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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

5 Signs We're Lowering the Bar (And What We Can do to Raise It)

Robert Manni - Friday, January 26, 2018


Each time I scroll through the news online or even a good, old-fashion newspaper, I’m amazed at how crazy and dysfunctional our culture has become. The online news feed is a parade of real news, fake news, and oddities.

It seems like everyone is in debt, too busy trying to keep their job before being replaced by robots or AI, or too damn tired to realize they are being fed garbage and being told to like it. As a result, we are wallowing in a vast cultural slush. The bar has been lowered, amigos. People can’t afford to travel so they take boring “staycations”. They work more for less money, brown bag their lunch, and eat at their desks. They binge-drink in cramped apartments because they can’t afford to go out and drink at bars. These are desperate times.

Since technology shrank the world, entertainment is global. There’s less fresh thinking because the creative concepts need to travel. So we get K Pop, shitty sequels to bad movies, reboots or movies based on bad television shows, and generic music pumped up and pushed out by producers instead of talented new artists who can actually read music. When was the last time you heard some really fresh music? Cardi B? Timberlake, the new, urban woodsman? Really.

While we are being distracted by pop culture, regulations like net neutrality that protect people are being decimated. The rich keep getting richer while the rest of us are left fighting over the crumbs. Our culture reflects the discrepancies in income through the garbage sold to us as entertainment, often the same pile of refuse served up a different way.

Do we need another go at the XFL? Do we need to pay $100 to see an MMA fighter in boxing gloves get schooled by a boxer? They keep selling us crap. Why?  Because we buy it. Everyone was warned about the folly of the Mayweather vs. McGregor “fight”, but people still shelled out a Franklin because consumers are suckers who exposed to a month of media overselling can be brainwashed. Yes, a sucker is born every minute. Our culture is a mess. People are so fearful, worried, and in debt that they will consume almost anything corporate America feeds them just to escape their lives for a few hours.

So what’s a Guy’s Guy to do? Start by educating yourself and making your own decisions about how you want to invest your valuable time and hard-earned dollars.  Know that we the people collectively have the power to create change. People ultimately control what they buy. If they don’t open their wallets, products will be changed to suit their demands. Take organic food, for example. The only reason we’re not completely drowning in GMO’s and processed foods is that people realized that processed foods could be killers. Smart consumers don’t buy as much of the products sold down the aisle in cans or boxes. The change happened because consumers demanded better foods that foster good health.

So, we have choice. We may pay more for organic foods, but we forced Big Agra to listen. But change only occurs when our collective consciousness demands it. So the next time you reach for your wallet ask yourself if you are settling for garbage because you are flat-out tired and just need an escape, or if you can save that cash or put that money to use somewhere else until you get what you want.

Here are five examples of the dumbing down of our culture. I’m not discounting the fun quotient in some of them, but we can do better.

1. Eating Tide pods – This is not a joke. Young people are actually consuming those bright, swirly little plastic pouches that look like candy. They are not candy. This is DETERGANT and it is a very disturbing trend. Young folks, you can do a lot better things to entertain yourself besides eating soap. I have nothing else to add except, hey, P&G, how about changing those pods so they don’t look so tasty?

2. Bars featuring axe throwing- For me, the combination of alcohol, hatchets, and axes is not optimal. Is drinking and throwing axes fun? (editor’s note: surprisingly, yes) It must be, because there are more and more bars getting tricked out with an axe throwing area. What happened to bar shuffleboard and pool? I shudder thinking about what’s next after chasing Jack Daniels with axe throwing? Fight clubs for women? Hmmm, I think they already have that. If we need to get drunk and throw axes to blow off steam as a culture we are too angry and we drink too much.

3. Lipstick on pigs – If you haven’t noticed, those fast food and QSRs (quick service restaurants) are promoting the hell out of cheap menu items at $1, $2, $3 and whole meals for $5. We live in a fast-paced, fear-driven society where people eat suspect food quickly and on the go. There’s nothing wrong with a quick fast food fix in the rare times it’s absolutely necessary. But, many consumers live on fast food and the brands know it.

Lately, it’s gotten crazy. One affordable hamburger chain is now taking reservations for couples on Valentine’s Day so they can come to the store and celebrate their love with burgers served by table service. Be prepared ladies. Some broke dudes will give this a shot.

To keep their peeps coming back for more, chains also offer all you can eat delights like $3.99 for all the pancakes you can swallow. Here’s where we need to ask ourselves a few questions. How many pancakes should we be eating in one sitting? Three? Maybe four? What kind of flour is used in those pancakes? What’s in that syrup? Is it grade B organic maple syrup or high fructose corn syrup and food coloring? Ask questions and use your power. If it quacks like a duck…

4. Uninspired Hollywood – There are three trends in Hollywood just won’t slow down: superheroes, dysfunctional people, and violence. Every time I walk along the subway platform I’m inundated with posters for the latest movies and television shows. Besides posters for “Big Bang Theory” re-runs and “Young Sheldon”, the most frequent images are actors pointing their gun my way, people with blood spattered on hands and faces, or grim, angry, people dressed in black staring at me. And enough with the comic book superhero movies. Are we all still eleven years old?

There is another trend to blow out any movie that makes a few bucks into a franchise. Most of them are violent. Take the “John Wick” movies. The second one was actually better than the original, but the violence… Hundreds of brutal kills filmed beautifully. People love Keanu and this character, but when you think about it, aren’t we a bit insane to consume so much violence and murder as entertainment? Bad television shows like “Baywatch” somehow ran for years. Did we need a “Baywatch” movie? Did we need three “Hangover” movies? Nope, but here’s why they exist: The terrible sequels actually grossed more than the original because of sales in international markets. Hollywood is all about creating franchises that unfortunately have to get dumbed down in order to travel.

5. People don’t read – Every time I’m riding the subway and I see some reading a book I say to myself, “Hooray for New Yorkers”. Unfortunately, this is the exception, not the rule. Studies show that the vast majority of both college and high school educated Americans never enter a bookstore or read a book after graduating from their highest level of education. This truly is the dumbing down of society.

I’ll give you this. When we surf the Internet, we are technically reading. But reading a book is a commitment. I prefer fiction and the power of story, but the simple act of reading and finishing a book is critical to our individual and collective future. It’s bad enough that we’re confused about what is news or fake news. Read books and grow.

That’s my rant. Why was it necessary? Because as a Guy’s Guy, I want the best for me, for you and for us collectively. If we accept all the garbage shoved our way, we’ll only get more.  We have power in our pocketbooks and wallets to foster change. Use this power wisely and will help change our collective consciousness.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is you, the reader. Yes, I mean all the people reading this post. The simple fact you’ve invested the time to explore one man’s, or in this case, one Guys’ Guy’s perspective on the precious state of our culture is important. I thank you and hope you’ll be back for more next week. 

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Aging Part 4: Aging Gracefully

Robert Manni - Sunday, January 21, 2018


In our youth-oriented culture, the greatest challenge for many is recognizing and accepting the cold hard facts about aging. Regardless of how the botox, tummy tucks, hair restoration procedures, and teeth whiteners temporarily hold back Father Time, the clock keeps ticking.

We’ve all seen those attractive cougars pumping away at the gym or photos of them on social media in their bikinis on tropical vacations, and their male counterparts showing off their cars, guns, or trophy wives. I get it. We all want to stay relevant.

But as we age we need to come to terms with the reality that God-willing, we will all grow old. The party is not going to last forever. So what’s a Guy’s Guy to do when his hair is streaked with gray and his scrotum sags? You can plumb up your ball sack and hope for the best or you can take a deep breath and tell yourself, “Hell yeah! I’m a man of experience. Don’t mess with me.” I suggest the latter, and that’s my inspiration for this week’s post. I want to help us guys step into their unknown future with pride and élan. Heck, we’ve made it this far, so let’s show some class as we when approach the third semester of our lives.

1. Learn to adapt – I’ve got news for you. If you continue eating and drinking the same way you did in your twenties, unless you have Jagger’s metabolism, you’ll pack on the pounds by the time you hit forty. The real problems arise, though, after you gain the weight when you are not really aware of it and continue your indulgent habits. By the time you enter your fifties, your body will probably respond to the abuse with adverse reactions and begin its long descent of breaking down systematically.

There is some good news though. The world changes and you do, too. Your body replaces all of its cells every few years, so you are constantly regenerating and evolving. That means it’s important to step back every so often and take stock in how you eat, sleep, drink, how much you work, and how you either love or loathe the person you’ve become. Your cells are changing and so can you. So, get with the program, consider your life and lifestyle and what it is doing to you and make the necessary changes.

2. Stay fit. Eat well. – If you’ve been following my blog, by now you know how much importance I place in maintaining a healthy diet and physical fitness. Your diet comes down to choosing this or that during every meal. It’s that simple. Of course you don’t want to eat before bedtime, but beyond that, a healthy diet is built on choice. Beware of longevity’s enemies like sugar, alcohol, processed foods, and meat. Yes, meat. The average American consumes 212 pounds of meat every year. I stopped eating meat ten years ago. That means I’ve avoided eating more than one ton of meat over the past decade. I’m sure that has saved an immense amount of wear and tear on my internal organs and systems that have to break down all the burgers, steaks, chops, and bacon strips. If you are concerned about a lack of protein from going to a plant-based diet, don’t. Beans have way more protein and far less fat than meat.

I stay in shape, no matter what else is going on in my life. It has been a lifelong commitment that has always served me well. I do basically the same workouts as I did twenty years ago and maintain the same weight. It’s a fun challenge and a point of pride for me to keep my body clicking on all cylinders. And it helps buffer the ravages of aging. Cardio health and bone density are important markers for a strong and fit body. If you stay in shape, when something goes wrong, as things do, know that you’re doing all you can to stay fit. Following back-to-back robotic surgeries three years ago, my doctors continue praising me for how well I bounced back and maintained my body. That’s beyond looking fit, which I admit I like. It’s tending to and taking care of the totality of my body, mind and spirit. This is what keeps your Guys’ Guy’s engine running smoothly. If I sound cocky, forgive me. The thing is, I put a lot of work and I’m glad I have.

3. Accept the truth – Let’s face it. We’re getting older each and every day. There is no escape. So what’s a Guy’s Guy to do? Embrace it. Own it. Love your life and make the most of each day. Treat yourself well. Forgive yourself and others. Ignore the haters. Keep moving. You, and only you, chart the course for your life. Might as well do what you like and take those shots when they present themselves.

Forget about your chronological age. New opportunities arise every damn day. If you take care of yourself and make solid choices there is no reason you can’t keep rolling and rolling. Don’t fret about screwing up in the past. It’s over. Karma happens quickly so don’t worry about what was. If you stay positive, your energy and attitude will show. You’ll be a beacon to others. Love them, but don’t think just because your friends or family members have certain health issues that you will, too. Your body consists of ninety percent microbes. There are trillions of them inside of you. They are constantly at work killing off bad stuff. Thank them, support them, and tell them you love them. I promise you will feel a difference. You don’t have to succumb to disease. Stay positive. Your microbes are listening.

4. Be mindful of what you wear – If you’re like me, you like feeling young. That means I, like other boomers, need to be careful what we wear. That does not mean we have to wear beige khakis and a yellow polo shirt all the time. You can let your style evolve as you age. Pick jeans that fit well and look good. I dig raw selvedge so I spend a few extra bucks and wear them repeatedly. I never wash them either. Depending on your body shape and size, slim fit is fine if you can swing it. Say no to skinny jeans. Once you hit forty, rethink hockey jerseys, Zubaz pants, tank tops, and wearing your Yankees cap backwards. Keep the bling simple, buy a good watch, and ditch the cropped pants. If you really feel a need to wear a rock band t-shirt, keep it simple. Nothing wrong with the Stones logo, but dudes in their sixties don’t look totally awesome in Duran Duran, Star Wars, or WuTang Clan t shirts and caps. As you age, update your closet and give your choice in clothes some thought. Only wear what feels right for you. And ladies, if you are in your fifties, you probably don’t need to still let your hair grown down to your ass. And while you’re combing through your closet, think about giving that ocelot print mini skirt to your daughter.

5. Know yourself. Manage your emotions.  – It certainly feels like we live in an angry world these days— a function of our dysfunctional collective consciousness. I’m a Guy’s Guy, but I get angry, too. My pet peeve is people saying and doing stupid shit. That has occasionally made things kind of tough for me. So, I continue investing in extra time working on managing my thoughts and emotions. We are all works in progress, so even if I still blow my stack now and then, I do my research and I’m usually right about the issues that push my buttons. But at times I need to do a better job of softening my delivery of the truth.  Over the years I have come to know my behavioral triggers and flaws. Self-awareness, living one’s truth, and reducing anger can help us live longer. The truth absolutely sets us free. The question frequently is, can we handle the truth about ourselves? Life is a school. Learn your lessons well, amigos.

The week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is Jeanne Louise Clament, the longest living person on record. She died in 1997 at the ripe old age of 122. I’ll bet she knew herself well, maintained her optimism, and managed her anger all those years. Stay classy… 

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Aging Part 3: Longevity

Robert Manni - Friday, January 12, 2018


For the first time, the average lifespan of Americans has gone down.

Can you believe it? Who doesn’t want to live a long, healthy, purposeful, life? Who doesn’t want to look and feel like they did five, ten, or even twenty years ago? It can be done, but you can’t trust Big Pharma, Big Agra or the government to do the work for you. WE need to do it ourselves and that takes education, and making the right choices every day. Time waits for no one and there is no better time to begin than right now. The good news is that you can build the foundation for rich, ripe and rewarding golden years if you make the right choices. Randomness aside, if you live right, you can play a major role in determining when “old age” begins.

Ever get those reminders from Facebook that looks like a recent, familiar photo with a friend? You look at the image thinking, wow, that was last year. You look closer and realize that the post was from five years ago.

Time is relentless. It never lets up and as we age it seems to go faster. If we want to stay on point as the years flash by, we need to treat our mind, body, and spirit with respect. With that in mind, I offer you my latest tips for living a long fruitful life, Guy’s Guy style.

1. Hydration – The leading cause of death for old people is lack of hydration. Simply put, two thirds of the human body is made up of water. Leave a glass of water on the windowsill for a week and what happens? It evaporates. That’s precisely what happens to our bodies as we age and fail to replenish the liquids. Take a look at senior citizens—some look great, but too many are hunched over and shriveled up with faces and bodies fraught with wrinkles. A big cause for that is a lack of water. Sure, aging plays a role, but the lack of hydration drives the process. Studies show that 80% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Drink, amigo. Drink lots and lots of filtered water. I use the ZERO brand water filters, but there are many to choose from. It’s worth it. Water is life.

2. Claim your health – This morning someone asked me what year I was born. I almost never think about my chronological age because I don’t believe it is the main factor in how old our bodies and minds really are. If you focus on the number, you’ll compare yourself to folks the same age, which can be misleading and downright depressing. I still have friends from high school, many of whom are overweight. Some have hip replacements or back problems, and more and more are no longer with us.

Of course anyone can fall victim to disease or an accident, but we can all participate in prevention and recovery. Three years ago, I experienced back-to-back robotic surgeries on my kidneys. I was stunned, but decided to take the necessary steps to reclaim my health. I researched the cause of the disease, not the effects, with the goal of reconfiguring my internal system so it would no longer accommodate the disease.  Robotic surgery probably saved my life, but Western medicine is primarily focused on reacting to problems rather than preventing them. That’s just the way it is, so it’s up to us to learn everything we can about caring for our bodies. This takes time, and the choices required are not always easy, but it can be done. My check ups have been great. I feel better and better. And my workouts are the same as prior to my surgeries. I never look back on what happened or what could have happened. It’s about the now, and my ability to keep learning and making the best decisions about how I live. I am confident I will continue improving, and I know a positive attitude makes a difference. We are what we think. We create our lives through how we manage our thoughts. Claim your health.

3. Feed your mind – Here are some fun facts—according to the Jenkins Group, eighty percent of families did not buy or read a book last year. Forty-two percent of college grads have never read a book after college. Seventy percent of American adults have not been in a bookstore in the past five years. People are hooked on TV, their computers, and devices, and as a result they don’t find time to read. You can argue that a lot of the time spent on our devices and computer is actually reading, but a good portion of what we consume is TV shows, music, and mind-numbing ads, little of which nourish our minds. Make an effort to read books. It will keep your mind sharp and nimble.

4. Feed your body - I could devote multiple posts to the importance of diet to longevity. With respect to your time, let’s simply explore the view from thirty thousand feet. By now we’re all aware of the crisis in our food supply. GMO’s, pesticides, nutrient-lacking processed foods, sugar, and factory meats are factors to consider when managing your diet for longevity. Are organic foods better for us? Yes. Is supplementation important? Because so much of our food lacks nutrition, yes. Is sugar hidden in our foods under other names? Yes. Are GMOs good for us? Nope. Do your research. Read the labels. If the label does not say non-GMO, it has GMOs. If it doesn’t say organic, it’s not organic. Choose wisely at every meal, and bon appetite.

5. Get outside- Stomping around the big city with rubber soled shoes on concrete while being pulverized by wifi, radiation, and noise pollution is not a healthy way to live. But, like pounding too many beers, we do it anyway. It’s a means to an end, but unfortunately we blind ourselves to the fact that these toxins can contribute to the end of us. Fortunately, nature has some antidotes. We live in an electric universe. The sky is positively charged while the ground carries a negative charge. When we walk barefoot on the grass or even lie down in a meadow (you can do both in Central or Prospect Park) your body is grounded, and grounding is good for you. Studies have shown that earthing or “grounding” improves blood viscosity, heart rate variability, reduces inflammation, helps us sleep, and reduces the effects of stress. We spend a disproportionate amount of time sitting indoors at work and home, and we need nature to help us rebalance. Get one with nature whenever possible.

6. Exercise – While you’re outside, consider the benefits of sunshine and cardiovascular activities. Whether you’re walking, running, golfing, playing tennis, sailing or swimming, exercise is a key building block of your foundation for longevity. Of course you can enjoy working out indoors, but wouldn’t you prefer a yoga class on the beach rather than a cramped, sweaty room in Midtown? Over the years, many of us develop issues with our joints and skeletal system, which curtails our ability to run distances, play tennis, or golf. If we are determined enough, we can always find alternative avenues for getting in a workout.

One thing I’ve picked up over the years is learning to listen to my body and adjust my workouts based on what it is telling me. I stay in good condition and listen, so I avoid pushing myself into a “no pain, no gain” mentality. That’s for your twenties and thirties. Like the greats who have enjoyed long careers, (think: Nolan Ryan, Tom Brady, Derek Jeter), we can still maintain our fitness and competitive edge if we listen to what our bodies are telling us.

I’ve ran three marathons. I could probably squeeze out another, but during my most recent race I distinctly recall my body advising me very strongly not to run another twenty-six miler in this lifetime. I was in my best condition ever for a marathon, but I ran my worst race. I bonked way too early and had a rough time rebalancing my blood sugar afterwards. So, I listened. I still log in eight, nine, and ten-mile runs without any issues, but I doubt I will ever want to run another marathon.

Listen to your body and then find alternative avenues for working out. Yoga, stretching, Pilates, stationary bike, elliptical, whatever. Find your way and just do it, amigo.

I think you get the picture. If you want to live a long, healthy life hydrate, eat well, read, maintain a positive attitude, get outside, and keep moving.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is Mick Jagger. At seventy-four he still sings, dances and gyrates with the same élan he and the Stones have entertained us with for the past fifty-five years. Jagger is a great grandfather yet is constantly creating, while maintaining his fitness and a positive attitude.

Two Cool Practices to Reset and Ignite Your New Year

Robert Manni - Sunday, January 07, 2018


We’re a week into January and it’s been cold as hell, so no worries if you already fell off the wagon or never got around to setting your New Year’s resolution. There’s still time to lock and load, and I’ve got two top-notch Guy’s Guy’s tips to help you get a firm grip on the wheel for the long year ahead.

We’ll help you purge all the toxic garbage from last year, set your plans and start a kick ass, easy-to-manage additive diet plan to help you shed pounds and feel great all year long. We’re already a week into the New Year so we’ll keep it short and get right to it.

1. Purging and manifesting – Let me begin but clearly stating that this first suggestion is not my creation, but I’ve done it and it’s fantastic. Bill Phillips is a well-known psychic medium. You may have read about him or his contributions on Huff Po. That’s where I found his most recent post focused on manifesting what you want in the coming year, or really in any time frame, although it fits nicely into an annual practice. I will summarize momentarily, but you can read the whole article here.

All you need is a bowl, some paper, an envelope, and something to write with. First, write down all the things you want to release on a piece of paper.  This should be a list of stuff you believe no longer serves you. Then either burn the paper or tear it into little pieces and drop it in the bowl. Take a deep breath and visualize a pink light surrounding you and filling you up. Think of all those nasty things you want to jettison and exhale while visualizing a gray mist coming from your mouth filled with all that bad stuff. Do it a few more times or until you feel a release in the heart area. Now, take another piece of paper and jot down all the things you want to manifest this year. Start with something like “In 2018 I create….” Then seal your list in the envelope, and then hold it between you hands. Say a silent prayer asking for help in manifesting. Put the envelope away or give it someone close for safe keeping for the year. At this time next year, open it up and see how you did. My wife and I shared this exercise on New Year’s Day and it felt very fresh and cleansing. Again, all credit to Bill Phillips. At the end of 2018, we’ll find out how much we made happen. 

2. The Guys’ Guy’s Additive Diet –Most people are interested in losing weight in the New Year and starting on January 1st, gym memberships skyrocket, treadmills are jammed, and lots of people commit to “Dryuary”, a new term for giving up booze in January, after those alcohol-fueled past two months.

Over the years, I, like others, have tried and experimented with lots of diets and in many cases lost a lot of weight. But, like so many others, slowly packed all those pounds back on after returning to my former eating pattern and consumption. I asked myself how could I set a program that would assure me of losing weight and keeping it off for an entire year, without too much pain and sacrifice.

In fact, I recently finished my second attempt at intermittent fasting, a practice where you only eat during an eight-hour window each day followed by sixteen hours of “fasting”. During my two-month stint, I didn’t lose any weight. I’m not pointing a finger at the practice because I’m sure it works for others, but not for me. Maybe I ate and drank too much to compensate for the fasting hours, but whatever I did wrong, it resulted in my gaining weight. So I decided to come up with my own program that I’m doing right now and will be following for the next twelve months. Here’s what I came up with:

First, to make this a real program, I wanted to eliminate something that adds empty calories and saps energy.  The obvious answer was giving up all alcohol for the year. I’ve stopped drinking twice for five months, so I know I can do it. The practice usually turns into an “out of sight, out of mind” scenario where I don’t pay attention to booze, even if I am at a bar with the fellas. It’s a similar situation to what I experienced when I became a non-smoker almost thirty years ago. I underwent hypnosis and to this day, I still never really “see” or “say” the word or name of that product that comes in packs that people light up. I made the decision not to drink this coming year a few months ago, so I had time to get it out of my system. I didn’t want to pine for that one last a glass of buttery Chardonnay that I could have enjoyed over the holidays, so I drank to my delight from Thanksgiving through the end of the year. This made the first few days of the New Year easier to get through because I was mentally prepared. Because I always pack on the pounds when I drink, the key to the success and the bedrock of my yearlong diet is keeping booze out of my belly.

Now here’s where it gets interesting. Since there are so types of food, I have a pretty good notion about what triggers my weight gains. My main culprits were booze, pizza, ice cream, bread and pasta, and eating late in the day or in the evening. Of course, lots of other foods that made the list, like candy, chocolate, desserts, dairy, and that demon, sugar, which is hidden in almost everything we consume. So I decided I would write a list with fifty-two slots, each representing a week of the year. Each Sunday I will add a specific food item to the list that I’ll eliminate for the remainder of the year. Sound crazy? Maybe, but I like the approach because it provides me with a week to get a sense of what else I am ready to give up. I filled in alcohol for week one. As the week unfolds, I’m contemplating what item should be next. I’ve narrowed it down to ice cream or pizza. On Sunday, I’ll make my choice and see how I feel next week. Since I already know that alcohol is in my no-fly zone, all I have to give up is one item each week. I’ll attack a few big ones in January to get me off to a strong start.

By the end of 52 weeks I will have eliminated fifty-two items from my diet. Hopefully, by then I will be lean and feeling studly and strong, physically and mentally.  Along the way I’ll glean results with each thing I give up, so hopefully that will spur me on week after week. This may sound nuts and it might not be the type of program that works for you, but I have a strong sense that this is going to be one killer program that provides fast lasting results. The biggest challenge might be figuring out what to give up next by week forty or so. But that’s a fun task and when I get there it means I’m winning, winning, winning.

So that’s it. Give up something you crave for the entire year and add one thing to your list each week. Can I do it? We’ll see. You’ve got to admit that it’s a clever approach. I think that a key to success is visualizing my new weight, my increased energy, and a healthier appearance, instead of focusing on the negative and what I am giving up. Maybe it can work for you, too. Your call, amigo.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is psychic medium Bill Phillips for sharing his practice for manifestation. It’s worth doing any time you’re seeking a reset.

10 Cheap Dates In and Around New York City (Part 2)

Robert Manni - Saturday, December 16, 2017

New York City is a wonderful place to go on a first date, but it can cost you a bundle. If you’re creative, it’s not necessary to empty your wallet.

Last time we covered Harlem, the High Line, Central Park, Koreatown, and Battery Park City. I’ve lined up five more options for you, so buckle up and prepare to save money while having a great time. I hope you had time to check out one of last post’s recommendations. The most important thing to glean from these posts about affordable first dates is the importance of tapping your imagination to look at first dates with fresh new eyes. You don’t have to break the bank to impress a new connection. If you’re authentic, creative, and have a spirit of fun, you can find a solution to “where am I going to take her tonight?”

You might have noticed that all of my recommendations have been located in Manhattan. There’s a reason. If you live in one of the outer boroughs or fabulous New Jersey, you can usually find something to do on a first date that’s within budget. It’s not nearly as challenging to go on a cheap date in the outer boroughs. Although you can still buy a banana for a quarter, Manhattan is damn expensive. So, our focus remains in Manhattan. I will, however, include one idea that can take you away from the core of the Big Apple.

So in no particular order, here are five more cheap dates ideas in or around New York City.

6. Open Center, Meta Center, Cayce Center - What better way of getting to know what’s inside your new connection than a yoga class, metaphysical workshop, or an exploration into accessing your Akashic Records? Not everyone is in touch with their spirituality in the same way and some prefer keeping this area of their lives private, but a Guy’s Guy can meet lots of intelligent, attractive women who would welcome activities of this sort for an out-of-the-box and affordable first date. The venues mentioned above are but a few of the many spiritual outposts sprinkled throughout the city.

7. Chelsea Piers – If you like a hot workout followed by cooling off with a few brews, you’ve come to the right place. And you might order a Michelob Ultra while you are at it. Chelsea Piers offers indoor and outdoor activities for everyone. You can shoot hoops, rent kayaks, drive golf balls, bowl, skate, push iron, or take a fitness class. The list of activities goes on and on, and there’s a nice brewpub here also. And if your new date is not athletically inclined, you can take a long walk along the picturesque walking path along the Hudson River. You’ve got lots of options and it’s not expensive. Check their website for more info.

8. Any Museum – Where do I begin and end? New York City has the Met, the Guggenheim, the Frick Collection, Museum of Modern Art, New Museum, Cloisters, Intrepid Sea and Space Museum, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, Transit Museum and many more. I can’t think of any other city on the planet that offers the diverse options of museums than the Big Apple. Some of these venues are free, but most ask for a donation of your choice. In most cases you set the price. You can’t go wrong when going to a museum in the city.

9. West 79th St Boat Basin – Take the subway to 79th Street on the West Side and walk west towards Riverside Park and the Hudson River. You’ll stumble upon a cozy marina and café in front of a marina. It’s a great place when the weather is nice and you want to enjoy a mellow outdoor space away from the din and bustle of Midtown. I took my future wife here on our first date and we’ve been together ever since so I am proof of the sparkles possible at this picturesque venue.

10. Local Beaches – You probably don’t think of New York City as a beach town, but Coney Island, City Island, Long Beach, and even Asbury Park, New Jersey are within striking distance. So, if you have a day or long afternoon and early evening set aside to make inroads with a special lady you want to spend quality time with on a first or second date, the beach is a solid choice. I cannot think of a more fun way to spend a nice long day than at the beach or chilling at a café near the water. All of these quirky locales are accessible by mass transit. Coney Island is how Brooklyn rocks the beach. City Island is an oasis in the Bronx lined with seafood cafes. Long Beach is about an hour’s train ride from Penn Station that offers a nice slice of beach along the south shore of Long Island without having to schlep to the Hamptons. And if you are adventurous, consider formerly tragic and newly hip Asbury Park, NJ to experience a hipster Brooklyn vibe at the Jersey Shore.

Okay, amigos, I’ve only scratched the surface with these ten ideas out of the myriad of affordable first dates options in and around New York City. It’s up to you now to use your imagination and come up with a few fresh concepts of your own. Then, get in touch with that special new lady and set it up. Yeah, it’s that simple. Good luck!

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is your Guy’s Guy. Why? I’m here to help. That’s all. Having lived and thrived in this crazy city for many years, I know how New York is constantly changing and often overwhelming. I know they’re a lot of very cool places to go on a date in this city, but nowadays dating can be really expensive and some places are not as great as the hype. So, it’s important to keep your game on and find simple, creative ways to have fun when you’re on your way up, but still on a budget. Until next time…    

10 Cheap Dates In and Around New York City (Part 1)

Robert Manni - Friday, December 08, 2017

No matter where you live, being single and in the market for love in New York City can be expensive. And if you live in Manhattan, the stakes are raised. There are thousands of single people and cocktail and coffee bars in New York, and you can run up some serious debt once you get a taste for the amazing women and all the cool places to go in this town. So you’ve got to use your noodle if you want to be able to save some actual cash for that real relationship you may be gunning for. Dating and relationships cost money, and if you’re in the stage of life where dating is a sport, it can become a very expensive hobby or pastime. A night out with dinner and drinks can easily run up a bill over a few hundred, not even factoring in your Uber, taxi, or the dreaded mass transit ride home. And even if you are only out for drinks, at $20 a pop, two rounds of hipster cocktails and some apps, plus tax and tip can cost a C-note. With wages still stuck at 90’s levels, dating is very costly indeed. Dating should not cost an arm or a leg, and you work hard for the right to meet a few potential new partners a week while in your prime single years. This is when you want to have fun without having to think about what you are ordering and every penny you are spending. That’s a drag.

So what’s a Guy’s Guy to do? It’s easy to meet women in this city and even easier to score dates online or through all those apps. But how can you enjoy the company of a pretty lady or two without breaking the bank? Well, amigo, every romance has to start with the proverbial first date, so you need alternatives to drinks at the latest mixologist lounge. Like free bar finger food, you Guy’s Guy will offer up timeless starters for first dates that will help you get to know and make a good first impression without the stress of emptying your wallet or crypto-currency account. So, I have picked out ideas to help you get to know someone new without busting your budget. I’m also assuming that the Guy’s Guys reading this will at man up and offer to pay for a first date with a young lady who has caught their eye. I’m going to start with five options this week, hoping you give at least one of them a try before I toss out another five your way next time.

Drum roll please… 

1. The High Line – Way, way back, what is now known as the High Line used to be a railroad that shipped goods between the Meatpacking District and the rail yards near the docks adjacent to West 34th Street. The rails stayed put after the trading and shipping along the lines stopped years ago. During the late nineties, a group of smart New Yorkers, including David Bowie, decided it was time to clear away the overgrowth and turn the High Line into an above ground pedestrian walkway. It was a brilliant vision, and soon the money flowed in so that the work could begin. The transformation was handled in chunks as sections beginning around West Street and worked north until the project reached completion this year. And what a job they did. The High Line is a gorgeous path that winds its way a level above the far west side of the city through various condo projects and the Hudson Yards. It takes about thirty minutes to walk and at a cost of zero it’s hard to beat. If you want to break for refreshments there’s a brewery and a number of coffee houses and cafes along the way. The High Line is a fantastic first date location that won’t cost you a dime if you don’t feel like stopping for a brew or a cup of Joe.  

2. Central Park – Okay, so this isn’t new like the High Line, but having traveled the world, I can’t think of a better place to run, walk, enjoy gardens, fountains or flowers, play tennis or softball, throw a Frisbee, walk a dog, take a boat ride, go bird watching, hike a trail, see a puppet show, or take in a zoo than glorious Central Park. And, almost everything you do in the park is free. The park spans from Fifth Avenue on the East Side to Eighth Avenue on the West Side and from 59th Street to 110th. It’s a big, vast, and it gets better and better every year. If you are looking for a solid pick for a first date or meet up, consider all the options the park provides. 

3. Koreatown – The 32nd Street strip predominately between Fifth and Avenue of the Americas in Midtown is home to what’s often referred to as K-Town. The restaurants on the street level serve delicious, savory, healthy hot meals at great prices. On the higher levels you’ll find bars and karaoke clubs where you can drink and sing with people from all over the world. And the women are very pretty. There are lots and lots of places to choose for great food and drink and K-town is relatively inexpensive. 

4. Battery Park City – Although New Yorkers usually think of this downtown West Side strip of land as a boring, residential oasis, it’s actually a very nice area to walk along the water and take in the sights, or grab a bite or a brew. You can to learn how to sail, sit at one of the many outdoor cafes, or stroll further downtown through the sparkling new Oculus transportation hub and Brookfield Place with its many shops and restaurants. For a cheap first date it’s hard to beat a walk along the ever-improving waterfront or taking a Water Taxi to another stop along the coastline. And when there is a lot of gorgeous nature to take in with your eyes, it becomes easier to manage how much green is coming out of your wallet. 

5. Harlem – After spending a year looking for a place to live, seven years ago I moved from Midtown to Southwest Harlem. And I have never looked back. It’s a wonderful place to live. Don’t call it SoHa, though. Eighth Avenue turns into Frederick Douglass Boulevard after the circle on 110th Street. FDB, as it is known, functions as an entry point to Harlem for a surprising number of New Yorkers who have no idea what to expect or where to go when they head uptown for the first time. One of the great things about Harlem is that most of the buildings, even the newer condos, top off at around twelve floors. This creates a significantly more open purview than Midtown and the streets and avenues below in Manhattan. Although Harlem is filled with lots of history and art, if you are coming here for a first date, I suggest you begin with a walk along FDB north between 110th and 125th or up one of the blocks nearby. This gives you easy access to more options while you’re on a first date and probably learning your way around the hood. There are a number of bars and restaurants along FDB on this strip that won’t empty your budget. Harlem is not cheap, but it is not nearly as expensive as Midtown. You can also take a walk along the Harlem Meer near 110th Street in Central Park or check out the Lasker Rink for a swim or a skate depending on the time of year.

You have five very different options to consider for a cheap first date, and we’re only halfway done. Next time I’ll offer up five more hot and cool locales for you. After that, amigo, you’re on your own. I’ll hold off on naming our Guy’s Guy of the Week until part two of this post. So, now you’ve got a week until I reveal the next five options, so get out there give one or two places a try, and let me know what you think.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Dealing with Difficult People

Robert Manni - Saturday, December 02, 2017


There are a lot of truly wonderful people in the world. But why does it seem like we’re constantly confronted by difficult and annoying people who push our buttons?

I see you nodding your head right now. It could be those subway dancers swinging their limbs around the pole right in front of your face on the A train, that person in your building who never responds to your friendly greeting, those passive aggressive colleagues who are too weak to state their opinion to your face, but somehow grow muscles while sitting behind their keyboards so they can snipe at you from the safety of a group email thread, or that sibling who from some reason only communicates with you via text. Yep, dealing with these types can be a challenge for a Guy’s Guy. So how can we begin to see these people differently and not lose our cool when dealing with their tired acts?

I’m not exactly sure why it feels like these folks show up way so often, but I do have some ideas to share with you about who and what they are, and how to deal with them. Let’s call this one, The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Dealing with Difficult People.  I’m tempted to call them assholes, but for the most part these are decent people whose choices all-too-often fall into the anal category. Again, let’s not be too harsh. Who hasn’t said or done something they later regretted? I have. Let’s dive in and explore why these people show up in the first place.

Every person is on a path of raising his or her conscious. We’re all coming from the same place, and are headed in the same direction. But this is a long, long journey and our ascensions are on different timetables. Eventually we’ll all reach “oneness” and become fully realized beings after we’ve learned our lessons, but due to a number of factors, each person’s journey varies greatly. There is little one can do to hasten the pace of someone else’s journey, besides simply leading by example. People have to learn on their own. If you do believe in reincarnation or a recycling of the soul, you’d agree it might take another person lifetimes before they reach your level of awareness. And the same could be said of you, compared to other more evolved souls. No one is better than anyone else, but every person’s journey has a different trajectory.

So, Guy’s Guy, what does all this esoteric babble have to do with those annoying people busting our chops? Actually, it’s all very relevant. Part of the soul’s journey within its the human form is to overcome the things holding back its ascension. For many of us, it feels like we’re always confronted by the same teeth-grinding circumstances and people who push our buttons. But unless we learn to overcome challenging circumstances and people’s behavior, we’ll continue to experience them over and over again.

If this sounds similar to movie Groundhog Day, you’re right. Bill Murray’s character kept reliving Nate Ryerson, the same day, and all the same experiences over and over again until he learned how to interact with them from a place of love. And that’s our collective challenge: How do we learn to address every issue and choice we make in life from a perspective of love, as opposed to fear? Fear turns to anger. Fear lashes out. Fear backstabs. Fear is dishonest. Fear is an asshole. And fear suckers us in through our ego. Ego is fear’s best friend. Our ego is constantly telling us that it wants to protect us, but in reality, ego only wants to protect itself. Fear keeps man enslaved in a recurring dream where we are continually confronted by the things and others that annoy us until we learn how to rise above the bad behavior of others without judgment. And that’s no easy task.

So how do I deal with those passive aggressive colleagues or that sibling who only communicates with me via passive aggressive texts? Tell me how to transcend the nonsense? Relax, amigo, you’re already getting upset. There are a few things you can do to make your way past those situations and people who continually upset you. Consider the following…

1. Become a witness – Last week I had my buttons pushed by some owners in my fantasy football league. Our commissioner sent out an email extending our trading deadline by a day because he’d neglected to remind us of the deadline, as he does every year. Within that short window four major trades were made. Our commish approved the deals and players switched teams. Yipee! That is, until one of our owners, who happened to be in first place by a wide margin complained. He said the rules are the rules and they could not be changed without an amendment to our league constitution. Yikes. He added that he had been too busy working to make a deal. Of course, his team was facing my team that weekend (and I am the reigning league champ). I had just traded for the number two running back in fantasy football and was primed to make playoff run as I did last year. I was steamed about his protest, but even more so when the other owners, who I think saw the powerhouse I had created, sided with him. I pushed back a few times, which only strengthened the group’s resolve. I soon found myself on the defensive, as if I had done something wrong. I eventually backed off and ironically; my team beat this willy-nilly owner’s ass by almost fifty points last weekend.

After I had an opportunity to review the situation, I came to the conclusion that I was right. These guys were not going to let me strengthen my team in such dramatic fashion. I stepped back though. It was time to learn a lesson about handling these types of situations and people. The word “witness” kept popping into my head. I needed to step back and separate myself from the situation, state my case, and then watch the others do whatever they decided. I would let it go and forgive them for the bullshit, but not necessarily trust them in the future. That’s my take. I’m sure they would disagree. But, I am the one who has to live with myself. I’m not really concerned about them or what they think about me. So although my trade was rescinded, I won the game and the day because I had been given a great gift from them by my learning how important it is to be a witness to my humanity.

2. Don’t take things too personally – As in the case above and the others that I cited earlier, when trying situations arise, it is usually about the other people, not about you. You can always win if you stay in your truth while being detached from the behavior of others.

3. State your case, and make it about choices – When things start getting personal, shift the playing field. Make the discussion about the issue. State your case clearly. If you think someone is being an asshole, it’s okay to disapprove of their decisions and their choices. Pull up, though, if you see they are making assumptions about your take on their character and taking things personally. In the case of the fantasy football trade, the owner I was challenging claimed I was questioning his integrity when I was only challenging his actions. He’s a decent guy, but I called bullshit on his actions, not on him as a person.

4. Don’t get sucked in too far that you blow your cool – I get upset when my sibling insists on only communicating with me via text messages. It’s become more of a means of relaying of information than a dialogue. It’s incredibly annoying, and on occasion I’ve been pissed off. I finally realized this relative has a personal issue he has to deal with. So when I get a text from him, I take a breath and wait before responding. It sucks that I have to do this, but if this is what I need to do to keep the peace, so be it. I look at it as an opportunity to learn patience.

5. Know when to let go I held my ground on the football trade until the passive aggressive email sniping got personal. At that point, I knew it was a no-win situation so I let it go. That weekend my team beat this ass. The following Tuesday a flurry of emails responses went out when our commish sent out possible playoff scenarios as we headed into the final week of the season. My name came up repeatedly in that thread and I’m sure the other owners were expecting some crowing on my part after my big win. But, I didn’t respond—they knew who won. No gloating necessary.

This has been long post, amigos, and hopefully you picked up a trick or two from a Guy’s Guy who has often learned about life, love and the pursuit of happiness the hard way. That’s okay though. We are here to learn.

This week’s GUY’S GUYS of the WEEK are the owners in my fantasy football league. Their questionable choices and behavior, some good, some bad, helped me get a grip on my own reality and the lessons I need to learn. Will I get into it again with them in the future? Probably, but hopefully I’ll take a different approach. 

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Thanksgiving

Robert Manni - Wednesday, November 22, 2017


Why am I thankful that my ex broke up with me?

Life is a trickster. It always seems like it’s running two steps ahead. By the time we catch up and process what’s happened, it’s already off making more mischief that we don’t understand. That’s why along with the great food and family sharing, Thanksgiving is a great time to take a half step back to review our lives and be thankful for all of our experiences. The trick is finding the lesson to be learned from what is happening in our lives.

Getting back to the headline, no one likes being dumped. And like most guys, I’ve been dumped a number of times. At the time it seemed like my world was crashing down. But now, although I wish nothing but the best for all of my ex-girlfriends, I’m glad that they are my ex’s. Over time I realized that there was a missing component in each and every one of these relationships. Should either of us have known about this missing link and moved on sooner? Probably, but we didn’t.  We shared some good times and hopefully learned something about ourselves from our time together. I’m sure you have been there and I know it can be daunting for the heart to look into the endless abyss. But there is a reason for hope. That reason is you. 

Okay, it took me an extra decade or two, but I stayed focused and optimistic and continued to work on myself to be a better partner and a better man. I remain a work in progress, but things are coming together and I’ve never been happier. I’m very appreciative this Thanksgiving and accountable for my choices. And, I’m alive and have a new opportunity each and every day. That’s all I can ask for.

Here are a few reasons live in a state of constant appreciation.

No one else can make you happy.
Happiness comes from within. I think you’d agree that it is difficult to love another if you do not first love who and what you are. At times this is easier said than done, but it’s sagely advice that we’ve all heard a thousand times. And, it’s true. Loving yourself does not mean being selfish, but knowing who you are and what you are makes a difference in how you celebrate each day. We are all one consciousness.

Letting go can give you a better handle on your life.
Sometimes a setback can be a step forward. Living in New York is a trip. There are so many super-intelligent, talented, and successful individuals here, yet many of them walk around looking quite displeased. You can see it in their faces. People invest a lot of their energy trying to control every aspect of their experience. Although we are responsible for our actions, we cannot control everything that happens to us. We all know that shit happens. If you loosen up that death grip on your day-to-day world, you’ll probably be in a better position to shake off and move on from the setbacks that inevitably occur. Maybe you didn’t get that guy you thought was right for you, but you ended up with another dude that suits you far better. Or you are blessed with the time to get to know yourself better. When we can relax and have faith in ourselves things work out for us in a way that allows us to grow. If you’re not feeling it, try digging down deep to find what you need to learn. It’s there for you if you can let go, quiet your mind, and ask for it. And when you get that insight, be thankful and keep moving.

Make every day Thanksgiving.
Everyone has to do what works for them. I’m no Dr. Phil, but I’ve found that when I begin each day in a state of appreciation and end each night the same way, I feel blessed and sleep like a baby. We all have to find our own methods and path, but being thankful works for me.

I thank you all for being in my life and for the lessons our connection is bringing forward.  Have a great, restful weekend. I’ll be back at you with more Guy’s Guy musings next week.   

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Things that Bug Guy's Guys

Robert Manni - Friday, November 17, 2017


Every so often, even us Guy’s Guys need to let off some steam about the state of affairs in our highly dysfunctional world.

We kill animals for their taste while polluting the planet at the same time. We give unbridled power to corporations that are only beholden to shareholder earnings. We pay men more than women for the same work. We invade countries we think might do something to us in the future. On and on it goes, and although Guy’s Guys maintain a steady grip on the wheel of life, once in awhile it’s good to let go with a rant. So consider this post as just that. But, know that some of the little annoyances I’m pointing out are symptoms of bigger issues that plague our culture and its way of thinking.

The bottom line is that unfortunately our society has been programmed to choose fear instead of love and greed over generosity. And as a result, people are approaching life from a position of lack rather than abundance. So even though I’ll be bitching, in true Guy’s Guy style I’ll always seek solutions to our problems and love over fear. So, in no particular order here are a few things that bug the shit out of your Guy’s Guy.

1. Our false sense of choice – If you walk down the aisle of any supermarket or mall you would be fooled into believing that we have an amazing array of choices in our lives. However, that is the furthest thing from the truth. Once old Ronald Reagan loosened up the merger laws and regulations in the eighties, corporations have taken over the world. The rich have gotten richer while the rest of us have been duped into thinking we have so much to choose from, while the choices we have are mostly cosmetic.

Here are a few examples—You can pick almost any flavor of potato chips, soda, or hot sauce, or sneakers but when it comes to your money your choices are limited to the blue banks, the green banks, or the red one. The rates are the same. The service is universally unfriendly because frankly, most banks don’t want to service the small fry accounts. What’s worse is that they won’t have your money if there is ever a run on the banks. It’s a similar situation with the cable companies, although at least they are not holding your investments. Take a look at the monthly rates offered by the two mega companies we choose telecom and cable from and you will see that beyond their advertising noise they’re offering virtually identical plans across the board. But take heart. You can buy bubbleberry vodka or one that tastes like fruity cereal. Face it, amigos. When it comes to the more important issues, unless you have a ton of money, you’ll get the same few, shitty choices as everyone else. The one choice that you can control though is how you feel about what is happening around us and how you can raise consciousness by maintaining a positive vibe in the face of all the doom and gloom.

2. Banking, insurance company, and health care nonsense – Sticking with the same theme, and acknowledging that most of the plans offered are too expensive and very similar, it’s no surprise how lousy the service is from the behemoth companies we are stuck with for our banking, insurance and health care.

You don’t believe me? Try calling your cable carrier and you’ll experience the long, painfully frustrating process of their dealing with even the most insignificant issues. For example, after seven years we needed a new cable remote, so we called our carrier. After spending a half hour on hold and dealing with someone in Southeast Asia about our minor issue, we were promised a new remote, free of charge. When our next bill arrived, we were charged for the remote, but we had never received it. We called back. Same routine. Charged again, but no remote. The third time, after explaining this to the usual unfriendly service reps, we ascertained that the cable company geniuses had sent our remotes to the exact same address as ours, but on the east side on NYC instead of the west side. We finally received a new remote free of charge, but the process took over two months and two hours on the phone.

Here’s another dose of pain. One of the banks I use abruptly deactivated two of my debit cards. No warning, no heads up, just deactivated. The letter they sent me directed me to reactivate my cards and account through their website, but the website would not allow it. It provided a phone number that I promptly called. Unfortunately, when I finally spoke to a rep I was informed that because I lived in NYC I needed to visit a bank branch to reactivate the accounts.  I reminded the rep that my address, where they sent the correspondence in the first place was also in NYC, so why didn’t they tell me to go to a branch then? No answer. And why, as a long-term customer, was I not given notice that my card and account could be deactivated if they were not used by a certain date? Again, no answer. So I stopped by a branch and asked the same question. This time I was told that the deactivation of my accounts was my notice and the next step would be my being forced going to go to the government to get my money back out of what would become a dormant account. How nice! This is what’s happening now, people. Our corporations are too big and they don’t give a shit about individual consumers. And to make matters worse, the genius in the White House is doing everything in his power to give more power to these oversized companies that already have their foot on our throats.

3. The demise of advertising – Since Dos Equis retired the “World’s Most Interesting Man” and before they were then forced to bring back the campaign with a younger version of the guy who looks eerily like Michael Phelps, have there been any ad campaigns worth discussing in recent years? Super Bowl ads used to be delightful, but over the past few years they have been the same boring car and tire ads or promos for shitty Fox shows and super hero movies. And how many times is Pepsi going to deploy the latest cutesy model or singer in the same lame scenarios? And haven’t we seen enough of those Clydesdales plowing through the snow and kicking field goals? Or a hot model teasing us for GoDaddy? The truth is, no creative person working in advertising wants to be working in advertising. There was a time when advertising was cool and was different. That was a short window and has been closed. Nowadays, ad campaigns are short-term fixes purchased by clients who consider their agencies to be vendors that can be stiffed if they don’t like the work. Ads are measured strictly quantitatively, which is unfair because not all advertising immediately results in a direct increase in sales. A good campaign is likeable and builds a relationship and emotional connection between a brand and the consumer. But client marketers no longer have the luxury of time to prove themselves. They need to see results on the scoreboard right now, so most of the ads we see now are ultra “salesy” and promotionally driven. It’s as if those crappy local TV ads have taken over the ad templates for big brands. Have you seen the new KFC campaign with the revolving Colonel Sanders character? In one ad he’s crowing “$5 dollars, 5 dollars, 5 dollars” as he hops along while pointing at platters filled up three variations of the latest KFC “meals”? This ad is far from finger licking’ good, and I’ll bet the agency wants to jump out of the window when the client calls with their latest direction for new work.

Here’s one more sign of the end. Think about how many ads we see built around the premise of people dancing around when they receive or use the brand they are shilling for. From banks to clothing to candy bars, it’s everywhere and it’s lame. Really, now, are happy people the best idea the agencies can come up with?

4. Everybody’s always selling – In the beginning, people thought the Internet was all about everyone searching for information, being entertained, or communicating with each other. It’s still the case, but things changed when someone made that first dollar on the Internet. Then it became a gold rush. I get it. And it’s been great for people named Zuckerberg, etc. You can still find info on anything and meet interesting people from everywhere while you’re streaming a cool podcast. But for the most part, the almighty dollar rules, and so, at times, the selling goes too far. Zero targeting is a media term that we all experience every time we’re online. Oh, you looked at that Wrangler Sherpa jacket at Macys.com? Well I hope you liked it amigo, because you’ll probably be seeing that same wooly denim frock for the next month while you’re clicking from site to site. It’s like a bad penny that you can’t get rid of. It’s annoying, but that’s sales. And how about that random businesswoman who hit you up for a LinkedIn connection? The moment you accepted her connection she messages you to sell you on her SEO business? Aaargh!

5. People who don’t pay attention – Let’s take things down a notch and dig into the insidious behavior of people so wrapped up in their little worlds that they can’t be bothered to show any consideration for anyone but themselves. For example, you are standing on a very long line at a retail store. You have your singular purchase in hand and your credit card ready. The lady in front of you has a pile of stuff to buy. She’s messing with her phone when the next register opens. She shuffles over and slowly unravels all her items. The cashier takes it all and folds each item up after she scans them. You would think this might be the perfect time to TAKE OUT YOUR WALLET. But no. Only after everything has been tallied does she realize that her eyes are bigger than her budget. So now she has to decide what she now doesn’t want. After this delay she is informed of her new total. Only now, does she begin digging through her bag to find her wallet, which is of course at the very bottom. And you are still waiting with credit card in hand. After another few minutes she finally pulls out a credit card, only to be rejected by the store. A discussion ensues before additional items are eliminated from her purchase. Finally she hands over an operable credit card. You get my drift? You see this type of nonsense every darn day. Don’t be that person. PAY ATTENTION.

6. Unaccountability – Since we live a fear-based culture, everyone is petrified of being wrong. People are incredibly defensive, like never before, and even among good friends, it’s rare that any of us hears the words, “Hey, I screwed up. Sorry.” No, we don’t hear that very much because people think that if they have been caught making a mistake they will be fired, executed and fed to the dogs. Relax, amigos. We all make mistakes every day. It’s best to fess up when you make a boo-boo. If people you hang out with are going to be pigheaded and never admit they are ever wrong, are they really your friends? In business, you have to be careful not to mess up, because with no ever admitting to a making a mistake, if someone is caught in an error, everyone piles on because they are relived it was not their fault. So, when it comes to work, be as impeccable as you can. But if you do make an error, fix it and don’t be a dick and blame your assistant if you get outed.

Deep breath. Exhale. Sigh. Shit, I feel better already. As a rule Guy’s Guys don’t bitch and moan, but like I said, every so often we all need to blow shit out and release any pent up tension. As long as we are not judging ourselves or other people too harshly, it’s cool. Everyone is fighting a battle that we probably don’t know about anyway, so be kind, do your best to stay cool and do your best to deal with all of the crazy stuff that’s being thrown at us. Until next time…

This week’s GUY’S GUY OF THE WEEK is NOT Donald Trump. Like him or hate him, here is a man who, not only never admits to an error, but he also rubs people’s face in it at every chance he gets if and when they cross him. Politics aside, this is not the way a Guy’s Guy rolls. So since we are ranting this week, our choice for the anti-Guy’s Guy is DT.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Things Worth Investing In

Robert Manni - Thursday, November 02, 2017

They call it disposable income for a reason. We dispose of it every day—at lunch on $12 salads in plastic containers, ironic t-shirts, another pair of sneakers or shoes we don’t need to choke our closet space, or on numerous $9 glasses of so-called craft beers. But even though we live in a consumer society where over two-thirds of the money spent is on items we don’t really need, there are a few items worth paying those extra dollars for. Large or small, these are classic items worth the money, so your Guy’s Guy is going to lay them out for you to chew on and digest. Here in no particular order, is my GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO THINGS WORTH INVESTING IN.

1. Real estate – The rent really is too damn high. And besides getting a roof over your head for the next thirty days, there is not much to get excited about when renting your home. From my personal experience, I’ve done relatively well when investing in real estate and it began as soon as I found a way to scrape together the down payment to afford a mortgage for a modest, man-cave studio and the responsibilities that came with it. And I have never looked back. When you own that roof over your head, you get a tax break on the mortgage interest, you live in your investment, and in the vast majority of cases your home appreciates while you’re there. Wherever you may be, but particularly when you live in a ridiculously expensive city like New York, if you can find a way to buy your home, do it. If you can make those monthly payments, in the long run it will serve you well, amigo. Very well. Ask anyone who has done so and they will have a story to tell you about how much profit they made after buying that once-cheap co-op back in the eighties.

2. A great watch – Every Guy’s Guy needs at least one piece of top-notch jewelry. If he’s married he’s going to want a quality wedding band, but regardless of his marital status, this Guy’s Guy believes that owning a classic watch is a worthwhile investment. Let’s face it. There are clocks everywhere and you carry a phone so you don’t need a watch to know the time. A watch is a statement piece for a Guy’s Guy.  It’s something you can wear every day or if you choose, just to events that you hold in importance. I sat in the office next to the director of the Mont Blanc account at a big ad firm. I gave him a few bottles of rum since I ran the Bacardi account and he let me to pick from the Mont Blanc catalogue at half price. I was making good money so I bought very high-end “sport” watch, a silver dress watch, a pen, and a wicked cool pair of shades. I still have them all and I wear the two watches frequently to this day. On my fortieth, my folks bought me an engraved Rolex, so of course I also wear that too. But besides also owning a handful of very affordable watches, I’m done buying watches. The watches I own are statement pieces so I don’t need a special box or case filled a dozen good watches. I have three great watches, and that’s all I need. I still like admiring the classic timepieces I see, but I’m done.

3. A well-tailored suit and a tuxedo – A Guy’s Guy knows how to clean up, so every Guy’s Guy needs to own at least one finely tailored suit, regardless of his job or the type of work he does. There will always be an occasion where he needs to get decked out and show his stuff, so it’s a good idea to invest in a tropical wool designer suit in navy, charcoal or black. If you shop at an outlet you can pick a very nice suit for less than five hundred bucks. I recently purchased a classic, yet modern Theory suit that fits me like a glove for less than less four hundred that was originally priced at $1200. And, I will wear it when I need to for the next decade because it’s quality, a classic yet modern cut, and I work hard staying in fighting shape, like Guys’ Guys tend to do.

Another consideration is investing in a classic black tuxedo. I recent attended a wedding where the young guys in the wedding party wore maroon tuxedo jackets with black shirts and pants.  Not my style, but it was is their business. The point is; no one buys a maroon tuxedo jacket. I bought a well-made black tuxedo when I was in my twenties, and it still fits me and looks good. I also bought a formal white dress short shirt, cuff links, and a pair of shoes I only wear with the tux. Buying a tux is not as mission critical as owning a well-tailored suit, but it can be a good investment, especially if you compare it to the cost of renting.

4. A quality automobile – I’m still working on a personal issue that I have about letting go of things and people. This time it got me in trouble. I bought a silver Toyota Four-Runner in 2000 and due to my moving back into NYC, I rarely drove it. I kept it parked it on the street near the beach in New Jersey, and over the years the engine and the parts underneath the vehicle began rusting, and rusting, and rusting. I need car when I’m in Jersey and this vehicle was fully paid for, so I kept it but was making repairs and replacing rusting parts repeatedly. The decay continued and eventually, my prized vehicle became an albatross. I eventually dumped it, but not before I wasted a shitload of money on repairs.

I did buy a good vehicle, and that is part of the lesson because owning or leasing a good car can be a good investment, but only if you know when to cut bait and move on. Buying a car is so 1990 these days, so now I recommend leasing a top of the line vehicle and switching it out every few years. If you live in the burbs and show up for a date in an old rattlebox, it means negative points with the new lady.

5. Going to the dentist – A Guy’s Guy needs a first class ride for his teeth. A man’s oral health is a gateway to his overall health. And who doesn’t want a great smile? A Guy’s Guy looks for a dental practice with skilled hygienist and a dentist that can handle drillings and replacing old fillings to get that toxic metal out of your mouth, and doing what’s necessary to brighten your smile. Most healthcare plans these days scrimp on dental so having a great dentist might get expensive at times, but think about it as a sound investment in your overall health. Studies have found that built up plaque can find its way to your heart and other areas of your body and create havoc.

6. Wedding ring and band – Earlier I briefly mentioned this key, hopefully one-time purchase as another statement piece for a Guy’s Guy. When you marry, you want to show pride and your commitment. There is no better way to make your wife feel good about it than investing in a classy wedding rings and bands for both of you, but in particular for her. Make sure you exceed her expectations, and if you can swing it, go for at least two carats. No matter who pays for your band, pick a ring that looks masculine and makes you feel good about yourself. Trust me on this, amigos. It’s worth the investment to the marriage. And do you best to wear your wedding band. I’m not a big ring guy, but I keep mine in a little box on my bureau and at a bare minimum wear my platinum gold band when I am out in public with my wife. It’s the right thing to do.

7. Wine and spirits – Many Guys’ Guys like a cocktail or a glass of wine or beer now and then. Over time, most guys have had their fill of keggers and shots of lousy booze. When you finally grow out of that stuff, drink the best that you can afford, especially if you are drinking infrequently or drinking your booze straight. So out with the speed rack brands and on to the top shelf brands. As you age, if you still drink alcohol, drink less and drink better. Fear not, it’s not going to break the bank. There are many good vodkas available for $20 bucks and rums for between  $20 and $30. You’ have to pay more for good tequila, bourbon or scotch. When drinking wine, you can usually find something for every day drinking between $20- 35.  And if money is an object, with a little research you can find a decent bottle for less than $20. Beer is all about personal preference regardless of price. The point is that the clock keeps ticking and you're not going to live forever. Opt for the good stuff when you drink.

8. Organic food – It costs more, but you are protecting your health by eating organic food. The processed packaged crap down the aisles in the supermarket may taste good, but it isn’t good for you, and non-organic produce and fruit has been sprayed with pesticides. Over time, eating this stuff can cause chronic health issues. Think of yourself as a sleek Mercedes-Benz 450SEL. To keep it running smoothly you don’t fill it with the cheapest fuel. And despite all the cute memes you read about bacon, it’s basically processed pork, and that is not good fuel for a luxury vehicle like you.

9. Your wallet – This might seem like a minor thing, but think of how many times you pull out your wallet every day. A good wallet sends the right psychological signals to your brain about your financial self-worth and to others as to how you value yourself and your money. Spend a few extra bucks and buy a good wallet. It will help you feel your best about your financial standing even in tough times. Stay classy, amigo.

10. The right relationship – Investing the time in finding and securing the right life partner is probably the best investment you will ever make. I stayed single for so long that close friends and family stopped asking me when I was getting married. I knew I was not ready, so I waited until I had the epiphany of making room in my heart for someone else before taking the plunge. Maybe it took me longer than most. That’s my business, but I’m glad I waited, and I am glad I made the right investment in the right woman for me.

I hope these tips help you make sound decisions about the things in life that are worth investing in. I’m sure I missed a few along the way, but this is a good start for any Guy’s Guy who wants to send out signals that say, “Hey, I’m a Guy’s Guy and this is how I roll.”

This week’s GUY’S GUY OF THE WEEK is the actor and classic Guy’s Guy, Cary Grant. Although he may have swung ways, no worries and no judgments. He still was a Guy’s Guy. Despite his living in a different time, this guy was all class. Although I’m not sure how he invested in real estate, he died a rich man and oozed timeless style when he was alive. If you are ever in doubt about spending those extra dollars on any of the items I mentioned, ask yourself what would Cary Grant do and you can’t go wrong.


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