Tag Archives: wedding

get your facial hair under control.

28 Jun

I’ve gotten more emails about this topic than anything else.  And guess what, most of them are from women!  I wonder if that means anything?  Huh.  Maybe our lady-friends are trying to tell us something? Oh no, it must be a coincidence.  Anyhow, here’s a typical email I receive:

“Dearest Grown Man,  I imagine that you’re smooth like Barry, and your voice has bass, you’ve got a body like Arnold with a Denzel face. Anyhow, my boyfriend has this terribly scraggly beard, can you tell him he has to shave it?


Gentlemen, your follicles are becoming your foe.  The woman in your life are telling you so, Don Draper’s telling you so, and now – I’m telling you so.  Facial hair is not a means of self-expression, it’s one of the few options your body gives you to subtly manipulate an otherwise lackluster appearance.  It’s time to learn the rules:

1- You must give your face daily attention.  Many of the men I know go a week, or tragically a month, between giving their face any mind.  They seem to think it’s subtly growing out and nobody notices.  Let me assure you, we notice.  The reason you don’t see it is the same reason you don’t notice that the trash is full, the dog hasn’t been fed in two days, and the children appear to not be wearing pants as you’re driving to the store.  You, my good men, have a one track mind.  On a typical day, you have a very narrow focus:  get up, coffee, work, soccer practice, food, History Channel, sleep.  What I’m telling you is that somewhere between “get up” and “coffee”, you need to check a mirror and manicure your mug.

2- Mind your fads.  Back in the day, when Magnum was chillin’ with Zeus and Apollo, mustaches were awesome.  I’m not going to mock the mustache as, at a point in our history (key word: history), it was acceptable to get married, interview, and live life with a caterpillar on your upper lip.  However, times have changed, and you need to progress.  While I can’t begin to name all the fads in mens facial hair, I will say that a few of recently deceased are:  goatees, soul patches, and fat-guy-neck-beards.

3- Febru-hairy, no-shave-Novermber, etc. are not going to get you a job or lady-friend.  Now listen, I’m not going to get intense on this point and say you can never do it.  I’ve got some really respectable friends who take to growing a handlebar mustache once a year or stop shaving for a period of time to get a laugh.  Believe me, I get it.  However, these are periods of time – not the default.  By default, your facial hair needs to be tidy and unnoticeable.

4-  If you’re dating/married, ask her opinion – her honest opinion.  If she says something like, “Oh, I guess, um, yeah, I like your beard the way it is. It’s really cool how you can tuck it into your belt when we go on roller coasters.  I’d just love to see what it might look like if it was just at your chest though.  I mean, you could still tuck it into your ZZ Top t-shirt when we go to Six Flags.”   I’ve said this before, but when you decide to pair-up with someone, you’re representing them.  You don’t have to lose your individuality, but you do need to find a balance.

5-  Really, the only facial hair options are a full, well trimmed, beard – or nothing.  At the end of the day, everything else is just a look that’s really not helping your cause.  Just suck it up already and do what you know you need to do.

Hair today, gone tomorrow.

write thank you notes.

18 Jun

I’ve noticed a new fad in weddings – the kitschy little thank you card.  Assuming you brought a gift to the wedding, which you should have, somewhere between a week (boring honeymoon) and a year later, you’ll receive mail with the freshly printed “Mr. and Mrs. Generic American Couple” affixed to the top left corner.  Undoubtedly, the front of the card will be a picture of them, at the beach, with the words “thank you” written in the sand – so clever.  Then, you’ll open it and read through a kindhearted newlyweds best attempt to connect the fondue set you gave them with your friendship.  It really is a valiant effort.

The wedding thank you’s have become my favorite part of the wedding because: a) every couple in the world thinks they’re being so funny and clever, yet they’re all doing the SAME THING and b) It feels great to be thanked – even if it’s on a super-staged photograph with that crappy black and white with only the red roses highlighted kind of picture.

Gentlemen, most of you don’t say thank you, let alone write a note.  And while I feel I’m putting the cart before the horse by not addressing your apparent lack of gratitude, I think that starting with writing one card a month will get you in the right mindset.  Another Grown Man friend of mine says, “Get yourself there physically, your mind and heart will follow.”  Let’s talk about how to start the process.

First, get yourself a small pack of stationary or quarter sheets of ruled paper and envelopes.  Listen to me, you don’t want to begin a good habit of writing thank you notes on full sheets of paper – it’ll derail the process.  You’re not John Adams writing to Thomas Jefferson about philosophy and politics, you’re a dude who’s trying to get into a good habit – keep the paper small so you don’t have to write a ton.

Second, decide who you’re going to write to.  Obviously, you should send a note to people when they give you something (it is obvious, right?).  However, I propose that you consider writing notes to others who aren’t expecting it.  Let’s say you went out with a buddy last night and he treated you to some top-shelf brew.  Wouldn’t that be worth a quick thanks?  C’mon, it’s beer! Free beer!  Listen, you absolutely must write thank yous for gifts and such – no questions asked.  But think of how you would feel if you got a note from a friend saying, “You totally saved the day last week when you let me borrow your truck – thanks a ton!  Also, sorry I wrecked it.”

Finally, email is the lazy mans way of writing a note – but it’s still kinda acceptable.  An email thank you is like a free dinner at Outback Steakhouse.  At first, it’s exciting, but then you realize that it lacks preparation, substance, and gratification.  However, an email thank you is better than no thank you.  Just know that my judgment will be upon you as you click send.

Grown Men, go write a note to somebody.  You’ll feel good about yourself, they’ll feel good about you, and you’ll be the classiest fella on the block – for once.

Until Monday…thank you.

Ask A Grown Man: Vol. I

17 Jun

What a great response to this, the inaugural Ask A Grown Man post.  Let’s get this party started…

Is getting pissed at someone while driving ever acceptable when you’re with your lady friend?


Yes, it’s perfectly acceptable to get pissed all you want.  In fact, right now, start thinking about the most angry moment in your life.  Got it?  Are all the other kids from 2nd grade there?  Is your lower lip quivering with the sting of Kyle Poopkowski’s right hook?  Seethe in that moment. Let the Dark Side engulf you, Luke.  Now that you’re angry, is it affecting anyone?  Nope. It’s still just you at your job wasting time on a blog and mad as hell.  And guess what? Getting mad is totally fine.

James, the question you’re really asking is, “Is acting out on my anger while driving acceptable?”  And that, my brother in temperance, is met with a resounding “No.”  Going nuts in the car (with or without a lady friend) is one of the most passive and pointless forms of anger.  Grown Men love to lose their crap behind the wheel because they know there won’t be any actual confrontation.  It’s an easy way to feel tough without actually being tough.  Grown Men are supposed to be brave though – not passive.

Don’t get me wrong, cars are death machines that, in the end, will likely be the undoing of our civilization.  Furthermore, it’s perfectly understandable that when a fellow driver almost kills you and your loved ones, you’ll get upset.  The real test of a man isn’t if he gets mad, but how he responds to that anger.  I suggest waving and smiling to the offending driver, it really pisses them off.


Liberal or Conservative?

Jon M.

Educated and passionate.

Grown Men are entitled to different ideologies, but they’re not permitted to be passive.


Hey GM,

How can I get my [girlfriend] to start working out? You are the only one with the intelligence and creativity to help me! Hahahaha


You better be hahahahaha-ing, Wally, because you’re just about to lose your girlfriend.  You know you can’t ever, ever, ever, under any circumstances, ever mention “wanting her to work out more,” right?  Wally, take it from the Beav, you are going to crush your girlfriend if you ask that question.  However, you can:

1- Model a healthy lifestyle in the hopes that you don’t die at 50 and she follows suit.
2- Reexamine your perception of beauty and make changes in you that allow you to see that you’ve fooled a beautiful woman into dating you.
3- Break up with her.


Yep, if you can’t do #1 or #2 (snicker) and she’s just not attractive to you anymore, end it.  I’m telling you,  this woman deserves to be with someone who thinks she is the cat’s pajamas for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.  Would it be great if she started working out?  Yes – for her.  Should she be with someone who is hella attracted to her no matter what? Yes sir, she should.

Good luck, Wally.  I bet you don’t think I’m that intelligent and creative now, do you?


Dear Grown Man:

How ever did you get so wise?

-Grown Woman who wishes more grown men read and learned from your blog

GWWWMGMRALFYB, this is the unanswerable question that has vexed generations of scholars.  I assume it’s a healthy diet of fiber and beer, but I can’t be sure really.

The real question is, how ever did you get so nice? Thanks for the thought-provoking question, I’ll be thinking about it all day.


And, last but not least….

Why is it that nice guys finish last all the time? Why do we have to wait till we are older to finally stop getting the short end of the stick?


I’m so sorry Daniel, we’re all out of time.

Just kidding, bud – step away from the ledge.  I’m sorry you feel like you’re getting the short end of the stick in life.  I promise you, if you keep eating a healthy breakfast, being as polite as you can be, and going outside every weekend – you’ll finish first.

Girls that go for bad guys are not the ones you’re looking for.  You’re a good man, Daniel. Don’t change that because you’re older and, I’m presuming, still searching for a lady friend.  However, don’t roll over and wallow in self-pity.  Ask a girl out for coffee – this week – and if you get rejected, buy yourself a pint at the local pub and let it go. Then, like the back of the shampoo bottles say: wash, rinse, repeat.  Never stop being bold – even if you’re the last nice guy on earth.


Well, that’s all for this week, thanks for reading.  Do you have anything you want to ask a Grown Man?

learn how to take a compliment.

9 Jun

Coworker: “Wow, nice job on that presentation today – you really killed it! I especially liked the comparison between the EU economic crisis and the dissolution of the WWF. Comparing Greece to Greg “The Hammer” Valentine was nothing short of brilliant!”

You: “Oh man, gosh, I don’t know, it wasn’t that good. I totally forgot to mention The Honkey Tonk Man as part of the overarching narrative and what role Turkey (Miss Elizabeth) played.”

Coworker: Geez, well I thought it was good.

You: Whatever, thanks.

RIP Miss Elizabeth

Do you see what happened there? First, I tried way too hard to make old WWF references. Second, in your attempt to be humble, you deflated your friend and denied yourself the pleasure of success.

Here’s the problem, men see humility as a virtue, and pride (the obnoxious kind of pride) as being a detriment to our character. So, in typical dude fashion, we take our feelings way too far and don’t stop to see balance. We are so hung up on not being perceived as arrogant, that we don’t allow others to affirm positive actions or behaviors they see in us. What would it look like if you simply accepted the praise? Would people think you’re completely full of yourself? I don’t think so.

Here’s what you do when someone affirms you – look them in the eyes and say thank you. Don’t talk for hours about how rad you were. Don’t be awkward about it and beg for more by saying things like, “Really? You liked it? I thought the tie-in with “Mean” Gene Okerlund and Sarkozy was too much.” (It was, by the way) Just simply thank the person and move on. You’ll feel good, they’ll feel affirmed – everyone’s a winner! If you’re not an arrogant person, you don’t have to worry about how you are perceived – just be humble and gracious.

Having said all of that, there are two kinds of compliments. One is an affirmation of some aspect of your abilities (we just talked about that one), while the other is praising some characteristic of your appearance. The response of an “appearance” compliment is on a sliding scale and must be handled appropriately. For instance, if your broseph says, “Hey man, that’s a cool shirt, is it from REI?” You say, “Thanks man, I appreciate that. It is from REI.”

However, and here’s where you need to pay attention, if a lady-friend says to you:

“Grown Man, you’ve got amazing forearms. I mean really, they’re so strong! Also, they have the perfect amount of hair – somewhere between Robin Williams and E.T. Have you been working out, Grown Man?”

Don’t say thank you, say:

“Grown Woman, that was a nice compliment. I’d like to take you out to the finest Italian restaurant in all the land. Following our dinner, I’d like to take a walk in the park. When we find a quaint bench by the lake, I’ll pick up a heart-shaped rock and put it in my pocket. That rock will be given back to you in two years – on the day we get engaged at that same, exact, spot. Next, I’d like to treat you to a TCBY frozen yogurt with unlimited toppings. Upon filling our bellies with all the manna our fair city has to offer, I’d like to hear you talk for hours about your hopes and dreams. When you are done talking and can’t stay awake any longer, I will let myself out, make sure the door is locked, and leave you with dignity and respect. And if I may, I’d like to call you in the morning where, upon you answering the phone, you’ll hear me singing a song for you that encapsulates our first date together.”

Or something like that.

quit going to weddings empty-handed.

28 May

It’s wedding weekend for me (2 of them!) which means a)I’m going to be dancing like a nerdy white man and b)Bed, Bath, & Every Other Trendy Home Store has a bit more of my currency. And you know what? I’m okay with that.

Gentlemen, you must always bring a gift to a wedding. If you’re old enough to buy your own under-roos and vote, you’re old enough to get the betrothed a present. Let’s talk about that present.

First, buy something off the registry – no exceptions.

But Grown Man, I saw this super cool neon [insert beer company] sign that my friend, the groom, would love!

You’re right, HE probably would love it. However, you don’t know what that man is going through. His Ben Harper posters and super sweet University of Low SAT’s flags are finding a new home in the garage and/or donation pile. All of a sudden, he’s really into OxyGrip Salad Tongs and is worried out of his mind about the velum ripping on the wedding invitations. For real, your friend is changing, not in a bad way, but in a way that you, a Grown Man who’s unmarried, can’t understand. If you are married and still want to get the neon sign, c’mon – you know better.

Having said all of that, go to the home store and pick the coolest thing you can find that is ON THE DAMN REGISTRY! Maybe there’s some sort of tea infuser? Great! Now you can make jokes about tea bagging him. Maybe there’s a set of 5000 thread count Egyptian sheets? Perfect, you can make jokes about your own sexual repression and him getting some on those sheets.

Wedding gifts aren’t about extravagance, they’re about thought. It’s your way of saying, “I care about your well-being enough as a couple to get you a dish towel and gravy boat.” Believe me, they’ll appreciate your effort more than you know.

I don’t have enough money to buy them a gift!

Yes you freaking do. Think of it this way, if you went out for dinner and all you can drink generic beer, how much would you spend? Let’s say you added in the cost of dinner mints and a d.j. playing Black Eyed Peas for four hours? Bingo, you’ve at least hit the $20 mark. If you can’t find anything on the registry that fits your budget (the cash in your duct tape wallet), just get a gift card. I can assure you that even a meager gift card will mean a lot to your friends.

Guys, here’s the bottom line. You may be in college, you may be on a fixed income, you may be stupid with your money, but don’t go to a wedding without a gift. Even if you can’t afford much, get something. It’s classy, it’s important, and it’s what a Grown Man does.

dress less stupid for weddings & funerals.

8 Apr

I was at a funeral today. It was sad, the music was terrible, the “anybody want to share?” part was drawn-out and awkward, I was wearing a suit. However, what’s almost as sad as the deceased was the appalling choice of outfits for the men in the crowd. Ready for this?

1-Forest green golf shirt, pleated khaki pants, braided leather belt, deck shoes
2-Tommy Bahama-like shirt, jeans, deck shoes
3-Some sort of Under-Armor, muscle man shirt tucked into jeans with a black belt and deck shoes.

For the love of God, let’s set some ground rules for common decency at a wedding or funeral.

-Wear a freaking suit. You’ll never be over dressed, you’ll never be under dressed. Remember: black, charcoal, or blue only, no flair, a tie that would have looked cool 50 years ago, decent shoes.

-If it’s hot, wear a suit – somebody is getting married or dying, you can suck it up.

-If it’s a “casual” wedding on the beach or one of those funerals that try to be all new-wave and Indie by calling themselves a memorial service or a celebration of life (yuck) – wear a suit.

-Let’s say you feel very strongly that wearing a suit will be overkill for your given event. First, ask your more fashionable friend and see what he thinks. However, any male friend gets what I, and the south, call a three-fifths compromise. For the other two-fifths of an opinion, you’ve got to run this by a girl. If she affirms your casual instincts – wear a jacket OR a tie. But for real, it’s important that you not go without one or the other.

Repeat after me:
I [state your name],
promise to dress like I care,
promise to find a dry cleaner and frequent them,
promise to always wear a tie and/or jacket,
and promise to get serious about my marrying and burying fashion.

You may kiss the bride.

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