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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

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.

The Five Best Things about New York that go Overlooked

Robert Manni - Friday, January 29, 2016


Our city really is a helluva town. Where else at 2am can you hear the pounding of jackhammers outside your bedroom window or savor a bowl of spicy squid and noodles at a jam-packed midtown restaurant? If you’re Guy’s Guy, there are few better places to live. I know, I know. At times a Guys’ Guy’s patience gets tested by the randomness of this crazy city. But despite the less than lackluster subway service on the weekends and the stench of the uncollected garbage we too often inhale from the overflowing corner trashcans, there are many uncelebrated perks about living in our little town worthy of a shout out. So here’s to the things about living in New York City that we enjoy, but often fail to acknowledge as reasons why New Yorkers love this damn town so much.

1. Trees, trees, trees – Former Mayor Bloomberg did an amazing thing when he announced a goal of planting one million trees across the five boroughs within five years. He actually surpassed his goal by a few hundred thousand and the movement keeps rolling. If you look around you while traversing the streets you can’t help but notice the plethora of new trees lining the sidewalks of any borough in our sprawling city. Like most New Yorkers who aren’t billionaires, I live in a neighborhood that is undergoing steady gentrification. The city has done a lot of sprucing up the area by planting trees along the main streets and it really makes a difference. Five years from now, things will look amazing. And, unlike the seventies and eighties, our parks are now constantly cared for with ongoing planting and pruning of the landscapes. Central Park, Morningside Park and Prospect Park have never looked better. Which brings me to my second point…

2. Hudson River Park and the Highline – For many years I lived on the far West Side of Midtown. To put it mildly, the scene in the vicinity of the waterfront was barren, broken-down, and depressing. But little by little, over the past twenty years, the spaces along the water have slowly and steadily been revamped. It’s been an ongoing evolution, but the results are revolutionary for anyone who inhabited these areas back in the day. Because the re-engineering of the many miles along the waterfront encircling Manhattan has taken so long, it’s easy to forget what a shit hole it used to be. Today, there are new piers, playgrounds, and places to catch some rays. You can ride your bike, go for a run, or take your family on a picnic while watching the boats roll along the Hudson River. All this, and it's still a work in progress. The same can be said of the Highline, which started as a vision and a dream, but over time became a beautiful reality and now a destination for New Yorkers and the thousands of tourists from around the globe who visit our city. Sure it gets crowded, but this is New York, amigo. Smile, and go with the flow.

3. You can walk everywhere – Like many great European cities, New York is a unique American city in that you don’t need a car. You can either walk or take mass transit anywhere at anytime. How cool is working to and from work? And how much fun is walking to and home from a date, and maybe even cutting through Central Park? It’s awesome. Sure, the subways get overcrowded during rush hour, but it’s a lot better than sitting in traffic and pumping your own gas. Take that, L.A.

4. It's an underrated place to live for seniors – Surprise. It used to be that South Florida was the place for retirees. And during most of my time living in Manhattan I’ve constantly reminded myself to get before I got too old. But now I see that unlike many boring suburban communities with little access to culture besides what’s gleaned online or on the television, New York is jam-packed with museums, concerts, theater, and international cuisine. The city also offers many resources for seniors like Access-A –Ride, discounted metro cards and community outreach programs. And between the discounted MTA fares and walking, it’s relatively easy for most seniors to get around. Of course there are the harsh winters, but New York has four distinctly different seasons to break up the monotony of the 85-degree heat in Broward County, Florida or Arizona. And, our city parks are beautiful all year round.

5. It's a great place for kids – I live five blocks from Central Park and two blocks from Morningside Park. That means my son has access to over a dozen playgrounds on any given day. And, unlike adults, toddlers get to express their sense of adventure happily riding the subway or a bus. We can be almost anywhere in Manhattan within thirty minutes. Granted, raising a kid properly in NYC can be an expensive proposition, but where else can a kid go to daycare and get full Mandarin immersion or interact with all the diverse ethnicities and cultures that NYC offers? It truly is a word class city for educating a kid, and as mentioned, the parks and the playgrounds are pristine. I have more choices for taking out my little boy than I’d have in New Jersey, and we never have to deal with traffic.

I may be rooting for the home team, but truthfully, I’m only scratching the surface about the many underappreciated aspects of living in New York. So next time you’re dodging a pile of slush while entering a crosswalk after a snowstorm, trying to weave around a pack of tourists in Midtown, or waiting endlessly for a dirt-ridden C train to show up on a Sunday, take a moment and consider some of the underappreciated perks you get by living in the city like that beautiful woman or dude standing next to you on the platform. Cheers.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is former Mayor Bloomberg. In retrospect, he did a great job sprucing up the town and the economy. I did not like him telling us how big our soft drinks could be, and I don’t even drink soft drinks, but overall he did a damn good job in taking New York to the next level as a world class city. In fact, is there any better city?

How to Date Like a Champ in 2016

Robert Manni - Friday, January 22, 2016


It is the best of times and the worst of times…for dating. Modern life moves quickly. We want what we want, and we want it right now. We don’t have time to suffer fools when searching for our perfect match. With the advent of dating apps and websites, if you master the moves of the digital dating game, your pipeline of prospects can be filled to the brim. After all, you can set up a month’s worth of dates while sitting at home in your tighty-whiteys watching the Rangers game. And if you don’t dig that new connection, they’re gone with a keystroke. So what’s the problem, Guy’s Guy?

Like I said, it’s both the best and worst of times for dating. When we indulge in too much of a good thing, like ice cream, expensive bourbon, or for some guys strip clubs and recreational drugs, we lose our appreciation, our purpose, and our cash. To succeed at dating in 2016 we have to manage our minds, our hearts, and our balls or else we can waste a lot of time, effort, and money.

So, here is a Guys' Guy's refresher course for dating like a pro in today’s whacked out singles scene. And this goes for the ladies also. Drum roll please…

Know who you are and what you want – In many ways, dating successfully is like running a solid advertising campaign. You need to know who you are, what makes special, and what your target market is looking for. Sounds simple, right? You’d be surprised, amigo, by how many singles are flailing about in a desperate effort to find someone to care for them. It’s sad. Don’t date those people, at least not until they figure out who they are and what they want. Focus on you, your personal brand, and what you want.

Making tech work for you – I’m assuming most guys, and many women, favor digital apps for making connections. They may be efficient, but digital apps alone will not make you a winner in the dating game. Between Tinder, Match, OK Cupid, Bumble, Tangle, Hinge, and the like, you don’t need to be Ryan Gosling or a genius to connect online with a lot of really cool women. All you need to do is fill out your profile built around a positive overview of you and the type of person you’re searching for. Include a photo of yourself smiling, not smirking, with your shirt on and without your Mets cap worn backwards. If you want to date casually, say so. Unfortunately, that usually doesn’t work for guys unless they are on Tinder hitting on chicks in bars also looking for a hook up. Use spell check, be polite and ask open-ended questions that lead to an offline meet up. That means, being you and not behaving like the thousands of lazy horn dogs using digital apps for one reason to get laid.

Limit yourself to three dating apps at a time. Otherwise things can get out of hand quickly. You can get overloaded with prospects, which may sound like a good thing, but really isn’t. If you don’t take the time to sort through your prospects mindfully (I keep using that word for a reason), you may eliminate a potential keeper because of a minor nit like maybe she’s a Patriots fan. Don’t be that guy.

Offline is where we live - To make tech really work for you you’ll need your offline game in order. That means polishing your social skills and displaying casual confidence and integrity like knowing how to look into her eyes so she sees that you’re paying attention (without being creepy), and polishing your ability to close the deal. Of course you want to make a more intimate connection under the sheets, so you need to learn how to be intimate before getting intimate. So your goal in any dating engagement should be to move the landscape from online to offline. That’s how you will get to know one another in a real way.

And, you can’t build your offline game if you’re eyes are glued to your phone. Push yourself to chat up ladies where they livein the bars, after yoga class, waiting for coffee, in a bookstore, or anywhere women hang out. The point is, after you make a connection with a woman online or offline, you’ll spend 99% of your time together offline. Learn how to approach and talk to women. That means being friendly, smiling, and engaging in light conversation anywhere and everywhere women live. It’s called being a human being and it’s fun because most women are nice, even if they may not look that friendly with their puffy coats and ear buds on while riding the C train.

Be kind, be honest, make an effort – As described earlier, you can score dates in your tighty-whiteys, but don’t let that make you lazy and unappreciative. When dating a new woman, remember that she is a lady and deserves to be treated as such. If you are interested, explore her tastes, make a plan, and pick up the check on that first date if you ask her out. Yes, it’s old school, but most women will appreciate this rare display of chivalry and will not quibble over the check. If she insists on paying half (probably so she doesn’t think she owes you any favors), let her. It’s that simple. And if your date or the chemistry is not what you hoped for, don’t just bounce. You made a commitment to share a half hour with another well-intended human being. You can cut it off after one quick drink. And who knows? In that short time things could change or new information may surface that shifts the landscape. Maybe she becomes a friend, or she may have business contacts, or better yet she has some hot girlfriends that might make a better match for you. Just be nice. It’s not that difficult, amigo.

There’s more; lots more when it comes to dating in 2016. But if you take to heart what I’ve described above, I think you will find yourself in a really good place to manage your dating life like a champ. And that’s you, isn’t it?

This week’s GUY’S GUY OF THE WEEK is George Clooney. Why him, you ask? He was a long-term bachelor, but never a jerk to women as far as we know. He is smooth and unshakeable. He excels in the art of conversation. He is a philanthropist and an accomplished actor. And, oh by the way, he finally married a brilliant career woman who doesn’t need his star power. Yeah, he’s a certified Guy's Guy.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Anger Management (Part 1)

Robert Manni - Thursday, January 14, 2016


Lots of guys are angry. Just look at the current popularity of Donald Trump.

That orange-haired dude is banking his entire campaign on negativity and anger. And guess what? It’s working. That’s because people are pissed off.

Anyone who knows me knows I get angry, too. Like most people, I think I only get pissed off when people are screwing with me. Over the past few years I’ve focused on doing a better job at anger management. Through reading and practicing meditation I’ve learned some things that could help you too, even if you’re not a guy. Women get teed off also…usually at guys. Just ask my wife.

Let’s face it. People pull shit all the time. They turn left when they’re in the right lane. They play their music really loud so you have to hear it also. They backstab you at work, just because you are outperforming them. And you can forget about handshake agreements. A person’s word is rarely good these days. Even when you have something in writing, they’ll fight like hell to find a way to avoid paying up. That’s just how things are, amigo. So what’s a Guy’s Guy to do? Don’t despair. There are ways of dealing with anger that can help you, the other guy, and humanity.

When someone does something wrong to us we have a choice. We can either step into the muck and slug it out with them or eschew immediate action, knowing that this person is aligned to the frequency they need to be at now so they can learn whatever it is they need to experience for growth. That’s God’s will. We all have lessons to learn, but it doesn’t mean we need to be a doormat. Yes, protect yourselves and your loved ones, but understand that our reactive, anger-based behavior comes at the bidding of the small self. We may win the fight, but what have we really accomplished?

“Hey Guy’s Guy. You’re giving me a headache. Just tell me about dealing with that guy who cut me off and took my parking space at Shop Rite?” Okay, I hear you, amigo. We’ll share more about the big picture next time, but it’s something to keep in mind.

For now, here are a handful of surefire ways of preventing your anger from getting the best of you. Next time someone presses your buttons consider the following before reacting.

1. Breathe - You know the old saying about counting to ten? It’s the same thing as breathing. When the shit hits the fan take a moment to collect yourself and recognize your anger. That means; if at all possible don’t respond right away. The great spiritual leader, Thich Nhat Hanh, suggested that anger is like a howling baby that needs to be attended to immediately. The first step is recognition of that anger. Then take eight to ten deep breaths. Just those few moments can make a huge difference between success and failure in addressing the situation.

2. I repeat, don’t respond immediately – Have you ever received a text or email that made your blood boil? Again, before writing a sarcastic note back and hitting send, acknowledge that you’re pissed off and why before doing anything. It could save you a heap of trouble in the long run, especially in business situations where people deploy digital baiting to goad you into battle. Don’t do anything hasty like a snotty email or text without considering the entire scenario and potential consequences of your actions.

3. Consider the big picture – How important will that parking space at Shop Rite be a year from now? See what I mean? We all have things that set us off. When certain people know that, they may try to tweak you. Don’t take the bait until you process the true importance of the situation and bad behavior by the other guy. It may turn out to be a big deal over nothing. Wait.

4. Be thankful for the knowledge and the lesson – Situations that piss us off often provide opportunities to learn. So again, before overreacting to a situation, think about what insights you might glean from it, even if it’s simply mastering your temper and tempering your response. You might start to keep the people who like to mess with you off balance. Never lead with your chin, amigo

5. Heal – Cool those heated thoughts with a walk in nature, a good workout, or a quiet meditation. My preference to work off anger is a long run, a hearty meal, and good sex. Of course the sex needs to be loving, not angry, but you know what I mean. Work it out, baby.

The moral of the story is don’t overreact when someone acts like an a-hole. It will happen, but you don’t need to lower yourself. Stake out the high ground, deploy your sense of humor and be the one known for diffusing tense situations, not instigating or fueling them. Peace.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Thich Nhat Hanh, author of a series of spiritual books, including many on anger management and how to sooth the fires that burn us inside. Check out his book, ANGER, for some tasty lessons in mindfulness in the face of adversity.

Five Resolutions You Should Stick to This Year

Robert Manni - Thursday, January 07, 2016


Sadly, by this time in January, many people have already failed at their New Year’s resolutions.

After all, making changes in our behavior is challenging, especially when we bite off more than we can chew. I’ve given up drinking a few times and have lasted three, four and even five months, but denial is tough. Making positive changes is no easier. Fortunately each New Year, month, week, even day is a new opportunity for a fresh start. With that in my mind, your Guy’s Guy offers you a handful of resolutions to make your life and this world a better place. You don't need a new year to start fresh.

1. Less tech, more active living.

We live in an age where technology keeps changing at an exceedingly rapid pace. To succeed in the conscious world, we need to know how to master our phones, apps, and social media or we’ll be viewed like Grandma trying to “turn on the Internet” to Google a cookie recipe. But tech can lead us to more passive lives. We’re watching instead of doing. We’re staring at the LED screen instead of reading and nurturing our imaginations. We’re texting instead of conversing. We’re focusing our attention on video games instead of playing ball in the park. We’re becoming wimps. If we could be mindful about our overreliance on tech and choose more activities that exercise our body, mind and spirit, we’ll be making great strides as a culture.

2. Spend more time in nature.

Every time I step into Central Park the energy changes. There is something special about being outdoors that grounds my spirit with the Earth’s energy. Unless there is a torrential downpour, I always take my young son outside for a walk. And I notice that my son and the toddlers that I frequently see at the playground have less anxiety on their faces than some of the tykes I see on the subway staring at video screens and eating potato chips. With all our creature comforts it’s easy to sit indoors and keep life at arm’s length. But that’s no way to live—step outside whenever you can. Fresh air and nature rejuvenate our spirits.

3. Don’t judge. Accept people as they are.

This one took me a long time. My internal critic has a razor sharp wit and working in advertising exposed me to too many judgments about people and ideas. But I learned, and as usual I learned the hard way. Over the years, I did not build as many relationships as I could have and I dismissed a lot of people who I thought were jackasses. I guess I’m not that different than anyone else in that regard, but I realize now that it’s not my job to have other people see the world through my personal lens. Trying to change people is tedious and frustrating because we cannot see what lurks inside them or what has led them to their behaviors, decisions or perspectives. I know now it’s more productive to work on myself. When we focus on bettering ourselves, we raise our frequency and shed light on the others we come in contact with. Basically, it’s leading by example.

4. Be grateful.

This time last year, I had receiving a medical “diagnosis of opportunity” earlier last year, spent six months in and out of hospitals, doctor’s offices and medical procedures, and had ten puncture scars across my abdomen. It was a tough experience, but I’m thankful. Yes, I’m really, really thankful. My faith was strong, my medical teams were talented and capable, and my body was responsive. And now I am well. The few times I began feeling sorry for myself, I’d invariably learn about a friend or colleague in a far more precarious situation. Each day I awaken with gratitude for my many blessings and good health. Try it for a week.

5. Watch what you eat.

Let’s face it; our food supply has changed. Every day we learn more about the tricks and deceptions of food labeling, the horrible treatment of factory farmed animals and the potential long-term effects of eating processed foods and GMO ingredients. If the food industry has nothing to hide, why don’t they want all the ingredients labeled in clear language? People are sick of their games and also getting sick from the food they consume. Obesity and gastric-related illnesses have become prevalent in a culture that lives too passively and consumes mostly processed food. If you want to stay healthy, eat organic as much as possible and always be mindful of what you consume. It’s probably the most important decision you’ll make each day in regards to your health.

This New Year’s Day you can resolve to quit smoking, hit the gym three times a week or cut out sweets, but you don’t have to wait until the start of a new year to make a better life for yourself. If you treat yourself with respect and love, you’ll be more successful in improving your life than experiencing that week of agony during the first week of January each year.

This week’s—make that this year’s—Guys’ Guys and women, are the wonderful people who have supported my Guy’s Guy brand and the content I crunch out with a goal of making our world a better place. My best wishes to you today, tomorrow, and throughout this coming year!

5 More Guys Who Are NOT Guy's Guys

Robert Manni - Wednesday, December 23, 2015


What happened to people? 2015 has been a year marked by really bad behavior, and it’s been a challenge for Guy’s Guys all over the world to stay the course without lowering the bar.

If we look beyond obvious deplorable acts like terrorism, there still is an underlying ugliness in how our society continues devolving. It’s rare when we hear someone authentically take responsibility for their mistakes or say they’re sorry. And our win-at-all-costs mentality has decreased our standards for acceptable behavior.

So what’s a Guy’s Guy to do? Good question. I’ve decided to stuff your stocking with my updated list of Anti-Guy’s Guys— individuals who are not creating an environment where men and women can be at their best and everyone wins. The purpose of my list is not so much to condemn these public figures, but to generate awareness for how we can make more circumspect decisions and raise our collective consciousness in 2016.  Here goes…

1. Donald Trump – He is the leader of what many consider a clown car of Republican candidates for President. On the positive side, The Donald has brought some important issues to the forefront including our broken borders and immigration system, costly mismanaged wars in the Middle East, and the growth of terrorist acts that threaten our country internally and externally. The good news stops there. Like him or not, there are problems with his candidacy. His tone is harsh, his words can be vulgar and at times hateful, and his isolationist rhetoric, lies, and fear mongering has deepened the chasm between races, religions and sexes in our country.

Many fail to understand is that Trump’s core base has a ceiling, and even if he wins the Republican nomination (it’s not a sure thing), he will never become president. Let me repeat that. Never. Become. President. Instead of heeding the words in his best-selling The Art of the Deal book, after making salient sales points to generate interest Trump has failed to shut up long enough to close the damn deal. He keeps talking and that’s a killer for sales people. It’s all about his ego. Sir, you are not a Guy’s Guy.

2. Odell Beckham Jr. – It’s sad when one of the great young talents in the NFL experiences a meltdown during a game that threatens to derail what could be a Hall of Fame career. At a time where head injuries and concussions are on top of the NFL’s problems, what does ODB do? He repeatedly uses his helmet as a weapon to spear an opposing player who has his back turned. Compounding the thoughtless penalties he incurred for spearing, OBJ put his ultra-valuable wide receiver’s hands at risk by slapping at the same opposing player’s helmet and facemask, which could have easily resulted in a broken finger or hand. After the game, our hero failed to own up to his ridiculous actions or show the slightest remorse. But what tops the list of his anti-Guy’s Guy behavior was his jeopardizing his team’s chance to win the game through his selfish actions. And, to compound that error he’s also been suspended for the Giant’s upcoming contest—their most important game of the season. Nice going, amigo.

3. Eujin Jaela Kim, NYC school Principal in Sunset Park, Brooklyn – Yes, ladies can be anti-Guy’s Guys also. It’s about making the world a place where men and women can be at their best so everyone wins. And she didn’t. A guy’s Guy or Gal believes in inclusion, not exclusion. So when a principal takes it on herself to deny any references to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance, your Guy’s Guy cries foul. A principal has many tasks and it’s a tough job. Principals are stewards of our schools, but they are not empowered to negate federal holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Say what you want about the Pledge of Allegiance. I recited it for years and here I am, a proud American. Yes, it mentions, “one nation, under God”, but if you don’t want to say it, you don’t have to. No one is listening anyway. What the pledge does though is align us all as being Americans. Is this a bad thing?

Back to Christmas and Thanksgiving. Instead of eliminating them, it’s far better to expand the season by recognizing Chanukah, Kwanza and other end of year holidays. America is not a country where we exclude holidays or whitewash our culture. That’s called communism. As principal of a public school, you do not have the authority to decide which federal holidays are acknowledged. Please write that on the blackboard one hundred times.

4. Martin Shkreli, CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals - This guy makes Donald Trump look like Mother Theresa. This swarmy 32-year old investment tycoon recently bought the rights to the AIDS drug Daraprim, and through the kindness of his heart raised its price from $13.50 to $750 per tablet, a whopping 5,085% increase. What a guy! His rationale was predictably about our free market, and he stuck to his guns when the pressure was turned up for him to ease the pricing for a drug that helps those afflicted with a deadly disease. Nice dice, folks. His product, his pricing. Fast-forward a few short weeks ahead when our hedge fund hero ironically gets busted for fraud. We see him on the news being led off to the pokey dressed in his trendy hoodie, but again without remorse. No sir, his only response was that they were out to get him. Maybe so, but he may have broken some laws. For now, let’s see how he acclimates himself to a possible extended stay in the slammer.

5. Steve Harvey - I thought about this one and did my best to give Steve a pass, but nope, he failed. As emcee of this year’s Miss Universe pageant, your number one job task is to announce the winner of the contest. By now we all know what happened. Steve-O unfortunately read of the name of Miss Colombia as the winner.  After she was crowned, Steve skulked back up to the stage and informed the worldwide audience that Miss Colombia was in fact, first runner up. Miss Philippines, who by now was standing off to the side wondering why she came in second, was announced as the actual winner and waved back to the main stage to receive her crown, which was perched atop Miss Colombia’s trusses. Talk about an uncomfortable moment. As the crown switched heads, Steve sucked it up and accepted blame for the error before the show abruptly ended. Wasn’t Steve being a Guy’s Guy by taking the hit on global television for his boo-boo? At first I thought so too, but not so fast, amigos. What else could he do? I am sure that the producer told him to get his butt back on stage and make the change before time ran out on the broadcast. With the results card clearly stating the correct placing and winner, Stevie had no real chance of avoiding his taking the hit. The clincher was a report that Steve had missed rehearsals for—wait for it—naming of the winner without the use of the teleprompter. Maybe I am being too harsh because Harvey did take his lumps in front of a worldwide audience. Still, missing rehearsal is unprofessional and reading the wrong name is pretty lame, so in this instance he was not a Guy’s Guy.

2015 was a banner year for bad behavior so excuse me for excluding the likes of ungracious winner Floyd Mayweather, Greg Hardy, Tom Brady (c’mon, how did the air get out of those footballs?), the NRA, hypocritical politicians from both parties and a gridlocked Congress, Vlad Putin, the Kardashians (just being themselves), and of course the misguided, cowardly terrorists who believe that murdering innocent people is a religious act that makes the world a better place. Really.

But it’s not all bad news, amigos. This week’s GUY’S GUY of the Week is a fellow named Bairan Gomez, who you may have recently read about. His fiancée has been on dialysis so gave one of his kidneys to her. That’s a real man, and of course a true Guy’s Guy.

Happy holidays and see ya’ll next year!

Image via Shkreli's Instagram.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Holiday Parties

Robert Manni - Friday, December 18, 2015


The holidays. They're the best of times and the worst of times.

Whether it’s working like mad to finish up year-end work projects or trying to come up with a gift idea for Uncle Jerry, for many, stress reigns supreme at this time of year. But doesn’t that defeat the concept of celebrating with your colleagues and loved ones? Guy’s Guys take things one step at a time and do our best to savor the fun from mid-November through the New Year. Whether you're single or married, if you’re invited to your partner’s family or friend’s home, there are ways of easing the pain. Same goes for finessing those tricky business parties where it’s too easy to get sloppy after loading up on the free booze.

Over the years, your Guy’s Guy has made his share of mistakes during the holidays, so please accept these tips as lessons from one who has learned the hard way. In no particular order, here are my Guy’s Guys tips for handling the holidays.

Arrive On Time.

"On time" means within a half hour or so of when you are expected. If you're meeting your new partner’s family for the first time at Thanksgiving, you don’t want to be standing around in the kitchen while a frenzy of cooking is taking place around you. And you don’t want to plop down in the living room glued to the Lions-Packers game while others arrive and wonder who the guy is that is eating all the chips and salsa. If it’s a corporate party, if you show up too early it’s too easy to get a head start on the cocktails. In an hour or two, this can backfire. Keep the thirty-minute rule in mind when planning your arrival and you should be okay.

Manage Your Intake of Alcohol.

We’ve all seen chumps who drank too much at the holiday party while the head of HR stood by taking mental notes. That can be tough if you work in advertising where I’ve seen tray after tray of shots attacked by a thirsty mob. It all depends on your company’s culture. If you are buzzed and see the crowd thinning out, grab your coat and leave. It’s that simple if you want to protect your professional reputation.

When it comes to visiting your partner’s family or friends, same rule. Watch your drinking, eat moderately and leave with the others, especially or when you’ve had too much wine and have had your fill of your partner’s drunken uncle that insists Obama is from Kenya or something equally polarizing. You don’t want to get into a heated argument at this time. You’re a guest and it’s just not worth it.

Bring Something for the Host.

Of course this refers to gatherings of friends and families, not the company party. It’s hard to go wrong bringing a bottle of wine at the holidays unless you are entering an alcohol-free household. If that’s the case, dessert (cookies, cup cakes, pie) or a homemade appetizer is always welcomed. Unless you're asked, avoid bringing entrees. That’s the host’s domain.

Make Small Talk.

 For me, the perfect Thanksgiving used to be a quick greeting, three hours of non-stop eating and drinking before watching the Dallas Cowboys and falling asleep on the couch. As a single guy with all married relatives, I got pretty good at this over the years. In my family, no one asks how I am doing anyway. Might as well put on the feedbag while listening to everyone else’s problems. I’d ask a question or two between bites, but that’s it. Now that I’m married and have an infant child, we’re more integrated and the attention is on the baby. That said, I learned (slowly) to focus on the others and their lives. It takes away the burden of thinking about myself and gives me insights into how they see the world.

Know When To Go Home.

I’ve stated clear warnings about making your exit if you drink too much at a gathering. But, even if you're stone cold sober, there is a proper time to move on. First, do something to help the host clean up; even it is carrying a few plates into the kitchen. Enjoy your coffee, try those cookies your niece brought, and be mindful of when people are leaving. If you’re at your parent’s house, of course you can hang around, but if you are visiting someone else’s home for the first time, you do not want to overstay your welcome. Just pay attention and you’ll be fine. Drive defensively while driving home to catch the fourth quarter of the game.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week are all the travelers that brave the stress of trains, planes and automobiles to visit their loved ones over the holidays.


Will you manage the holidays this year or will they manage you?

Image courtesy of Klock Entertainment


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