Moore-esque toast extremely uncomfortable.  Have some respect for the groom and just say no.

and finally…

5- Don’t forget to actually toast. The job of the toast is to literally encourage people to raise their glasses as a sign of respect.  And, while I know it may seem silly for me to bring up this point, I’ve seen countless well-meaning men simply end the speech with a quick “thank you” and then walk away.  Forget something?  Yep, the part where you toast.  All you have to do is say something simple like “To David and Donna!” and raise your glass.  It’s that simple – if you remember.

Gentlemen, I know public speaking is one of the scariest things you can possibly do.  But believe me, if you try to follow these five rules, you’ll be fine. Good luck, and cheers!

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