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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

Four Things about NYC I Could Do Without

Robert Manni - Friday, April 15, 2016


With the risk of dating myself, the year I moved into the city Madonna’s “Borderline” was a hit on MTV. Although I grew up in northern New Jersey and have traveled the world, over the past few decades your Guy’s Guy has become an authentic bona fide New Yorker. I’m not talking about the Hillary Clinton kind of New Yorker who comes from Illinois and needs five swipes of her borrowed Metro card to make her way through the turnstile. I’m talking about a night crawling, tar beach sun tanning, pizza eating, Yankees loving, roach killing, after midnight subway riding, “You lookin’ at me?” kind of urban warrior who has survived and thrived in the world’s greatest city for the past thirty years. Yeah, I’m that kind of New Yorker, amigo. And if you’ve read my blog you know that I adore this crazy-ass town. So, having been there and done that while putting up with the noise, trash, corruption, rats, blackouts, economic downturns, and even the 80’s, I claim my right to criticize my fair city when criticism is due.  You can call me a crank or the guy who shouts, “Get off of my lawn”, but I’ve earned my due, so at least listen up.

With all that in mind, I give you my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Things That Can Suck about New York. Drum roll, please…

1. Weekend subway service- Are you kidding me? Who wants to spend an extra hour or two milling around the 14th station waiting for a severely overcrowded A train on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon? Weekend train service in New York is a chaotic mash up of delays, re-routed trains, and more delays. And as everyone knows, unless the station has Wi-Fi, hanging out on the platform watching rats scamper back and forth makes for anything but a winning weekend afternoon. The fares keep going up and the service keeps going down. These are the same complaints New Yorker’s had when I first moved in to the city all those years ago. Enough already. And, I’m not even getting into the filthy, often broken elevators that usually smell of urine. MTA, get your act together. More trains, cleaner trains, cleaner stations, clearer announcements…

2. Manhattan keeps losing its character- Although I love the other boroughs and get the whole Brooklyn thing; I’ve always lived in Manhattan. When you come from New Jersey, the city always meant Manhattan with all of its different neighborhoods and quirks. And the one constant about Manhattan is that it keeps changing. Unfortunately, over time Manhattan has grown bigger, taller, more structured and sanitized. It’s never boring, but I preferred the times when independent shops and cool neighborhoods had a chance to thrive. Not anymore. Now in every hood there might be a Chucky Cheese, Baby Gap, and definitely a bank or drug chain store on every corner. That is boring. Nowadays you have to look hard and dig deep to still find that gritty NYC character in Manhattan. I live in Harlem, which still yields an old school vibe, although the coffee shops and bearded hipsters have finally discovered my neighborhood. Oh well, at least the value of my apartment has skyrocketed. Maybe I’ll move to the South Bronx next. Maybe not.

3. Rising cost of living – Although New York has the best variety of restaurants in the entire world, unless I am on an expense account I don’t go out as before to eat and drink. I don’t believe in paying twenty bucks (tax and tip included) for a good tasting cocktail or $300 to eat a GMO meal for two at a decent restaurant with loud music. And you know that the louder the music is, the worse the food. And rent prices in Manhattan are beyond ridiculous. A cup of coffee and a designer doughnut runs you ten bucks. A take out lunch is about $12. A haircut? Forgetaboutit! I bought a Wahl trimmer and it works just fine, thank you.

4. Noise and bright lights – I often hear jackhammers pounding on Sunday nights at midnight. Really. There seems to be no laws, or at least laws that are enforced about noise in this city. I live in a residential neighborhood, but the ultra hip coffee house around the corner stays open until 4am and features live music or dee jays seven nights a week. Before calling 311 to lodge a complaint, I asked the owner if she could turn the music down a bit after midnight. Her response was classic New York, in a bad way. She suggested that the next time I thought the music was too loud I should let her know so she could come up to my apartment, go into my bedroom and listen for herself. At which point she would tell me that the music wasn’t loud.

My other peeve is bright lights and such on the walls of residential neighborhoods. People seem to think you can project anything anywhere in this city. Last year a new chicken joint owned by a famous television chef opened on my corner. Seeing that the building across the street, which faced my apartment, was blank, they began showing a thirty-foot high video loop featuring a mash up of urban culture mixed with footage of chicken breasts basting in a pan or proudly strutting around every night, all night. I complained through 311and also deployed social media posts until thankfully, the videos were pulled. But no blank space can be left alone. The same building has been refurbished and the wall in question now has super-bright LED light strips shining directly towards my home. Just because people and business owners can’t leave any open space alone. 

Although I enjoyed getting that out of my system, I did not even take on traffic, parking, Times Square, Port Authority, over flowing trashcans, dog shit and bikes on the sidewalk, etc.  If I keep going I may end up moving back to Jersey. Nope, I think I’ll take a deep breath and get back to extolling the virtues of my favorite city. Peace.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is Mike Bloomberg, who over 12 years made a real difference in amenities and the overall quality of life in the city, even at the expense of some of the local character that we all miss in Manhattan. Of well, in New York, you can’t have everything. 

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Working at Home

Robert Manni - Friday, April 08, 2016


If you don’t have to get up at 7am to schlep to an office in the bitter cold, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of lounging around your flat all day in your pajamas.

But that’s not how championships are won or how you pay the rent. When you’re working from home, especially after spending years toiling in a traditional corporate environment, things can get dicey quickly. There is an additional skill set you’ll need to deploy to make a go of it. It’s called discipline and time management. And, you’ll need to do so without the resources you had while working in a large team at an office.

Let’s face it, even in the most stringent corporate office environments, you can take solace knowing you can become invisible every so often without forgoing your paycheck. That changes when you're working freelance from your home office.  When you're on your own, time really is money in or out of your pocket, so you need to be sharp. Yes, many jobs are becoming virtual due to our being tethered to technology, but when you’re working virtually at a real company you still show your face every so often, and with that comes the usual office politics and gamesmanship. Plus, you still collect a paycheck.

When you are flying solo, maybe in a creative endeavor like writing, art, or music, you need to master the fine points for being your own boss and motivator pronto, and it ain’t always easy. That calls for some insights from your Guy’s Guy. After all, he’s been slugging it out from home for a few years now and he knows a thing or two about managing time and making the most of a day while working from the home HQ. With that I offer you my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Working From Home. Hopefully, you’ll pick up a few nuggets that will help you on your way to more productive days and the fame and fortune that awaits you from your solo pursuit of success.

Drum roll please…

1. Set routines – Okay, this may sound boring, but managing your time while working from home is mission critical to success when going it alone. It’s far to easy to sleep late, get distracted by Facebook, memes, and all the media that’s hurled our way every second of the day. I’ve found it extremely helpful to set my iPhone and mental alarm clock every morning. I'm usually awake before the alarm goes off, so I use the time to for a short meditation based on being thankful for my health, family, abundance, and joy. I do this every day and it gets me off on the right foot. I get up and swish coconut oil around my mouth for twenty minutes before drinking a big old glass of water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed in. While swishing I feed my cat and help my toddler get ready for school. By 8:30 I’m usually on my own and ready to work hard for the next six hours. On most days, I crank out 70 push-ups, work out for an hour, or go for a run. The physical activity ignites my mind, body, and spirit for the rest of the day. The discipline of a routine is good for the mind and necessary when you have a dream, time on your hands, and working from home on your own. Once I sit down to work, I listen to digital tracks created to help my focus, creativity, and IQ enrichment. In fact, I’m listening to one right now. Then I work, work, work until mid-afternoon. I might take a short break for lunch. I use that time to check my email, etc. between mouthfuls of nutritious food.

Have I been tempted to loaf around in my shorts, watch sports, porn, movies, or scour Twitter, Facebook and the like? Sure, but that's a quick path to a downward spiral. Maybe you’re more adept than me at juggling your time and getting things done. That’s good. For most, a routine can be our friend when making the transition to working from home. Without the usual office distractions and office meeting nonsense, you can get a lot done in six or seven hours.

2. Get out of the house - Although getting the written work done is extremely important, it’s also critical to get outside and maintain your relationships and connection to society. During the long winters in the northeast, I’ve found it easy to stay inside for days at a time. Not good. Sure, I get a lot done, but I find myself becoming insulated at my workstation in my man cave. When I do this, I find that whatever I’m working on or what is on my mind becomes all-consuming. I also have a tendency to take things too seriously so I get too intense and eager. That’s why I go for a run, talk a walk, or hop on the subway and meet up with my friends or former colleagues for lunch or a beverage. Frankly, it reminds me about my professional cred and reputation, and that people I respect are pulling for me to break through. And, that’s exactly what is happening.

3. Don’t neglect yourself – As mentioned, part of my routines focus on nourishing my mind, body, and spirit to enhance my productivity and chances for success. So, I eat organic food, hydrate throughout the day, work out regularly, and even forgo alcohol and recreational drugs when I'm inspired to do so. Over time, I find myself less in need of booze, pot and whatever else used to turn me on. This may sound like a boring lifestyle, but it’s anything but tedious. My mind is fresh with new ideas and I have the psychic energy to grind out projects in one sitting. It’s all good and I know I can enjoy a glass of wine or tequila if that’s what I want after my work is done.

4. Shun media – Although I come from the media business and have made a good living from it, I also know how easy it is to fall prey to staring at the television, social media, or simply binge-watching sports, movies or cable series like Billions or Ray Donovan. It’s easy to get sucked in, but there is a way around being pulled into it. The key is not turning on the television until all of your work has been completed for the day. At first it’s challenging, but it soon becomes a non-issue when you realize how much you can actually accomplish during the day if you're not goofing off.

Did I enjoy being part of a functioning team, having the tangible accomplishments you get when working in an office, and bonding with lots of other people? Yes, but I also have a dream, and sometimes dreams require you going it alone.

So, I hope you’ve gleaned some insights that will give you a good start to making the most of your time if you decide to work from home. If you find that flying solo is not your cup of tea, I hope you find your way back to the rat race. But remember, they call it that for a reason.

This weeks’ GUY’S GUY of the Week are all the people who took a chance and went for it, whether they worked from their studio apartment, mother’s basement, or even out of their car. Success to you, amigos.

To Drink or Not to Drink...

Robert Manni - Friday, April 01, 2016

When you’re not drinking have you ever noticed the people around you who’ve had too much to drink? Pretty sloppy, huh? At times like these I wonder why I drink. So I stopped, for a while at least.

By doing so, I learned a lot about how drinking impacts our behavior, fitness, and overall health. I spent over two decades in the marketing and advertising industries working on many the world’s most popular spirits brands. I’ve also been known to enjoy a cocktail or two or even three on occasion. But, I’ve also easily pushed alcohol aside for months at a time.

With that in mind, I’m sharing my Guys’ Guy’s perspective on the art of drinking, its benefits, and consequences. I’ll do my very best to avoid judgments or preaching. Let me begin by stating that fortunately, I’ve never had a problem with alcohol. Although I enjoy the taste of aged dark rum, a fine sipping tequila, a buttery Chardonnay, or a complex Pinot Noir, I’ve never physically or mentally needed a drink. I can hold my liquor, and only on rare occasions have I been inebriated. And, if I do drink too much, I go home and fall asleep. I’m not a mean, violent, or even a funny drunk. But, that’s me. Everyone experiences booze differently.

In today’s culture, and particularly when working hard, alcohol becomes a go-to outlet for letting off steam, venting, and bonding. So the phrase, “let’s meet for a drink” is de rigueur. We do it all the time. It’s become who we are. So, how does that work when we’re not drinking alcohol? A few nights ago I was out with friends. I had given up drinking for the past month matched my buddies beer rounds with club soda. When you are in a bar, this becomes tedious quickly, especially when your squad is matching you with rounds of ice-cold IPA’s.

I put my blinders on and focus on the conversation, but I can’t help but notice when someone in my group or standing close by has had a few too many cocktails. They get loud and bolder than usual, and many times they start repeating things. The other night, I was on the receiving end of a lecture complete with Tony Robbins quotes from a close friend who showed up after meeting his colleagues for a few hours of drinks. He’s a great friend, but he already had one or two too many by the time he arrived. And for some reason I became the object of his attention. He shared pearls like, “I’m an assassin. I’m a killer. I close deals. There is no long term, only today. What is your six-month plan?” Some of what he said was correct…mostly for him, but he meant well. That said, whenever I attempted to get a word in edgewise, he raised his voice and talked over me. I’ve been there before so it was nothing more than a mild annoyance. And although his intention was to be helpful, the alcohol obscured his message. Sometimes that’s what happens when the beers gets ahead of us.

Let’s take a quick look at drinking from three perspectives: as a marketer, as a drinker, and as someone abstemious.

Working in the booze business – The spirits business is comprised of a mixed bag of marketers, salespeople, and entrepreneurial thinkers. It’s a fun, social business where a lot of time is spent observing the market at the on-premise establishments. And, unlike the packaged goods, financial services, or pharma sectors, liquor is a category where you can seed a great idea, create an image, and in short order witness a brand taking off. I worked in the vodka category in the 90’s during the flavor explosion. It was exhilarating. Ten years later the magic was gone. Where do you go after vodka tastes like breakfast cereal, candy bars or cupcakes?   Fortunately, there are many types of spirits and tastes change every decade. Nowadays, although vodka still accounts for $.35 out of every dollar spent on spirits, it’s no longer the hot spot. Millenials want their own drinks, and there has been a migration to brown goods (bourbon, whiskey, and rye). Beer has also blossomed into a multilayered category. Back in the day you either drank Bud or Miller. Now every state, county and metropolis produces beer and most of them are better than the mass-produced brands. It’s happening with spirits also. It’s fascinating how the spirits industry continues changing as each generation shifts their tastes to reflect their values versus what their older siblings and parents drank.

Drinking as a team sport- Who doesn’t like to meet up with their mates after hours to throw back a few cold ones and watch the game? It’s part of our culture, and in most cases people are pretty cool and know how to pace themselves. But not everyone handles themselves well after a drinking for a few hours.

There has been a proliferation of binge drinking, especially by gen-Xers and millenials over the past two decades. Shots, followed by drinks, beers, and more shots is standard fair that comes with a downside. People get drunk quickly. Then they act stupid. Also, drinking has been an expensive habit, especially when frequenting bars, clubs, and restaurants on a regular basis.

And there is more bad news. Today’s cocktail culture is built around sweet mixed drinks laden with sugar. These tasty sugary concoctions make us crave salty bar bites like wings, nuts, pizzas, and assorted cheesy bar snacks. If you go to bars a lot you need to be mindful. It’s easy to gain weight, seed Type 2 diabetes, and spend a lot of money. Plus, if you get pulled over when driving with a buzz, it’s usually a disaster.

Not drinking- As mentioned, I’ve stopped drinking for months at a time on numerous occasions. For me, the challenge is breaking the habit, so after a few days I forget all about my post-work cocktail or wine with dinner. It’s not that big of a deal. The good news is I always lose a few pounds, sleep better, and have more energy in the morning. I spring out of bed and get right into my day. As a result I am usually more productive. Additionally, alcohol is a depressant, so if I’m experiencing personal or career challenges or taking things too seriously, giving booze a rest is beneficial to my mood and attitude and health. I usually stay positive, I’m consuming less sugar and empty calories, and I lose weight around my midsection as long as I don’t replace the liquor with other sweets like chocolate and ice cream. I’m not suggesting that this is for everyone, but it works for me. And I think that one of these breaks will become a lifestyle. We’ll see. How about you? Think you can stop drinking for a month? Try it if you can and keep track of what changes take place. Then decide what you get out alcohol and if you need it in your life. Maybe. Maybe not. No judgments. It’s up to you.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Robert Downey Jr. who after years of substance abuse went clean in 2003 and became one of the most bankable movie stars in the world. Nice work, Iron Man.


The Guys' Guy's Guide to When the Going Gets Tough...

Robert Manni - Thursday, March 24, 2016


Shit happens. What defines a person and a Guy’s Guy is how they handle things that don’t go right. We’ve all had hard times. Maybe you did not get that job or promotion, or maybe you just lost your job. Maybe your savings are dwindling while your prospects aren’t growing. Take comfort, amigos. Your Guy’s Guy has been there and done that. He has the physical and the emotional and psychological bruises and scars from living in what feels like a tough, unforgiving world.

When bad things happen, we can either curl up in a ball or take stock of the big picture before taking action. So the next time you get dumped, or your car breaks down, or that pipe under the sink breaks and causes a flood, or the size of your debt appears insurmountable, take heed. I’m going to share my best hacks for dealing with the pressure, one issue at a time and put you in position to not only deal with your troubles, but turn what on the surface are bad things into good things.

So here are three Guys’ Guy’s hacks for handling the curveballs life throws our way. Drum roll, please…

1. Breathe, focus, separate – In my personal experience I’ve found that bad things occur in bunches. A few weeks ago on a cold rainy morning I traveled by train for two hours to my beach house. I needed to explore contingences for repairing the fire escape and replacing of the housing for the exterior gas meters, which was brought to my attention by the gas company. These are things we take for granted.

Upon reaching my place I immediately noticed that my car was gone. Suddenly a cop pulled up. I gave him my info and he informed me that my vehicle had been towed two weeks earlier due to a gaseous odor. Unfortunately, no one made an effort to contact me by phone. As a result, the retrieval and repairs to the car cost me dearly. And of course no one involved in the process the cops, towing company, impound yard, or repair shop were empathetic. The process was painful at a time I was on a tight budget. I also found out the cost of the gas meter housing was in the five-figure range and the fire escape estimate was off the charts. This all happened over the course of one morning.

The avalanche of problems dumped on me felt like my system had been nuked. I started feeling hyper and had to do something to maintain my sanity. I decided to step away for a few minutes. I needed to breathe deeply, clear my mind, and re-set myself physically and emotionally. It wasn’t easy, but it was necessary and I am glad I took those few minutes to regain my composure. In those few minutes I breathed, prayed, and asked my higher self for guidance were crucial to how I felt and how things worked out.

I realized I may have saved my family and my life by learning about the small leak in the tank this way instead of finding out while zooming down the highway and potentially bursting into flames. I also realized my tax refund will pay for the new gas tank. I convinced the impound yard to knock off the price of the tow, and my insurance company picked up most of the cost of the impound. Sure, I’m still faced with replacing the gas meter housing and fire escape repairs, and I am sure there will be more. I’m determined to deal with each issue individually as it comes up. Overall, I consider myself fortunate. I’m alive and in this case, things could have turned out far worse. And, I handled it as smooth and calmly as I could. Bottom line? I’m grateful.

2. Get out there – Recently I’ve found myself in a new situation where I am handling projects and building my personal brand while working from home. This is a major change for me after years of schlepping to an office and spending ten hours a day in the company of many colleagues over the past three decades. It’s really different and I’ve had to adjust to how I allocate my time, finances, and mentally dealing with most of my friends still being immersed in corporate jobs.

I’ve learned that lifestyle changes like this can be devastating form some folks if they are not aligned to a new realty and with new possibilities. It’s easy to stay inside and create content all day, but it is equally important to get out there and rub shoulders with people. They say action creates action, and it’s true. I’ve found that the more I interact with people, either face to face or by phone, the more opportunities arise and the more creative ideas spark inside my mind. So if you think things aren’t going so well for you and you begin shutting down, do yourself a favor and get out and face with the world. It helps.

3. Remember what we're here for - Many metaphysical teachers claim that our lives on Earth are primarily for learning and future ascension. And some even say that suffering is our greatest teacher. They might be right. I have found that whenever I come out of the end of a painful experience I am always a better version of myself due to experiencing the pain. Do you agree?

And while you are at it, make sure that you don’t neglect every aspect of your health when you’re facing tough times. That means being mindful and taking care of your physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Treat yourself well; eat clean, healthy foods and exercise. If you stay in top shape, mediate, and get enough rest so you can be at your very best regardless of the current circumstances you’ll feel a difference in your ability to deal with your troubles. Tomorrow is another day. Make sure you are in good health so you can enjoy it.

I could go on and on, but I think there are some things to help you deal with the tough times we all face. Breathe, deal with one issue at a time, and take care of yourself. You are worth it.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Abraham Lincoln, a man who faced some of the toughest circumstances of any leader in the history of our nation. Lincoln is the person who said, “This too, shall pass away.” 

5 Signs He's Taking the Relationship Seriously

Robert Manni - Friday, March 18, 2016

Whether it’s in business or a relationship, getting blindsided and dumped sucks. And who hasn’t been there at least once in their lives?

You may have thought things were all rosy after a series of seemingly great meetings or dates, but the other party or person may have had a completely different take on the situation. After five interviews and meeting everyone from the CEO to the maintenance dude, you assumed the job was yours, but they never called you back. Or after that torrid weekend at the beach you thought it was true love, but he thought it was a summer fling. And he never returned your texts after that.

Unfortunately, that’s how life works, amigos, so it’s important to take stock of your business and your relationships on a regular basis. For the purposes of this post, your Guy’s Guy will share his musings on the ways women can get a read on where they stand with that special someone they’ve been dating for a few weeks or months. Let’s call this The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Knowing It’s For Real.

So, here are five crystal clear signs your man is taking you and your relationship seriously.

1. He takes himself off the dating sites – This is huuuge. One of the toughest decisions a guy can make after he connects with a special woman is suspending his profile on all the dating apps and sites. For a lot of men this can be harder than quitting porn. Guys are visual and there is nothing like sitting back with a cold one in your tightey whiteys while surfing the dating dates for a fresh crop of female photos and profiles. I know it sounds cold, but guys like looking and playing, and these sites and apps can be addictive to men, and for women, also. So if your guy takes himself off these sites on his own, consider that a check plus. If you ask him why his profile is still active and he tells he will shut them down and does, that’s a check. If he either avoids the question or answers in Trump-like double speak, consider that a red flag. It means he’s not taking your relationship as seriously as you may have thought. Your move.

2. He asks you to go on vacation with him – When you think about it, going on vacation with someone is technically only an extended date with luggage and back-to-back sleepovers. If you’ve been seeing someone for a few months you’ve probably already slept with them or spent a weekend together. But taking a trip with someone for the first time can be a big thing. Everyone has their own style of traveling and if a couple is incompatible when they’re on the road, it could be a deal breaker. So, just the fact that he’s asked you to hop on a plane with him is a really good sign. Now all you need to do is show up, pack wisely, and be the very best version of you. You can do that.

3. He wants to introduce you to his squad – Another seemingly insignificant gesture is actually a big deal to guys. Sure you meet new people and get introduced every day on the job, but meeting a guy’s crew is for him an invitation into his inner sanctum. And depending on his taste in friends, it is not always a pretty place. Which is another good reason why meeting his friends is a good thing for assessing your relationship. Say yes if he asks you to meet his boys at the bar. You’ll learn a lot while enjoying free drinks.

4. He invites you home for a holiday – Similar to meeting his friends, meeting his family is another telling adventure and a sign that he is taking you and your relationship seriously. You will definitely learn a lot about your guy and what makes him tick once you meet his family, but the main thing is that he thinks enough of you to invite you in the first place. Do the smart thing and show up. The drinks are free again, but this time don’t get drunk.

5. He pays attention – This is the key sign that your guy is really into you. It’s all about the little things and noticing the details women notice about their guy. Whether it’s remembering which Chardonnay you prefer, noticing and complimenting your new blouse, or knowing how tired you feel after that series of big meetings, if he’s paying attention to the details of your life he’s showing you respect and is focused on making the relationship work.

Sure there are more ways of finding out if your guy is taking you and your relationship seriously, but I think these five behaviors are reliable bellwethers for clocking his interest level and for your consideration of him as keeper material.

This Week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is, drum roll please…. me. After three dates I asked my wife what I needed to do to be a good boyfriend. She smiled and said, “pay attention”. That was a wake up call. I took myself off of the dating sites, focused on building this relationship I was interested in, and eventually asked for her hand in marriage exactly one year to the day later. Hey, you’ve gotta have some game to be a Guy’s Guy.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Spring Cleaning

Robert Manni - Friday, March 11, 2016

Spring cleaning. Throwing out the old, and discovering the new.

Whether it’s about love, sex, dating or relationships spring is the perfect time for Guy’s Guys to take stock of who they are and where they want to be. Summer, the beach, and bikini weather is right around the corner.  And as the temperature rises, the skirts get shorter. You know the rest. Why reassess? Because it’s healthy, it will keep you on your path, and it could motivate you to connect with some great women. Here are four quick things to keep Guy’s Guys moving forward this spring.

1. Review your contacts.

Like a big old bear, it’s easy to hibernate during the winter. Same old, same old. And it can carry over to your dating life. Oh, it’s Friday night again? Let's hit the same sports bar and ogle the same women.You have your go-to hook ups, but are you really accomplishing anything beyond sharing a few laughs, watching every college football bowl game, and chilling with your buds and a friend with benefits? Ask yourselfis this the best you can do? If the answer is no, take stock in where you are versus your goals—in your career, fitness, or relationships and get cracking. If you find that your lady friends are locked into in the friend zone, then maybe it’s time to dust off your online dating profile. There are many, many fish in the sea, amigo, and that means lots of lovely ladies looking for nice guys. Don’t let your profile get stale and don’t stay posted-up for too long. Take a breather now and then before getting climbing back in the saddle.

2. Ask new women out.

Maybe you've maintained your comfort zone by sharing a relationship with someone you like, but don't like enough. This relationship is more than friends with benefits, but it's become a convenience for both of you. You know something is missing. Hey, knocking boots is fun, but if either the sex or the conversation is lacking, it may be time for the talk. Be a gentleman, but consider moving on.

3. Review your diet.

Sickness begins in the gut. Trust me or do your own research; you'll see that I'm right. And our tendency is to consume lots of comfort food and drink during those cold, dark months. Now that the weather's warm and you want to be active, reassess what you're ingesting. Like a lot of single guys, I've gone through phases where I've sustained myself on ketchup and beer and canned soup. We're creatures of habit. If you can't cut the junk and your small-batch bourbon, at least add fruits and veggies and water to your daily intake. You'll see a difference in your mood and in your waistline. Plus, the ladies notice what you eat and what it does to your body. Just sayin'.

4. Relax.

This is a marathon, not a sprint so you've got time to adapt. Spring is the perfect time to take a deep breath, shift gears and try something new. And whatever you do, don't let the media or your friends and family play the fear card with you. Take life by the cajones. There's really nothing to fear but fear itself. Meet lots of new women, reassess your lifestyle and diet, eliminate people and situations that are no longer useful, and chill. Live your life to the fullest. Now that's being a Guy's Guy.

What are you doing to better yourself this spring?

Guys' Guy's Rules to Recharge Your Dating Life

Robert Manni - Thursday, March 03, 2016


Spring is right around the corner. Birds will chirp, bees buzz for honey and the animal kingdom gets frisky. It’s time for love, people.

But finding love can be a challenge. Every single person hunting for a partner faces obstacles and hurdles, even in springtime. They might overbook their schedules, get too jammed up with work, or simply be too tired and wiped out by the end of the week to go out. Men, women, it doesn’t matter. Every so often we need to take a step back and take stock of our dating life and how we’re performing based on our expectations. Think of it as your heart’s annual review. So this year, let’s get it done in time for spring.

For many daters it’s either feast or famine when it comes to love, with dates either coming in bunches or no action whatsoever. Maybe all that swiping left and right has led to digital dating app burnout or maybe they’re just stuck. The reasons are less important than the fact that every now and then we all need to step outside ourselves and take inventory of the possible things we may be doing that prevent us from making the right love connections.

With this in mind, your Guy’s Guy again dons his thinking cap and slips on his Cupid’s arrow quiver once again to help singles take stock of some dating do’s and don’ts before heading back onto the field. Think of it as a halftime pep talk where plays are discussed, strategies are tweaked and players are reminded of who they are and what they stand for before whooping, hollering and charging back to the field to kick some ass and take some names. Okay, maybe they're not literally kicking ass. It’s more like taking names and scoring digits before making a hot connection.

Here are seven tips to power up your dating life. Drum roll please…

1. Know your brand – The most successful daters know who they are, what they stand for, and how they stand out from their competition. It’s marketing 101. You establish an authentic personal brand based on an honest assessment of who you are inside and outside, what you have to offer, and why you are uniquely qualified to be a someone’s special someone. You don't have to be a supermodel to catch a great guy. But you do need to take a look deep inside and figure out who you are, what makes you tick, and why you are an awesome catch. And then show off your confident self.

This goes for men as well as the ladies. Too many guys drink beer on their couch, watching Rangers games and getting fat, thinking they should be banging models every night. Hint: it’s not going to happen unless your name is Leo or you have a Trump-sized bank account. And, even if you carry those assets, if you are a jerk, your dating triumphs will be short-lived. All daters need to be honest about who they are and what they have to offer. That’s not a bad thing; we are all different. We are all special and we are all deserving of love. Never forget that, amigos.

2. Re-establish your goals – Following your self-assessment, ask yourself what you really want out of dating and a partner. If you’re looking for a partner, remind yourself every so often while booking dates. Or maybe you want to have fun and play the field for a while. That’s cool too, as long as you don’t lead people on who are looking for something more than a hook up.

3. Don’t overbook your schedule – Let’s face it. Some people can’t bear the thought of spending even a few hours sitting quietly at home. They want to live, live, live until they die, or so they think. The reality is that being super busy all the time and double and triple booking your schedule does not make your life any more successful or meaningful. It just makes you busy, sometimes so busy that you can’t see the forest through the trees. Too many dates and activities can hinder your ability to get to know yourself and potential partners who you want to get to know on the inside so you can understand who they are. I’m not suggesting you stay home five nights a week and miss out on all that fun. I’m merely recommending that you make time for yourself so you don’t lose track of your personal brand and stated dating goals.

4. Be open-minded – Everyone has a “type”. That’s all well and good provided that you don’t get too wrapped up in the packaging. Let’s face it; too many single young ladies turn into middle-aged single ladies because they have an endlessly growing list of attributes and must-haves for the men they date. Sure, this can be the result of having real dating experience and knowing the types of guys to avoid. I get it, but at the same time there often is a direct relationship between the length of the list and the shortage of men who fit all the desired criteria. It’s tricky, but it’s important for singles to keep an open-mind if they expect to meet interesting people and make new connections. My most successful relationships did not begin with matching a list to a person. They all began by taking a chance on getting to know someone new who was smart, attractive and nice.

5. Be kind, but firm – Karma really is a bitch and it never hurts to do the right thing. So if you feel you have given someone a fair shot and it’s simply not working for you, then by all means, let him or her know that you are not feeling sparkles. Then move on. Sure, you could also just disappear and not respond to their texts, but how would you feel if someone treated you that way? Be firm, but do your best to treat people respectfully. At the same time, respect yourself and don't waste your precious time by trying to fix guys. It's not your job.

6. Online to offline, every time – Winters can get cold in the Northeast and Midwest, but if you don’t go out, your chances of making a love connection are diminished. You need to use your time wisely, and that’s where the online dating apps and websites come in handy. I know from my personal experience that I initially connected with lots of attractive and very cool women while I sat in front of my laptop in my tighty-whiteys. And there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, nowadays that seems to be the norm. The tricky part is migrating your online connections into the offline, or “real” world. This is a mission critical step to dating success. You want to meet your digital connections in person as soon as possible and not waste time with too many texts, apps, emails and other tools in the digital landscape. If you ultimately want a real life partner to rumple the sheets with, you need to get out and make a connection in person.

7. Don’t settle or give up. Dating is not for the faint of heart. It can feel tough, cold, and heartless. But when two people click, it can be blissful and make all of your previous longing, loneliness and heartache worthwhile. The key is never giving up and never settling for less than your worth. You are a special person. You deserve love. If love emanates from you, you will attract love. If you get dumped or get hurt, brush yourself off and claim your worth. No one with self-esteem wants to be with someone who doesn't want to be with him or her. It’s that simple.

Be the light. Raise your vibration and the energy grid to meet the one who is worthy of you from that purview. Forget what’s passed and never be hard on yourself. Love yourself. Love the world. Be love. It can happen. It will happen.

This weeks GUY’S GUYS, AND GAL’S GALS OF THE WEEK are all the daters who were rewarded for their patience when a special someone finally came into their lives. Staying positive and keeping an open heart are the keys to dating successfully and making lasting connections.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Beating the Winter Blues

Robert Manni - Tuesday, February 23, 2016


It’s dark and cold when you wake and darker and colder when you go home.

Welcome to another endless winter in the Northeast. And for some strange reason, many choose to stay put and endure these dreadful winters year after year. They say we have four seasons in these parts, but doesn’t it feel like two? Six months of awesome weather, six months of ice rain, snow, cold and slush. And here we are again in the vortex. Some Guy’s Guys insights are in order. So here are my tips for beating those winter blues, GG style.

Get outside.

If you can’t get away for a Caribbean holiday, don’t fret. Think about how much worse the winter seems when you step outside with sunburn after landing at JFK. So if you routine resembles this: getting up at the crack of dawn, marching like a lemming on and off of the C train, grabbing coffee, disappearing into your office, staring at the computer for the next 10 hours and then returning to the cold dark streets, it’s important that you break up the day and get some fresh air and sunshine. So, if you can break free for even twenty minutes, take a walk around the block and if the weather permits, find a sunny spot to take a short break. Remind yourself that it’s just a job, she’ll call you back, and the Knicks will win another championship someday or whatever it is that’s buzzing around your mind. I assure you, this quick respite can work wonders.

Exercise.

When I woke up yesterday it was cold, dank, slushy and all around horrible. But, it was Sunday and for your Guy’s Guy, that means another 6.2-mile trek around Central Park’s outer loop. It’s all sloping hills and it never seems to get any easier. I wanted to disappear under the covers, but I knew that I would feel one hundred percent better after my run, and I did. Whatever your preference is: cardio, high intensity workouts or yoga; they all combat the winter blues. Your body will thank you.

Watch your diet. 

We all crave warm, gooey, crispy comfort food during the winter months. And how we worship the bacon. But unless it’s organic, this piggy meat is filled with cancer-causing nitrates. I know, it tastes F-ing great, but bacon other so-called comfort foods ultimately make you uncomfortable. Winter is a great time to get disciplined about your diet. If you can deal with making the right food choices now, it will be easier once spring rolls around. And, speaking of rolls, if you can get a head start on your diet during the colder months, you probably will have less around your midsection to burn off when the weather breaks.

Stay positive.

We define ourselves internally. It’s what’s in your head that sets up your mood, your perspective, and ultimately your life.  And with all those cold, dark days it’s easy to succumb to a bleak outlook and a “whoa is me” attitude. And we’ve all allowed our more negatively skewed friends to throw up their emotional junk on us. You know, that’s when afterwards they feel better? The problem is, you have to wipe their toxicity off by taking an Epson salts bath. The point is, remain mindful of your thoughts and the people around you in general, but especially during winter.

Read, write, sing, create.

We spend more time indoors during nasty weather. And it’s too damned easy to sit on your butt and binge watch your favorite cable series. Sure, that’s what 54-inch LED’s are for, but be careful not to allow the media to hypnotize and numb your mind. Reading is a wonderful tonic and it helps us think more creatively. So is creating, and it doesn’t mater what it is that makes your juices flow. Get out your laptop, sketchpad, ukulele or whatever and make a statement, even if you never show it to anyone. Just the simple act of creation nourishes the soul. Hey, I just created something here, didn’t I?

This weeks’ Guy’s Guys of the Week are all the skaters at Wolman Rink or the rink in your neighborhood. Get out there, amigo.

Are you winning your battle with the winter blues?

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Being Alone

Robert Manni - Wednesday, February 17, 2016


We enter this world alone and leave the same way. Keep calm, amigo. It’s not such a bad thing. Even the most outgoing people spend a majority of their time alone. So let’s face facts. To master life, we need to master the art of being alone.

I'm a social being and enjoy the company of others and being part of a team in work and at play. But I also relish my time alone. Only on rare occasions have I ever been bored. Ever since I was a little boy, I found ways of entertaining myself. My earliest recollections are staring up at a colorful mobile hanging over my crib. According to my mother, I’d stare at it for hours at a time. In fact, because I was so quiet she often checked in just to see if I was alive. And it’s been that way ever since. Nature, music, a ball, a good book, a bike, and now a long run have been faithful companions for me, even when my friends, family, and colleagues are nowhere around. I firmly believe that learning how to spend time alone provides us with a wonderful education in how to live with yourself.

In today’s fast-paced culture and all of its connectivity, getting off the grid even for a few hours is tough. But making the time to get together with just ourselves is critical to getting the most out of life.

Here is what I’ve learned about mastering the art of being alone and its benefits. I hope this helps you as much as learning to be alone has helped me.

1. Disconnect, clear your mind, become one with your thoughts. When I was single, the first thing I’d do when I came home was flick on the television, radio, or my stereo system. I could not bear the sound of my own thoughts. Then it was the Internet and my phone, and you know how that goes. Before you know it you are taking your iPhone to bed. The Super Bowl, NBA All-star game and trading deadline, the Grammy’s, Kanye, the election, and our impending economic collapse are the tip of media’s toxic spear aimed at your consciousness. If you keep yourself tethered to electronic and social media, you’ll forget who you are and become depressed and sick. Soon you’ll start buying the meds they sell on television. That’s a downward spiral, amigos.

Fortunately, a few years ago my wife took notice of my behavior and asked, “Hey, what’s with all the noise around here?” She’s a yogi and prefers peace and quiet to all of the barking on WFAN. Suddenly a light bulb flipped on inside my head and I became mindful of not only this compulsive behavior but of my thoughts also. And although I still enjoy getting my sports news while showering, I assure you that the simple act of disconnecting from your electronic devices and social media will prove to be a major first step in learning how to quiet your mind and thrive during the invaluable time you spend alone with your thoughts.

2. Exercise, focus, solve problems, create. Any time I have two hours to spare, I do my best to figure out a way to get a workout in. If I succeed, I’ll have invested that time wisely because while I am conditioning my body I also have time to get into a focused mental zone where I can sort things out in my mind. I mentally wrote and edited my entire novel, THE GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO LOVE, during a series of long runs. The plot points and character arcs dissembled and then took shape each time I reached a state of being mentally locked while I lumbered down the boardwalks of the Jersey Shore and the running path along the Hudson River Park. It didn’t matter that I usually had music playing through my ear buds. I was so in the moment that nothing could break my concentration. I’ve also broken down complicated business issues after my endorphins kicked in and come up with solutions that worked as well.

3. Meditate to get to know your true self. Learning to mediate has changed the fear of being alone into a gift. The key to meditation is practice, practice, practice and finding that 15- 30 minutes a day to sit alone and simply breathe. Over time, you go deeper and get more benefits from this quiet time. Your attitude changes from scrambling to find time to slow down or making excuses about it to looking forward to the special times you can be alone. If you have trouble meditating on your own, there are myriad of mp3’s you can download that will help you quiet your mind and release all the monkey chatter. My intuition and mental functioning has never been better. In fact I feel I feel that since I began meditating I am using more of my brain than ever before. And studies show that meditation is good for your physical health as well.

4. Read, enhance your creativity, and never feel alone. Whether it is a novel, non-fiction or the info we scour online, reading is a very personal behavior that we indulge in alone. And being alone with our thoughts and the thoughts of others on subjects of interest to us exposes us to new ways of thinking. This does not mean scanning your Facebook feed. That can be toxic. Too much bragging, half-baked opinions, hating and memes can cause anxiety and don’t nurture the mind. I’m referring to going a bit deeper, maybe following a favorite blog or reading an in-depth article on gravitational waves. In any case, when you read, you are alone with your thoughts and if managed mindfully, it’s a healthy practice.

5. Step out into nature, count your blessings, forgive. Another helpful practice when alone is getting outside. And even in a city like New York, you can find yourself alone in the crowd. It can make one feel lonely or it can be a good thing if you are comfortable in your own skin. I personally feel grounded on a crowded avenue as I move mindfully, maybe practicing affirmations or thinking about the good things in my life and the reasons to forgive those who have wronged me. And the moment I step into Central Park, I feel the energy change and slow down. The sights and sounds of nature help me relax and reconnect with myself.

6. Celebrate your independence and oneness. Once you realize you are a divine aspect of the Creator; you can find solace in your individuality as well as your connection with everyone. And when you begin to see yourself and your world in those terms, you become calmer, less anxious, and a more self-assured individual. Go inside, discover your possibilities and then explore the ways to get it done. Being alone can be a great blessing once you get comfortable with who you are and your place in the world.

So if you want to learn more about who you really are, enhance your confidence and creativity, and improve your physical and mental health, find a few minutes each day just for yourself and use it to your advantage. The benefits are many and it costs nothing. It’s just you spending time with yourself, and loving it.

This week’s GUY’S GUYS OF THE WEEK are all the spiritual men and women throughout history who learned how to be alone, how to be quiet, and how to live a better life from the inside out. You can be one of them. Just give it a try.

The Guys' Guy's Secrets to a Successful Marriage

Robert Manni - Thursday, February 04, 2016


It took a long time for me to get married…a really long time.

In fact, I waited so long that family members didn’t badger me about this sensitive topic during holiday get-togethers. My fate appeared sealed so no one even bothered asking me any more, not even my mother. Although I had never taken the leap, I didn't have a firm stance against the institution. In fact, I looked forward to marrying and experiencing that watershed life stage. But it could only take place with one caveat. It had to feel right. Us Guy’s Guys don’t believe in half steps like starter marriages, whatever that is. Marriage is a sacrament, so unless I went all in, I wasn’t going in at all. Sure, I had a number of long-term relationships with women that I loved. But deep down I never felt right about any of those situations, so I waited and waited and waited. Of course I was at fault for not cutting things off once I knew these relationships were not going any further. I was wrong and both my partners and me paid a price in lost time because of my indecision and lollygagging. That said, I enjoyed all those relationships and did not feel a sense of failure once the window closed. I got dumped every time and you could say I deserved to learn my lessons the hard way.

After numerous forays into the online dating pool, I suddenly realized that I wasn’t getting any younger and if I was ever going to get married, it had to happen soon. There was no panic or anxiety though. I realized that I was mentally, spiritually, and physically ready to take the next step. All I needed to do was meet the right woman for me. And even though I was not dating at the time, deep down I was intuitively aware that I’d get married soon. I just felt it in my bones. One Thanksgiving Day, after dinner I told my Mom I was planning on get married the following year. She was delighted and asked me who was the lucky lady (her words, not mine). I told her I had no idea, but I knew I was ready because I had made room for the right person to come into my life. Six months later I met my future wife. We were engaged exactly one year later to the day and were married very close to one year after that. We are now closing in on six happy years of marriage and are the proud parents of a wonderful little boy. So today, your Guy’s Guy is offering his insights, limited as they may be compared to those who’ve been married way longer than me, on the things that have made my transition to married life joyful and successful.

Drum roll, please…

1. Hold out for the right partner.

This was my most important learning. I paid a price due to my age by waiting so long to get married and having a child. But I feel it was meant to be and ultimately for the best. My heart has never wavered and I have no doubts about my making the right choice. I probably would have been relatively happy if I’d have married one of my former lovers, but would I have the knowing peace of mind a man needs after making the big commitment? I’m not sure about that.

My future wife sent me a card after a few dates with a hand written inscription stating, “I believe in you.” That flipped the switch for me. Sure everything else was working out nicely, but those words every man yearns to hear from his partner. I keep the card tucked in a drawer as a reminder, although my wife frequently reminds me of her sentiments, even when the going gets tough. This made all the waiting worthwhile.

I’m sure some of you singles are questioning my simplistic purview. Finding true love is never easy and it may not happen for everyone in this lifetime. But don’t settle. Loving yourself, making room for someone, and keeping an open mind are the keys to finding the right partner. Remember that if you compromise, will you end up asking yourself if you did the right thing? Will you burn even more time in an unfulfilling relationship?

2. Know when you’re ready and then let go.

As mentioned, I created space in my heart and the right consciousness to allow a new person to come into my life. In retrospect, this was a very important aspect of making my connection. In order attract and bring the right things into our loves we need to rid ourselves of the internal clutter that bogs us down psychologically and create a warm and inviting space for new love to grow. Keep your heart open. It really works in attracting love and in many areas of our lives. Make room for what you want and have faith that you are exactly where you need to be right now. Don’t press. Let it happen.

3. Find someone who shares your values.

Some people think this means making sure you and your partner are simpatico about money and that’s really important, but values are more than just money. Values include many other aspects of partnering including how they treat people and their extended family. And not every couple is in synch with their visions concerning lifestyle, sex, children, family, work, where and how to live, and even politics. If partners disagree on core values, they’ll need to be addressed with clear, honest communication or a chasm will grow.

4. Don’t turn small stuff into big problems.

There are two things on television that I despise—real estate fixer upper shows and those damn housewives. And although my wife has two masters and is the smartest person I know, she loves watching those programs. So what’s a Guy’s Guy to do? After being single for decades I became accustomed to getting my own way all the time, so this created a potential dilemma. This was certainly more of an annoyance than a problem, but some of small stuff can blow up if people do not compromise. I thought about how generous my wife is and realized that she deserves her minor indulgence without my sniping over her shoulder while she watched her favorite housewives in Beverly Hills and Orange County. So on Tuesday nights, I retire to my study and work on my content. The real estate shows can be more of an issue because they are ubiquitous, but I tune them out, knowing that the next installment of ESPN Sports Center is only a few short hours away. Which leads me to…

5. Put your partner’s needs first.

Minor sacrifices as I described above are only the beginning to forging a fruitful marriage built on respect. I urge my wife to take break from our kid and go out with her friends. And I make it my priority to take care of the dishes, empty the garbage, recycling, and do the laundry. After all, she really takes great care of my son and me. I should do more, but I’m spoiled and bad habits don’t die easily. Being mindful of your partner is a process, but we all have to make modest sacrifices for the greater good. Which brings us to our next point…

5. Keep dating your partner.

A romantic brunch (even though I hate brunch), a movie, flowers, or a vacation are obvious ways to keep stoking the romantic fires. So are keeping up with the chores and not complaining. It’s easy to take your marriage for granted and use your partner as a sounding board and psychic dumping ground for the shitty things in your life. Try not to be that guy. You want to share your feelings and concerns with your partner, but try to also include your dreams and aspirations as well as the things you’d like to do together as part of your verbal intimacy. And keep surprising your partner. That includes you too, ladies. Make him feel like Mr. Big now and then, especially after a tough day of changing diapers and being domestic.

I’m scratching the surface to what makes a marriage work. And marriage is not always a picnic. Job stress, money, and sex become elephants in the room if we are not mindful and open to discussions. The most important question to answer is if your marriage is making you happy. If you are not happy, look into your heart and ask why. Then have a talk with your partner and see if you can reclaim the common ground that brought you together. We grow and people change. And not every marriage is going to work. But we want to respect our relationship and give it our best shot.

Marriage can be joyful. It can be fulfilling. If you keep love at the core of your marriage, you’ve give yourself the best opportunity to make it work.

This week’s Guy’s Guys of the Week are Serge and Carol Manni. My dad and mom have been married for 65 years. But they are not always in the same page. However their marriage was built on a solid foundation of love for one another. Thank you, Mom and Dad for teaching me the value of love.


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