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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

The Guys' Guy's Guide to the Common Cold

Robert Manni - Friday, May 27, 2016


I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on television. I’m a Guy’s Guy.

But like all men and women, I occasionally come down with that nagging virus known as he common cold. It takes various forms and brings with it a multitude of symptoms, usually led by a runny nose, a scratchy throat, low energy, and an overall feeling of not being your usual perky self. Over the years I’ve tried a number of ways to shake off these symptoms and get back to being one hundred percent as quickly as possible. Along the way, I’ve had some success and learned a few things about taking care of myself when that nasty bug barges into my world. In fact, I’m just coming out of a weeklong bout contracted from my mother-in-law who picked up a random germy thing while vacationing in Europe. I’m feeling better now and my findings are as fresh as Donald Trump’s latest insult.

Here are my top ways of managing your mind, body, and spirit when a nasty common cold decides to stop into your world for a week to ten-day visit.

1. Sleep – When you aren’t feeling well, your body needs rest. It’s that simple. The more time you devote to sleeping, the faster your body will combat an attacking virus and restore itself to perfect health, which, by the way, is our natural state of being. This past week, I gave up my space in bed to my mother-in-law and decided to opt for sleeping on a mat on the floor rather than sinking into a big old comfy couch. It was a bit hard to get used to, but in the end I slept much better on the mat. I also made sure to grab extra winks whenever the opportunity presented itself. And, man, it really helped my body regenerate. Hey, sleep is always a good thing, even when you aren’t under the weather.

2. Natural anti-viral supplements – I eschew the plethora of Big Pharma products we find on the shelf and the over-the-counter remedies available to mask our aches, pains and runny noses. Of course there are times when you’re really sick and need a doctor’s prescription, but Mother Nature offers many natural herbs and ingredients that I’ve found to be really helpful when battling the common cold. My number one, go-to item is organic ginger. Ginger has anti-viral properties that kill viruses. The trick is putting the ginger directly in contact with where the virus lives. First I peel and slice the ginger. Then I toss the pieces into a small pot of water and boil it for about twenty minutes. I keep a lid on the heated liquid. This creates a steam that I carefully inhale when lifting the lid just enough to allow me to take the vapor into my nasal passages. I do this for a few minutes. Then I pour the remaining liquid into a cup and drink the ginger tea with honey and lemon. It tastes great and I get results right away.  However, buy enough ginger so you can repeat the process for at least two days. This past week I made the mistake of using up my stash and not replenishing it because I thought I’d stamped out every trace of the virus. I hadn’t and the cold came back.

My other go-to item is drinking organic clay mixed in water. My favorite is pascalite clay, which comes from Wyoming. The clay has powerful anti-viral properties; it collects and kills viruses or any bug you may have picked up that are living in your gut or intestines.  Though not everyone buys into detoxification, clay is actually heralded as a great detoxifying agent. Whenever I drink my clay my sore throat symptoms disappear almost immediately. Again, I’ve found it best to continue drinking the clay and water mixture throughout the week. I also load up on multivitamins, vitamin D, high doses of vitamin C, flax, probiotics, and turmeric. Once again, I choose natural and organic supplements whenever possible. And again, I’m a Guy’s Guy, not a doctor. I’m only sharing what has worked for me.

3. Fluids – Most Americans are dehydrated. We simply don’t consume enough fluids. And when you have a nasty cold, you need to eliminate that bad stuff out of your body as quickly as possible. Drink, drink, drink, amigos. And if you still insist on those cold beers when you’re under the weather, drink even more water. You may pee a lot, but you’ll eliminate toxins, too. So, drink up.

4. Sweat it out – Depending on how good or bad you feel; you may want to consider including light exercise as part of your routine for recovery. The old adage is that it’s okay to work out if your symptoms stay above the neck. I agree. I find that working up a sweat through cardio is a great way to eliminate toxins. This past week in New York, the weather turned beautiful. But although it was eighty degrees in Central Park, I opted to spend an hour inside on the elliptical trainer versus my usual six-mile run around the outer loop. And I’m glad I did—I simply felt too weak to push myself up and down all those hills. I also gave up my beloved push-ups for the week. I’ve been a push up freak since I was thirteen, so I figured that a week off would not have an adverse effect. Of course, I also left the iron alone during this time.

5. Adjust your schedule – Although we do our best to be flexible, there are some things we can’t avoid, even when we are not feeling one hundred percent. Champions show up, right? That said, in those areas where we can adjust our schedules and responsibilities, it’s wise to dial it back when you are on the mend. You can always replace that lost time by catching up on your reading or getting more rest.

Of course these five pointers won’t prevent you from catching those pesky common colds, but all of the above have helped me on the road to a rapid recovery.  Do what works for you, but be open-minded.  You can benefit from supplements and anything that promotes a healthy lifestyle and consistent recovery regime. Hey, I’m ready for a long overdue a six-mile run.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is Edgar Cayce, a clairvoyant and widely considered as the father of holistic healing.    

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Online Dating (Part 3)

Robert Manni - Monday, May 23, 2016


I was still determined to master the art of online dating by using my skills as a long-term marketer and advertiser. I reminded myself that my profile was not for me. I was not the customer. My profile was for the person I wanted to date.

So I reviewed my profile and once again asked myself what I wanted, what made me different, and what I had to offer a woman. It’s easy to be self-critical, but we’re all special in some ways. I identified the qualities that I thought separated me from the herd and asked a few women I knew if they agreed. I asked them what they looked for in a man. Most of them wanted to date a guy with a job, a dream, confidence, and a sense of humor, kindness, and relatively good looks.  I used this feedback in my profile and made sure there were no typos or grammatical errors. I also changed my specs for the type of women I was interested in meeting. I realized I wanted to date women who knew what they wanted, shared my values, and were emotionally available. Finally, I expanded my geographic search parameters beyond the world of Manhattan and the ‘lists’. You may have read about women’s lengthy lists of must-have qualities men need to have to be even considered datable. My advice? Shake it off. Be yourself because nothing beats authenticity. Ultimately, everyone wants to be with someone who’s interested in the real person, not the “best front” we sometimes present during our initial weeks of a courtship.

Then I went back online. I decided to keep my contact rules in place before meeting anyone in person. If things did not feel right when we met, I wouldn’t waste our time. I’d share a drink and move on. However, even if there was no spark or the possibility of a romantic connection, it was important to treat the women I met respectfully. In today’s digital dating scene, it’s easy to disappear like a ghost or simply delete someone with a keystroke, but we’re dealing with people who are just like us. People who have feelings and who are also searching for a connection. So if there was no real chemistry with my date, I did my best to keep the conversation going until she finished her cocktail. It was the least I could do. As a result, some of the women that I met became friends. In fact, a few of them even set me up on dates with their cute friends. It pays to be nice.

With my newly updated profile, I was getting better responses from women than when I first signed up. When I saw someone I was attracted to, I read her profile a few times to get a sense of whom she really was. I made sure her bio wasn’t laced with, “Me, me, me…” or  “I don’t like…” I’d send a brief note— never a wink or a poke. I’d also mention something she had included in her profile—maybe that Korean dish she made or her recent trip to a yoga retreat. I might also add something about me that wasn’t in my profile. If she replied, I’d respond with another short note and my phone number, full name and personal email address. This way she could Google me to make sure I wasn’t an axe-murderer. If everything checked out, I’d suggest that all important phone call. Most women sent back their phone number so I could initiate the first call.

If the call went well, I’d suggest meeting for a glass of wine or coffee depending on her preference. A word of caution—no matter how great things might feel during the email and phone call, don’t invite someone to dinner without first meeting them in person. As mentioned, the vibe could change dramatically when meeting for the first time, and first dates can take bad turns. If you have dinner with someone you’ve never met and there’s no chemistry, it can make for a long, uncomfortable, and often awkward evening.

As I continued to date, I also continued to fine-tune my set of rules. I found that when meeting someone new, it was best to make it a short night. If things were clicking, I’d suggest a second glass of wine. If things were really going well, I’d offer to take her someplace else for a quick bite. Then I’d call it a night and hail her a cab. I found that a show of restraint added a sprinkle of mystery and stoked the anticipation of a second date. Soon I was dating more and more interesting women—clothing designers, entrepreneurs, fitness models, photojournalists, and teachers, along with selected professionals and corporate types. Most importantly, I was connecting with almost every woman. After a few months of non-stop dating, I got into a relationship with an attractive woman, took a break from the site, and dated for a year. After the relationship ran its course, I logged back on the site, reviewed my profile yet again, made a few more tweaks and in no time began dating like crazy for another year. My online dating system was working like a well-oiled machine.  Having a clear set of rules helped, but I soon found out that, as in life, when it comes to online dating there are no unbreakable rules.

Like other indulgences, online dating has a shelf life. I reached a point where I was content. My system was doing a lion’s share of the work. Dating had become easy. And as soulless as it sounds to me now, at the time, I thought I’d be happy dating for the rest of my life. Everything changed though late one night when I logged onto the site. A new woman had winked at me. She was pretty, even if her photo was a random late night selfie without makeup. I was intrigued by her photo and by the carefree flow of her profile. So I began the usual process. I emailed her and she replied the following day. We exchanged another email. The vibe felt right so I sent her my number and suggested a phone call. However, this woman did not think that a phone call was necessary. She suggested that we meet in person. I wrote back, trying my best to arrange a phone call, but she again declined. What about my rules?  I needed to make a decision.

I was torn. My rules worked. Why should I change? I read her profile again and stared at her cute photo before my intuition kicked in. This feels right, so, what the hell? It’s just a rule that I made up. We skipped the call and met on a balmy July evening. Things went well. Real well. And I wanted to see her again. I followed up by text after our date and we got together again the following week. Out of curiosity I looked up her profile again, but it was gone. When we got together for dinner I asked why her profile was hidden. She told me that she’d only signed up on the site for a three-day trial. Since she had a good time she wanted to give us a chance. She saw no reason to stay active on the site. I wisely deleted my account shortly after and we were engaged one year later. We’ve been married for six years. I know now that online dating is an art, not a science. It’s okay to go with your gut and break your rules now and then.

The bottom line is that if you pay attention to what you are putting out and who you are, online dating can be fun and fruitful. You might stub your toe and get your heart broken a few times along the way, but you can win. Always show respect for yourself and the people you meet. And, don’t take anything too seriously. Remember; dating and meeting new people can be an adventure, not something that creates anxiety. If you take the time to build your personal brand (know yourself, what you want, and what you have to offer), communicate clearly both online and in person, and display the confidence from a well-lived life, you’ll be on your way to making the right connections.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Online Dating (Part 2)

Robert Manni - Monday, May 16, 2016


It’s said that necessity is the mother of invention. I couldn’t agree more.

Take my experience for instance in online dating. After being with a woman for five years, one day she said that the relationship was over. I’d always thought that when a woman had issues with the relationship, her guy would be the first person to know. I assumed that the woman would want to have, you know—the talk. But in this case, she packed up her bags and was gone. I found out a few weeks later that she had already moved in with another guy. I was blindsided and devastated. Man, I was pissed off. But once I had time to really think about our relationship, my emotions shifted from pain to relief. I realized our relationship really hadn’t been working and I owned up to my share of why it went wrong. I asked myself if I wanted to be with a woman who was unhappy and didn’t want to be with me. And the answer was, of course, I didn’t. I was glad it was over.

It took some time, but I licked my wounds and self-assessed. I definitely did not want to make the same mistakes again. When I felt I was ready to meet new women, I realized, most of my friends were married and had kids, so they were not going out to meet women with me. So, initially I returned to my old habits of trolling the bars, gyms, classes, and bookstores alone. Hunting as a lone wolf soon proved to be a tough world for a guy over forty, especially after years of being in a live-in relationship. So much had changed that soon, there was no fun going out on my own. After a few lonely Friday and Saturday nights, I had to do something new. I decided to give online dating a try.

I signed up at the most popular online dating site. Like most guys, I slapped together my profile and anxiously dove into the fray. At first, I perused only the women with pretty pictures and pursued dates solely based on women’s photos. As a result, I met a lot of attractive women. I’d sit across from them thinking, they’re nice looking, but where’s the ‘spark’? Something was definitely wrong. I was not using the head perched on my shoulders to make my decisions. I was wasting a lot of time and money meeting the wrong women. I needed a reboot. The best thing I did was to take a break and hide my profile. I reviewed my personal brand (who I was, what I was looking for, and what I had to offer) and reworked my profile making sure it had the right messaging and photos to attract the type of partner I was looking for. This was the first important step in developing an online routine that finally worked for me.

After reposting my profile with a new headline, photo, and bio I went back to the work of dating. I set a few directional rules for myself. I decided not to invest too much time with online connections I met online before deciding whether or not to move forward. I’d exchange a few emails, maybe starting with a compliment or question about something in her profile. Then, if I liked her response I’d decide to talk on the phone. The call was always helpful. Nowadays, after a text or a tweet, people meet up without having a call. I wouldn’t take that chance too readily. The energy exchanged when emailing or texting is quite different than what we experience on a call. I’ve had experiences where the emails would flow with wit and élan, then come to an awkward silence when I got them on the phone. And even if that first call lasted an hour it did not guarantee success. Very often the energy dramatically changes, again, when we meet someone in person for the first time. I’ve found that we can’t control chemistry, and it’s impossible to predict. I paid attention to how the energy felt at every touch point—from first contact online to email, then to a phone call before asking a woman for a date. All this saved a lot of time and disappointment.

In time, I learned that, like my initial foray into online dating, other people also charged in without figuring out what they wanted from the experience. There were a lot of lonely people out there. And many of them were over forty and desperate for love and attention. They’d sign up on a dating website in haste and plunge into the unchartered online dating waters like new members of the Polar Bear Club on January 1st. After a few failed dates and often the icy chill of rejection, many singles withdrew from these websites as quickly as they dove in.

Here’s an example of what happened while I was developing my online dating chops. I met a woman for a date at a bar in Manhattan’s Flatiron district. She was a senior-level television executive. She was attractive, successful, and immaculately dressed in a white designer suit. We’d exchanged two short emails and a quick phone call before agreeing to meet after work. Everything felt good and I was looking forward to our date. Over small talk and a glass of wine I sensed the tension in her voice and body. I asked her about her job, thinking that she’d had a tough day. She told me she worked in television ad sales and she was having a banner year. So I asked her how long she’d been dating online. She said I was her first date. She’d signed up for the service the day after her long-term boyfriend dumped her. Initially, I thought that was a favorable omen for rebound sex, but she was so out of sync that I didn’t want to get intimate with someone in her vulnerable state of mind. I asked her if she had considered taking some time for herself before jumping back into the dating scene. Her eyes welled up with tears. Then she said, “I don’t want to be alone.” Sadly, this attractive, high-powered television executive was an emotional shambles.

This was not the first time I met someone who was obviously not ready to date. I consoled her over a Chardonnay before grabbing the check and hailing her a cab. The following day, Ms. TV Executive sent me a lovely email, thanking me for being so understanding. But our short night was another reminder that I needed to do a better job when screening dates. I was still doing something wrong. Many of the women I had met were fun online and on the phone, but uptight and anxious in person. Between learning about their lists of must-haves or surviving first dates that felt like job interviews, this online dating thing was quickly lose its appeal. I realized that I kept going out with women who reminded me of my ex—corporate stars who were not enjoying the ride. It was time for another break from the site.

To be continued…

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Online Dating (Part 1)

Robert Manni - Friday, May 06, 2016


When I was in my twenties, I met women the old fashioned way. This was before the age of ubiquitous cell phones, female wingmen, and dating apps. In the old days, drumming up the nerve to approach a woman took courage.

Like a lot of young men I wasn’t always comfortable in my own skin.  If I saw a lady who appealed to me, I’d drum up the courage to greet her with a friendly hello. Then, hopefully, I’d come up with something to say, an interesting question, or anything to keep things going. It was a challenge, but over time, I developed a decent rap. Sometimes I’d lose my nerve and stand at the bar too long nursing my Amstel Light. So, I’d lose out to some other guy who’d beat me to the punch. I met a lot of women and sure, I got shot down plenty of times too, but it was all part of putting myself on the front lines.

In many ways, meeting women the old fashioned way was a lot like sales. To succeed you needed to know who you were and what you had to offer. You had to qualify your prospect quickly so you wouldn’t waste time with someone who was married or in a committed relationship. Most importantly, you needed to know how to strike up a conversation and close the deal. So, I learned how to ask the right kind of questions, and stay positive in the face of rejection, and how to overcome obstacles to make a connection. Over time, I became fearless and experienced a lot of success. I met women in bars, gyms, laundry mats, libraries, bookstores, buses, airplanes, or just about anywhere. And, beyond ‘winning’ at the mating game, meeting women was fun.

But the times have changed. Technology has now made men lazy. These days, a guy can score dates with smart, successful, attractive women while sitting at home in his tighty-whiteys by just plinking on his laptop. All of the apps and websites have made it very convenient for men to meet women. You could say that technology has made dating much, much easier. But, hold on. From what I can tell, technology can only take you so far. Whether you are a man or woman, to make a real connection with a member of the opposite sex you still need self-confidence, conversational skills, a sense of humor, and a dash of self-deprecation.

There's still a lot to be said from those days when a man had to learn how to approach a woman, face-to-face, literally on the front lines. Men used to study ‘pick-up’ lines and share the best ones with their pals. It took a lot of nerve to step up to the plate and simply be you.

Here is a scenario of how things might have played out back in the day. A guy walks into a bar. He scans the room and takes the seat next to a pretty woman sitting alone nursing a glass of wine. He settles in and orders a beer. Out of the corner of his eye he casually checks out the woman seated next to him. Sensing his gaze, she takes out a cigarette. He strikes a match and holds it out for her. She exhales smoke, smiles and thanks him. “Hi, I’m Lou,” he says. “Cindy,” she responds. From here, anything could happen. That’s how lots of guys met women before technology took over our lives and smoking was banned in bars.

If that scene were replayed today, the woman at the bar would probably be on her phone texting or checking emails. She might not notice the guy sitting next to her and he might not even look up from his phone to notice her. The guy would probably order a beer, place his phone on the bar and stare up at the bar’s two-dozen giant television screens. Between sips of beer, he’d check his phone. Maybe he’d check his online dating app to see if anyone in the bar was on the same service. Then, when his friends would show up, all the guys would stand around drinking, watching the games and discussing their fantasy sports teams. Meanwhile, the attractive woman seated next to them, would greet her cute friend’s arrival and the ladies would probably chat over a drink before moving to a table to discuss their jobs and talk about why there are no good men around.

While technology has made things really convenient in a lot of ways, the problem is that people, today, are distracted by waves of ubiquitous media. Most people have trouble being present in the world directly around them and this makes it hard for them to connect. These days, when young people go out, an impenetrable wall of phones, apps, emails, texts, TV’s and a closed circle of friends usually surround them. In most cases, they don’t organically engage with new people. This brings along a new set of challenges to dating in today’s tech-driven culture. It seems that to succeed in today’s fast-paced scene, you need a blend of digital dexterity and that, all-important, old school charm. The digital portion of the equation is relatively easy to pick up. But knowing how to strike up a good conversation and converse with confidence and finesse takes time. But it’s worth it. In this area, daters over forty a big advantage over younger daters who rely too heavily on their cell phones, iPads, and laptops to communicate.

The trick is to learn your way around today’s digital dating landscape while deploying your old school charm. If you want to succeed, you need to stay up-to-date on the multitude of digital dating tools and apps. It’s critical that you learn how to communicate quickly and effectively through your digital device. His will get you half way to the finish line. I’ve learned that to win, you still need to be fluent in the art of conversation and flirtation. That can only take place in person. After all, no matter how much game and witty repartee you may demonstrate in your texts or emails, eventually you’ll find yourself face to face with the object of your desire. That’s the only place where real chemistry can happen.  

To be continued…


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