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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

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

Image courtesy of

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

Image courtesy of

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? 

When It Comes To Dating, When Does Losing Something Help You Win?

Robert Manni - Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Image courtesy of The Modern Hermit

For centuries everyone agreed that the world was flat. That is until Ferdinand Magellan (a guy’s guy for sure) sailed his historic lap around the globe. That was a major V-8 moment for a lot of folks. Ferdy expanded his horizons and drew a new map of the world. And it only happened because he lost the list that told him that the earth was flat.  Women and men also need to consider losing their mating spec lists if they want that sense of discovery and delight that exploration provides.

Is losing the list that difficult and why can’t I keep it?

We live in a society of entitlement, a place where everyone wants what he or she wants when they want it. Do we really need all of those flavors of rice pudding? Probably not, but it’s comforting to know that they have a green tea flavor. However, when it comes to finding a mate, so many women (and men) that I have spoken to lock themselves in to rigid criteria for finding a potential partner. And, I get it…to a point. If you are a statuesque lady you probably feel more comfortable with taller guys. Some even believe there is a subconscious breeding barometer that women have about the height of their man. When I scrunch down to go eye-to-eye with my wife, who stands five feet one, and ask her if she would love me if I were her height, she cringes. I think we all have a friend or three who only make themselves available to a select group of potential suitors. Yes, I agree that parameters exist for money, race, religion, occupation, and education. But hair color, boob size, finger length (yes, I’ve heard this one), and having to live within three subway stops without changing trains? That’s when I begin to question if the list is crafted to find the mate of your dreams or ensure that you don’t.  Sure, time is money, but people get real picky when it comes to dating.  I have found that in my successful relationships the only consistency in my partners was that they were all attractive (to me), intelligent, and kind-hearted. Yes, we connected on a sexual level, but who enters a relationship really knowing how that is going to work out, unless you are paying for it?

So, what’s the point?

Lose the list and find your love. That’s it. And if you can’t lose your list, at least re-examine and downsize it. There’s something special about the magic of love, especially when there is a sense of discovery and openness. The heart wants what it wants, but sometimes what we think we want may not be the best thing for us. Consider Big Macs, hot wings, light beer, and nachos. I can go on, but if you limit yourself to a tightly constructed list of superficial characteristics for your mates, you’re going to spend more time alone while your dating competitors are whipping your butt in the game of love because they tossed the list and tweaked the rules in their favor.

Is your list working against your efforts to find true love?

Try losing the list and see what you might discover.

Guest post from The Matchmaker Blog

Interview with Robert Manni (Part Two) – by Matthew (The Bibliofreak)

Robert Manni - Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It’s hard to place The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love in a particular genre – how do you describe it to people?

Great question. At first agents told me that since I was a guy, I should write a thriller. No, thanks. Then it was, why don’t you write the book with a female protagonist? No, thanks. Then they told me, the title sounds like the book is a non-fiction guide to getting laid. Why don’t you change the name to Shark Tank or something like that? No, thanks.

Maybe this book will help guys connect with women better. I don’t know, but I write what I’m passionate about and the story is universal. Most readers can relate to Max, Roger, or Cassidy, so I don’t see why the book must be squeezed into a specific genre beyond general fiction. Once you start chasing the market, you’ll end up writing about a stripper-turned vampire detective. If you write what’s hot - like young adult or Harry Potter - they’ve already seen it. If you write something new, they don’t know where to slot your work. The market keeps evolving, but good stories about human nature with conflicts and choices characters face never go out of style.

Do you have any plans to write further novels set in the world of advertising, or even to revisit the characters in The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love?

Definitely. I have a fresh concept for the sequel in the works. I can’t wait to jump into it head first. I’m not done with the world of advertising yet, either. There are other issues and subjects I plan to tackle, though I’m just getting warmed up.

How long did it take you to write The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love?

The initial draft took about six months. The editing of this novel took over two years to get right.

Describe your life during the writing process.

I wrote GGG2Love during a period of career and personal transition. From working in a high-powered executive position, I went free - lance. I was single for the first time in many years and I was also introduced to energy work. Everything was open - ended. I did not know where the process would lead, but I had faith. This period of time tested me.

I learned that writing is psychically draining and cathartic and exhilarating all at the same time. I ran many, many miles and used that time to mentally sort out and sculpt a muscular plot for the book. I was spending a lot of time at my beach house. I was so deep into the writing process that on some days I would begin my work in the early morning. Then after what seemed like only a few hours later I’d find myself looking out at the ocean noticing that the sun was going down. It was a special time for me.

And when you’re not writing?

I’m president of a boutique ad agency in Manhattan so that keeps me hopping. I also read, write, play and rest. Of course, I spent a lot of time dating or chasing women in an effort to find the right partner.Thankfully, I finally swam into her net. It was a gentle capture. I was ready.

What first inspired you to start writing?

Once I realized that I would not be playing centerfield for the New York Yankees, at a young age writing became my primary passion…that is until I discovered girls. Although I spent my childhood playing outdoors, I read constantly - early mornings, evenings, and quiet afternoons sitting on the front steps.

I wrote a short memoir about our school baseball team when I was sixteen. My teacher, Cosmo Ferraro, read passages from my short book to his students and they loved hearing about their classmates. And that was it. I was all in - hook, line and sinker.

I majored in English Literature, but like my father I was interested in business and world travel. After graduation I worked my way into a marketing position at a corporation and took classes for my MBA. During this time I travelled extensively for business - across the U.S. and globally during a time when the world didn’t feel so connected by technology. I recall how alienated I felt having dinner in a colleague’s backyard in a suburb in Kuala Lumpur when three weeks prior I had never uttered the name of this wonderful city. I think that all the travelling I did early on provided a strong foundation to better understand the human condition with all of its ticks.

What do you hope readers will get from The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love?

I hope they have fun and are reminded that by giving give people a chance, you open yourself up to surprises. Or not. It keeps life interesting, and of course I hope they become aware of Reiki, too.

Which authors, if any, do you compare yourself to, or aspire to emulate?

I admire so many authors -  Mailer, Hesse, Camus, Carlos Castaneda, Hemingway, William Hjortsberg, Dan Wakefield, John Fante, Lawrence Block, Sogyal Rinpoche, even Harold Robbins, but I don’t attempt to emulate them. It’s challenging enough for a writer to find his own voice.

The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love is your first novel; did you attempt any other full length works or short stories before you started writing it?

I wrote a “practice” novel like many other writers and shopped it around a bit to learn the ropes of the marketplace and how the business worked.

How successful were they / What did you learn?

The entire process was an education so I consider it a major success. Thich Nhat Hanh wrote about the wonderful experience of writing a book about one’s life and he was right. I had a powerful emotional release after completing that project. It taught me about possibilities. It also reminded me that story is paramount and my life was not necessarily as interesting to others as it is to me.

What aspects of writing do you find most challenging?

An editor who read both my first project and GGG2Love told me that I had a unique voice that the publishing industry might try to change. He urged me to stay true to my personal style.

I find the publishing industry challenging. The agents and publishers are inundated with material that is not ready for prime time. So some agents begin their process from a negative perspective. Reading takes time and time is money, so you can’t really blame them or take their feedback personally. Your writing needs to follow the rules, yet stand out. It’s tricky.

What advice would you give to people wanting to write?

Writing is not a matter of wanting. That takes no effort. To succeed at it, it must be something you have to do almost a compulsion or an addiction of sorts. Otherwise, it’s too easy to give up. A writer must be driven, passionate, and relentless like a sled dog mushing his way through a blizzard. Onward!

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m now blogging regularly at while prepping the sequel to The Guys’ Guy’s Guide To Love. I like the spontaneity of posting things that I’m experiencing, noticing, and feeling while hopefully adding value to the readers’ passions about life, love and their pursuit of happiness.

What are your long-term writing ambitions?

Do you mean beyond selling enough books to buy my own Caribbean island and building an amazing writing hideaway? There has been already interest in the TV treatment and film rights so we’ll see where this takes us.

What sort of books do you enjoy / Favourite authors or titles?

My all-time favorite book is Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. I read it every few years or so. The message remains constant, but the story touches my heart in a different way every time.

Are there any new writers you’ve read recently who you are particularly excited about?

I’m not sure if they are considered new, but I really enjoyed Rex Pickett’s Sideways and I think Michael Lewis is brilliant. I also loved Keith Richards’ autobiography.

What, if anything, would you change about writing and publication of The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love?

Like most writers, every time I go back and read the book I see things that I’d like to play with. But I’ve made the tweaks after the first short run, so the story is set and I have to let it go.

Favourite word, and why?

Om. It is the last word in Siddhartha and it means everything.

Interview with Robert Manni (Part One) – by Matthew (The Bibliofreak)

Robert Manni - Wednesday, March 07, 2012

You’ve worked in advertising for the past two decades, what inspired you to turn your hand to literature and write The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love?

About ten years ago I was walking across Sixth Avenue when something inside told me that it was time to get serious about my passion for writing. I read every book that I could get my hands on about writing or subjects that interested me and began writing in earnest.

Before writing this book I noticed a growing chasm between men and women, particularly the ascent of women and the lack of support and thoughtful response from men. That old macho routine was no longer working and it seemed like it was time for a new type of contemporary male to evolve. I call him a “guy’s guy”-the guy who is a bit more casual and generally understanding, but still a man in every sense of the word. Along with these thoughts I was also also fuelled by the irony of this division between the sexes; this despite all the technology that keeps us connected. I hoped these ideas could turn into a story that connected emotionally with readers.

I gave myself ten years to make all of this happen and here we are.

With all that experience it’s inevitable that people will wonder, were any of the characters based on real people you’ve encountered?  

When building the cast for GGG2Love I used archetypes. Who hasn’t met a smooth Lothario like Roger Fox or an entitled rich girl like Layla or a type-A Veronica? As choices define characters, in GGG2Love the challenge for the guys, particularly Max, is how they manage their “inner Roger”. Since I used archetypes to build characters, they are not specifically based on real people.

And did you identify with any of the characters yourself?

I found myself relating to all the characters, including the females. They all faced personal challenges and decisions that defined their true character and possibilities for success, failure, and redemption. Max is the universal everyman and hero, Roger, the contemporary sexual male, and Alejandro is the more spiritual modern man - the moral compass of the story.

In the novel you switch between a range of narrative perspectives, did you find it hard to write from the female characters’ point of view - what helped you gain an insight into the female psyche?

I recall reading Michael Crichton’s “Travels” a long time ago. It is a fascinating memoir about his days as a med student. He stressed the equality and similarity of men and women behaviourally. It really hit a nerve with me. Beyond the nuances, I found it much easier to know women when I treated them the same as I treated my best guy friends, instead of as mysterious, unpredictable creatures, although I admit that at times they may seem that way.

I did my best to imagine how I would behave if I were experiencing what one of the female characters was going through. Then I ran things by my female friends to check the emotional content and the latest fashion trends. I feel comfortable because nothing rang false to the women who’ve read the book.

Manhattan, its inhabitants and their lifestyles are central to the book. What is it that excites you so much about the big city?

After travelling for business for about ten years I realized that America is a concept, a grand idea. New York is like that also. It is a special place with powerful creative energy and it is always changing. The city draws talent from around the globe like moths to a flame. From the guy spinning pizza dough to the cab drivers and people you work with, there is a sense of pride and urgency that permeates Manhattan. You can smell clean fresh fish at the Chelsea Marketplace or the stench of the subway on a summer’s day- all within five minutes of each other. The restaurants, bars, and patrons constantly change, as do the neighbourhoods and the people living in them. The array of food is amazing and it’s true, the city never sleeps. Underneath it all, there is a sense of romance that acts like an undertow to even the most mundane activity. You can find new love at the laundry, gym, bookstore or a cooking class. What’s not to like?

The novel presents an interesting discussion about masculinity and modern man. How do you see the role of men and masculinity in today’s society?

Men need to pay attention and face facts. This is the time for women to ascend and I believe that this is a great thing for everyone, including men. But it’s all in how we view a situation. Instead of putting more pressure on men, women are actually taking on more responsibilities and allowing our male roles to evolve. That’s a good thing for men who see this in a positive light. And if they take their frustrations  out on women, they will be in deep trouble because women are not going to take a step back. Why should they? The ball is in men’s court.

Few of the characters are irredeemably bad or manipulative, do you think this is representative of business in Manhattan generally?

Sure, there are plenty of bad apples in the big city, but my goal was to show the eternal hopefulness that is baked into humanity. Even history’s most despicable dictators believed that they were doing the right thing, so my focus was on the character’s intention and the possibility of good that resides in everyone. I believe in the now, and no one has convinced me yet that people cannot evolve. Of course many fail, but that does not preclude the inherent ability to change for the good. It can happen.

Spirituality, in one form or another, plays a large role in the book (reiki, etc.). These things must be important to you?

This is the question I was hoping for. Although The Guys’ Guy’s Guide To Love is fast, frothy, and fun, ultimately it is about being self-reflective and doing the right thing. 

I’ve been drawn to “spirituality” since early childhood and have no idea why, but once I fell into my studies of Reiki and hypnosis, my energy shifted and my perspective evolved. Everything seems closer and connected now. If this book introduces Reiki to readers then I have achieved something special. I would not have had the energy to overcome the innumerable obstacles I faced while writing this book without my energy work. It is a gift I want to share and I charged this book to do exactly that.

There is a real sense that your characters get what they deserve by the end of the novel, was this internal morality something that was important to you from the outset?

I prefer accentuating the positive and providing possibilities for redemption. Either with characters or with people, I believe in giving everyone a chance, knowing too well that many will fail to live up to my expectations or their own standards. In this novel, as in all stories, the outcome is predicated by the choices the characters make. I left that for them to decide…for now.

Did you have a particular audience in mind when writing the book?

I thought the story would connect with women, men, and readers interested in the world of advertising, New York stories and spirituality.  Lately I’ve been getting a lot of emails from men telling me that they have finally read a story about the sexes that resonates. This inspires me to believe that what sets GGG2Love apart from other male versions of “Sex and the City” is that our guys don’t behave like women.

Is It Time For The Guys’ Guys In Hollywood?

Robert Manni - Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Since the launch of my debut novel, The Guys’ Guy’s Guide To Love, this past fall, there have been many questions from the press and reader about the notion of a “Guy’s Guy”. The plot revolves around one Max Hallyday, ad man and regular guy’s guy. His ex flame pushes him until he agrees to pen a column about the wily ways that modern men, and in particular his lady-killing best frenemy, Roger Fox, approach the opposite sex.  It’s a fast-paced fun story…okay, I’ll stop selling now. The issue is, what exactly is a guy’s guy and has Hollywood kept pace with how modern men are evolving?

Just what is a Guy’s Guy?

Simply put, a Guy’s Guy is a more casual, contemporary version of a “man’s man”. You know those old school icons of strength, determination, and integrity like Kirk Douglas, John Wayne, Steve McQueen, Sean Connery, Charles Bronson, and the list goes on. These guys would all kick your ass unapologetically. A Guy’s Guy is less macho, more thoughtful, open and inclusive, and someone who would rather make you laugh than go to the mat with you. He accepts and appreciates the ascent of women in today’s society and sees that as an incredible opportunity to enhance his life and connect with the lovely felines purring and prowling the big city. A Guy’s Guy sees this as a ticket to his own personal Candy land. And he’s not looking to compete with women. He is a lover more than a fighter, although he will step up when necessary.  All said, he is the type of dude that both men and women connect with and want to spend their time with.

Has hollywood embraced the Guys’ Guys?

Yes, and no. The industry will always embrace those commercially reliable, fresh-faced pretty boy crooners like…do I really have to mention J.B.? That is called commerce and the cycle will live on. But each decade seems to redefine the heroes of celluloid, so let’s have some fun and place a few of today’s stars in the GG column. Hey, maybe a few of them will read this and want to play Roger Fox in the film for GGG2Love?

So which hollywood hunks make the cut as Guys’ Guys?

The no-brainers are Ryan Gosling (rocked like a Roger Fox in Crazy Stupid Love), Bradley Cooper (looks good, acts real, can be dirty), Matthew McConaughey(he’s done this over and over), Vince Vaughn, Luke and Owen Wilson, Denzel Washington, Jeff Bridges (old school charm), Mark Wahlberg (Entourage is his baby), Isaiah Mustafa (the Old Spice guy), Matt Damon, John Hamm, Sam Worthington, George Clooney (smooth and affable), Chris Pine (up and coming), Jeremy Renner, Channing Tatum (he’s so straight), Will Smith, Jamie Fox, Gerald Butler, Daniel Craig (smolders as Bond and in Layer Cake). There are more, lots more. One thing they need to have is the possibility of a sense of humor versus being too “actor-y”.

The “maybes”, and these might be a stretch- Ryan Reynolds, Orlando Bloom, Justin Timberlake, Usher, Adrian Grenier, and all those guys in the Twilight movies. These guys are just so damn pretty, but I state that respectfully. Also on the bubble is the entire Judd Apatow troupe of funny men like Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd and Jason Segal. They are all hilarious and they keep evolving. I could see them all on a romp in GGG2Love.

Hollywood hunks get ready. We will soon be casting our own roger fox. ashton, leo…do you have what it takes?

Guest Post from Chicklit Club

Want To Finish First? Be A Nice Guy. Be A Guy’s Guy. But First...

Robert Manni - Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Photo courtesy of

Guest Post from Straight Up Love

I recently launched my debut novel, The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love. Here’s the story: Max Hallyday, the main character, is asked by, Cassidy Goodson, his ex-girlfriend who is launching a new girl power magazine, to pen a column that provides a “regular” guy’s perspective on life, love, and the pursuit of happiness. Max repeatedly declines Cassidy’s offer, telling her that women only want to “know” the truth that they want to believe about guys. Ultimately, a series of incidents change Max’s perspective and he agrees to write a column dubbed as (drum roll, please), The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love. And, guess what, I’ve decided to give my series of blog posts for Kayla the same moniker.

So what is a guys’ guy?

A Guy’s Guy is a contemporary version of a man’s man, but better. He’s a bit more casual, he applauds the ascent of women and sees how this benefits everyone, including men, and he’s less macho than his predecessors. He knows that today’s world is screwed up, but he’s not angry and he doesn’t take out his frustrations on others, especially women. And, he’s a nice guy that plays the game and still knows how to win. A guy’s guy is likeable and he connects with the ladies on an intrinsic level. He’s an optimist that sees today’s dating landscape as an adult version of Candy Land.

I thought nice guys finished last. how can he finish first?

Easy. Despite what you may have heard or read about women digging “bad boys”, in the long run most women prefer traits like stability, being a gentleman, and kindness over trying to be the hard and cool dude. That’s for music videos, and although playing the badass can be fun, how many hot women do you know who are locked into a relationship with a prick, unless he has a major trust fund and a body like Brad Pitt in Fight Club? Women take care of a lot for themselves these days and they don’t need men for all that much, which is actually a good thing. So they demand and deserve nice. That means they want men to pay attention and show kindness to seniors, animals, little kids, and the service staff at places they frequent.

For perspective, women are not turned on by boring dudes, but being a nice guy does not have to mean boring. I met Keith Richards at the theater one time - a rare moment where it was just he and I waiting for a drink just before the act ended. He gave me the once over when I said hello, but then he smiled that happy pirate face and chortled a throaty laugh as he put his hand out to shake mine. Nice guy. And why not? He’s still a rebel, but he was cool. And that’s the point. Nice is a trait that never goes out of style and today’s women expect and deserve it. And being a nice is part of being a guy’s guy. If you’re a guy and you want to connect with women, be yourself at all times, but transcend being an angry young man and be a nice guy. Better yet, be a guy’s guy.

So is your man a guy’s guy?

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What People Are Saying

"THE GUYS' GUY'S GUIDE TO LOVE is the man's successor to Sex And The City
~ Dan Wakefield, author of Going All The Way
"GREAT book, fun read, very 'real'"
~ Janis Spindel, founder of Janis Spindel Serious Matchmaking, Inc.
"Prepare to man up and hunker down for this exuberant guided tour of the male sexual psyche."
~ Ian Kerner, NY Times best-selling author of She Comes First
"A contemporary look at "Mad Men". Very compelling, almost addictive. Manni knows too much about women."
~Judy Wald, "the master manipulator and undisputed leader in the ad placement scene for forty years," according to New York Magazine
"Manni astutely captures the mindset of guys when it comes to dating and relationships. A well-written parable of lust, greed, and ego."
~Brad Berkowitz, author of The 21st Century Guide To Bachelorhood
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