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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

Why Bruce Jenner is a Guy's Guy

Robert Manni - Thursday, May 21, 2015

Yes, I know. It’s not Bruce anymore. And although we don’t know the new name yet, the guy who was once Bruce is now a she. And that’s a good thing for him, for her, and for everyone else. Why? This is who he is. And who are we to judge this poor soul? Amigos, there is not enough love in the world.

While watching Jenner’s revealing “coming out” interview with Diane Sawyer, I could not help but sympathize with this tortured human being. Bruce began the conversation with a take on his life from the view of the good Lord. Jenner said it must have been quite the joke when God made little Bruce and decided to put him into an amazing male physical vessel while also giving him the soul of a woman. Bruce shook his head as he laughed at the life-long challenge God had provided. Who of us has never felt out of place or that we don’t fit in or that people don’t get us, or see us we truly are? And now Jenner simply wants to live out his remaining time as the woman he kept buried deep inside for all those years.

The fact that Jenner began his coming out talk with this amazing example of self-awareness, humor and grace increased the respect I had already had for the Guy’s Guy I watched win the 1976 Olympic men’s decathlon in Montreal for Team USA.

At the time, he became an instant celebrity and American folk hero, gracing the front of the Wheaties box and inspiring young men all over America to grow up and be the next Bruce Jenner representing their country in the Olympics. And now, here he was at sixty-seven years of age, shaking his hair out of his ponytail and revealing to the world that all this time he’s been living the painful life of a man with the soul of a woman trapped inside. Hopefully he's now at peace. And hopefully Jenner can front a movement to bring awareness, understanding, and equal rights to the transgender community. Do we really care which sex he decides to date or what he does with his body? That’s up to him and now, to her. And who knows, maybe this is the long-awaited contribution we’ve been waiting for from the Kardashians. Take that, Kanye.

Jenner had been a late night punch line the past few years, as we saw him slowly allow his feminine side to emerge. Of course, many people saw him as a confused freak that did not know who he was. But, the opposite is true. Here is a man who actually knew exactly what and who he was. The problem is most of us looked at him scornfully while we held onto our preconceived notions about what men, women and their behavior should be, from our perspective. Jenner’s coming out (I don’t have a better phrase for his revelation) is nothing short of heroic. We get it now. You can be physically born one sex, yet have the soul of the opposite sex within. It’s complicated, but it does not make you any less worthy of love.

The Guy’s Guy credo is “when men and women can be at their best, everyone wins.” And that’s why Jenner is a Guy’s Guy. Let’s get something straight about being a Guy’s Guy. A Guy’s Guy is not a macho man. A Guy’s Guy respects his fellow men and women while living a life built on a foundation of treating people with respect. You don’t have to be a man’s man, a straight man or even a man to be a Guy’s Guy. It’s about making the world a better place, one man, one woman at a time. Jenner fits that bill just fine for me.

Throughout my life, when I’m in doubt about new concepts, new people, what seems like new behavior and cultural evolution, I step back and remind myself of a phrase to help me withhold judgment. These words have helped me choose love over fear, every time, without fail.

There is not enough love in the world.

It’s as simple as that. So next time you come across something new that you don’t yet like or understand, wait. While your judgment coils like a cobra ready to strike, consider these words. There is not enough love in the world.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week? Do you really have to ask?

God bless Bruce Jenner.

The Guys' Guy's Thoughts on the Sham of the Century

Robert Manni - Friday, May 08, 2015

Floyd Mayweather is a magician in the ring. And that’s the problem.

If I want to see someone run, hide, grab, hug, and disappear, I might as well buy a ticket to David Copperfield or Dancing With The Stars. Manny Pacquaio is a trusting soul. And that’s his problem. He works in the unregulated cesspool of a boxing industry and leaves important details like being injured before the fight to his slippery promoters to handle. We now know that he had a torn rotator cuff going into the fight. So why did his team not reveal his injury until afterwards? Money, that’s why. This is only the tip of the iceberg why this mega-hyped event was a sham that will send the sport of boxing back twenty years.

Many of us Guy’s Guys are boxing fans, so when this long overdue fight was finally announced in February, people all over the world were ecstatic. In one corner we had the slick, undefeated American with a bad reputation as a human being. Mayweather is an unrepentant, convicted women-beater. He’s also brash, arrogant, and greedy. And, he’s a peerless defensive wizard in the ring who has never lost a professional fight.

In the other corner we had PacMan, the born-again Filipino. Pacquaio is a fighter with an untarnished personal reputation. He has shown quickness, aggressiveness and courage in the ring and humility and generosity outside of it. We had a perfect bad guy versus good guy storyline for the fight. The prospects were even brighter from a tactical perspective. PacMan is a hard-working southpaw who usually throws one hundred punches per round. Mayweather is the slick tactician who focuses more on not getting hit than dishing out punishment to his foe. He is fast and elusive to a fault. The paying public wants to see two guys mixing it up, not dancing inside the squared circle. All in all, we had the makings of a classic matchup, even for the casual fan. Good guy versus bad guy. Lefty versus righty. Speed versus power. But, that’s not the way it turned out, amigos. Let’s take a closer look at the fight and the two combatants.

Mayweather - Make no mistake about it, this guy is lightning fast and elusive. He scooted around the ring and made keeping PacMan at bay look easy. Although I am a fan of the Filipino, there is no way PacMan won the fight, as some have suggested. That said; the problems with Floyd’s victory were many. First, he obviously knew that Pacquaio was damaged goods. He zinged him in torn rotator cuff and landed a number of lead right hands. But, he never hurt PacMan. Not even a little bit. The word is that Floyd’s team knew about Pacquaio’s injury beforehand. If true, why did Floyd devote most of his time running around the ring, grabbing and holding instead of exchanging and going in for the knockout? Some argue boxing is about scoring points and not getting hit. This is correct, but only to a point. Running, grabbing and holding tarnishes an already tarnished sport. No one wants to see this. Fans pay to see two professional combatants mix it up and inflict some damage. And, that’s what this fight lacked. There was little action. Ironically, the loser generated most of the action. PacMan slowly pawed his way around the ring while Floyd scored some light jabs and right hands and then ran or held his opponent in a headlock. From a viewing standpoint, this made the fight suck. I put that on Mayweather. Beyond his running to avoid contact, he proved once again to be a dirty fighter. He repeatedly clutched, grabbed and pushed down on PacMan. He also used his forearms, elbows, and sides of his gloves, all which are illegal tactics. And, Mayweather’s handpicked referee did nothing to stop the misconduct.

Pacquaio – Dude, if you are not at 100%, postpone the fight. PacMan lost a ton of cred by stepping into the ring in less than top condition and not letting us know. If you are hurt, you are hurt. Just say so. When you step inside the ring for a bout of this magnitude at anything less than 100%, you will be rightly accused of just taking the money. And, it’s understandable. Fans paid top dollar for the pay per view and bet big time on this fight. Pacquaio should have provided full disclosure. His team did not claim the shoulder injury on his prefight medical form, although they did cop to his taking painkillers throughout camp. Why did they do this? Why didn’t the state boxing commission ask about this? Who knows?

As a result, PacMan was denied a pre-fight dose of painkillers and even his Vitamin Water. Yet, we saw Mayweather drinking Gatorade. And only after the fight did the paying public find out PacMan had a torn right rotator cuff. Maybe this explains why PacMan threw far fewer punches than usual and appeared to coast through most of the bout. This did not look like the Manny Pacquaio than we have been accustomed to seeing in the ring. Some say it was because Mayweather is so much faster and skilled. That may be true to a point. But I think most people would agree that it appeared that something was wrong with PacMan from the very first round.

So with a trail of dissatisfied Guy’s Guys and fight fans left on the curb with $100 bucks less in their pockets, what else could be worse? The rematch, of course. See you in 2016.

This week’s Guys’ Guys of the Week are the two men who filed a class action suit about misrepresentation of PacMan’s status before the fight. 

5 Tests to Pass Before Proposing (Guest Post)

Robert Manni - Monday, May 04, 2015

So you're in love.

Congratulations! There's no better feeling, and as terrifying as true love can be, it holds all the promise in the world, and the potential to define the rest of your life. And if you have reached the point at which you feel genuinely in love with that special someone, you'll probably be tempted to propose, or at least to discuss the possibility of an engagement.

These feelings are perfectly natural, but that doesn't mean you should act on them just yet. The divorce rate is falling in the U.S., and that's great news for those interested in marriage. But marriage can still be a very fragile commitment for those who rush into it or don't approach it carefully. It's easy enough to feel certain that you're in love with somebody, but are you equally certain you can build a life with that person?

Unfortunately, there's no exact way to be sure about this. At some point, a proposal is a leap of faith! However, there are a few lifestyle changes and practices that can effectively serve as tests for whether or not you and your partner are ready for marriage. Here are five to keep in mind for your own relationship checklist.

1. Can You Articulate The Day-To-Day Benefits?

Sounds easy, right? Well, this is a surprisingly tricky proposition even for some devoted couples. A Huffington Post column on questions to ask before marriage phrases a similar idea as, "What would marriage give you that you don't already have?" If you can answer that question honestly—and without resorting to clichés—then you may be on the right track. For example, if your answer is "love" or "constant support," you may not have thought hard enough about what exactly your marriage will mean. Try to prove to yourself that you have a detailed understanding of how a life together will benefit you—both "you" personally and "you" as a couple—every day.

2. Can You Share A Living Space?

This is a big one, and one that far too many couples ignore. One reason some couples don't move in together is if they're abstaining from sex until the wedding night. While that's understandable, I'd encourage even couples that fit this description to share a home, if not a bed. An Adam & Eve article titled "How Will I Know?" phrased the idea with decisive clarity: "No one truly knows if they are compatible or if the love will stay without sharing a roof, bills, and a life together in this intimate way." Really, it's that simple. You may know somebody's personality inside and out, but until you actually live with her you'll miss out on all the little habits and tendencies that are her most personal and intimate—and that will become a big part of your life.

3. Can You Share Financial Responsibility?

I just mentioned "sharing bills" in the same category about sharing a living space, but this is important enough that it deserves its own bullet point. According to another Huffington Post article, financial disputes early in a relationship can be a predictor of divorce, and it's fairly thoroughly documented that finances can be some of the most stressful factors in a relationship. Before you propose, you need to be absolutely sure you and your spouse-to-be can comfortable and openly share financial responsibility.

4. Would You Change Her If You Could?

This one sounds a little harsh to consider, but it's important. An article in Bustle, more directed toward women, made the incredibly important distinction that you may be ready for marriage if you don't want to change your partner, but rather understand that the two of you will evolve together to suit each other's needs. Evolution in a happy marriage can be a natural process. But if you think about this privately and you can come up with more than a few (or a few major) ways you'd change her if you could, you may want to give it more time before committing long-term. Nobody's perfect, but the person you marry should be pretty close to it in your eyes!

5. Can You Raise A Dog Together?

I realize not everyone is a dog person, but consider this question conceptually. Really, it's best as a test for couples who want to be parents in the future. Raising a dog properly requires a great deal of time, devotion, teamwork, and mutual love. But whether or not you and your partner hope to be parents, caring for a dog together can be a very revealing process. There may be no better way to see how well you can work together—and in the end, that's the most important factor of all!

The Guys' Guy's Guide to the Fight of the Century

Robert Manni - Thursday, April 30, 2015

Boxing is far from dead. Say what you want about Ronda Rousey and the meteoric rise of the MMA. Nothing the MMA has done to date compares to the buzz and mega-dollars generated from a major boxing match.

Every generation has its super fights. In the 20th Century we had Louis-Schmeling II, Ali-Frazier I, and possibly Leonard-Hagler. Fifteen years into the 21st Century a new super-fight has finally materialized. Mayweather-Pacquaio has been talked about, planned, avoided, dismantled, discussed and then suddenly agreed to about eight weeks ago. Long in the making, but hastily thrown together, this bout will prove to be the richest in the history of the sport, and the stakes have never been higher for these two great fighters. Floyd Mayweather is 47-0. He is a brilliant ring tactician. Fast, elusive, and an astute ring general, he is a once-in-a-generation fighter. His opponent, Manny Pacquaio, is a title-holder in eight weight classes, a fighter of the decade, and a whirlwind force of nature. He’s a southpaw that attacks ferociously from all angles with a blur of punches. He hits like a howitzer and has the speed in his hands and feet to move in and out of the pocket leaving devastating results.

The two pugilists have been circling one another for the past five years. Many thought they would never fight until the deal was finally consummated in late February. Some say Mayweather has been avoiding his Filipino rival because he did not want to risk a potential loss on his perfect record. Maybe so, but he did sign on and put his unbeaten streak is on the line. And, for a cool $99, you, too, can watch it in HD. Despite the exorbitant price, between 2.5 and 3 million households are expected to purchase the bout on cable.

My grandfather was a professional boxer so I grew up with an appreciation of this brutal sport. There is something beautiful and pure about boxing that many Guy’s Guys appreciate. It’s as real as it gets. There are just two combatants in the ring. No shoulder pads, facemasks, or numbered jerseys. And the ring is way smaller than it looks on television. The equipment consists of two fists wrapped in gauze and squeezed inside 8 oz. leather gloves. There is a referee and three ringside judges to keep score and determine the outcome of the fight if it goes the distance. That’s it, amigos. Boxing is about truth. So let’s take a closer look into Mayweather-Pacquaio, Guy’s Guy style.

Speed – There are two types of speed in boxing hand speed and foot speed. Both men have blazing hand speed. Pac-Man, as Pacquiao is called, has the edge in foot speed. He is a southpaw who darts in and out from a variety of angles. He has been compared to an annoying fly that won’t stay away. Mayweather has incredibly quick hands and is a precise counterpuncher. Most folks think he can catch Pac-Man as he works his way inside. But Floyd has had trouble with lefties and has been vulnerable to the straight left and right hooks from southpaws he’s fought. It’s one of the reasons some say he delayed the taking this fight.

Can a whirling dervish moving forward in a serpentine fashion break a seemingly impenetrable defense and avoid crisp hard shots from a bigger man? Manny may be able to work his way into the pocket, but he could get popped along the way. Can he deflect those shots enough to score some of his own and soften up Floyd? Maybe. Edge: even.

Power – Although Mayweather is the larger man, he is not known for his power. That said, many pros say that Floyd’s power is underestimated. Pacquiao hits like a mule, but he’s smaller. Although they are both champions in multiple weight classes, neither fighter has scored a legitimate knockout during the past three years. Maybe it’s because Mayweather is 38 and Pac-Man is 36 now. Still, Manny has starched common opponents Miguel Cotto and Oscar De La Hoya. On the flip side, Floyd easily beat Juan Marquez while Pacquiao ran into his right hand and was knocked out cold a few years ago during their fourth fight. Some say that Marquez had 44 rounds, two losses and a disputed draw to sort out Manny’s tendencies. The question is: can Floyd figure Manny out in one night? It’s possible, but not a given, even for a mastermind at adjustments like Mayweather. Edge: Pacquiao

Ring Generalship – Both fighters usually set the pace and force their opponents to fight their fight. Can Mayweather bully the smaller Pacquiao around after making the necessary tweaks following what are expected to be a frenetic first few rounds? If Pac-Man tires and Mayweather starts picking him apart, it will be a long evening for the congressman. Pac-Man’s best chance is to set a fast tempo and win individual rounds versus going balls out for a knockout. Like Mike Tyson once said though, “even the best strategy goes out the window once you’ve been hit”. Edge: Mayweather

Character – Since this is the Guy’s Guy take, I wanted to include a deeper glimpse of the two main characters in the story. Floyd Mayweather is not a Guy’s Guy. He is a convicted women beater who once said about Pacquaio, “Once I stomp the midget, I’ll make the motherf—ker make me a sushi roll and cook me some rice.” How’s that for winning friends and influencing people? I’m somewhat surprised that the press has not made more of this tirade, but at least we have our villain. Floyd is also known for hitting off the break, sucker punching, and using his forearms and elbows when it suits him. He also has the deck stacked in his favor in the choice of venue, referee and judges. But, since he is considered the A-side of the bout’s marketing, he has earned those privileges.

Pacquaio, on the other hand, is a reformed sinner, and a born-again Christian, who wants to pray with Mayweather following their fight. He is likeable, a bad singer, and a congressman and icon in his native Philippines. This diametric opposition in personas makes for compelling television, kids. I think we know who gets the check mark here, but to be fair, both men have shown courage and fortitude in the ring. Between his sushi roll duty, Pacquiao assures us that, “God will deliver him to my hands”. Something to watch for which brings us to…

Prediction - Most boxing pundits are picking Mayweather by a 12 round decision. It’s hard to argue with a consistent result over the past decade of Mayweather fights. He’s bigger, he has a longer reach, he’s smart as hell, fast, and very hard to hit. He has made his opponents look foolish by deploying brilliant strategy and in-fight adjustments.

But, for some reason that only he knows, Mayweather has arguably avoided this long-overdue match up. Now that the fight is here, Pacquiao appears confident, focused, and driven. During the stare-down at yesterday’s press conference, he actually giggled as he looked into Floyd’s sneer. I like that. And I’ll always take the guy with fire in his belly that desperately wants to win over a guy who does not want to lose. No one is unbeatable, and with the brilliant Freddy Roach in his corner to keep him on track, I see a fearless Manny Pacquiao setting a fast pace, taking an early lead in rounds and withstanding an increasingly desperate Floyd Mayweather’s attempts to close the gap. I think Pacquiao will score an early knockdown and possibly even survive a late knockdown in what will be a brutal, close fight with a controversial 12-round decision going to the Pac-Man. This of course, sets up a rematch in November.

My Guy’s Guy of the Week is my grandfather, Thomas Oresti Neggia, who fought under the name, Tough Tommy. I was told that he was undefeated in the ring, until he met my grandmother who insisted that he retire from boxing if he wanted to win her hand. And he did.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Self Love

Robert Manni - Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Loving is never easy. We live in a culture and time where we are made to feel separate. Religion, money, politics and race have all been leveraged to keep us apart and dissatisfied and unloved. And let’s face it; life is tough. So anything we can do to validate our self-worth and connect us through love is a good thing. But it has to start with loving ourselves.

I’d loved and lost many times when I finally realized what had been missing. Before I could truly love another person, I needed to learn how to love myself. And, for most of us, that’s no easy task. I’m not referring to narcissism or ego. There is too much of that in our world already. I mean loving yourself as our all being a part of oneness, universal consciousness, or God.

For years, no matter how much I tried or wanted it to be so, the world did not feel like a loving place. My relationships with family, friends and lovers felt forced or lacking in some way. Years went by. The clock kept ticking. Something had to change. Guy’s Guys are seekers, so I decided to delve into the concept of love and see if I could figure out how I could be a more loving individual and make my world a more loving place.

After digesting piles of spiritual books, interviewing and working with metaphysical authors, healers and spiritual personalities, I had an epiphany. I realized that I’d spent my life looking for love in all the wrong places. Whether it was the love of a woman, a friend or my family, I was looking externally. Whether this was a cry for respect or validation, my focus was pointed in the wrong direction. I realized that if I wanted to change, I needed to start by looking inside. And I am glad I did. Over the past few years, my life has changed for the better. Although I still have a long road to travel, at least I’ve made the first step on a more righteous path. Now I truly love myself, and it has made a tremendous difference in how I see the world and my fellow men and women. So allow me to share with you, The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Self Love.

1. Forgive yourself. If you decide to stop reading here, but take this notion to heart, you will be ahead of the game. The world is a tough place and our media is always pointing out our shortcomings and how lacking we are as individuals. Of course we can’t always be right. We screw up. We fail. That’s okay, amigo. We are all on a journey and each one of us is exactly where we need to be to learn what is necessary to raise our individual frequency. Messing up is part of how we learn.

If you have a hard time forgiving yourself, how can you forgive others? If you don’t love yourself, how can you really love anyone else?

2. Be grateful. I’ve mentioned this in a number of previous blog posts, but it’s so important and so easy to do. It makes a major difference in how you view yourself and the world. This morning I was holding my young son on a shelf next to a window. It was raining hard and the droplets dotted and dripped down the pane. My son pointed at them. He pointed to the window frame, and then to the rubber seal that held the window in place. I told him what each thing was and I found myself feeling very appreciative that we were safe and sound in a warm dry condo building while a torrential rain poured outside. In many parts of the world, people still don’t have proper shelter. They still scramble to avoid the elements and find a place where it is warm and dry. Seems like a small thing, but it’s not a small thing for some less fortunate souls. So, count your many blessings, no matter how small they may be or how easy they are to overlook. It makes a big difference in how you see your world. Being grateful helps us become more loving of ourselves and our surroundings. I’m not exactly sure how the math works, but it does work out this way when you are appreciative.

3. Release fear. Many spiritual seers and pundits claim that our lives boil down to one choice. It’s the choice between love and fear. I’ve chosen fear a lot, and I am sure other people do also. Now I’m slowly, but surely shifting my frequency more based on love than fear, and it is making a major difference on my life. Again I’m not sure how it works, but choosing love really works for me.

When I choose a path of love, I also choose to love and respect myself. Next time you are challenged and need to take action ask yourself if your actions are coming from a place of love or fear. Then see how you feel in your heart after you make your decision, regardless of which path you choose.

4. Let things go. Control, fear and anger make a deadly trio that can poison our minds. Think about where you were five or ten years ago and all of the things that seemed so important. How many of them are still mission critical? That job, that girl, that race you ran. They’re all in the past now, replaced by a new list of things to keep you needy and on edge. My advice? Do your thing the best you can and then let go. Each night when I plunk my head on the pillow, I state my gratitude for all the good things in my life. Then I mentally compile all of the challenges that are on my mind. I offer it all to the universe, knowing that I am loved and that everything will work out in a way that is best for me. This nightly process has taken a great weight of my shoulders. I sleep better and feel calmer inside. I’ve heard this is called, “let go and let God”. Well-stated.

5. Acknowledge your self-worth. As simple as this sounds, many folks do not feel that they deserve to have blessings bestowed on them. They feel guilty or have been told that they are not worthy. We all came here carrying a bit of that divine spark, so we are all equally deserving of good will and love. And that means EVERYBODY. So, the best way to begin is to acknowledge yourself as part of God and deserving of love.

Maybe I’ve gotten a tad spiritual this week, but I have a responsibility. A Guy’s Guy believes that in a world where men and women are at their best, everyone wins. Learn to love yourself.

This week’s Guy’s Guys of the Week are all of my 130 guests on Guy’s Guy Radio. Each person has shared a passion, lesson or journey to help others. Thanks to all. And please check out the weekly podcasts on Blog Talk Radio and iTunes.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Dealing With Adversity

Robert Manni - Friday, April 10, 2015

Shit happens. Death, job loss, divorce, and bankruptcy: the list goes on and on. Our world moves very fast, so we are bound to bump up against obstacles and challenging situations. Part of earning your Guy’s Guy stripes is keeping cool under fire and making the most out of the curveballs life throws your way. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that often times what seems like a major headache can be a great teacher that opens a path for personal development. And this is important, because in a Guys’ Guy’s world, when men and women are at their best, everyone wins. So take a deep breath, relax and let’s take a look at my tips for handling adversity.

1. Don’t panic – When trouble strikes, a cool head can be your best support system. If you let nerves get the best of you, the problems can escalate quickly, especially if you have a knee-jerk reaction. If you have time, assess what’s going on, ask for guidance, and then act.

I once got caught in a riptide off the coast of LA while on vacation. At the time, I was unaware of the possibility of a rip current. My friends were high as kits and preoccupied with a Frisbee a ways down the desolate beach while I was being led out to sea. Time was of the essence so I did my best to swim along at a manageable angle to the current so I would not use all of my energy fighting the sea. Eventually I cut through the current and shook myself free of the tide. I needed all my strength and resilience, and maybe divine intervention to save myself. I was lucky, but maybe I helped create an opportunity by keeping my wits about me and conserving energy by not panicking.

2. Look for the lesson – And there is always a lesson. In the case of the riptide, I now make sure to check for warning signs before wading into the ocean. I also pay attention more after a long-term partner packed up and left me ten years ago. I had not been watching for the signs and I got hit right in the kisser. After being stabbed in the back a few times in business, I learned to be more careful about trusting people. I learned that not everyone holds the same standard about his or her words and deeds as I do. I may have never learned these valuable lessons if I was not handed some harsh realities. But guess what? I’m here and I am better for it

3. Take responsibility for your actions – I owned all of my actions that lead to some real-life challenges and hardships. I’m sure my lifestyle contributed to a painful kidney stone and two robotic surgeries on my kidneys last year. I am sure I could have been a better, more caring partner before my former lover said adios. And I am sure my cavalier trust led to being skewered in business a few times, That said, I will never lower my standards of behavior when others act badly. The point is; you have to own up to your shortcomings and not simply assign blame. Once we take ownership, we can make great strides as mature people.

4. Show gratitude – I know; it’s not easy to be thankful when someone screws you over for no apparent reason. That’s a special challenge, but it’s one worth facing. The pain of betrayal or loss can be great catalysts for change. I’m not suggesting that we invite people to spit in our faces, but the people who do bad things to us are in pain and on their own path of learning. They have a role in our lives. Although it might not be obvious on the surface, their doing bad things creates more pain for them. Karma is real and payback can be a bitch. Remember: duality is part of our lives. The quicker we accept the good with the bad, the more peace we will have. With more peace comes more joy. More joy becomes more love.

So next time someone cuts you off on the Garden State Parkway, or doesn’t pick up their dog’s poop, or steals your girlfriend, take a breath and consider the potential learning from the situation. Maybe the guy who cut you off will get a ticket or get into an accident. Maybe that dog poop will fertilize a beautiful flower. Maybe you were destined to meet a better, hotter girlfriend. Maybe not. How you take the bitter and the sweet in life is up to you. Take the high road, amigo. Take it like a Guy’s Guy.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is the Kentucky men’s basketball team. They suffered a heart-breaking loss in the NCAA semifinals of what would have been an unbelievable 40-0 perfect season. Maybe there is a lesson somewhere in that loss for these young men. Maybe not. It’s up to them to look inside and find out.

The Guys' Guy's Money Hacks

Robert Manni - Monday, March 30, 2015

Bruce Springsteen sings, “Times are tough. They keep getting tougher. The world is rough. It’s getting rougher.” And he was right.

If you have money, the past eight years have been a boom. The stock market has doubled and interest rates have stayed down. Sounds good, right? Unfortunately, during this period the average person’s standard of living has declined while their cost of living has skyrocketed.

Guys' Guys enjoy the high life, but they’re also practical and resourceful. They know how to do bend with the breeze and make do with the simple pleasures. Over the years I’ve learned a number of ways to manage my cash when times got tight.

Here is my list of money hacks for when you need them, and even when you don’t.

1. Eat at home – I’m not suggesting that you never dine out, especially in Fun City. But you can use your noodle when it comes money and to your dining choices. I lived the high life for years on agency and corporate expense accounts. It was great fun and an effective way to establish relationships and conduct business outside the office. But NYC is freaking expensive, so unless you have a fat expense account or are killing it as an investment banker, professional sports star, etc, dining out all the time is impractical. Yet, to partially combat their loneliness, many single people in the city eat out at least a half dozen times a week, and that gets expensive.

The other consideration is health. When you eat dinner at home, you can choose organic, healthy foods. And let’s fact it; most restaurants cook and serve GMO foods laden with butter, oil and salt. So eating at home more often will save you money and keep you healthier.

1a. Bring your lunch to work - When I worked in midtown a modest take out lunch would run me about $10-12 bucks a day. Add in a coffee and a snack and the total rises to closer to $20. That’s $100 per week and $400 per month. This does not include dinner and a cocktail with your mates. If you bring your lunch to work, and maybe a thermos of your favorite beverage, your cost is probably reduced by $70 per week and $280 per month. That’s real cash.

2. Shop online – In big cities, people love to unwind after work by stopping into a retail store on their way home from work and impulsively purchasing another piece of clothing to stuff inside their overcrowded closet. Remember the old 80-20 rule. We usually wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. You can always convince yourself that you need another pair of shoes, but this gets expensive.

Unless I need to touch and feel a product, I buy my stuff online. Oftentimes, I score free shipping, and if not, there is always Amazon Prime, which is a pretty good deal if you use it frequently. The other benefit of shopping online is that it keeps me out of the stores. Yes, I know we get sucked into buying stuff online via consumer retargeting ads, but if you have an iota of discipline, you can simply click to another site and poof, it’s gone. Bottom line, if you are on a tight budget, stay out of stores unless you know exactly what you need to buy.

3. Buy in bulk – There are certain household items we use every day, and this is where buying in bulk can save you real money. If you shop at the better supermarkets, you can usually find major savings on larger sizes. I recently bought a gallon of Bragg apple cider vinegar for $15 at a leading chain. That’s more than a 100% savings on the smaller size. And I use it every day. There are plenty of deals for bulk items online too, and most of the sites will throw in free shipping. I’ve even gotten free shipping on oversized bags of kitty litter. So not only did I not have to lug that big bag home, I also saved a bundle by purchasing the jumbo size.

4. Before going out for the night, have a snack at home – Guys’ Guys prefer top shelf booze. And in Manhattan, a mixologist drink will run you twenty bucks when tax and a tip are included. That adds up quickly. If you are on a first date, two drinks and a few appetizers is one hundred dollars. I’m not suggesting that you drink before a date, but if you’re meeting up with your buds, it’s not a bad idea to eat before heading out. I’m sure you can whip up something at home more tasty and nutritious than a greasy bar burger.

5. Give up eating meat – I stopped eating meat seven years ago and I have never felt better. Your body does not require eating dead animals to function. In fact, with the current abhorrent factory farming practices, you will be healthier if you forego meat. And guess what, a plant-based diet is cheaper and much better for you. I realize that this is not for everyone, but if you give meat a rest, your taste buds will quickly evolve to enjoying veggie burgers the same way you once craved a bloody bacon cheeseburger. Your heart, waistline, and wallet will thank you also.

6. Enjoy the simple pleasures– That means life’s simple pleasures like reading and spending more time outdoors. I do my best to read a book every week. E-books are cheap and portable, and there's always the library. The city parks are great places for a long walk or a run, and they are also fun for a date. Just being outdoors gives you a needed respite from the stale air in your office or apartment. And it’s free. also publishes a list of free events in the city every week and some of them are pretty cool.

7. Reward yourself – If you manage to do all of the things on this list, congratulations. You are healthier, you have more cash in your pocket, and so, you deserve a treat. Do something fun and forget about the money. It’s good for the soul. If you stick to a more mindful approach to your money, you won’t even notice a dent in your wallet.

These are certainly not solutions for getting out of real debt or making more money in business, but when you are living paycheck to paycheck, like 50% of America does, the benefits from these hacks can serve you well. I hope they work for you.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is you, the reader. You’ve patiently poured through this article and picked out some the tips that fell right for you to try. Now the next step is putting them into practice and saving some cash. Congrats!

Being a Guy's Guy in Business - Part 1

Robert Manni - Monday, March 23, 2015

For some reason—usually moneybusiness can bring out the worst in people. That old saying, “It’s business, it’s not personal.” is a sad excuse for duplicitous behavior.

I’ve actually heard those words, or some semblance of them, too many times by bosses and former colleagues before someone got stabbed in the back. On the other hand, there are people who talk the talk and walk the Guy’s Guy walk in the sometimes-shady world of business. So there is hope. You can be a good friend, companion, or partner, but to be a righteous Guy’s Guy, you need to be a man and treat others in business fairly. In no particular order, let’s start the series with a few big picture tips for being a savvy Guy’s Guy in business.

You are only as good as your word.

A handshake should be a bond. But, because many businesspeople have short, self-serving memories, there are contracts. And, as my attorney likes to say, “If it’s not in the contract, it doesn’t exist.” It’s sad, but true. But even when you have a contract, people renege on written agreements all the time. “I don’t have any money” and “Sue me”, are all too common declarations made during disputes. Don’t let this dissuade you. A Guy’s Guy leads by example. His word and handshake are sacrosanct. The bottom line is that you do what you say you are going to do. This is a golden rule for being a Guy’s Guy and a man. Anything less is unacceptable. That said; it’s still wise to put your agreements in writing.

Trust your instincts when making decisions.

I’m usually a pretty good judge of character, but like anyone else, I’ve made mistakes. When I was directing a sexy spirits account at an agency, a young woman interviewed for a senior account management position. She looked good on paper, and in person. She pleaded with me to hire her, assuring me she’d do a kick-ass job. My instincts told me to pass, but I’d recently been promoted to Executive Vice President and was a bit full of myself, so I hired her anyway. Mistake.

On our first trip to meet the clients in Miami, she showed up at the airport toting four large pieces of luggage for a two-day business trip. This was not a good sign. After the meetings I asked her for a recap, but she had not taken notes. She was, however, filled with ideas for dinner. When we returned to New York, I explained to her what my expectations were for the job. I gave her a few basic tasks and told her I wanted to review them in a week. When it came time, she handed me her resignation. I thought that maybe I had been too tough on her, but while she dawdled, a junior person on my team so the opening. He stepped up and did the work. I promoted him a few weeks later and learned my lesson.

The same is true for making a decision on whether to take a job or not. Every time I’ve had an unsettling feeling about taking a new job, it turned out to be a major challenge. If you have a clear mind and heart, go ahead and trust your instincts. They are usually right.

Handling A-holes.

You’ll always find a-holes at work guys that don’t have an original thought who somehow get promoted by parroting their superior’s or the client’s ideas, regardless of their merit. They only challenge the ideas of those who they consider a threat. You see; they don’t really care about the business. They only care about getting ahead. Sounds familiar? Sure, it does. So what can you do when one of these transparent characters is thrust upon you? First take a deep breath and accept their presence as part of your education. Then figure out what they want. If it doesn’t impact your career path, exhale. And do your job. If it does, stay within close enough proximity to them to know what they are up to and take note of their strengths and weaknesses. And then wait.

I entered one ad agency as a consultant and had to work with a verbose, polarizing director. He was crafty and basically capable, but I’d heard that he had a vicious temper and would explode on anyone he considered to be a threat to his domain. He was obviously insecure and I knew that he would quickly see me as a competitor. At first he was deferential to me, but that changed once he noticed how capable I was and that I was accomplishing things he had overlooked. I knew that a storm was brewing. After we disagreed on a piece of creative during a meeting he snapped and actually screamed at me. I was steaming, but I said nothing. I saw the embarrassed looks on the faces of my colleagues. They had seen this act before. About two weeks later he did it again. I’m not the vindictive type, but this time I decided that he needed to go. My plan was to outwork him and wait for him to dig his own grave. And that’s exactly how it went down. He freaked out on someone else at another meeting, and in a fit of anger turned in his resignation.

I was ecstatic, but I waited because I knew he’d realize that he screwed up and that if he quit I would inherit his job. And that’s what happened. When his job was offered to me, he fought like hell to get reinstated. And since I was an unknown and he’d been at the agency a few years, management was undecided about his fate. Ironically, they left it up to me. I was asked if I could work with him and train him as my subordinate. I declined. Buh-bye.

In summary, make your word your bond, trust your gut when dealing with people, and don’t take the bait and battle with every a-hole that crosses you’ll find on your way to the top. Things have a way of working themselves out. Be patient.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is the city of Seattle for being the first major city to raise the minimum wage to $15. Good for them! 

The Guys' Guy's New York - Part I

Robert Manni - Friday, March 13, 2015

Like America, New York is a concept. The city, like any great brand, has a life of it’s own. After thirty years and 240 blog posts I thought it was time for your Guy’s Guy to share with you his favorite places in this great, elusive city. When I began my list, I quickly realized that the city changes so quickly that half of the places I was considering have closed. That doesn’t mean that these venues had something inherently wrong with them, it simply means that the city continues evolving. And, I don’t except that to change anytime soon.

To be fair, this list was inspired by the New York Post’s Sunday feature highlighting the go-to haunts of some beloved New Yorkers. I may not be beloved just yet, but after surviving thirty years in the Big Apple, I have a few nuggets to share. Of course, this is just the tip of a massive iceberg of great places New York, and it skews heavily to Manhattan because that’s where I work and spend most of my time. Of note, being a Guy’s Guy list, the vibe is positive and casual. Cheers.

1. Business Lunch – A long career in marketing and advertising includes lunches with media reps, colleagues, and people selling something. Depending on what area of Manhattan I was working in at the time, I always kept a few go-to places up my sleeve. I loved my rare launches at high-end iconic restaurants like Il Mulino, Daniel, and Gotham, but my all-time favorite business lunch spot is the Union Square Café. The atmosphere is bubbly; the service friendly and impeccable, and the blue fin tuna burger is out of this world.

2. Drinks on a Second Date – You met her online and shared a Chardonnay at a bustling wine bar. The vibe was fresh and sexual tension filled the air. Now what? The Temple Bar on Lafayette Street just north of Houston Street. It’s sedate, seductive, and clandestine. The martinis are excellent and the atmosphere sublime for sealing the deal. You can even satiate your nervous energy with the little bowls of free popcorn that the servers bring out.

3. Where to Meet Beautiful Women – The real answer is everywhere and anywhere, but for pure percentages, you can’t beat the SoHo House. You need a membership or an invite, so this screens out a lot of people. You will see and meet lots of people, and especially women, in the fashion, film and media businesses. Everyone here dresses sharp and seems to go out of their way to be as “friendly” as they can be in this city. The drinks are great, there are a number of rooms and bars to choose from, and they have a pool on the roof chock-full of hotties on any summer day or evening after work. And who knows, you might meet that connection and finally sell your screenplay.

4. A Great Burger – Although I’ve been a pescatarian for the past seven years, I still love wrapping my meaty paws around some hot buns. Ha! Of course, these days the burgers are not made with meat, but if a burger joint can make a great salmon, tuna, or veggie burger, they usually make a kick-ass beef burger. Just sayin’. There have been loads of burger places on my list over the years, but my new fave is Bare Burger. There are a number of locations in the city now, but I’ve usually eaten at the one on La Guardia Place. The environment is casual, not too loud, and I have my choice of a few non-meat versions of the American classic. The rings and fries are awesome, and they come with a variety of toppings.

5. Tavern – There have been so many favorites over the years, but when I scratched my head for this post the first bar that popped into my mind was Swifts Hibernian Lounge on East Fourth Street. They vibe is cozy, the crowd is in good spirits, the bartenders are friendly and capable, the food is good enough, and the music is cool so you can hear yourself having a conversation. One note, there is no television, which if you can suck it up, you’ll find to be a very good thing. They pour an incredibly smooth Guinness and on weekends you might stumble in and hear some real Irish folk music being played at the seats directly across from the bar.

6. Pizza – Yes, I know you can get incredible pizza if you ride the M train for an hour to Midwood. In Manhattan, the best place to sit down and enjoy a pie is Lombardi’s on Spring Street. It is constantly jammed and usually filled with tourists now, but if you stop by at an off-hour or midweek, you’ll get a table and a fabulous coal oven baked pizza pie. For slices, I like Bleecker Street Pizza and Joe’s on Sixth Avenue near Bleecker. Both have fresh zesty sauces and crisp chewy crusts. Because of the high rate of sales, the slices are always hot and fresh out of the oven.

7. Cheap, Tasty, Nutritious Dinners – I love Koreatown. It’s located primarily along East 32nd Street and chock full of great places to eat at any time of day or night. Once you get the taste of Korean food, it becomes intoxicating. Although there are a few new places I haven’t tried that have great reviews, my favorite restaurants for hot, spicy squid, seafood tofu soup, or even barbecue are BCD and Kun Jip, both on East 32nd between Fifth and Broadway. The service is fast and furious and the soup is still bubbling when it gets to your table. Yum.

8. Brunch – I’m not into brunch. Why pay fifty bucks for eggs benedict? I don’t even like eggs benedict. And, I don’t like mimosas. And, I rarely drink before 5pm anymore, so you can keep that Bloody Mary. If I’m drinking early it’s got to be a margarita. But that’s me. So if my arm gets twisted to go to brunch (by my wife), I opt for El Toro Blanco on Sixth Avenue just south of Bleecker. It’s a nice place to sit outside during the warmer months. The avenue is wide and never too noisy. The service is very good, the guacamole is excellent, and their margaritas are sneaky strong, smooth and tart.

We’re off to a good start. There are no great surprises here, but these are all solid choices and they all fit a Guy’s Guy lifestyle. This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Carlos Herrera, who invented the margarita in 1938. Maybe he wasn’t in NYC, but that’s a real Guy’s Guy.

The Anti-Guy's Guys

Robert Manni - Friday, March 06, 2015

In a Guy’s Guys world, men and women are at their best and everyone wins. It’s about guys stepping up in a time where women are beginning to receive their long overdue recognition.

It’s about our displaying the more admirable characteristics of the “Man’s Man” from a latter day without falling prey to an overload of machismo and a superior attitude towards the ladies. A Guy’s Guy is cooler and more casual than his predecessors from the twentieth century. He’s got timeless style, emotional intelligence, and quiet confidence. And most of all, he respects women.  There are millions of guys who are evolving and becoming better men, but at the same time there are still way too many total bad actors.

Maybe it’s fear. Or anger. Or maybe some guys are just a-holes. I’m not sure, but why is it so tough for some dudes to fit this new definition of masculinity? Since we’ve focused so many posts on ways to embrace the positive qualities of a Guy’s Guy, maybe it’s time to shed some light on those who are not making the grade. I’ve limited my list to cultural personalities and left out terrorists, militants, and even politicians. Here is my first batch of Anti-Guy’s Guys. These dudes have failed miserably. Let’s hope they see the light and change their act.

1. A-Rod.

This knucklehead was on the fast track to not only break MLB’s all-time home run record, but also be inconsideration as the best baseball player EVER. So what does he do? He takes steroids. He gets nabbed. He denies it. Once the evidence is presented, he admits it and says he’s sorry. And, oh yeah, and he’s learned his lesson and will never do it again. Let’s fast forward three years and one Yankees World Championship later. He gets caught again and the same scenario replays itself. He gets suspended for a season. Now he’s forty years old and has two bad hips which could very likely be the result of his steroid abuse. And now, he’s penned a hand written note to the fans asking for forgiveness and support. And guess what? He just can’t figure out why he took those dang steroids and took on his team and Major League Baseball in court. To make matters worse, the Yanks are stuck with his sixty million dollar contract. Yikes, A-Rod. I’ve only scratched the surface of your ego-driven narcissism. You are not a Guy’s Guy. Get help, please.

2. Ray Rice.

Dude, you don’t hit women. Period. And when it’s your finance, what can I say? You need help, and since this prized pair is now actually  married, she needs help also. Recently Mr. Rice had his PR team draft a, “I’m sorry and I’ve learned form my mistakes, so can I be reinstated right away?” release. I suggest deep counseling, lots of soul searching and finding a new line of work besides the NFL.

3. Bernie Madoff.

Methodically and consistently bleeding your friends and family of their hard earned savings is unconscionable. To make matters worse, I don’t recall hearing much from Mr. Madoff in terms of apologies and contrition. He was greedy and he got caught. He lost his trial and off he went to jail, leaving a trail of heartache and pain behind him. Hey Bernie, read my blog. You’ve got the time now.

4. Congress.

With an approval rating below 20% and an overwhelmingly male roster, this group has done very little in the past eight years besides taking partisan stands and lining their pockets from donors and K Street lobbyists.  As a result, the citizens of this great country are paying their salaries and benefits while at the mercy of their corruption. Guys, do me a favor and read the Declaration of Independence and the U. S. Constitution a few times. 

5. Corporations.

The food companies work like hell to sell us processed products like sugar-laden Frosted Flakes that are Grrreat for us, while also fighting tooth and nail not to let the consumers see what’s in the products they are shilling. Big pharma makes a killing selling consumer drugs that are weighed down by side effects requiring, guess what, other drugs. Hence the prescription drug cocktail. Oil company spills have ravaged our seas while their billions in profits could be used to fund alternative energy sources that don’t imprison our economy to pollution-causing crude. The list of industries goes on and on, all fueled by chasing the almighty dollar over any consideration about their fellow man. And by the way, the vast majority of corporate CEO’s are men. Guys, please take a break from counting your stacks and start thinking about sustainability and how to save our fragile planet.

6. Ben Carver. 

A brilliant neurosurgeon decides to run for president and quickly shoots down his candidacy in one of his first national interviews by firmly stating that being gay is a choice. He backs up his claim by telling the interviewer that many men go into prison straight and exit prison gay. I don’t think Mr. Carver has spent any nights in prison. If he wants to make a difference, I suggest that consider he perform the world’s first self-lobotomy.

7. Media, Brian Williams, Bill O’Reilly.

There are only a handful of news organizations remaining and they decide what they collectively deem as news. You can click your remote back and forth on any given night and see the same stories being told the same way by a different set of pretty faces. We get constant updates on the stories they choose, until they decide the story is played out and ready to be replaced with the next one of their choosing. How many headlines on the evening news are about our eight-year war in Afghanistan? Yet, we all know when Bruce Jenner gets into a fender bender. On top of this we have so-called journalists who have been ginning up fond memories of their legacy-embellishing escapades that have been found to be not exactly true. This is amazing and sad. And yes, men run the media world, too. 

8.  Floyd Mayweather.

You call yourself the GOAT (greatest of all time). So why have you ducked the same fighter for the past six years? Finally, this talented, undefeated welterweight has been shamed into meeting a smaller Manny Pacquiao in the ring for a paltry estimated purse of $300 million. Mayweather picked the date, the venue, and the other variables. Will he also hand pick the referee and the judges? Let’s hope not, but hope he shows up. Here’s to 47-1.

So there you have a short list of people and organizations that need a wake up call. It’s not so difficult to be a Guy’s Guy. Just respect yourself, your fellow man, and women. The rest will fall into place.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Tyler Perry. This talented actor, writer, producer, director recently purchased a new van for a woman with cerebral palsy whose vehicle was stolen from her driveway. Coincidently, one his most successful film projects is, “Good Deeds”. Well done, Mr. Perry.

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