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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

Why Do Men Freak Out When They Hear The Word Relationship?

Robert Manni - Wednesday, June 06, 2012


                    image courtesy of

Let’s face it. We’ve all been dropped into this crazy world without a guidebook for how to deal with life. No one has the answer for question #1-Why am I here? That is a tough start, but it puts everyone on equal footing. This Guy’s Guy believes that we’re thrown into the fray to get along and make our kooky world a better place: with lots of sex…and love. So why do so many men still react to the word ‘relationship’ like it’s the bubonic plague? 

What women want 

Women are more advanced than men are when it comes to ‘relationships’. They seek and embrace situations where they can bond and grow with a mate. But to their credit, that does not mean that it has to last forever. Women simply want a relationship to work out for the best. Why not? Bonding is sharing and sharing means enjoying a lot of cool stuff while making someone you care for happy. Nice. 

What Men Seek 

Unfortunately, men are less evolved in the ways of love. Lots of guys still view a ‘relationship’ as a cross between a stint on Rikers Island and cutting off beer during hockey season. They fear a ‘relationship’ is going to take them off the market and prevent them from getting it on with all of the hot ladies strutting around the big city. There are so many great women out there! I know the feeling of wanting more and more, but it’s misguided. 

What men don't realize they're missing

Take it from this Guy’s Guy the right relationship is a lot more fun than prowling the clubs every night in search of that Eastern European supermodel who was specifically put on Earth to satisfy your particular sexual proclivities. I think you get the picture, but I’ll say it another way. Relationships are good, and when you are in a relationship with the right woman you can go deeper than you’ve ever imagined and it’s satisfying in a way that lasts beyond a good roll in the hay. Just ask any cool woman, and any cool guy who’s emotionally intelligent. You can take it to the bank, amigo. 

What can be done?

I suggest that guys loosen their ties, exhale, and try drinking deeply from the relationship well. When it’s the right one, it tastes good. And if it’s not right, everyone can move on. Ultimately women don’t want to waste their time with a guy who does not make them feel special, important, or in some definition of a relationship. Yes, the hookups and one-nighters can ignite hot sex and some drama, but women are both intuitive and practical when it comes to relationships. They are not going to give it up for too long without repercussions. Maybe that does not answer that question about why we’re here, but it does let guys know that at some point they need to step up. 

Does your guy embrace being in a relationship? 

The 5 Traits Women Look For in a Man

Robert Manni - Wednesday, May 30, 2012

  image courtesy of

Have you ever wondered what the most important characteristics that women seek in guys are? After another fruitless night combing the bars, clubs, and hot spots for a mate, a lot of guys skulk home with a belly full of Budweiser and not much else to show for it. I’ve been there…many times. But being a circumspect and blossoming Guy’s Guy, at a certain point I asked myself what was the key to connecting…I mean really connecting with women. Of course the most important step was step one. That meant admitting to myself that I had a lot to learn. Excellent. Then it was on to step two researching with women. I’m an ad guy and we always check in on a regular basis with our target consumers to find out what they are thinking. In this area not much changes. There truly are some basic character traits…beyond a Swiss Bank account and a body like Brad Pitt that women desire in a man. Here is your Guys’ Guys’ Guide to Traits Women Want in a Man. You may agree or maybe not. Ask a woman though before you call bullshit. 

1. Confidence- This is numero uno, amigos. Ladies gravitate to dudes who exude a quiet, but smoldering brand of self-assurance. Not the kind that says, “Look at me. I have ripped abs.” Nope. It’s a smoother, underlying energy that projects from the inside out. It says, without saying, “I know who I am and I am comfortable in my own skin. I’m looking for a partner who has her feet planted on the ground and dreams that reach the heavens.  Interested in finding out more?” That usually works if it is based on true knowing, not posturing. And knowing comes from men who have been tested. 

2. Attitude- This is confidence’s wingman. If a guy has confidence, he usually has the right attitude. That means a propensity to seeing the glass half full. Easier said than done sometimes. Even if he loses his job, a Guy’s Guy sees it as an opportunity to open new doors that are better suited for his journey. Sounds like bullshit? It’s not.  Women like guys who see the big picture, especially when life throws them a major curveball. Women find comfort knowing that their guy is not going to fall apart when the going gets tough and make fear-based decisions. 

 3. Sense of Humor- A lot of women find Bill Murray attractive. Although he may not be your prototypical Hollywood star, he exudes his own brand of confidence and attitude and he’s hilarious. He is one powerful guy. I recently watched him on Anthony Bourdain’s travel show and he is the only person that I have seen that left Bourdain somewhat tongue-tied. That’s quite an accomplishment. And, of course he was in “Stripes” and “Caddyshack” and “Groundhog Day” and SNL. He is certifiably funny as hell and chicks dig his act. 

4. Kindness- It’s kindness, not weakness. In fact, kindness is a true sign of strength, particularly when it emanates from a guy.  It’s easy to be a dick. There are lots of people who do stupid things and arguably could benefit from a boot in the butt, but that’s not what we are here for, amigos. Kindness means transcending judgment. That’s really challenging in a culture driven by reality and competition shows that are based on judging. And in an insidiously exploitive society, people are crying out to be heard. The cure for judgment is kindness. If a dude is mindful about choosing a path of forgiveness and caring, women will pick up on it. And that is a very good thing for everyone. Being kind is a series of conscious decisions made on a daily basis. If guys pay attention to their choices in how they handle people and situations and choose the path of kindness it will pay off in many wonderful ways, including attracting the ladies. This is a fringe benefit of being kind.   

5. The intangibles- I once dated a woman who was turned on by Daniel Day-Lewis’s long fingers.  I could not compete with that. I have meaty fists that scream I have worked with a jackhammer as well as the keyboard of my computer. These are strong, solid hands, but no matter. Needless to say, this is one of those intangibles that guys have to factor in when dealing with women. There are certain quirks and likes that seem random, because they are. And women have the right to follow their hearts when it comes to this stuff. I do not have an anecdote for handling the intangibles, but I assure you that they will spring up when you least expect it.  Do guys think Hugh Grant is cute? Hell, no, but women do. That’s how they roll, fellas, so I suggest deploying the aforementioned other four traits when the intangibles rear their head. Just shake it off. It’s only Hugh Grant. 

Do you have a handle on the five traits that women seek in a man? 

What Ever Happened To Men?

Robert Manni - Wednesday, May 23, 2012

image courtesy of
A helluva lot, and nothing. It’s a matter of perspective and each man defining himself as the times change seemingly faster by the hour. 

I was part of the team that came up with the ad campaign for 1800 tequila that asked, “what ever happened to tequila?” Now, two years and one advertising agency later, the campaign revolves around the phrase, “what ever happened to?’. There is one execution focused on men and according to the brand, how soft they’ve become. It’s a timely and multifaceted issue. With so much focus placed on women and their overdue recognition, maybe it’s time that we devote a Guy’s Guy column to exploring how we perceive modern man

Is James Bond a reflection of the social position of men? 

In some ways, you could make that argument. Back in the late eighties Timothy Dalton played a new, more sensitive James Bond. He reflected a softening of the macho side of men. But, after few years he was replaced by a more action oriented Pierce Brosnan. This guy was born to play Bond. Handsome as a devil, suave, smooth, and British.  Bond was now back to where he needed to be.  But was he? In many ways, Brosnan worked for the female moviegoers, but Brosnan did not necessarily connect for men or for Ian Fleming, the writer who created this famous character. More recently a feral Daniel Craig took the reigns as Bond and the franchise was reborn. Yeah, this guy is not so damn pretty and he kicks ass. The point is, our society places men under the microscope, and every time we try to soften them up so they’re more user friendly, those underlying animal qualities are missed and we insist that the inner male again be unleashed.

But what about right now?

In 2012 we are at a crossroads in redefining and reinterpreting men. On one hand we have MMA, misogynistic music, big booty worship, and buzz cuts galore. On the flip side we have metrosexuals, bromances, mantyhose, mangagement rings, he-waxes, guylons, broisery, mandals, and he-tards. What’s going on? It’s all good, but that’s how all over the place we are about men and their changing roles

What can we do?

It helps knowing that women care about guys. But it is up to the individual male to determine his identity. That means being open, but not blindly yielding to outside pressure about how to feel, act, or express himself as a man. Guys can start addressing the craziness by looking inside. It’s the first step in understanding yourself and defining the outside. Just because we live in a crazy, confused world, it is not acceptable for men to “hate” each other or women. It’s about coexistence, not competition. 

It’s not easy, but this is a perfect time for men to step forward and lead by example. Leading is not standing in front of women. It’s standing beside them and respecting all genders, races, and religions. 

As your resident Guy’s Guy, I think that this is a wonderful time for men to be…men. And it’s important that women understand the current assault on masculinity and help their guys behave like men. Women need to be patient, understanding, yet clear in their expectations of the men in their life. 

Are you giving your man the opportunity to be the man you want him to be? 

The Facts Men Need To Face

Robert Manni - Wednesday, May 09, 2012


If there was a war between the sexes, it’s over. 

But, I don’t think in those terms. This Guy’s Guy believes that men and women were dropped into this crazy world to love one another. Yes, I know that things can get sticky between the sexes and we’re not on the same page and don’t always play fair with each other, but it’s important to keep that original intention in mind if we want a chance to savor our one short romp around the track.

Bottom line, if it was a contest, in our lifetime women have won, and won big. 

But there is a long way to go before we reach true equality. Men still control the majority of big business (surprisingly less than 10% of CEO’S of the largest 5,000 corporations in the world are women). And according to The Business Insider, Japan is the only global power with a majority of entrepreneurs being female. So there is more work to be done, ladies. Regardless, this is the most important time in herstory for women. Women are not only ascending, they are finally being recognized. Here are some facts that men need to face if we have not yet realized these simple truths. 

1- Women will keep moving forward. Whether it is pursuing their education, financial equality in the workplace, rights to manage their bodies, and their changing roles in relationships women have fought too hard to slow down or take even the slightest step backwards. If men continue to fall behind in all of these areas, that’s show biz. Guys, it’s time to wake up and get it together. According to David Houle, a futurist, with undergraduate percentages of women to men now a respective 60% versus 40%, the future will be a time of even greater change and a tipping of the scales towards women taking charge. Young females are also outperforming the males in standardized testing. Reasons listed include the male absorption of computer games, recruitment to the military, drug use, gangs and more. Of course not all young men fall into this pattern, but the facts are in and young women are kicking butt. 

2- Women don’t want to become men. That’s just not the idea. Women are doing their thing to help themselves and why the heck shouldn’t they. They just want a fair shake and be recognized for what they bring to the table. If I were female I’d be damned if I was going to rely on a man to take care of me. Women have the opportunity and the resources and support to continue to grow and evolve, and they should. In fact, they’ve evolved past the time when they felt they needed to act and behave like men in the workplace to get ahead. Now, they just think like a guy when they need to while not compromising their own femininity, and that’s great news for guys. 

3- Women don’t want men to become women. At the same time, they are not looking to switch places with guys. Go ahead, Brosephine, and pick out a pair of mantyhose if that’s what makes you feel good, but the ladies are not looking to compete with you for best legs in the relationship. The mandals, hewaxing, botox, and too much time in the gym and downing “supplements” are fine if you want to emulate a buffed up Carrot Top, but the women I know say, “No thanks, amigo”. Just be a guy and be supportive of her while doing your thing. And keep growing. That’s all women want from guys now and how bad is that? 

4- Don’t hate. Some bro-bloggers and relationship pundits think that although women are making strides, guys don’t have to evolve even one little bit. Their rationale is that women don’t have any other place to go if they seek a relationship. Although there is a smidgen of truth to this rationale, it basically states that even if men are behaving like jerks, what other options do you have, ladies? That’s hating and it’s low vibration. Does this attitude make the world a better place? 

5- It can be done. I saw this on a little sign perched on a former boss’s desk a long time ago, and although he turned out to be of questionable character, the message resonated. Yes, we live in a crazy topsy-turvy world where everything has become a crapshoot. But, hey, it’s a lot more fun if we face the future as men and women together supporting each other and remaining open-minded about the possibilities. 
Some ask why. 

Your Guy’s Guy asks, “Why not?” Are the guys you know supportive of the continued strides and advances of women?  

A Guys' Guy's Look At Girls' Girls

Robert Manni - Wednesday, May 02, 2012


                     Image courtesy of       

Just What Is A "Girls' Girl"?

Last week Team GGG2Love nudged your Guy’s Guy following Chelsea Handler’s latest rant about Jennifer Aniston being a “Girl’s Girl” while Angelina Jolie is “the opposite”. I’ll leave out some of her descriptors of the soon to be Ms. Pitt.  Let’s just say that it’s the thought that counts. But it poses an interesting question. If there are Guys’ Guys, why can’t there be Girls’ Girls? Dagnabbit, Team GGG2Love is right again! But I’m no girl and I would not overstep my boundaries at describing what a Girl’s Girl is for women. But, I will do it from the perspective of a Guy’s Guy. Sounds confusing? It’s not. Here’s a snapshot of what Guys’ Guys want in a Girl’s Girl. You can sort it out from there. 

1-    A Girl’s Girl has her own life- She loves being with her man and supports him as he follows his dreams, but she’s no accessory. A Girl’s Girl has her own friends, her own dreams, and her own stuff. She shares it all, but she has earned her independence and it makes her all the more desirable. 
2-    A Girl’s Girl is a friend that you can trust- In the same way dudes can sniff out a phony in their crew; women have an even keener sense of who isn’t trustworthy among their lady-friends. But a Girl’s Girl earns the trust of guys. You can confide in her, knowing that she will keep a secret, even if it is about her friends. If she says she will keep it to herself, she does. Period. Hey, what can I say? I’m an optimist. 
3-    A Girl’s Girl treats your friends respectfully- Most guys have at least one sketchy friend that their girlfriends don’t care for. There are ways of dealing with this, but most of the women I have dated were pretty deft at gracefully elbowing the crazy friend to the side. A Girl’s Girl does not go public with her disapproval. She quietly steers her man away from the “bad” influence. She never confronts the dude in question either. She manages the situation with élan, but she gets the job done.
 4-    A Girl’s Girl doesn’t get roaring drunk and flirt with your buds- We’ve all seen this act before from men and women. A little too much booze and the chains of repression shake loose. Then, it’s on. The result can be cute or mayhem depending on how she handles good old Jim Bean and Jose Cuervo. Bottom line, a Girl’s Girl knows how to manage her booze and her libido…as much as can be expected. 
5-    A Girl’s Girl has cool girlfriends- They say you can judge a person by the company they keep, so it’s only expected that a Girl’s Girl has a nice set of… friends. Maybe they’re hot, maybe not. It doesn’t matter. As long as they are Girls’ Girls, you can have fun hanging with them. And they’ll expect your friends to behave like Guys’ Guys

Guess what? There’s really no difference between a Girl’s Girl and a Guy’s Guy. 

I can handle that. Can you?

The Guy To Avoid - Part One

Robert Manni - Wednesday, April 25, 2012

    Image Courtesy of
Now for something a little different: I’d like to introduce Rod, the quintessential Guy’s Guy who bats for the ladies by dishing out the truth about men. Rod is the pseudonym of Max Hallyday, the protagonist in my novel. In the book, Rod teaches women how to win by penning a column exposing the deepest and darkest dating secrets of men called, you guessed it, The Guys' Guy's Guide To Love. I would like to share the first one with you here.

The Guy to Avoid - Part One 

Last time we met I made a few promises. But you know about men and promises. In future columns, I'll give you behind-the-scenes looks into the lives of men in this city and the ways they get you into bed. But before I begin, you need to be honest with yourself. You're part of the problem. If you weren't so intent on having everything your way, right now, you'd be able to protect your heart from a guy who's made a science out of the art of seduction. 

There are lots of good guys out there, but how exciting is that? We've all heard that nice guys come in last. But part of their cellar dwelling is because of you. It's understandable. People respond to clever advertising and slick packaging. And as smart and intuitive as you are, there's always that one guy who convinces you to break your rules. I'm not referring to "The One." No, I mean that OTHER one - "the guy to avoid." He's the game changer. The guy who cracked your pin code and hijacked your password. Deep down you know that he was wrong for you, but you let him in anyway.

Maybe you met at a friend's party, or business function, or in the parallel universe known as online dating. It doesn't matter. He sold you a bill of goods, sweet-talked you out of your panties, and was gone. Don't be embarrassed. It happens all the time.

Guys know him, too. We all have a friend like that. He's good-looking, quick-witted, athletic, and fun to be around. The social connector. And even if he seems to work half as hard as we do, he gets twice as much in return. 

We know that when we're in his company we've joined an exclusive fraternity that gets us near the prettiest girls and into the hottest clubs.  He's a cool guy, and although this isn't a man-crush, there are benefits to being his friend. That is, until we leave him alone with our girlfriends. Then we find out the hard way, too.

When you met him, it was the same. His eyes sparkled and his stories made you laugh. He seemed sensitive. He traveled, had a good job, dressed well, and lived in a great apartment that was clean and filled with really cool stuff. Your first date was short and fun. A second glass of Sancerre at a bustling lounge and then a quick bite to eat because you were having such a great time and he didn't want you to leave. At the end of the night, he leaned over and stole a kiss after hailing you a cab. 

On the second date, he takes you to that hot new fusion place in MePa where the staff smiles at you approvingly and whisks you to a prime table. He takes charge of everything, picks a wonderful bottle of wine, and again keeps you laughing throughout dinner. There's no waiting in line at the club and the champagne makes you feel sexy, so you cut loose and grind on him a little on the dance floor. This is how a date should go. And then you give into his soft lips and deep soulful kisses in the back of the cab. But what flips your switch is the way he looks into your eyes and tells you how different he feels and how comfortable he is around you. So you go back to his place, and when it feels right, he leads you into his room. You slip off your dress and you ravage one another all night. The next morning, after making love a second time, he cooks you breakfast. You're thinking that this is different and he might be "The One." Then, an hour later, you're sitting in a cab wearing the same clothes you wore the previous night, already wanting to call him. A day goes by and you wait, and then wait some more, but he doesn't call. So you phone him and your call goes directly to voice mail. This can't be happening, not to you. So you call again. No response. Later, your self-esteem reaches a new new low while you type that e-mail - the one where your emotions get so tangled up that you're not sure what you can say without sounding like a pathetic fool. But he never replies, and finally the reality hits you in the gut. You've been had. 

I'm sorry. Did that upset you? I'm sure it did, because I know how much you give and how much "The Guy to Avoid" takes. But you're too smart and work way too hard to let yourself be used that way ever again. And please try not to take it out on the next guy. Hang in there with me and I'll break this down further when we get together again. And that's a promise. Maybe nice guys aren't so bad after all. 

Until next time,

How Long Is Too Long To Wait For A Man?

Robert Manni - Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Image Courtesy of HBO

How long is too long to wait for a man? 

Women have an uncanny instinct for knowing when they meet the right guy. Or do they? Unfortunately, in too many cases the men delay all efforts to move the relationship ahead. So the women are resigned to waiting for their guy to figure out who they are and when they are ready. The process can take years. It’s so prevalent that the new movie, “The Five Year Engagement” tackles the issue.

 Make no mistake about it; the male delay game is insidious. It’s unfair to women and a cop-out for men. And yes, I was guilty. I participated in a long-term live-in relationship with a terrific partner that ultimately went kaput. I take full responsibility and learned a great lesson when it was over. However, we both paid a price, and if I have one regret, it’s that we could have fished or cut bait a lot sooner. 

 Why do men stall? 

It’s not that they want to waste your time and their time. They’re usually afraid of making the wrong decision or missing out on all the hot women that they are probably not dating anyway. It’s that simple. But, the universe has a great sense of humor and it dishes out ironic lessons if we pay attention. In my case, by the time I was ready to take the next step and get married, my partner had had enough of my shenanigans and for her, it was over. And once a woman checks out emotionally, it’s O-V-E-R. Most guys don’t realize that until the door slams in their face.  My final instructions were not to be at home when the moving van pulled up.  I looked into the mirror and admitted that although I messed up, I learned my lesson. And, I did. From that moment on I developed a deeper appreciation of a woman’s patience and a greater sense of urgency for finding and securing the right partner. The good news is that it all worked out. My ex was married within a year and after a few laps around the online dating pond and a handful of wonderful, yet brief relationships, the right woman found me. And, after I swam into her net, we were engaged exactly one year later and married one year from then. And, I’ve never been happier. 

I accepted my mishandling of someone’s heart and was blessed and given another chance.  Unfortunately, not every couple experiences life the same way. Too many great women are left waiting and too many men spend their time waffling instead of taking action. 

 What can men and women do? 

Acknowledging that every situation is different and life often gets in the way, it is critical that couples discuss what they want in clear terms along with their thoughts about timing. That does not mean during the first date. Wait until you are in an exclusive relationship. At that point, once you lay your cards on the table, there are no surprises. A lot of women I’ve spoken with expect a man to know what’s on their mind. Sorry ladies. We don’t. 

 Most men are problem solvers. If something is wrong, men will express their feelings clearly.  So, if they don’t hear their partner stating her concerns about the relationship (I don’t mean leaving the seat up) in direct terms, men think everything’s cool. They are not going to pay attention until you are packing your bags.  When men are being men and women are being women, this is what happens. So we have to go take that extra step to find out how our partner feels about the relationship. Guys will do their best to avoid this, but if you sit them down and let them know that this is very important to you, they will pay attention. If they don’t, why are you bothering with this guy? 

So if you’re a woman who feels that she is with the right guy, but he seems content to keep you waiting indefinitely, you need to have a heart-to-heart with him right now. And if he waffles a bit too much, then ask yourself if the relationship is toast and if you would ultimately be better off moving on. 

 What are YOU doing to move your relationship forward?

Why Do Relationships Between Men and Women Get Complicated?

Robert Manni - Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Image Courtesy of Glamour Magazine

On the surface, it looks like men and women are finally getting on the same page. But are they? 

Things happen quickly these days, especially the evolving roles of the sexes. But, unfortunately there are two major hurdles that keep getting in the way of men and women being simpatico. Today’s women are more educated, and as a result they are ascending in the professional world. Liz Munday’s book, “The Richer Sex”, states over forty percent of working women out earn their partners. That’s progress. But how are they doing when it comes to interpersonal relationships? Money changes a lot, but there are some areas in the relationships between the sexes that have not shifted as rapidly as the changes the workplace. 

Ever wonder why it’s so difficult for men and women to sustain friendships?

In many instances men show a lack of an ability to maintain simple friendships with women. There’s a reason for that. Actually there are two reasons two gigantic, overarching reasons. Drum roll, please. Men are driven by their egos and sex. These two go hand in hand like Lennon and McCartney, Abbott and Costello, and Andrew Zimmerman and a platter of fried bull testicles. 

We know about men’s egos and inner-horn doggie, but how about women?

Ladies, men’s ego and sex are not just a big deal.  They are the deal for guys, and in many cases they become deal breakers to building healthy relationships with women.  It’s very different for the women I spoke with. Women have a wonderful ability to compartmentalize the men in their lives. Whether it’s the mentor at work, their financial advisor, personal doctor, gay friends, Zumba instructor, or the cute guy in the wine-tasting class, it’s not all about sex.  Women can simply carry on an engaging dialogue and friendship with men without having it lead into the bedroom. Sure, maybe she may have wondered about that dude in the wine class a few times, but for the most part, women can holster their sexuality when interacting with the opposite sex. This is wonderful.

What about the guys? Haven’t they evolved also? 

There’s a big difference with how men have handled the recognition of women. Until recently I wrote about the ascent of women, but the difference is that they are finally being recognized. They have been here doing their thing as long as men have. The difference is that they are finally being accepted. On the other hand, many men have had to be dragged kicking and screaming to accept the resulting ascent in women throughout culture. And unfortunately, too many dudes give lip service and not much else to women. And that’s wrong. Many men are like porpoises. They have no shut off switch in their brain so they keep consuming. Ego and the id control their lives. Maybe these sound like fighting words from your Guy’s Guy, but it’s true. Most men cannot look at a woman without sizing her up sexually. And regardless of a “friendship” in the making, the male ego continues prodding him to view women sexually. In many ways, it’s not about the sex. It’s about consumption. The male ego works to prevent him from turning off the sexual switch. This is not about love or romance. It’s about sex. But, sex is only the result of the behavior. Ego is the driver. I want what I want when I want it. And this really gets in the way of men and women forging bonds as people. Even if you’ve been friends with a guy for some time, most ladies instantly feel it when the guy’s ego unsheathes that sexual vibe that he has done such a good job of keeping burbling in his consciousness. Sure, nowadays most guys have learned probably from a woman how to maintain female friends. That’s great. We need more of that. 

What to do. 

Identifying the issue is easier than solving the problem. Of course women play a major role in managing these platonic relationship, but ultimately the solution has to come from the guys. Males need to be educated at an early age to treat girls and then women as equals and always with respect. That’s a great place to start any friendship. 

Is it possible for a man and woman to maintain a platonic relationship?

Why The Rolling Stones Matter To Guys' Guys

Robert Manni - Wednesday, April 04, 2012

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Guys’ Guys need good music and for the past fifty years, the Stones have spun a wicked soundtrack. Like them or not, you have to admit the Stones have withstood time. Despite the arrival of disco, rap, hip hop, electronica, house, world, and competitors as talented as Nirvana, Guns and Roses, and Led Zeppelin, only the Stones have kept it together and rolled for five decades. And while in six short years the Beatles songs lifted us to ethereal heights that will never be matched, the Stones grounded us in the real world. No yellow submarines or Bungalow Bills here. The Stones wrote classic rock songs about the challenges we face every day, and that’s why they matter - especially to Guys’ Guys.  In this rapidly changing world and a music industry that breeds acts as disposable as a soiled pair of Depends, the Stones have time and gravitas on their side.   But can they still roll or are their steel wheels too creaky?   Their golden anniversary tour has been pushed back a bit because “they are not ready” and with no new music for the past seven years, this seems strange. But, the last standing vestiges of the classic rock era get a well-deserved pass. As quick as you can say “Start Me Up”, Mick will once again move like Jagger. Okay, you have probably figured out that I really like the Rolling Stones. The main reason is that in a strange way, their music helped me develop from angry young man to my hopefully mellower current persona. Here are a few songs that were guideposts for my evolution as a Guy’s Guy.

1- Brown Sugar - Every few months, my mom would drive to the retail district of Hackensack, NJ to shop. There was a record store near the Fox movie theater that carried the latest records. I was in school so I’d write her a list. I’d give mom the money and she’d buy me one or two albums. On one particular trip she returned wielding copies of, The Monkees, “Headquarters” and the Stones epic “Sticky Fingers” albums. Needless to say she frowned when she handed over the Stones album with Andy Warhol’s black and white photo of a guy’s bulging package and the silver zipper on the cover. Hilarious. The moment I heard the song’s opening riff of Brown Sugar that sounded like the gears of a high-octane V-8 engine kicking in, everything changed. I was alive. Since my family lived only minutes from my school, I listened to that song and album every day for the next year when I’d stop home at lunchtime and have a sandwich and a dish of Jell-O with my Mom. I applaud her for never complaining as she was subjected to songs like  “Bitch” and “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking?” as we ate. It was a great time in my life-bonding with mom while listening to the Stones. Although I was now bursting with testosterone, I realized that my mom was also my friend. Cool.

2- Shattered - “Some Girls” was all about New York City. It was raw and insidious in its charm.  The final song, “Shattered” featured lyrics like, “Love and hope and sex and dreams and still surviving on the street” and “Rats on the West Side, bed bugs uptown”. It painted the Manhattan of that time with a brazenly accurate brush. I was still living in Jersey in those days, but I’d drive across the bridge to visit my friends in the city. We partied like wild boys until five in the morning and crash wherever. I remember walking up after an all-nighter on the closet floor of a woman’s apartment with my body entwined with one of her girlfriends.  Those were fun, innocent times and compared to today’s hard-edged nightlife. I found my drug and it was New York City.

3- Start Me Up - Probably one of the most overplayed radio songs of all time, but infectious just the same. Who could shy away from Keith’s opening riff and Mick’s declaration that the girl he sang about could make a dead man come? That’s some woman. I heard the song for the first time while partying in the back of a car cruising up Wilshire in LA while with a buddy from college and his friends. It was the eighties now and things were changing. I was too. At the time, it was all about heading west and discovering America.

4- Anybody Seen My Baby? - The underrated “Bridges to Babylon” album featured a single with Mick sing-speaking his lament about a great girl that had disappeared into thin air. At the time, like my character Max Hallyday, the protagonist in my novel, THE GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO LOVE, I had just left a job I really loved for the promise of money and power. I got some of that, but I also got a wake up call about what really matters in life and it really stuck in my brain. I learned that you could never go back.

5- A Bigger Bang - When the Stones last release came out a few years ago, everything in my life had been blown up in some way. I was completely on my own. It was a very free feeling so I decided that I’d take a risk and write a kick-ass novel that would make people feel good. The CD sounded like the Stones were playing in my living room and the songs were relatively light versus their former harder edge. The digital download provided a great soundtrack for my long runs in Central Park and at the shore and the more circumspect songs helped me work out the novel’s plot twists and turns as I loped along. The music was transformative and the collection of songs provided an ongoing narrative and tone for my protagonist, Max Hallyday.

For most of us music plays a part in modern life. The Rolling Stones have grown up with me and for that I will always be grateful. While they pull themselves together for their final tour, I’m working on my next book and waiting on my lifelong musical friends.

So which songs have inspired you? Maybe it's time to listen to them again.

5 Mistakes Men Always Make

Robert Manni - Wednesday, March 28, 2012

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Why is it so damn easy for men to screw up? We’ve got it all these days. Smart, talented, beautiful women who actually chase us, more video games, sporting events, and action-packed movies than you’ll ever watch, and every morsel of information about anything at your fingertips. Then why do men have a habit of messing up a good thing? It’s easy, and here are a few of the usual suspects—some are fun, some are dumb.

1 - Wearing the wrong hats at the wrong time.

What? Yeah, that’s right. Hats. You’ve got a stack of them and more on the way. But, although they make you feel pretty cool while keeping the sun off your noggin, there’s plenty of room to screw up with a hat, especially if you want to score points with the ladies. First, don’t ever wear those animal-themed hats with the long dangling ear thingies. I’ve asked around, but no seems to know what this head wear is called besides embarrassing. Really, have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror wearing one of those furry long-eared hats? Do you really think looking like a reindeer is going to work with the ladies? Same goes for wearing the old pulled-down baseball hat with the name of your college or university when indoors and especially on a date in a restaurant. This screams that you never really graduated. Save it pounding brews with your buddies.

2 - Being rude to the retail or wait staff.  

True- no one really wants to wait on other people and some people really suck at it, but let it go. If you react with anything more than a roll of your eyes or a laugh when the waiter brings you the pea soup with ham bits in it, after you told him you were vegetarian, your date will not like it. Women appear to have more empathy for these mistakes, and especially when they happen to you, so beware. If you raise your voice and dress down the waiter, negative points, my friend. Negative points.

3 - Keeping your iPhone on the table during that first date.

Okay, you’re a busy man. She gets it and likes that about you. But the first meeting is all about focus and paying attention…to her. Put the phone away, partner. If you must, you can text your buds when she goes to the little girls room. Make her feel like she is your top priority and you can’t lose.

4 - Be late. Be boring.

Being late is common in NYC. I have been on both sides of the equation.  For me, fifteen minutes is the maximum elasticity on time without shooting a text or a quick call for friends and business acquaintances. If it’s your first date, be early and if you are running even five minutes late, let her know. If you are a couple, treat her like it’s your first date and you can never go wrong. It’s called courtesy. Same goes for planning a date. I like to eat, so my default date was always a nice meal. Most women secretly or not so secretly love to chow down. There are a million places to eat in New York and everyone loves exploring an exotic out of the way bistro or someplace hot or tried and true. That said, there is something to be said for seeing a new exhibit at MOMA or a cello concert at Lincoln Center or hitting golf balls at Chelsea Piers or snagging seats behind first base for a Yankees game, or…oh you know what I mean. Do your best and use you imagination and you will be rewarded.

5 - Be a jealous guy.

Maybe it worked for Lennon, but too many men get all paranoid and bent out of shape when they realize that their lady friends have other friends that are guys. Maybe there’s some dude at her office that closes sales like Mariano Rivera or the sinewy guy who teaches her power yoga class or…the point is, there are other men in her life. But she wants to be with you. You are Numero Uno. Remember that the next time she gives you a private showing of her new Agent Provocateur baby doll ensemble. Jealousy has been engrained in culture since the beginning of time, but can you think of a time where it did any good? It’s a sign of insecurity and a waste of time.   Ready to kick those easy-to-make man mistakes to the curb? 

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