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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

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?

5 Simple Questions To Find Out If He's 'The One'

Robert Manni - Wednesday, February 15, 2012

 photo courtesy of


Guest Post from Chick Lit Cafe 

Dating can be like business. You get it. I learned this sitting across the table from a cadre of new dates and being grilled like a king salmon. The endless questions from their “list” were fired in succession to determine if I had potential to become “The One”. In business we call this “qualifying” a sale. In a marketplace where time is money, it’s mission critical to quickly get to the heart of prospects and potential issues.

Like Max Hallyday, the main character in my debut novel, THE GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO LOVE, I will function as your representative “guy’s guy” to help ferret out the truth about men. Here are my questions designed to get you the 411 on a new guy. I call this, my “unlist”.

THE UNLIST - OR FIVE SIMPLE QUESTIONS THAT GET YOU A CLEAR SENSE OF A MAN. (Note, I’m not suggesting that you prosecute the poor guy the moment he sits down. He’s not automatically on trial for stealing goodies and breaking hearts. Take things slow and easy, and listen carefully to his answers, or lack of answers, which will both reveal his DNA):

1 - What does he want to do? This is code for finding out if he’s a man with a plan. Women tend to poke around this area, but usually ask the same qualifiers like if he is working and where. I can still hear the wheels inside their heads calculating my bank potential although it did not necessarily reveal that much about my character. A job may tell you what a man does, and in most cases, if he is not fully employed the evening wraps up fairly quickly. But I suggest that the focus be on determining if the man has a dream. Men with dreams tend to make things happen. Unfortunately, many ladies that I met for the first time only seemed interested in dreams that had come true, not the journey itself. That’s too bad because in this guys’ guy’s opinion, it’s the journey more than the arrival that can reveal a man’s character. Bottom line, if he has a stated goal, check plus. If he doesn’t know, hmmm…you’ll have to poke around a bit more to see if he has any ambition. And if he doesn’t, you may want to move on unless he smiles like Clooney and has a Swiss bank account and a house in Mustique.

2 - So, what’s his plan? Dreams make a great start, but in this conscious world, you need a plan for grabbing that prize. When I decided I wanted to - make that - had to write novels, I kept my day job and gave myself ten years to hone my craft and get published. Fortunately, I’m right on schedule, but this was a real test of my character and it would have been easy to fold and place the manuscript in the drawer. But that’s who I am.  But many women I met while I struggled to land a literary agent checked their phones and said goodnight once they found out where I was in the process of making my dream come true. That’s okay because that also let me know who they were. And I did have a plan and I was not only willing to discuss it, I looked forward to it because it was my passion.  Yay, me.

3 - What’s his timing? With time our most valuable commodity, it is critical to set guideposts for reaching milestones on the journey forward. I know writers who have been working on their manuscripts for fifteen years. They may be on to something special, but as the pages pile up, the days of our lives are crossed off of the calendar. I am a grinder and grinders set goals and find the time to grind. If you write five pages a day, you can complete a three hundred-page draft in two months. Not easy, but with discipline writers learn to become prolific. The point is that you probably want a man who is realistic about getting things done. That way he has lots of time for you.

4 - What have been his greatest challenges and victories? This will give you a real sense of character and what’s important to him. If he has not been tested, that may be a red flag. He may be soft. Or he may be filthy rich. And his greatest victories may tell you what makes him tick. Was winning the fifty-yard dash in third grade really that important or was it the time he rescued the puppy from the burning home or raised all of that money for charity when he competed in a triathlon? You get the idea.

5 - Ask him what’s next? This will let you know if he is for real. We live in the now so you need to make sure he’s engaged in his life and not meandering or waiting to find out if the Giants make the playoffs before he decides his next move. You probably want a guy who is fun, but determined. He’s called a guy’s guy and there’s one out there just for you if you know how to qualify your prospect.

Are you prepared to ask the right questions that will get you the man you want?

What's The Holiday That's All About Love But Everyone Hates?

Robert Manni - Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Image courtesy of James Logan Courier

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

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

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

So how do we get through this annual ordeal?

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

Is He A Lover Or A Hater?

Robert Manni - Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Image courtesy of Recycled Star Dust

The notion that women are ascending while men are in deep doo-doo has reached a feverish pitch during this highly combustible year. The world economy is broken and we have to admit, no one, and I mean no one, has a solution.  So things look bad. But when things look bad, people in the panic room can be a lot more open to change or anything that will get them out of the pickle they’re in. And so this has been a great time to put the spotlight on the ascension of women. It’s well deserved, long overdue, and it is the right time. So why are so many men not embracing a change that can be very, very good for everyone?

The stats don't lie, do they?

I just finished reading two articles. One was about women entrepreneurs and the other was about the plight of young men. The gals were deemed by a study to be more intuitively systems- oriented in their thinking, better at collaboration, more steadfast when dealing with challenges, and more geared to finding solutions versus seeking credit for them. The article about men focused on how young guys had so many choices that they are confused, and how they have no heroes or role models, and how they have become the butt of jokes in advertising (although this is nothing new as women are gatekeepers for much of the purchasing for products sold on television).

Two very different pictures.

The result has been a backlash by many men against society and against women. Misogyny is on the rise. You can see it with all of the mind-numbing violence in film, dispassionate sex, and mean-spirited references or in extreme cases, sexual violence towards women by young men. This is unacceptable. Although by no means representative of all men, these trends are no less disturbing. 

Many young guys are frustrated and those feelings are understandable. Young men are entering a messy situation and a harsher and very different world than the cultural landscape that Beaver and Wally Cleaver faced fifty years ago. The problem is that many young men are taking it out on women. Wrong! 

Is there anything that can stop these two trends?

This writer believes that when you are surrounded by confusion, frustration, and stagnation that it is a perfect time for action. Let others hug the tree while the storm blows. I say, if you have the resources, facilities, and will then you go for it. I decided that the time was right to launch my debut novel during the most dysfunctional period the publishing industry has ever experienced. Like our economic model, their structure is teetering and on the verge of implosion. I say, a perfect time for a fresh new, positive story. While others dig their heads deeper into the sand, Team GGG2Love is creating waves in the marketplace and the book is making a real connection with readers. With a negative-focused media, there is an unquenchable thirst for positivity. We are here to enjoy life. It’s in our makeup. That’s why we were blessed with the capacity to laugh.

So what should guys do?

Guys need to look into the mirror and see their potential and all of the great things about men. We are strong, resilient, and highly intelligent.  We still hold the reigns of power in the world and have a responsibility to step up and fill those shoes, lead by example, and create positive impact in society.  Hey, it’s a great time to be a guy.  We excel at fantasy football, we have more beers crafted than at any time in history, and we can score dates with hot women online while sitting at home in our tightie-whities. Not a bad start. And we have all of these wonderfully talented women looking hopefully toward us and just wanting us to just show up and play the damn game. Guys, we don’t have to do everything. Just do the right thing and women will appreciate us for who we are as people, as individuals, and as men.

It's time for a new beginning. It's time to be a guy's guy.

Robert Manni Stuck On A Desert Island

Robert Manni - Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Image courtesy of Kiwinz

Guest post from Novel Escapes

Novel Escapes wants to discover more about you and what better way than to see how you’d cope being stranded on a desert island. We’ve come up with the following questions surrounding just such an adventure and look forward to reading your responses!

1. If you could only have one book with you, what would it be? That depends on how much time I’d be spending on the island. This is not ‘what is your favorite book’? This is about what book you’d choose to hunker down with. So, I’d probably want something meaty to chew on like Atlas Shrugged or maybe a book about escape and breaking boundaries like, Journey to Ixtlan by Carlos Castaneda. If I knew I’d be away for a year or so, I’d go for a big, whopping religious text like the Old and New Testaments to really see what the fuss is about, or The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche, which I’ve already read, but is worth a second look.

2. What one luxury item would you want to be stranded with? Hmm, luxury, eh? Maybe a bottle of the finest aged, dark rum from the Caribbean.

3. What is the one practical item you would want to have with you to use? Well, moist wipes would make the short list, but antibiotics would come in handy as would something to make fire or a sharp knife. Or a pen and a pad.

4. Would you enjoy the solitude, even briefly, or would it drive you crazy? Yes, and yes. That said, it takes two to be alone. In this case, I’d have nature, the sea, and the fish and birds to connect with so I really would not be alone.

5. If you could be stranded with one other person, who would you want it to be? My first thought was my wife, but when I asked her she told me that under the same circumstances that she would not want to put me through the hardship of being stranded and taken out of my life. So, plan B includes the opportunity to have a good long talk with Jesus or Moses or Siddhartha Gautama. However, a native islander (preferably female and gorgeous and wild) could help me build shelter and find food, etc.

6. What modern technology would you miss the most? Ice would come in handy, but who can live without the clapper or a snuggie?

7. What food or beverage would you miss the most? Does it have to be non-alcoholic? Maybe organic peanut butter. I crave it.

8. How many days do you think you would cope without rescue? Whatever it takes. I’m a survivor and this is the ultimate challenge besides riding the C train in August.

9. What is the first thing you would do when rescued? Watch an episode of ‘Gilligan’s Island’ from Manhattan, my favorite island.

10. What would be your first Tweet or Facebook update upon your return? “Only in a crowd can you feel so alone”, which is from the song, Before They Make Me Run, by the Rolling Stones.

How To Jumpstart Your Dating Life In 2012

Robert Manni - Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Photo courtesy of Bob Jagendorf 

With the New Year upon us, it is easy to kick back over the holidays and muse about all the things that sucked in 2011. Don’t do that. A new beginning follows the year-end and it is up to you to take charge of the results. And the best time to get started is by having a plan, so here are some Guy’s Guy resolutions for sparking up your dating life and igniting a new year for love.

1-Leave The Past Where It Belongs…In The Past- It’s easy to get all mopey if your love life did not shine as brightly as you wanted during this crazy past year. There was so much toxic news spewed out by the media- an endless financial crisis, corrupt politicians, a man dying after his penis is injected with silicon cement, and another season of those dreadful housewife shows. What to do? Start by breathing and letting go of good old 2011. You made it through the haze, kiddo, so give yourself a pat on the back and remind yourself of all of the good things you accomplished like not saying anything when that big, smelly guy squeezed into the middle seat next to you on the C train last August and would not stop moaning and slurping as he stared at that toe cleavage in your Jimmy Choos the entire ride to 96th Street or when….oh, you know what I mean.  It doesn’t matter because that was last year and it’s over. Let the damn thing go.

2-Live In The Now- There is a new year ahead and with it comes the possibility of great beginnings and change. After all, it really only takes one connection between two people to forge the bond that makes a great couple. Decide what you want in your partner and why. Then ask yourself if you are being realistic and fair to your potential partners. Don’t ask for the moon if all you have to offer is green cheese.

3-Chuck The List- That’s right. Take that mental checklist- you know the one that starts with his being a six foot three investment banker with smoldering eyes and twenty million in an offshore account just waiting to be spent on you. Yeah, that one. Toss it before it imprisons you. When you’re open, life brings surprises. When you get too controlling, you usually get frown lines and crows feet, and thems for birds, not for chicks like you. If you got everything you wanted whenever you wanted it, either your name is Beyonce or you’re an heiress. For the rest of us, and no one is suggesting that you sell yourself short, but if you are encumbered by too many rules, you’ll probably suffocate your sparkling energy, which is what attracts potential suitors. Now, does that make sense? 

4- Smile- Nothing generates a better reaction that a smile or laughter. When you lose your sense of humor, things can get dreary pretty quickly. Don’t be concerned if every date doesn’t turn out perfectly. Move on, keep your head up and smile. There are a lot more where he came from. Believe me. 

5- Get Out- Unless you want to lose your social skills by spending your weekends uploading your baby pictures on FB, get up, get out, and get into something new. Action creates more action and it’s all connected. Decide what turns you on, and then take a class, run around the park, shoot photos, learn a language, or just have lunch with an old friend. Staying at home with your sweet lovable Fluffy will not bring you closer to meeting The One. He’s probably out doing something, and he’s probably looking for someone just like you.

Okay, I know a lot of this is easier said than done, but you can do it. Remember, no one has a better future than you.

Are you ready for a New Year or are you going to drop the ball after New Years Eve?

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