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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

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. NYC.gov 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.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Drinking on a Budget

Robert Manni - Thursday, February 26, 2015


This one’s for the guys. I’ve been well provided for most of my life, but there have been a few times when I’ve been down to my last couple of bucks.

During my freshman year at Villanova University, my dorm mates and I routinely found ourselves broke. This led to our plotting heists of the “hoagie man”. Every night he’d drag his cardboard box filled with sandwiches down the hallways by a long rope, calling out his wares to the stoned-out freshmen that were far from home and sick of eating tasteless cafeteria food. My roommate or I would wait until he’d step inside of a room to make a sale before one of us made a mad dash for his box of grinders, hoping to make off with at least two meatball subs. Man, those were desperate times. And when it came to drinking, we were often reduced to drinking fifty-cent short beers at Kelly’s Bar in Bryn Mawr or swilling red cups filled from kegs of Schmidt’s at our weekly frat parties.

As a result I’ve come to learn the value of a dollar and how to squeeze the most out of it. With our never-ending post-2008 shitty economy, most of us ninety-nine per centers must stretch our paychecks just to keep on keeping on. And in an expensive city like New York, that takes a special kind of financial acumen, especially when it comes to drinking.

In a city where a top shelf cocktail can run you twenty bucks, a Guy’s Guy has to find great drinks at a value price. I enjoy an excruciatingly dry, quadruple-distilled, shaken, not stirred vodka martini at the Peninsula Rooftop, Soho House or the Tribeca Grand Hotel Bar as much as the next guy, but there have been times when I did not have an expense account to cover my business-related tippling. That’s when I needed some creativity to catch a buzz in an alcohol-soaked city that never sleeps. And although I do not drink nearly as much today as I did in the past, over the years I learned a few tricks that kept me consistently in 100% blue agave tequila. I’d like to share them with you.

Off-Premise

There are many fantastic wine and spirit retailers in the city. Personally, I love the wine store at Chelsea Market. The staff is knowledgeable and their selection is efficient. But, I’m not always in a position to purchase their top wines. So I tracked down a few retail venues to stock my home bar at a fraction of the cost. For wine, it’s hard to beat Trader Joe’s Wines on 14th Street. I just picked up a bottle of Wente Riva Ridge, a $25 Chardonnay, for $16.99. That’s a very good deal. I’m not a big proponent of the TJ $2.99 house brand, but the more upscale versions of Trader Joe Select, which typically run between $4.99 and $8.99, are good quality relative to their price point.

For a broad selection of discounted spirits, look no further than Warehouse Wines and Spirits on Broadway and Astor Place. To my trained eye, Warehouse buys mass quantities of top quality brands that are either undergoing a packaging change or on the brink of being discontinued. And that’s a very good thing. As a veteran of the spirits industry, I can tell you that many excellent brands fail simply because they just don’t have the right marketing mix to garner the consumer traction required to succeed in what is basically an image business. Last week I picked up a liter bottle of Forty-Two Below vodka from New Zealand for $12.99 and a liter of Chinaco Blanco tequila for $19.99. These are great products at unbeatable prices. And a 750ml bottle of Pyrat Rum from Anguilla can be had for around twenty bucks. That’s a steal.

On Premise

There are innumerable gin mills in New York with 5-7pm happy hours and also hipster joints that serve awesome mixologist cocktails. These mixologist bars are everywhere now, and they are great for dates, but they charge top dollar. You can always find a local drinking hole when you want to slum it in your neighborhood, but that gets old. The Lower East Side was formerly a bastion of said establishments, but the times are a changin’ and the revered punk palaces have been replaced by taquerias and coffee bars. You can head to the boroughs and hit the up and coming neighborhoods like Bed Sty for drinks, but gentrification is setting in even in outposts like this, and drink prices are rising along with the cost of real estate. What to do?

If you work in Manhattan and you are planning an extended evening of drinking beers with your BFF’s on a budget, you’re best served settling in at one of the Manhattan old school drinking establishments. There are a handful of these bastions still in existence. There is the Ear, Dive Bar, BillyMarks West, Holland Bar on Ninth Avenue near Port Authority, McSorley’s, the Patriot, and a handful of other notorious joints. Take your pick. They will all help you get your buzz on for less than forty bucks, with a few buybacks to boot.

I recommend two old faves Old Town Tavern on 18th Street near Union Square and Peter McManus on 19th Street and Seventh. Both are conveniently located near subway stops and are fun places to pound beers and catch up with your buds. The atmosphere is super casual, the crowds change constantlyrunning the gamut from locals to boomers to millennials and both venues are laden with history.

Over the years I’ve watched a number of Yankee games at both establishments, starting the night with a steady flow of draft beers and evolving to calls for bourbon on ice, or vodka and tequila shots. Over the years, I’ve received more buybacks at McManus, but if you want to grab a bite, the Old Town has better food. So if you’re on a budget, and want to grab some cold brews, you can’t go wrong with either of these NYC institutions.

You might even see my boys and me at the end of the bar, catching the last few innings of a Yankee game.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the week is Mickey Rourke, for his portrayal of Charles Bukowski in “Barfly”, the classic drinking-on-a-budget movie.

Making Valentine's Day Work for You

Robert Manni - Friday, February 13, 2015


Valentine’s Day is a day most of us dread.

It’s commercial, pressure-filled, exploitive, and most importantly-- forced and unromantic. I’ll leave all of that to next week’s otherValentine’s Day post. But there are two ways to look at V-Day as it gets pitched our way each and every year. Whether it’s chocolate, flowers, jewelry, vibrating panties, weekend getaways, etc.—you name it and they’re selling it in fire engine red. Here are a few suggestions for how to not only cope, but to have fun and share the love. And that’s the point. Valentine’s Day should be about celebrating heart-felt love. Your Guy’s Guy suggests that the best way to make this a special occasion is by personalizing it. That means making it all about your partner…and not about you.

If love is in the air and you want to fan the flames.

If you’re a guy and you want to get intimate with a woman for the first time the tendency is to buy her lingerie, hoping that she’ll wear it for you on Valentine’s Day. Don’t do it. She is more than aware that you want the show. If you consider my suggestions and it’s meant to be, the show will open to rave reviews... and it will go on and on.  Chocolates and flowers and cards and jewelry are always welcomed, but a Guy’s Guy adds intimacy to her gifts that empower them as expressions of love. So instead of doing the expected and buying a printed card at Walgreens, buy her a card that allows you to craft your own special message to her. Remind her of all the things she does that make her special and why you want to get to know her better. Pay attention to the details the way a woman does. Believe me, she will notice and you won’t have to buy her red lingerie. She’ll bring on the black when the time is right and when she does you’d better fasten your seat belt. Other things to consider are attending events together like a sake tasting or a Broadway show that she mentions in passing. Sharing brings couples closer together.

If you want to keep the fires burning.

Again, it is all about personalization. If you buy her jewelry, have it inscribed with a special message. A former paramour once bought me a silver necklace with an understatedly elegant pendant. Nice. When I looked closer she inscribed the underside with, “Love Slave”. Talk about marking your territory. It worked. Of course when my next girlfriend took one look at it, it came off instantly. If you show some effort to personalize your gift when you are in a long-term relationship or marriage, it makes your partner feel appreciated. How about writing down the twenty things she does that make her so special. Why is she so important to your life, what makes her sexy, funny, etc? Make her feel special. That is intimacy.

Wild Cards.

If you’re going down the sexual path remember to make it all about your special someone. That’s where the lingerie and crazy stuff like vibrating panties and sex toys come into play. All good. That said, you want to make sure that there is as much giving as receiving so that the festivities go all night long. Along with the little blue pill and its ilk, there are various oils and lotions that help keep the balls in play. A quick spritz could keep the party in full swing. A real Guy’s Guy wants to make his woman happy, so that everyone wins. Remember that Valentine’s Day is all about your partner, so have fun. And play safe.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Paul McCartney for writing all of those wonderful silly love songs.

Are you making Valentine’s Day all about your partner?

The Holiday About Love That Everyone Hates

Robert Manni - Thursday, February 12, 2015

I don’t hate Valentine’s Day. I dread it, and I’d like to have a chat with St. Valentine. He may be a saint, but he’s got a lot of explaining to do.  The myth behind the man is as confounding as the commercial celebration of romantic love that sprang from his legend. Was he beaten to death with clubs, beheaded after restoring sight and hearing to the daughter of his jailer, or was his romantic legend a creation of Chaucer? Until the twentieth century, the tales surrounding this enigmatic man had been spun more times than a soggy towel around the dryer.  Then a slew of corporations that produce syrupy greeting cards, milk chocolate hearts, or jewelry saw the dollar signs and lovingly embraced his “brand”.  And since it’s a holiday we are now treated to price gouging at restaurants and florists. In my informal survey the majority of men and women I spoke to conjured up emotions far from loving when they saw February 14th and that big red heart on their calendars.

What’s the one word that comes to mind when men and women think of Valentine’s Day?  

Pressure. If you're single, Valentine’s Day reminds you very clearly that you are currently not on the invitation list to life’s love-in, making you feel less than saintly. If you’re in a relationship, then you have to up your game and deliver the goods - big time. Women love flowers and chocolates, and like receiving them unexpectedly… on any other day. And although she’s digs jewelry, on February 14th it must be diamonds or gold, and it better sparkle. All men love seeing their woman dolled up in new lingerie, but if her outfit is really for him, who buys it for Valentine’s Day? Tiptoeing around Victoria’s Secret and sifting through teddies, garters and thongs can be unsettling. And he probably forgot what size she wears and does not want to make a mistake.  You’ve seen guys wandering around the store checking out other women’s boobs trying to figure out if they could be the same size as his girlfriend’s. And trust me - a man gets no kicks from discussing his lady’s cup size with the sales girl. Pressure.

So how do we get through this annual ordeal?

I have no clear answer. And to ratchet up my own personal helping of pressure, my wife’s birthday is on February 12th. I’m totally screwed. Okay, breathe. There’s hope. Some experts say that February 14th is the best night for single ladies to get lucky. That is if they can rally the troops and muster up the moxie for a manhunt. So, if you are a single guy, get your butt out there.  And when you hit the bars keep your eyes focused on those ladies on the lookout for some man-meat and off the hockey game playing on the big screen. If you’re a man who is in a relationship, you’ve still got time to come up with something fresh. Buy her some well-deserved pampering at a top shelf spa or offer to cook her a romantic dinner.  If you’re a woman, bust out the deep red lipstick and push up bra ensemble and rock his world. Trust me. That’s all he wants. K.I.S.S., as they say. Keep it simple, stupid! As for me, I might end up caulking the bathroom tile before taking her out to her favorite raw food restaurant.  But, I’ll do that on her birthday. Then I’ll wish for February 15th.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Relaxing

Robert Manni - Thursday, February 05, 2015


Man, I really enjoy my down time. Yet, I’m amazed that so many people find “relaxing” to be an unattainable goal. Sure, life is hard and we have super-stressful jobs chock-full of responsibility and stuff we need to do. At times it doesn't seem like there are enough hours in the day to address every pressing issue. This is why finding the time to relax and just “be” is so important.

Our lives are not meant to be so stressful. Way, way back in the day, survival was key when people lived in a “fight or flight” mode. Nowadays, many of us are blessed with food, drink, shelter, modern conveniences and numerous forms of entertainment. Still, we feel rushed and under pressure.

What’s a Guy’s Guy to do? Nothing. That’s right. Nothing. When my world speeds up I go to my tried and true ways for slowing it down. This life is a blessing and I’m determined to find time to kick back and just “be” whenever it is necessary for my health, sanity and wellbeing, no matter what’s going on. I still “do” a lot, but it’s important to balance the “doing” with the “being”. Even if it’s only for a few short minutes a day, there are many ways to chill out. I hope this short list can work for you. The key is committing to putting aside fifteen minutes a day to just “be”.

1. Breathe

Inhale. Exhale. It’s that simple, yet we too often run around huffing and puffing as we tend with lives imprisoned by bars made up of tasks and to-do lists. I like to step outside, find a place to sit quietly with my eyes closed and just breathe, even if it’s only for a few minutes. I like repeating a mantra or employing a short visualization exercise, but the most important thing is simply sitting quietly and breathing. Try it sometime, even if it is for a few short minutes. Just breathe.

2. Walk

This is my favorite way of relaxing. I’ve walked everywhere in Manhattan. Always have, always will. When I first moved into the city, I would walk from my flat on West 34th Street to Chinatown for lunch on Sunday. Then I’d walk back along a different route. It was great exercise and showed me so many neighborhoods in the city. It also gave me time to think and be one with my thoughts. Thirty years later, walking remains one of my favorite past times and ways to unwind.

3. Meditate/Visualize

Each day I practice some form of meditation. Recently, I have been practicing Color Works, a visualization exercise developed by healer Patti Conklin. I use it to address whatever ails my physical vessel. With eyes closed, I inhale through my nose and exhale through my mouth. I ask my body to show me a color that relates to a physical issue I suggest. Lately I have been using this to reduce the residual swelling in my abdomen from two robotic surgeries. Once my body shows me a color I breathe it in through the soles of my feet, through my body and out of my nostrils. Colors have vibrations, so they can carry energy. After a few minutes I tell my body out loud that I love it unconditionally. Then I ask it for another color to balance out what we just eliminated. I breathe it through my nose and then exhale while flushing it out through my crown. I end the process by drawing white light through my physical being. All of this can be found in Patti’s book, God Within. The entire process takes about fifteen minutes, and it does a world of good.

4. Be Appreciative

Beginning and ending each day with an acknowledgment and show of thankfulness will set your head straight. I find that this very simple practice subconsciously helps put any day-to-day stresses and headaches into perspective. If I have my health, my family and a roof over my head I can take on any challenge successfully. Showing gratitude when my head hits the pillow at the end of a long day relaxes me. It helps me release my spirit to God or the universal consciousness. Before I know it, I’m on the fast track to slumber and a good night’s sleep. And we all know how difficult falling and stating asleep is for so many people.

5. Read

Who reads? And who has the time? We’re reading all day while on our mobile devices, iPads and computers. And that’s a good thing. But, I’m referring to reading books. Yes, we are challenged for time, but we somehow find ways to binge watch television series and watch sports. I always carry a book with me (sorry Kindle). I find that by reading on the subway I can relax quite nicely during my daily between the trips uptown to downtown and back. I realize that the Lexington line is challenging for reading, but reading is possible on any other subway line and any commuter train.

6. Nap

Okay, this is an indulgence, but grabbing a few winks in the late afternoon or early evening is a real treat. I was never a napper until a few years ago, but now I look forward to carving out an hour or so whenever possible to lay down and just chill. It replenishes my energy and keeps my head clear from the internal monkey chatter we all wrestle with in these modern times. These practices won’t solve all of your problems, but they can help improve the quality of your day-to-day life. And that’s a good thing.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is the Buddha. Whatever his current incarnation, the man just knows how to chill from the inside out. He’s a great role model for us Guy’s Guys.


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