Contact Robert Manni:
robert@robertmanni.com
GUYS' GUY'S GUIDES
RSS Subscribe

On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Love and Money

Robert Manni - Thursday, September 21, 2017


Once upon a time, guys paid for everything. And women were not your bosses. And jobs were not downsized and replaced by robots.

Life was so simple. Or was it? All the changes that have occurred over the past thirty years have reconfigured our lives and how men and women relate to one another. But throughout it all one thing has not changed. Money can still have a major effect on a relationship. So you better get on the same page with your partner when it comes to managing the cash. I’ve lived, loved, and learned a lot about money and relationships throughout these past three decades. Now I’m taking this opportunity to share a few secrets about how to make your relationship thrive when it comes to dealing with financial issues.

Surprisingly, the key to success isn’t necessarily tied to how much money the man or a woman earns. It’s more about the ways a couple share certain values about money. If they do, they can turn their love into a true partnership where everyone wins. But there’s no one size fits all solution. The world is a different place now, so if you are a guy, your partner may now earn more than you. And that’s one reason that couples need to be flexible about how they view cash. So, here are my insights in what I’m calling The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love and Money. To help clarify some of the issues and nuances I’ll segment my tips into three categories:

1. Dating – The best time to set the tone for dealing with money in a relationship is at the beginning. Although for the most part men still earn more than women and unfairly still get paid more to do the same work, many things have changed over the past thirty years. Back in the day, a guy would ask a woman out and pay for the date. It was accepted and expected. Nowadays, people meet online or through apps for a meet up, a coffee, or even a quickie. So things are more fluid.

And there’s more. Today’s young women are entering the workplace more educated than the guys, and are making more money than ever before. They don’t need a guy to take care of them financially like their parents’ generation rolled. But, that still does not mean women want to pay their equal share.  I’m not judging, but because of this perceptual selectivity, things can get off on the wrong foot and pretty sticky if a few ground rules are not put in place.

To make things work right from the start, I suggest that when a guy asks a woman out for drinks, coffee, or dinner that he pays for it. It makes sense, and who wants to end a first date on an awkward moment when the check arrives? Guys, suck it up and pay for that first date. After that, if you want to get together again, set up another date and when the bill arrives, don’t flinch. Reach for the check again. One of three things will happen—she’ll either let you pay, she’ll offer to split the tab, or she’ll pay for it herself. At this stage of the game, it still doesn’t matter. You can easily pay for a second date, so pick up the check and don’t sweat it. After that, you hope she comes up with a plan to treat you right, by maybe offering to take you out or inviting you over to her place for dinner. Any of those options is a good thing because what you want is a natural, comfortable flow where mature adults deal with money like champs and money is not an issue. Based on who earns more money and other factors, a pattern usually surfaces that suits both of you. However, if she never picks up a tab or makes you dinner or comes up with something to contribute on her own, it’s a potential red flag. The truth is that some women, regardless of how much money they earn, still feel that the guy is responsible for all of the cash outlays in a relationship. If that turns out to be the case, then you have to decide if that works for you. If you run a hedge fund and she’s a teacher, it should not be an issue. But if you are both earning about the same amount and she expects you to pay for everything, you’ve got to determine if it’s a workable situation. In my experience, all the cool women I’ve dated were chill when it came to doling out the cash. I’ve dated a few women who never reached for the check or never even baked me a cupcake. Over time, it didn’t feel right so I moved on. But, that’s just me. You have to find a happy place based on your income and what feels right for you, and for her also. If you like her, but she never, ever picks up the tab, there is nothing wrong with bringing up the subject, although it can be a touchy area that could become a deal breaker. But that’s better than avoiding a potential sore point.

2. Committed or co-habituating - In all likelihood, if you’ve gotten to the point in a relationship where you are committed or living together, you probably have a grip on the financial aspects of your relationship. Most likely, you have fallen into a groove where and you pay for different things. Maybe you pay the rent and she pays for groceries and cable. Or you pay for dinners out and she buys the groceries. Or, she moved into your pad so you handle the rent and she pays for utilities and meals. Whatever. The point is, by this time if you are in a real partnership you most likely have sorted out the money issues.

But, maybe not. There are many variables to consider. What if you bought a condo and she moves in? You pay the mortgage, what does she pay for? Does she expect to share the equity built into your place because she is living with you? Do you charge her rent? Will she be resentful if she pays you? Every situation is different, but one thing is for sure. You need to work out what feels right and consider any and all potential scenarios if you are living together or preparing to take that big step in a relationship. Like most things in life, it’s all about anticipation and expectations, so put on your thinking cap and make sure you have a fair-minded system that works for both of you. The last thing you want is for your partner to latch on to feelings of unspoken bitterness. That is often a silent but deadly relationship killer. Trust me. I’ve been there. Get your perspectives out in the open and be willing to discuss what you feel. Whatever you do, come to terms with a mutually agreeable solution before shacking up.

3. Married – Marriage comes with a whole new set of financial considerations. Many couples these days have at least one partner who has been previously married. They may have kids, or have a very specific set of financial issues they are dealing with. So when you marry, it’s good business to get full disclosure about their fiscal obligations, especially if you’re planning on pooling your assets.

There are a number of ways to make things work. Because life gets so complicated many older couples sign pre-nuptials before marrying a second or even a first time. You’ll need to determine if pooling your assets or maintaining separate bank accounts is the way to go. There are benefits to both paths. Couples usually save money when they jointly file their taxes, but that does not preclude their maintaining their personal investments, bank accounts, and credit cards.

And it’s only fair to consider these options, especially if one person has been very diligent about his or her credit score and savings while the other may play things a bit more fast and loose when it comes to managing debt and doling out cash and managing their lifestyle. There are huge discrepancies in how we spend money for what some consider everyday purchases where others consider those same things as unnecessary. Take coffee as an example. If you buy a good brand of coffee, brew it at home, and fill up your thermos each day you can save at least twenty bucks a week. That may be a drop in the bucket for some, but now add in the savings from making your lunch at home versus paying twelve bucks for a chopped up salad in a plastic container every day. You’ll probably save close to another fifty bucks a week just by schlepping your lunch to work.

The point is, the little things add up so make sure you and your partner are singing off of the same song sheet when it comes to how you two spend your cash. You don’t want to quibble about take out food, but if you are not paying attention, you may see your pile of dough sink a lot faster than you anticipated, mainly because you are no longer solely in control of it. The older I get, the more sense it makes for couples to maintain separate checking, savings accounts, and credit cards. This way you don’t have to totally freak out by having to see your partner’s purchases, although in reality you are probably sharing the costs of everything. You just don’t have to have the your partner’s purchases rubbed in your face all the time.

I’m a good saver so keeping some things separate has proven to be protective of the partnership. I do my best to maintain a cushion of savings for when things go haywire, which they often do. These days, people lose their jobs and change careers in a flash. That means couples need to be in synch when it comes to managing their money, and even more so when kids come into the picture. So think things through and talk about financial issues with your partner. You don’t want surprises. I promise you if you keep the lines of communication open it will eliminate most of the stress when things get random.

When it comes to money, whether dating, living together or married, couples need to find out what works best for them. We live in a capitalistic society driven by consumerism. There is no escaping our needing to face down various financial situations almost every day, including those inevitable rainy days, too. Think about money, talk about it with your partner, and get on the same page. When it comes to love and money, communication is the only way to make things work. Good luck.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK are all the couples who have found a system, a formula, and a way to co-exist in a financial partnership built on their love. It’s never easy, but it can be done. 

What I've Learned Walking with Pneumonia

Robert Manni - Thursday, September 14, 2017


I was working on post about losing ten pounds in ten days naturally when I realized there was a problem.

I was finishing up my weekly eight-mile run when I tripped and fell headfirst on the boardwalk in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. This was unlike me. I rarely lose my balance, but it was the second time in a month that I fell down at the end of my run. I thought about it as I walked along the beach towards my cooling off dip in the ocean. For some reason today the water and breeze was cold. After my swim I did a little energy work while standing on the shoreline. I breathed slowly as I ran energy into my left hand, throughout my body and finally out my right hand into my crown. I felt chilled as I walked to my beach house, now recalling how my runs had been shorter than usual over the past month and how rare it was for me to trip and fall twice during that time. Something was wrong.

That afternoon the cough I had been experiencing over the past week became more persistent. And that night I felt cold as I hacked while propped up in bed like Doc Holliday. I woke up in the middle of the night cold, yet drenched in sweat and feeling awful. Yep, something was wrong. We stayed at the beach for one more day, but I felt like crap, experiencing more coughs, a hot forehead and loss of appetite. Over the past few weeks I’d begun cleaning up my diet and stopped drinking alcohol. I was steadily losing weight and assumed my body was going through machinations of a detoxification program. But, this was something more. I paid close attention to my body. It told me to get back to New York. So I did, but I was still not well. No matter how much I took it easy I maintained a fever, a now brutal and persistent cough that gave a vicious headache. It was so severe I felt like I was in the NFL concussion protocol. Whatever was happening to me was far more than a few side effects from a detox. I was sick and now I unsure if I could work my way through whatever it was that had taken hold of me.

When we returned to the city I spent the next few days climbing in and out of bed with the same, now escalating, symptoms. I foolishly maintained hope that I could regain my health this way, but my symptoms continued getting worse. Finally I contacted my doctor, but had to wait two endless days for an appointment. The afternoon I headed off to the doctor’s office I was a mess. I stumbled along the streets of Manhattan, couching and wheezing uncontrollably. After discussing the situation with my doctor, he checked me out, took my temperature (I had a fever) and ordered a chest x-ray. A few hours later to my surprise I found out that I had a case of walking pneumonia. WTF!

Thankfully, now I knew what I was facing. Armed with prescriptions for two antibiotics, I began taking the meds immediately. Pneumonia is a bacterial infection of the lungs. It’s not something that your body can easily seek and destroy. In this case meds were necessary. It’s been close to a week now since I was diagnosed and started the meds and each day I have experienced a major improvement. I did not stay in bed all day. I cut back on my schedule and did a modified version of my usual routine and activities at a slower pace. Nothing matters when you are really sick except getting well. It really puts your priorities in order. So, I had no booze, no exercise, no big meals, etc. I began sleeping better and after five days stopped waking up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat on cool damp sheets. I dialed things down and kept it simple and as a result am slowly, but steadily getting better. I’ll finish the meds in another few days and go for a follow up x-ray next month. Things are looking good so I thought I would share what I have learned from the experience, Guy’s Guy style.

1. Don’t be a hero - If you are like me and live a holistic lifestyle, you make good choices in your diet, and for your mental and spiritual well being. That keeps me healthy naturally and aids life extension. But, random things happen and you can get sick at any time. My surprise bout with walking pneumonia is a prime example of how no matter how well we take care of ourselves, shit can still happen. I live in a big dirty city and I take the filthy subway almost every day. Maybe some random person coughed in my direction or sneezed on the subway car handle I was holding. Airborne bacteria is everywhere in this dirty town. I was very healthy yet I contracted pneumonia.

While I was feeling like death that week I asked my guides for help and I got it. I realized I needed to see a doctor and get some good old western medicine and drugs. I waited too long, but eventually I came around and got checked out before thing got worse. Now I am on the mend. Regardless of my steadfast belief in prevention as the best defense against illness, I made the right decision to see the doctor and take the meds. There’s a reason that people died at thirty-five a hundred years ago.

 

2. Take time to heal – After I fell on the boardwalk for the second time I knew something was wrong. Upon circumspection it registered in my mind that my daily ritual of 75 push-ups, my runs and my cardio workouts had been tougher than usual during August. I chalked it up to age, but now I know it was something else. Once that reality kicked in, I shut down all physical activities until I get back to my usual robust health. I have been working out consistently for decades so the break will do me good. When I return to them hard work I will be recharged and I’ll take it slow until I reach my usual peak level of boomer fitness. One step at a time. amigo.

 

3. Consider the spiritual meaning of your illness - Believe it or not, there is a strong connection between your spiritual and emotional states and your health. The root of sickness transcends the physical body. Each time I’ve contracted a serious illness I’ve checked out a few websites and books that explain the connection between specific issues and their manifestations in the physical body.  Apparently pneumonia is a result of unresolved emotional issues and some underlying feelings of desperation. I have been working diligently to raise my frequency, and it is no easy task in our crazy world, especially since I’ve taken the leap and pointed my career in an entirely new direction after decades on the corporate track with well-paying jobs. I have a wife and a kid now too, so at times the pressure feels stifling. Nevertheless, I will persevere and create the life of service that I have chosen to experience.

 

4. Use your down time to make changes – I don’t know about you, but when I’m sick, I’m not that hungry. My usual daily intake consists of homemade soups and lots of water and organic tea. After a week of this diet, I hopped on the scale and had lost five pounds. Yay! I cut out junk, booze, pizza and ice cream and am sticking with fresh fruits, organic smoothies and maybe some fish or a light snack for dinner. Pretty soon I had lost twelve unwanted pounds. So, instead sitting back and taking it on the chin all day and night, I found a way to be creative and get something out of being sick. It’s not always easy when you fell like shit, but it can be done.

 

5. Ask for help. Show gratitude – The day after my diagnosis, I knew I had to acknowledge, thank and love my pneumonia before asking it to leave me. It might sound crazy, but love works better than engaging in battling an illness. Illnesses are signals from your body and spirit that something is wrong and it needs to be addressed.  I’m not suggesting that you allow an autoimmune illness eat away your body. What I am suggesting is to recognize that something is wrong, showing love for the illness (yes, I now it sounds crazy but it works), and then thank it and ask it to leave.

This is one of the most important lessons I have ever learned about health and it has always worked for me. And it’s a practice that ninety-nine percent of people ignore. We are trained to “fight” our enemies instead of loving and learning from them before releasing them. If you consider yourself spiritual or a follower of a major religion, love is a core component of their foundation, and that includes love for your enemy. It does not mean that you don’t defend yourself. No, it means you recognize the divinity in every person and everything your encounter in this life. Only then you can release it from your realm and send it back to God or the Universe or whatever you believe is out there. Love your sickness, look for the teaching, and ask it to leave.

Am I one hundred percent better now? Not yet, but I’m on a steady path back to health. I no longer have a fever, night sweats, chills, and that ceaseless hacking cough. And I am breathing a lot better. Who gets the opportunity to appreciate something as easy to overlook as breathing? I did, and now I’m more thankful than ever for each and every breath I take.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is yours truly. Looking beyond the fevers, chills, unbearable bouts of coughing, intense headaches, and shortness of breath, I’ve learned so much from my bout with walking pneumonia. I learned about my body, my faith and spiritual developmental needs, and how to blend an eastern-based preventive lifestyle with the technology of western medicine as necessary. I am on the fast track to recovery and thankfully my family has been supportive and thankfully they have remained healthy. Who would have thought I could learn so much from a random bout of pneumonia?

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Shifting Into Fall

Robert Manni - Monday, September 04, 2017


Who doesn’t love summer? If you live in the Northeast, you get three or four months of killer weather before the nights grow longer and the rain starts pouring down.

That can be downright depressing if you’re not on top of your game and ready to slide into your autumn mode. The good news is that it’s easy. Just invest a bit of psychic energy into your current purview of life while we turn the seasonal corner and make a beeline towards Thanksgiving. It comes quickly.

Here are a few ways to get your ducks in a row for the cold weather months even while you’re still tan, fat, and parading around in flip-flops.

I call this one THE GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO SHIFTING INTO FALL. Drum roll, please…

1. Make the most of the beach during September – I visit my beach house on the Jersey Shore almost every week throughout the summer. The beach and the boardwalk are teeming with sunbathers, surfers and tourists, who we refer to as “bennies” at the shore. Over the years my little town has become a destination, and as a result it’s gotten more and more crowded. By late Friday afternoon, if you haven’t scored a parking space yet, you may be in for a lengthy treasure hunt. After securing a spot, my family and I travel on foot, bicycle, or scooter for the bulk of the weekend. After awhile that kind of sucks. Once we pass Labor Day though, the beaches and streets become relatively empty. Kids are back in school and college and those weeklong family vacations are over. And this is exactly what makes it the perfect time to visit the shore. September weather features clear blue skies, a less intense sun, and warmer ocean temperatures. And, there are no annoying tourists getting in the way and forcing you to stand in a long line for ice cream or drinks. It’s flat-out great.

2. Freshen up your wardrobe – When it comes to clothing, you know the old 80/20 rule. With all those clothes, hats, and sneakers clogging up your closet, if you are like me you end up wearing the same stuff over and over again. Why? It doesn’t matter why. It’s what you do. So what do you do when you have a closet overflowing with clothes you don’t wear? I make it habit to scour through my stuff before and after summer. It opens up much needed space and also releases dense energy. I fill a couple of big bags with my duds and lug them to a church where I donate my gear to needy folks. I toss the undies, socks and real beat up stuff, but I make sure I include a few goodies that I don’t wear into the pile. Play it forward, amigo.

3. Join a fantasy football league – No longer is fantasy football a protected bastion of manliness. Today’s leagues are stocked with lots of cool ladies who love to play this game.  Fantasy leagues are omnipresent and are great for office bonding. I’ve played in the same league for 26 years and it’s been a great way to make a few bucks (because I play to win) and stay in touch with former colleagues, a handful that are now long-time friends. Fantasy leagues are also good for networking. And let’s face it. The NFL rules the airwaves and social media during the fall and early winter months. You can’t escape it, so might as well join in for the fun. Don’t draft any New York Jets though.

4. Set realistic goals for the remainder of the year – In my mind I’ve identified half a dozen accomplishments I’m going to pursue over the final four months of 2017.  That may be a tad ambitious, but I let to set the bar high. The deeper we move into the fall though, the tougher it is to stay the course, with all the holidays and more intense work schedules that become necessary as we charge to the end of the year. That’s why I identify and prioritize my goals by the end of August. This way I can hit the ground running come September 1st. The idea behind this is not to set yourself up for failure, so do you best to write down achievable goals. Did I say write them down? I did.

5. Go on a diet – If you are like me, you get tan, fat, and happy over the course of the summer. No matter how much I work out or how many miles I run, I always seem to put on about ten unwanted pounds during May, June, July, and August. Why? Because I don’t give a shit during the summer. The sun is shining, the days are long, and skirts are short. What’s not to like? So every time I find myself tipping the scales well past my fighting weight I tell myself that I can easily peel those pounds off with a few long runs. So I run a lot. But then I get hungry. And then I make excuses and eat pizza and tacos. And pretty soon I’m gaining too much weight. This vicious cycle continues until late August when I finally get serious again. Like right now. Today I took the bottle of vodka out of my freezer and placed it high up in a cabinet that’s almost out of my reach. Out of sight, out of mind. The battle of the bulge has begun.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. We’re still in summer so make the most out of this final month of summer. After all, it’s summer until September 23rd and the weather will support this. Keep playing golf, swimming, surfing, and taking long walks on the beach and runs along the boards. But while you are at it, think and them lock down your game plan for the remainder of 2017.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is Laird Hamilton, considered by many to be the greatest big wave surfer of all time. He surfs all over the world and truly lives in an endless summer.

Six Hacks to Beat the Heat

Robert Manni - Friday, August 25, 2017


It was ninety degrees in New York City as I sat naked at my writing station. And it felt great.

But here’s the catch—even when it’s hot as hell outside I stay cool the old school way by just keeping the windows open. No AC, not even a ceiling fan humming. Yes, I sweat, amigos, but I feel alive. As you can tell, I dig the heat, but I also like staying cool. I also believe thinking out of the box and using contrarian techniques when fighting those dog days of summer. With that in mind, here are your Guys’ Guy’s hacks to beating the heat.  Some may seem obvious, while others may make you scratch your head. But these have been deployed with success by yours truly so let’s get to them right now before I need to take another shower.

1. Hydrate – Studies show that almost 80% of Americans are dehydrated. And, aging is directly connected to dehydration. So if you want to get older even faster than you will, don’t hydrate. You’ll get old and wrinkly before your time. There is an easy solution though. Drink lots and lots of liquids, and especially water during the summer months. I know it can be a pain in the ass, but carry a bottle of water wherever you go. Water provides a critical component of your body’s cooling system. Instead of drinking tap water, which in the vast majority of communities has been proven to hold too many carcinogens, my wife and I use a Zero filter at home. We also make “living water” by placing a pitcher of filtered H2O on a bed of ancient crystals that are billions of years old. We purchase these mini stones online and they activate the water. We also take Mega Hydrate capsules. These little capsules provide the body with negatively charged ions, they may slow aging, while increasing the absorption of hydration elements in the body. Check them out online. Hydration is rule number one in maintaining your cool and health during these hot, sticky months. Stay away from sugary drinks, soda, and even alcohol as much as possible. You don’t need the sugar and alcohol speeds up dehydration. I like a margarita or a cold beer, but it’s got to be in moderation.

2. Dress to chill – Dressing appropriately during a heat wave seems like a smart idea, but in a city like New York people have trouble switching from their black outfits to lighter colors no matter what the temperatures are outside. I still marvel at folks wearing all black, long sleeves, and heavyweight jeans when its 95 degrees outside.  It never changes. But this obsession with black is not for me in the summer. As soon as the temps pass seventy-five degrees, I ditch my dark clothes, my underwear depending on the situation, long sleeves, and long pants also depending on the situation. I remember my early days in the city in the eighties when people in advertising still wore suits every damn day. I can still feel my body dripping with sweat while I’d stand on the subway platform in my suit and tie. It was horrible, and I was drenched before I got to the agency. I’m so glad we’ve made some progress there. But guys in the banking, insurance or legal professions still have to suit up. It looks good, but what a drag. And who came up with the idea of wearing a necktie? What a douche. If you’re still wearing a jacket and tie to work, at least buy tropical weight suits. Me? Whenever I can get away with it, you’ll find me in a short-sleeved shirt, a pair of shorts, and lightweight sneakers or sandals. Since I keep my hair close cropped, I also bring along a hat to protect my noggin from the searing sun.

3. Ditch the AC – This may sound crazy, but I firmly believe in the body’s ability to adjust its internal thermostat. Sure, there are times when the temps are unbearable and you need that AC cranking. I’ve found that if I am outdoors I adjust pretty easily to the heat and when I’m indoors I feel better when I’m being cooled by a ceiling fan versus an air conditioner. When I’m home alone, even when it is really steamy outside, I forego the AC and simply go full commando in my crib, like right now. Don’t knock it unless you’ve tried it. The main point is that, for me at least, the AC plays games with my body’s thermostat. I find that I come down with random summer colds that I’m sure are related to going from an environment with blasting AC into the heat and then back again. It feels unnatural to me and my body never seems to properly adjust quickly enough to those changes in temperature. I do better when I put my body in charge of cooling itself.

4. Get a haircut – I realize that hipsters rule these days, but those big bushy haircuts and wooly beards look real hot to me. I keep my facial trimmer at level two and make sure I shave down to that point at least once a week throughout the summer.  And bacteria builds up in those hairier parts if we don’t keep ourselves cool and clean.

5. Think cooling thoughts – Don’t dismiss this one. The incidence of violent crimes escalates during the hot months. It’s because people get heated up mentally as well as physically. The mind is very powerful. There’s a reason behind the terms, “blowing your stack” or “things getting heated up.” It’s because our minds play a role in how we feel. So if your thoughts are pleasurable and chill, you’ll feel the difference in how you handle the heat and humidity. I begin each day with a series of affirmations and I do my best to meditate for thirty minutes each day and journal any spiritual thoughts and feeling that may bubble up throughout the day. This practice helps me to keep things in perspective, when the temps are soaring. Another way to cool your mind is to read a book, preferably while sitting in the shade of a tall oak tree.

6. Sweat - Here is another contrarian concept. It’s baking hot outside you go for a long run to cool down. Sounds nuts? It’s not as long as the weather is not too, too hot for any kind of physical activity, sweating is very healthy and it will keep you cooler. When it’s too hot outdoors, hit the gym and work up a good sweat. Your body has a natural way of cooling down. It’s called perspiration and it works very well. During the summer months one of my favorite activities is to get up early, before it gets too hot, and go for a long slow run around Central park or along the boardwalk if I am near the beach. After my run I’ll go for a swim in the ocean, hit the chilled waters of Lasker Pool, or head home and take a long shower to cool down. During the day, when I get hot, I drink water and jump in the shower every few hours.

These are but a few ways to stay cool when the weather heats up and the summer gets long, hot, and humid. Like right now.  What’s important to beat the heat is staying hydrated, maintaining your cool under pressure, and thinking contrarian when seeking ways to perspire and cool down. The summers in New York City are long, and hot, and sticky, but we get through it every year. In a few months we’ll be griping about the rain and the cold while counting the days until next summer. So enjoy the hot weather while you can, amigos. The summer goes by quickly.

This week’s GUYS’ GUYS OF THE WEEK are people like me who thrive in the heat and when under pressure. Some, like your Guy’s Guy, like it hot while others are shade-seeking creatures. It’s all good, so let’s give it up to all of the hot shots that are actually really cool. Peace out until next time.  

10 Guy's Guy-Approved Books with Life Lessons (Part 2)

Robert Manni - Monday, August 21, 2017


Great books find a permanent place in our consciousness. Their wisdom and teachings can be tapped at any time we need them.

Last week I took you on a tour of five books that rocked my world and gifted me with important life lessons. This week your Guy’s Guy presents the next five on the list, and they are equally important in their quality and teachings. So, let’s get right to part two of The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Ten Books with Ten Life Lessons.

6. CARIBBEAN – James Michener – I read this entire 882-page book years ago during a vacation to Anguilla. It spans the history of one of the most beautiful and culturally diverse areas of our planet. The book details the back-stories of all the lands and peoples bordering the Caribbean Sea, including Mexico and parts of South America. Michener is a master at “historical fiction”. In this massive tome he retells the stories about the beginnings and journeys of the indigenous peoples and their treatment by the Europeans. The tales are fascinating and horrifying. It all began with two tribes, the Caribs and the Arawaks. The Caribs were cannibals who viciously conquered and over time, wiped out the Arawaks and their way of life. The heat really gets turned up when the French, English and Spanish sailed to these lands and committed atrocities against the locals. The Europeans treated the peoples of these conquered lands unmercifully and with cruelty beyond comprehension. They were pure evil incarnate. Imagine French soldiers pulling a guillotine by cart from town to town, picking out random villagers to “test” out their killing machines as a way of maintaining fear and terror to hold sway over territories that often switched ownership between their European conquerors. And you wonder why at times the locals can seem a bit testy when you vacation to the islands. They have good reason, amigos.

What I learned: This fascinating book taught me that there is duality and often an unseemly underbelly to even the most beautiful places on Earth. And the levels of cruelty men foster upon their fellow humans are often unfathomable.

7. LIFE – Keith Richards – The man, the legend and the symbol of the rock n ‘roll lifestyle, wrote a lengthy and surprisingly well-written autobiography spanning his early years growing up poor in post-WWII London to his ascendance as the rock god we know and love. First and foremost, this is a story about a man’s love of music. We get insights into Keith’s open G tuning and the behind the scenes tales of his writing process and how he came to create the songs that Stones fans know and love. After reading the book I listened to the audio version that featured three separate narrators including Johnny Depp and finally Keith himself taking us through the final chapters of the book. It’s well done and it added another dimension to his life story. This is the best book on rock and roll to date, bar none.

What I learned: Keith Richards puts his pants on the same way you and I do. He’s got a unique personality and way about him, but ultimately he is a consummate professional and a very self-aware guy. He’s more layered than the drugged out image we have of him. And, he knows how to manipulate that to his advantage without selling out. He also taught me that artistic ideas can be picked out of the air if you are aligned and open to the right frequencies.  Richards takes who he is in stride and is a real Guy’s Guy. I had the opportunity to meet him by chance during the intermission to a Broadway show and found him to be friendly and very much himself. He taught me that it is possible to maintain who you are even when blessed with global success.

8. SIDDHARTHA – Herman Hesse – This short book might be the best book I have ever read. I find myself pulling it off my shelf for another read every 5-10 years and it never disappoints. It only takes a day or so to finish it and each time I’ve read this book it held a different meaning that coincided with what was going on in my life at the time.

What I learned – This book taught me that life is a journey with many twists and turns. We will be up and down, but we are always in the now and learning what we need to know whether or not we know it at the time.

9. SIDEWAYS – Rex Pickett – I picked this book up after watching the very entertaining feature film adaptation starring Paul Giamatti. The story is about a struggling novelist who grows as a man while learning about life, love, and friendship during a weeklong bachelor buddy trip through the wine country of Santa Barbara. It’s beautifully written. The book takes a few different turns from the movie and I think the screenplay puts a tighter focus on the tale. But, let’s give credit to Pickett for a very fresh idea and a well-crafted story that holds up well.

What I learned: This book and the film inspired me to write my second book and first published novel. Like many writers and the book’s protagonist, Miles, I experienced my share of rejection. But my belief in crafting stories about modern men in relatable situations about relationships and life in general provided the catalyst to write a second novel and get published.

10. THE GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO LOVE – Robert Manni – You probably knew this was coming, but how could I not include my first published novel. Since its publication I have never sat down and read my book cover to cover, although I will read a chapter now and then to my amusement. It’s a really fun story and about something dear to my heart. Since its publication I’ve launched the various components of my Guy’s Guy brand platform in an effort to bridge the communications chasm between the sexes and make the world a better place for men and the women who love them. I’ve got a popular website and blog, my podcast Guy’s Guy Radio, and lots more on the way.

I think you’ll agree that reading is one of the best tools for self-education. Beyond the mental muscles utilized while reading, books can take you to places you may never visit except in your mind.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK are all the readers and writers who contribute to our world through embracing the power of story.

10 Guy's Guy-Approved Books with Life Lessons (Part 1)

Robert Manni - Friday, August 11, 2017


Books can be powerful teachers. The special ones are just as influential as the most important people in our lives. I have been a voracious reader my entire life and cannot think of a time when I wasn’t in the process of devouring another book. Every book I’ve read has influenced me in some way, but a few stand out for their lessons and how they impacted my life. Some of them are funny, some are sad, but each one shares key insights and lessons on how to face this thing we call life. With this I mind, I’d like to share ten books that made a mark on my thinking, my knowing, and my life. I hope you will check a few of them out and see if you connect with them the way they connected with me. Here goes, in no particular order, the first five books in what I am calling – The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Ten Books with Ten Life Lessons.

1. I AM THE WORD – Paul Selig – Sometimes you enter a bookstore to seek out a book you’ve heard about or have been looking for. Other times the book finds you. This book, by channel and empath, Paul Selig, caught my eye while I was biding time, waiting for my wife to buy crystals at a new age store off Fifth Avenue and 14th Street in New York. I Am The Word is the first in a series of five channeled texts (more are on the way) from a group of Guides that work through Paul. Selig describes himself as a radio frequency that picks up communications from the Guides that focus on man’s vibrational frequency and ascension. I had to read this book a few times before the message took root in my consciousness.

What did I learn? Simple. After reading Selig’s books, I now recognize every person who crosses my path as an aspect of the Divine Source. When you start there, amazing things happen.

2. POST OFFICE – Charles Bukowski – Many people who’ve seen the movie Barfly think that Bukowski was simply a humorous drunk. But he was much more. Bukowski grew up in an abusive household where he survived regular beatings from his father. When he was of age to leave, he wandered around California and then all of America, working sporadically in odd jobs like in a pickle factory before returning home to make his mark as one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. He is an amazing poet, as well as a talented essayist and novelist. Post Office is a novel. It’s a fictional depiction of his years toiling as a mail clerk before finally quitting his job at age 49 to write full-time on the advice of the publisher of Black Sparrow Press. All of Bukowski’s books are truthful, funny, and sad at the same time.

What did I learn? As an aspiring writer and a fellow human being who deals with pain and rejection like we all do, Bukowski’s works and writing skills both fascinated and inspired me to never stop following my dream no matter what obstacles confronted me.

3. MANCHILD IN THE PROMOISED LAND – Claude Brown – My older brother is a big reader also, so there were always books bursting from the small set of wooden shelves in the bedroom where we grew up. I was not even ten years old when I picked up his copy of Claude Brown’s tome about growing up in the very rough edges of Harlem in the fifties. This was the first serious book that I’d come across and I still recall it to this day. Junkies, pimps, whores, beatings and death splatter the pages of this incredible personal story of loss and redemption and triumph over seemingly insurmountable odds. Brown describes a world that I knew nothing about.

What did I learn? I began to see the world from beyond my cushy suburban perspective and wanted to learn more about what too many people have to go through to survive and grow. And who knew? Now I live in Harlem.

4. STORY – Robert McKee – If you want to write, you need to find your voice and learn the craft. McKee’s book is considered the bible of screenwriting and of the art of crafting a story. I’ve always had a vivid imagination and penchant for creating characters and conflict, but until I read Story and attended a few of McKee’s seminars I’d never fully grasped the components that make up the engine of a good story.

What did I learn? I learned a lot from McKee, but the key takeaway was that a successful story consists of a main character that really wants something and faces an escalating set of obstacles to overcome before he can get it. Sounds simple? Try it sometime.

5. BALL FOUR – Jim Bouton – When I was sixteen I wrote a novella called, Off The Bench about our high school baseball team. I’d always been a good athlete and ballplayer, but by the time I reached my junior year I found myself riding the pines more often than I preferred. I used this time to observe my coaches and teammates, and the state of our team in a time following our coach’s death from a fishing accident and having the school’s legendary football coach taking over. Bouton’s book about the New York Yankees had come out the previous year, and it made a mark on me. He wrote the first behind the scenes tell-all about a professional sports team. And he made headlines when he aired out the behind the scenes shenanigans during the rise and fall of the Yankees teams of the sixties. It was a fun, rollicking, and eye-opening romp.

What did I learn?  After devouring this well-written book, I wanted to write more than ever. Bouton inspired me to write what I knew, to tell the truth, and make it fun.

Those are my first five books that taught me real life lessons. I think you can figure out why I enjoy reading so much and what it has meant to me over the years. I’ll be back in a week and I’ll reveal five more great books that provided some lasting lessons. Until then, enjoy the weather and bring a book along wherever you go.

Do I Stay or Do I Go? (5 Reasons to Leave NYC, 5 Reasons to Stay)

Robert Manni - Thursday, August 03, 2017


Although more and more people are moving out of New York, it feels like the city gets more crowded every day.

The first few years of living in New York is a love affair. But over time it can turn into a love-hate affair. When I was a kid, my dad worked in the Empire State Building. New York was a beacon to me. I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. I knew I would live and work there when I grew up. After graduating college I knocked around suburbia for a few years before landing a job in the city. Whoot! I was a young buck working at global corporation in huge skyscraper in midtown traveling the globe selling bubble gum. Since then, I’ve never wanted to live anywhere else but New York. That is, until now. After a few decades of city living and finally settling down and having a child, city life has changed. These days, my wife and I are discussing our future and we’re not sure if New York City is going to be part of it. We’ve done so much here, but there is so much more out there for our son and us. So soon, we may be saying adios to NYC.

I don’t want to move and find myself bored with the pace of a So Cal beach town, freezing my ass off in New Hampshire, or feeling like I’m much too far way in New Zealand. I also don’t want to be so jaded to think that there is no other place to live besides NYC. And although I grew up in New Jersey, sorry Chris Christie, but I do not want to return to my roots in the Garden State. I’ve had enough of the tri-sate area.

So, I’ve mapped a handful of the pros and cons of living in the big city and whether or not it is time to move out. To stay or leave NYC is a big decision, so let’s explore the criteria.

REASONS TO STAY IN NYC

1. NYC is a 24/7 playground - There is always something to do in New York. Unless you want some quiet time, being bored is virtually impossible in a city that never sleeps. If you dig people, they are out and about at all hours of the day and night. If you don’t believe me, hop on a subway at midnight and chances are it will be overflowing with people coming home or going out. If you’re the type of person that often gets that late night itch to find some action or some great food, there is no better city in the world than NYC. Once you become accustomed to the lifestyle and having all the resources at your fingertips, it’s hard to fathom living anywhere else in the world.

2. The people, the energy, the culture - New Yorkers are a high-energy, purposeful, intelligent, and cultured group. People with that purpose-driven mindset come here from every other country to follow their dreams and become part of the fabric of this amazing city. We’ve got some crazies here, but that’s understandable when you jam eight million people together and expect them to fall into some semblance of order and organization. Over the years I’ve had neighbors from every continent on Earth all drawn to New York like flies to honey. And there is no other city in the world with the cultural diversity of New York. Open any issue of Time Out New York and hands down you’ll find more things to do and places to go for the arts, music, theater, and film than anywhere else.  You get four real seasons and you can hit the beach, the slopes, or a golf course relatively easily from midtown.

3. The food, the drink – Not only does New York offer indigenous foods and drinks from every culture on Earth, it’s also a leader in inventing and fusing new foods and cocktails, whether it’s Korean tacos, cronuts, or alcohol-infused ice cream. If it’s new and it tastes good, it usually starts here. And, you can get it delivered at any hour of the day or night. Check plus, plus.

4. If you can make it there… - Deep down, I think every New Yorker carries pride knowing they are making their mark in arguably the toughest arena in the world. Unlike life in other areas of the country, many New Yorkers live to work and take pride in being the best in their jobs. Of course all work and no play gets old, so most careerists know how to cut loose in their down time, often in extreme ways. If you don’t believe me, check out the action at the clubs and after-hours dens of diversions in sex, gambling, and other extreme activities. If you’ve got an itch for something edgy, yeah, you’ll find it here.

5. It’s constantly changing – If someone asked me what’s the one thing that I’ve learned that stands out about living close to three decades in New York, I’d have to say that New York City never stops moving, evolving and changing its shape. Nobody can keep up with the city, even if a lot of New Yorkers roll 24/7/365. No one person has the time, stamina or resources to harness the pulse of this ever-changing magical city. Hot new neighborhoods like Hudson Yards and Gowanus pop up like weeds all over the city.

There. I’ve laid out a strong case for living in and never, ever leaving New York. If only life was so simple. There is a big wide world out there, amigos and it’s important to know when it’s time to pack up the caravan and move on.

REASONS TO LEAVE NYC

1. The rent, and every thing else is too damn high – Can you really afford to pay $3,000 a month for a studio in midtown or would you rather live with four random roommates in a two bedroom walk up in Bed Stuy? That’s just the tip of the financial iceberg that impacts your quality of life in New York City. New Yorkers can handle it, but after awhile living like you did in college gets old. New Yorkers like convenience so they eat out for most of their meals. That along with cocktails, the daily Starbucks, and a trip to Whole Foods on the way home gets expensive. Unless you are a savvy New Yorker who has been here long enough to stay ahead of the housing trends, it’s tough to keep yourself out of debt when you are renting, raving, and rolling in the clubs until dawn and all the while working a backbreaking entry-level job. Over the past few decades the situation has gotten worse. Unless you got a break on a Wall Street job, most kids fresh out of college to wheel and deal and improvise just to find a place to live, and that sucks. Back in the day, you might have to live uptown or on the west side, but at least you could plant some roots and live relatively comfortably with some privacy when starting out. That’s tough now. Almost a deal breaker if you ask me. I would not want to have to commute from the depths of Brooklyn or the Bronx for an entry-level position. I always managed to live near my office and relatively close to the nighttime action. I’m not sure that’s possible these days. And it’s very expensive raising a child in this town. Swimming lessons go for $50 a half hour. That’s just the beginning, folks.

2. Mass transit is worse than purgatory – Unless you have a trust fund to draw on or a corporate Uber card, you are probably using the subway. Over the past few decades the subways have gotten way more crowded, and much less reliable. And now we’re in the mass transit “summer from hell”. Very simply, riding the subway sucks more than ever. The cars are dirty, unreliable, and overcrowded, even in the dead of night. New Yorkers, and human beings in general, deserve better. Did I mention subway service on the weekends? Hahahaha. For a long-time New Yorker, traveling by mass transit has become a sore point and an actual embarrassment that is below the standards of a quality of life that New Yorkers deserve. And I don’t see the situation improving.

3. The noise, the lights, the crowds – After three decades you’d think I’d be used to the sounds of pounding jackhammers and blaring sirens at all day and night. Nope. Where I live uptown, we are also treated to churn of motorbikes plowing down the streets at all hours. All the lights from the streets and businesses that stay open all night make it challenging for us New Yorkers to get a proper night’s rest. By now I’ve learned to sleep through anything but why should I have to shut my windows to dull the roar from the crowds outside the bars at 3 am? Did I mention the lines New Yorkers stand in for a cool movie, event, or a bargain? I now pass on anything requiring me to stand in line, unless they are giving out free money or sex.

4. City living can be toxic – New York City living is a stress-inducing experience. Don’t discount the effects of living in a cramped metropolis filled with all types of Wi-Fi, radiation, and radio waves bouncing around and throughout the entire city. Humans soak this stuff into our bodies and over time it collects in our systems and causes havoc to our health. Recent studies show that our once-thought-as-wonderful city drinking water is filled with carcinogens and heavy metals. Get a water filter and walk in the park whenever possible. And even though New York has come a long way since 9/11, it is still number one target for terror.

5. Been there, done that – Black outs, 9/11, hurricanes, massive snowstorms, a garbage strike, the AIDS crisis, sweltering heat waves, and blinding rain and floods have all been part of my life in New York City. Like Mick Jagger sang, “I’m in tatters”, after surviving these tumultuous years. After decades of running wild and finally settling, there comes a point of diminishing returns for living in the big city. It’s that, “do I really want to put up with this shit?” feeling when you’re dealing with the cable company, mass transit delays, broken elevators at the train station, “show time” on a crowded subway, or witnessing general bad behavior on the street in front of your kids. This stuff gives even the most ardent New Yorker pause about continuing to live in this crazy town. Admit it. You’ve thought about living elsewhere.

So where does this leave me? I’ve put myself on a two-year plan before making a final decision about leaving New York. After working for major corporations, ad agencies, start ups, I’m not sure if I want another nine to five gig in the city. Nowadays businesses no longer require employees to come into the office every day. More and more jobs are done virtually, so it doesn’t matter where you live. I’ve done or tried just about everything I’ve wanted to in this city. So I ask myself, why not cash in and check out of New York to start a more peaceful life with my wife and kid somewhere less interesting, but saner? It’s a decision I will be considering over the next twenty-four months. Until then, I’ll keep fighting the good fight. Now I’ve got to go back into the bowels of the sweltering subway and get on that filthy C train to take my kid to his expensive swimming lesson.

This week’s Guys’ Guy’s Guys of the Week are all the folks who have taken the leap and lived in the New York City. Some like it hot and some do not, but everyone here adds a bit of spice to this human zoo. I’ll see you in the crowded streets, amigos!

10 Questions Guys Need to Ask Themselves Before Getting Married

Robert Manni - Sunday, July 30, 2017


I was single for so many years that no one bothered asking me anymore when I was getting married.

But then I got married, and I am glad I did. Marriage is one of, if not the most important, decisions you will ever make; yet many folks take this life-changing decision lightly. Nowadays the divorce rate exceeds fifty percent and until recent times who ever heard of a “starter marriage”? Take it from a Guy’s Guy. Don’t get married until you are absolutely certain that she is the one or you will pay a big price for your folly. I know so many guys who either married too young, grew apart from their spouses, or decided wanted to trade in their partner for a younger, hotter model. They all have one thing in common. They’re paying for it now.

Now, I’m not saying that when two people become partners in this fast paced modern world that it is always going to work out just fine. No sir, amigo. Shit happens and some of it hits you in the face when you least expect it. And it’s not necessarily your fault or that of your spouse. Life gets complicated, so unless you are a true risk taker, I suggest you do your homework and then think long and hard before getting married. If this sounds harrowing, it shouldn’t. Getting married to the right woman can be the best thing that ever happens to a guy. Take it from one who waited before finally hitting the jackpot. My experience confirmed what my gut told me. Do not get married until it feels right inside. And when you find that special woman, you’ll breeze through my list of ten questions guys needs to ask themselves before getting married. When it feels right inside and the stars are aligned, the answers come quick and they’re affirming. I hope they work for you the way they worked for me. Here goes… 

1. Am I truly ready to be a married man? Marriage is a lifelong commitment. And it’s no joke, so make damn sure you’re aware of what you’re signing up for before you take that leap. Marriage means you are entering a partnership built on a bond built on love, trust and respect. I strongly suggest that you look inside and ask yourself if getting married feels like the right decision. If there is any hesitation, take a deep breath and ask yourself again. If your underlying hesitation remains, you might want to reconsider your options. Ignore any outside pressures. This is your life, amigo. You hold the answers inside your heart.

2. What kind of future will I have with her? Do your best to peek into your shared future and visualize the kind of life that awaits the two of you. Where do you want to live, work, play, vacation, travel, settle down and buy a home, and spend your sunset days together? These questions can go on and on. Do your best to “see” your future with this lady. If you like what you see, proceed to the next question.

3. Will I be content not shagging other women for the rest of my life? This is usually an unspoken area, but in many ways for a guy, it becomes the issue. And if you are a horn dog like me, you’ll want a woman in total synch with your boning stylings. If she is the only one you’ll be rumpling the sheets with, you two better be simpatico about sex. Maybe, and this is a long shot, you both will be cool with an open marriage. It could happen, but don’t count on it. Unless you are a douche, once you tie the knot, your prowling nights are over. Yeah, you can always look at the menu, but ultimately the big dogs like to eat. Make sure you are cool with this.

4. What are her expectations? Guess what? It’s not all about you. If she’s going to invest her body, mind, and spirit in commune with you for what could be her entire life, she deserves to know what she’s getting into. If you think she’s the one for you, make sure you don’t hold back any creepy secrets that would give her pause. Let her know about your dreams and aspirations and how you’ll be there for her. And ask her what she expects from you along the way. It’s only fair that you are transparent and that you feel comfortable with her needs.

5. Do you both want kids? This can be a deal breaker. Everyone has their own vision of what their future family will look like, and not every woman wants to have kids, or wants to stay home and care for them. So if you want three kids and she wants none, or she wants to work and you want her to raise the kids, these issues could become a sore point as the years go by. Maybe you’ll have to take care of the kids! It happens a lot nowadays. Will she be cool with that? Will you? Get the details about children out in the open before walking to the altar. I was single for so long that I didn’t think I would ever become a father, and I was okay with it. That said—I kept an open mind in case the woman I married wanted to start a family. And here I am now, a doting father of a four year old. And I could not be happier.

6. Do I like her family? You might not think that this matters, but it does. In the vast majority of cases, you’re going to have quite a few interactions with your in-laws. So if you really can’t stand being around them, think twice before moving forward. Hey, you might find out that they don’t like you either. 

7. Does she make me laugh? The power of humor is underrated. When I think about it, most of my friends are funny, or at least know how to laugh. If you can’t make your future wife laugh, you are in trouble. And hopefully, she can get a rise out of you, too. This becomes important when you fight (which you will) and how you make up (which you will also do). I highly recommend finding a partner that laughs easily at your shenanigans. You want to make her laugh, don’t you? 

8. Do I really want to grow old with her? Fast forward thirty or forty years. She no longer rocks a black bikini the way she used to, and maybe she’s put on a few pounds. And you have less hair, worse eyesight, and a belly. Can you handle that? I actually weigh less than I did thirty years ago and I still run the same times. Why? Because I give a shit and I invest time in taking care of myself. And, frankly I expect the same of my partner. Think about how you will handle her looks and health three decades from now. Can you handle the variables? My advice is that you set the example by taking care of your health and fitness as a matter of lifestyle and pride. There is nothing wrong with a little pride when it’s for the greater good.

9. Does she fight fair? Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are like an old married couple. They fight, they avoid one another, and yet they still make wonderful music when they come together. Be like Mick and Keith. You can fight, but don’t hit below the belt. And always forgive. That doesn’t mean you become a doormat. You may not instantly forget shit they may have done, but it means that you don’t allow your partner’s behavior or your anger eat you up from the inside. The point is, marriage is a like long dance when it comes to managing emotions. Take the lead and make it a waltz. 

10a. Do we share the same values? Another underrated, but important thing to consider. By values, I’m referring to what you value you as people. It’s not about money. We’ll get to that. It’s more about how you both see humanity, and your role in making this world a better place. Do you both care about this, or is she the only one who cares about clean water, feeding the poor, education, and health care. What if she prefers country life and you dig the big city? Think about all of your values or you may end up marrying someone with a completely different set of beliefs. Can you imagine a Trump loyalist married to a Bernie supporter? You think that would work out?

10b. Are we in synch on financial issues? To solve a mystery, they often say, “follow the money”. When it comes to marriage, you best be in synch when it comes to how you view and handle the cash. If not, you could be in deep shit, and it could happen quickly. Nowadays, many couples have separate bank accounts. I think this is a good practice, but it doesn’t guarantee that financial issues won’t beguile your marriage. Money problems are near the top of every divorce hearing. There is a reason for it. People have their individual relationships to money, many times formulated during their upbringing. If you like to save and she likes to spend, good luck, champ.

11. BONUS QUESTION - What’s in it for her?  Why should she marry you? Think about it. What do you have to offer her that would inspire her to spend the rest of her life listening to you snore and watching the Jets lose? She can give you love, emotional support, children, and the kind of love that only a woman can share. What are you going to do for her? If it all boils down to is you making a paycheck, you are skating on thin ice, amigo. Think long and hard about how you can add to her life emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. She deserves it. So do you.

With marriage there is a lot to consider, but then again, if it’s meant to be, you’ll breeze through these questions. If you have to think long and hard about any of the points I raised, then you might want to think hard and possibly reconsider your options. After all, you want to be fair to yourself and your partner. If deep down, it really doesn’t feel right, no matter how much pressure you may be under, don’t do it. After all, who wants to spend their life with someone who may secretly not feel the same about them?

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is my father, Serge Manni. He was twenty-five when he married my mother, who was 21. They have been married for 67 years now. Sure, they have had their arguments and they are very different people, but underneath it all they have consistently maintained their love for one another. And ultimately, love is the fuel that drives a marriage. Good luck, amigo. I hope you make the right decision. It will change your life. Just ask any Guy’s Guy.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Staying the Course and Pursuing Your Dreams

Robert Manni - Monday, July 24, 2017


The great Charles Bukowski once wrote, “Slavery was never abolished. It was expanded to include everyone.”

One of the toughest challenges we face is remaining steadfast in pursuit of our aspirations while living in a dysfunctional culture built on the back on the common man and his debt and servitude. Here’s a typical scenario: It’s mid-July, it’s a sunny ninety degrees outside and you’re trapped in a high-rise office toiling away as usual. You emerge from your cubicle and stare out the window down to the street below, wondering where everyone is going and why you’re chained to your desk grinding away on another post-buy analysis spreadsheet coupled with an unrealistic timetable from your boss.

Welcome to the junior-level work life in New York. You want to follow your passion and be a rock star, a writer, or an actor and create something that will hold value and have meaning, but right now it feels like the core of your existence revolves around that lengthy report on a bathroom cleaner that smells like bleach. You ask yourself, “How do I find the time to pursue my dream while I’m working like a drone in bee colony?” On top of this challenge is how easily distracted we get, especially when living in a massive city filled with…lots of distractions. So, despite how focused you are, staying the course is not always easy.

But take heart. There is good news. First, you are not alone. There are thousands of other young bucks just like you in the big bad city putting their dreams on hold while toiling away at junior level positions. But I’m hear to tell you that if you play your cards right you can find the time to stay the course and make your mark on the world.

In over three decades fighting the good fight at corporations and agencies across the city, I often felt that I did not have enough time to pursue dreams that were slowly fading away. But because of my passion and belief in my message and myself, I found time to keep that dream train rolling down the tracks no matter how much day-to-day business needed my attention.

Your Guy’s Guy wants to share a few tricks he’s learned about staying focused on one’s passions in the face of an omnipresence clock and the realities of survival in the big city. So here are my tips for staying the course, surviving and thriving while following your dreams. That’s the idea, right?

1. Become an early riser – I recently read an article about the success secrets of a number of well-known entrepreneurs and successes in business including Elon Musk and Warren Buffet. They all shared one trait. They all got up every day at 4:45am. That’s pretty early if you ask me, but these visionaries know the importance of carving out time each day to focus on their passion, dreams, and some me-time to gather their thoughts before tackling the day. I’ve found getting up earlier has become easier with each passing year and I whole-heartedly endorse this practice. I use these early hours for affirmations, creatively, and to map out the day and how I’ll allocate the ensuing hours to my passions, my work, and all the usual day-to-day tasks.

2. Burn the midnight oil – If you can’t handle getting up early then consider staying up later to focus on your passions. And by your passions I don’t mean the blonde next to you in bed. My mind is clearer in the morning, but I have come up with a number of out-of-the-box ideas while burning the midnight oil. Whether you make time early or late in the day, the goal is to use these precious hours to stay on course and move your personal projects along. Write a song, map out a “what if” idea for a book or screenplay, or focus an hour or two on whatever inspires you to dream.

3. Meditate to keep your mind fresh – Speaking of keeping your mind clear and open to your creative passions, there is no better way to stay mentally and spiritually fresh than a brief meditation. I do my best to put at least fifteen minutes aside for the sole purpose of quieting my mind and allowing it to empty all my garbage thoughts and monkey chatter, like what team Kylie Irving should play for next year or when will the Rolling Stones will drop a new album. All this mental small talk chatter results in wasting valuable time that could be use to focus on what you really want to focus on.

4. Use your workouts creatively – If there was ever a reason for multitasking it’s using your workouts to think creatively and solve problems. I realize that pushing iron and playing golf require a tight focus, but cardio sessions are great for zoning out and getting in touch with your inner voice. I mapped out and mentally constructed most of my novel, The Guys Guy’s Guide to Love, during my long runs. Now I also use the time on the road to come up with ideas for blog posts, memes, book ideas, and tweaks to my screenplay and adapted TV series. I get my workout in and figure things out at the same time. That’s a win-win.

5. Find work relative to your true passion – Although my background is in marketing and brand management, I always held an interest in advertising because I wanted to be close to the creative process during my work. I choose account management because I did not want to use up all of my psychic energy coming up with ads for canned ravioli or cooking spray. But, I wanted to be surrounded by creative people and use my creativity to solve brand issues without having to write the ads. It turned out pretty well. I learned the creative process and cleared a wide path for my teams to excel. And the things I’m most proud from my advertising career are the great campaigns I’ve been part of that bolstered the sales of mega brands I worked on including Bacardi rum, Stolichnaya vodka and 1800 tequila to name a few. Of course it doesn’t hurt when you’re working on image brands. But during this time I never lost sight of my own projects and creative goals and used my free time to pursue my passions.

6. Learn to prioritize – Finding the time to stay the course for your long term goals and creative projects is a balancing act. The best way to keep all the balls in the air is by prioritizing your projects within the amount of time you can allocate for them throughout the day. Time flashes by but if you are mentally organized you can identify those tasks most important to your survival and can still set enough time aside to take care of business and your goals. Don’t forget, you almost always have the weekends to carve out some time for your personal projects.

Life is short, but there are lots of hours, days, weeks and years available to us if we take care of ourselves and stay organized. Of course, if you want to follow your dreams and you have a dismal job, make sure you keep your spirits up, think creatively, and find the time to follow your dreams. It’s up to you amigo, and I know you can do it.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is the great writer Charles Bukowski whom I mentioned in the opening of this post. Bukowski worked for years in a series of menial odd jobs before becoming a professional writer at the age of forty-nine. In fact, one of his most successful novels is Post Office a hilarious, sad and poignant chronicle about his twelve-year stint at the USPS.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Conquering Anxiety

Robert Manni - Thursday, July 13, 2017


Unless you’re entering an actual lion’s den, fear is a fleeting emotion created in the mind. But in these uncertain times of fear-based news and media, many folks live with an omnipresent feeling of anxiety.

Even the word “anxiety” sounds uncomfortable. Wikipedia defines it as an emotion characterized by an unpleasant state of inner turmoil, often accompanied by nervous behavior, like pacing back and forth, somatic complaints, and rumination. Shit, I feel nervous already. So how can we manage our nervous pangs and the feelings of dread that can creep into our consciousness? Let me tell you a story…

I recently had a bout with anxiety that had been triggered years ago when I was trapped alone in an office elevator for close to an hour. Before this occurred, I had never had any thoughts of discomfort about tight spaces. But after that incident, I realized that the mind could play tricks and allow fear to grab hold of our consciousness. In most cases, the old adage “there is nothing to fear except fear itself” rings true, but we all have triggers that cause mental and physical discomfort, and waves of anxiety. It might be a fear of heights, tight spaces, spiders, snakes, clowns, or situations like losing a job, money, or your lover. Today, your Guy’s Guy is drawing on his personal experiences and bouts of anxiety to serve up a few tips that may help you deal with that nasty stuff in your head. Here goes…

Ever since I was trapped alone in an elevator for close to an hour, my mind has played games on me when I’m faced with really tight spaces. Being a certified advanced clinical hypnotist, after the elevator incident, I made sure I practiced what I preached and got help from one of my teachers. It made a huge difference, but like all hypnosis, the patient needs to take an active role in overcoming his issues.

Although hypnosis wiped away most of the residual claustrophobia, I did a double take the first time I saw an MRI machine online. I was due for back-to-back robotic surgeries and needed MRI’s prior to and after both operations. After that, I would need annual MRI’s for the next five years. The first time I saw that tube on my computer I was hit with a wave of anxiety. Requiring two robotic surgeries on my kidneys was stressful enough without adding multiple stints in the MRI tube. None of this had ever been in my purview. My world had been turned upside down when I was diagnosed. I needed to get a grip on my mental, physical, and spiritual facilities, pronto.

I thought I had moved past any discomfort with tight spaces—I took the subway almost every day—but the thought of sliding into that tube was troubling. I was expecting to be in there for about five minutes, but I was wrong. The first time I was in the tube it would be for forty-five minutes.

Inside the tube, I laid with my eyes closed listening to the distant voice of the technician telling me to breathe in, hold my breath, and breathe out while disturbingly loud noises from the machine clanged through my head. It was awful and it was just the beginning. What could I do?

I looked inside myself and I asked for help. I had to get a handle on this quick and take charge of my emotions. So, after the first session, I reviewed the details of my entrance form and realized I had foolishly agreed to take part in a research study. I said, sure, without inquiring what this entailed, only to discover that my participation in the test required me to spend twice the amount of time in the tube. Even though I had checked the box for claustrophobia on my form, I let myself be convinced to be part of a study to help other patients.

So I called the test center, raised hell, and got out of the test. Based on my claustrophobia, they never should have asked me to participate in the first place. But, I learned that as a patient, you have to fully participate in the process and all of the decisions you make concerning your care. Fortunately, the next test was only twenty minutes. And I was better mentally prepared for the series of MRI’s that were in my immediate future.

How did I handle my anxiety? I asked myself what else I could do and then realized that I’d done my best. What I needed most at this juncture was to stay alert and trust the process. Six weeks and two robotic surgeries later, I set out to heal and learn from the experience. And I really did. I had faced the abyss, not even knowing the fate of my right kidney when I went under the anesthesia, and came out fine. What I learned from my fear and anxiety had ultimately made me stronger.

A year went by and I forgot about the MRI until about a month before it was time to slide back in the tube again. I was caught off guard by new pangs of anxiety, but this time I felt more prepared. I placed a call to the center and made sure I had been eliminated from the test study. But the day of the test, when I saw the tube, I took a step back. It looked way smaller than the tube used the previous year. I took a deep breath and slid in dutifully. I choose classical music for my earphones, kept my eyes closed, and repeated The Violet Flame Invocation— “ I am a being of violet fire. I am the purity God desires” as I listened to the tech’s directions. Although in my mind the tube felt tight, I was handling it okay until the machine malfunctioned. I didn’t know what was going on, but it felt like something wasn’t right. I called out to the technician, but no answer. Waves of anxiety poured enveloped me. I squeezed the ball they gave me to signal the techs to slide me out of the machine. At first, even that did not work. Then, finally I was moving.

Once out of the tube, I was told the machine had malfunctioned and I’d have to wait outside until another machine became available. WTF!? I sat waiting nervously in my gown and socks for the next half hour. I was totally off my game when they summoned me the second time. This time, the machine looked bigger. (Later I found out that it actually was.) I lay down, did my best to get into my zone, and got through it. Afterwards, I let out a sigh of relief and headed home. Fortunately my results were once again clear and I was free for another year.

Fast-forward to 2017. I had only three more MRI’s to go before shifting to an annual ultrasound. For some reason, about a month before my test, I began having anxiety about my upcoming procedure. I needed to get my shit together and get ahead of the game. I recalled what had occurred the prior two years and wondered what screw-ups and dread awaited me this time. I went through my mental checklist and made the necessary adjustments. This time I would wear boxer shorts because they were more comfortable in the tube. Check. I also got my blood test and results ahead of time. Check. Then, remembering what seemed to me to be varying sizes of the MRI tubes, I called the center and asked if I was scheduled for the larger tube I had the previous year, following the first tube’s malfunction. The administrator informed me that I was scheduled for the small tube again.

“What is wrong with these people?” I thought. After all, the previous year I had again checked the box for claustrophobia. I had assumed that people are mindful about their jobs. Nope. Finally management switched me to one of the big tubes. I knew which one to request in subsequent years. Check. The morning of the test I asked myself what the hell I was so concerned about. After all, there was really no way I could be harmed during the test. There were aides and technicians everywhere, and I had the signal ball to squeeze if I was freaking out and needed to come out of the tube for a break. Although I may have had reason for my mental anguish, I realized that my anxiety self-induced and all in my head. As soon as I got through to my subconscious, I was ready to go.

This time the test went as smooth as silk. I repeated my violet flame affirmation, but I also asked my guides and angels to be there with me. In fact, I could feel their presence and felt light and protected as a cool breeze from the machine blew up my boxer shorts. The twenty minutes flew by, and the results were all clear. I also picked up one more trick—instead of using the cumbersome headphones next time I’ll ask for the ear buds during the test because they’re lighter and less restricting. So now I know that, too.

Okay, this has been a long story, and thanks for hanging in there. The point is that there are ways to deal with anxiety. Want proof? Here I am, alive, healed, and stronger than ever. In fact, I’m running my usual 6.2-mile loop of Central Park in the same time as I did prior to my surgeries three years ago. I’m sure you will have your own challenges to face, but when you do, consider these steps to power through the situation and come up better than ever.

1. Be prepared – The more you learn about and know the practical aspects about what you’re facing, the less uncertainty there is and the better off you’ll be. Putting the randomness of human error aside, at least you’ll know you did what you could to address your fears and the scenarios you’re facing.

2. Ask what’s the worst that can happen? – If you’re really freaked out, take a few deep breaths, calm down and ask your higher self, what’s the worst scenario you might be facing. Then consider the best possible outcome. I’ll bet that the worst outcome is highly unlikely and in many cases not that probable, or that awful. Keeping a positive frame of mind helps create a positive outcome. When we think about only the bad stuff, that’s what happens. Manage your energy and your vibe. It matters.

3. Learn from your experience – Having a painful kidney stone, two robotic surgeries, and all the follow up procedures, including the dreaded MRI’s, has, in a crazy way, actually been a blessing. I am a different person now, and hopefully a stronger and better person. I’m not as fearful, and I now realize I have more power than I previously believed.

4. Ask for help – Despite the loneliness we all experience from time to time, we are not alone. Not only are we all connected, but we also have spiritual entities looking out for us. If you’re a believer, don’t be afraid to call on them.

5. Say WTF and go for it – After you have done your research, considered the possibilities, gotten your head together, and asked for help, the only thing left to do is to be like Nike and just do it. It’s called life, amigo, and we all have to face some shit. Believe me, adversity can make you stronger and more resilient. Believe in yourself.

This week’s GUY’S GUY OF THE WEEK is Daniel. You know, the guy from the Old Testament who had his faith tested when asked to enter the lion’s den. Now that’s major anxiety. But as he demonstrated, faith and love can conquer fear.


Recent Posts


Tags


Archive

Connect with The Author

Visit my profile on YourTango Experts

Buy THE GUYS' GUY'S GUIDE TO LOVE Now!

Watch The Sizzling GGG2Love Video

Listen to Guy's Guy Radio!

What if you knew men's deepest, darkest dating secrets?

Sign up and find out *



Subscribe to: Pre-Launch Signup Form

*You'll receive three tasty chapters of The Guys' Guy's Guide to Love.

What People Are Saying

"THE GUYS' GUY'S GUIDE TO LOVE is the man's successor to Sex And The City
~ Dan Wakefield, author of Going All The Way
"GREAT book, fun read, very 'real'"
~ Janis Spindel, founder of Janis Spindel Serious Matchmaking, Inc.
"Prepare to man up and hunker down for this exuberant guided tour of the male sexual psyche."
~ Ian Kerner, NY Times best-selling author of She Comes First
"A contemporary look at "Mad Men". Very compelling, almost addictive. Manni knows too much about women."
~Judy Wald, "the master manipulator and undisputed leader in the ad placement scene for forty years," according to New York Magazine
"Manni astutely captures the mindset of guys when it comes to dating and relationships. A well-written parable of lust, greed, and ego."
~Brad Berkowitz, author of The 21st Century Guide To Bachelorhood
© All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy