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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

How to Improve Your Chance for Romance

Robert Manni - Thursday, December 05, 2013


Once upon a time there was no Instagram, Tinder, Facebook, Match.com, Vine, and no sexting, texting, or even e-mail.

Can you imagine? If a young buck wanted to meet a nice lady, he’d take a deep breath, walk across the bar room, smile and say something clever like, “Hey, my name's Steve.”  If he was fortunate enough that she didn’t blow cigarette smoke his way, it was on him to keep the conversation going in the hopes of making a connection. This requires a real conversation, one that transcends discussing recent episodes of “The Walking Dead” or fantasy football.  Keep it real, amigo. Before we were drowning in technology, people were forced to connect face-to-face, person-to-person. It was a good way to foster social skills and the fine art of conversation. Instead of hiding behind cell phones and 140 characters on Twitter, dudes had to put themselves on the line in the hopes of as a way of making a woman feel special. With this in mind I humbly offer the Guys’ Guy’s four easy ways to polish your social skills and improve the chances for romance.

Put The Gadgets Away.

There's a million apps available to help guys out on the town connect with random women.  But texting a stranger from across the bar will not enhance your social élan. It’s much more effective to introduce yourself in person, like our friend Steve did all those years ago. Women prefer the direct approach. Just be a gentleman and don’t gawk at their boobs. When scoping out the female prospects, check the hair, the bag and the shoes. They’ll tell you a lot about a woman and how she sees herself. Once you decide whom you want to meet, think of an open-ended conversation starter that requires a real answer, not a yes or no. “Do you like pickle backs?” probably won’t get you far. Then, tuck that cell phone into your pocket, flash your best smile and make your approach.

Pay Attention.

This is the cardinal rule for connecting with women. That’s because women pay attention and have this amazing capacity to assimilate tons of detailed information about everything, including what you said two months ago about your ex. Men are not very good at this. But, guys who learn the value of active listening find themselves miles ahead of their beer swilling mates that half-listen to their female companions while they multitask by watching the game and checking for texts every two minutes. When talking with a lady, everything else takes a back seat. Period.

Get Real.

Unless you have major bank, can rhyme like Drake or look like Gosling, you are not a chick magnet. Life is not a Rick Ross video unless you are Rick Ross.  Take a deep breath, accept who you are at this moment, then smile inwardly and say, “Damn right!” It’s all good, young man. Not all women are built like fitness models and neither are you. Laugh with others, laugh at yourself and have fun meeting women. Maybe you hit it off conversationally with someone who may not be your cup of tea physically. Not a problem. You can be friends. She might make a terrific wingman, or you could be hers.  Better yet, she may have a slammin’ girlfriend that she’ll introduce you to if she hasn’t already set her sights on you. If that’s the case, be nice and be kind. Things usually work themselves out.

Follow Up.

If you master steps one through three and score her digits or more, make sure you stay the course and call her the next day. That means the next day, not next week. And it means a phone call, not a text, not a sext of your junk, or an Instagram, etc.  Let her know you had a great time with her and that you’d like to see her again. If she shares your interest, have a plan in mind. Trust me, she’ll be impressed that you’ve not only taken the time to call her, but you had the consideration to think ahead and make her life a tad easier. Woman may be more aggressive these days, but they appreciate a dude who can take the wheel and treat them special. And, women are special.

 

Are you polishing your socials skills and connecting with women?

Tips for Your First Marathon

Robert Manni - Thursday, October 31, 2013


Running a marathon means running and completing the 26.2 miles.

Too many runners do not train properly and as a result have to drop out early or look like death if they make it to the finish line. Having completed three marathons, I’m no expert, but I do have real experience to share that will hopefully make your special day one of real achievement, personal satisfaction and injury-free. There are numerous books, online resources and clubs like the New York Road Runners or New York Flyers that can help you train for success. Consider this a topping of marzipan on your training cake, Guy’s Guy style.

Train in Advance.

I was listening to the New York Marathon broadcast on WFAN a year before running my first marathon. I was on a five-mile run and decided that I would train for a year and find a way into the race. It turned out the training was easier than actually getting a number. It was pre-9/11 and a female friend gave me her number, so I carefully made my way past the security checks and got on the bus, into the marathon compound, and up to the starting line at the Verrazano Bridge without a hitch. Don’t do this. It was nerve-racking.

Technically anyone can run a marathon. The key is putting in consistent training, staying healthy and managing minor injuries, and really wanting it. Runners need a foundation. That means logging lots of miles as a base prior to adding necessary mileage needed to be able to run a marathon. Beginning your training early will keep you healthy and focused. I highly recommend allotting a minimum of four months for training, even if many plans call for three months.

Proper Diet.

Face it. We are what we eat, and what we’re offered by the big food companies these days is not so good. If you are serious, you’ll buy a juicer and use it on organic veggies and fruits as part of your daily regime. If not, at least cut out the junk, booze and fast food. You’ll recover from your long runs a lot faster and it will keep your energy up. During the race I ate constantly (fruit, pieces of bagels, energy bars and gels) and slowed down at many of the water stops to grab a cup so I would stay hydrated.

Manage Your Injuries.

When you are logging in so many training miles—including a minimum of two twenty-mile training runs where no one is cheering you on— you learn a lot about your body and its capacity for pain. I suspect you will experience some discomfort or minor injury. Don’t ignore injuries, no matter how small. They can get serious quickly. You may need to take a day or two off to heal. All the more reason to begin your training months in advance. A marathon is a long haul, not a sprint. Treat your training the same way. Long and slow. If you want to amp up your strength and endurance, work in speed intervals, but regardless of your approach, pay attention to your body and your mental state. You will need to keep both in top shape.

Don’t Overtrain.

Your body needs rest so few days off after a twenty-mile practice run is a good thing. One reason is that you’ll do another twenty-miler in a few weeks and before the marathon. Get to bed at a reasonable hour and take advantage of naps whenever you can afford the time. Stress is your body’s archenemy, so do your best to keep your mind relaxed. I mentally mapped out the plot and necessary revisions for two novels while running. Let those endorphins be your ally.

Enjoy the Race.

When marathon day arrives, make it a time of celebration. If you’ve put in the proper amount of training, you should have a great time soaking in a once in a lifetime experience of competing at the level of an elite, world-class athlete. It is a real accomplishment. Here is my number one tip for the race—go slow. You are embarking on a twenty-six mile (plus change) journey. It’s long, really long and you are only competing with yourself. Focus on enjoying the day, the experience, the spectacle and the people. If you are full of pep with less than ten miles to go, you can pick up your pace. I assure you that while you are making up time, others will hit that wall and bonk out after mile twenty.

My first NYC Marathon was my favorite. I ran with a good friend, took my time, had lots of energy after we entered Manhattan, and actually sprinted through Central Park and across the finish line. That evening I went out with friends, devoured a plate of Mexican food and pounded a few celebratory tequila shots. Yeah, I was sore as hell the next few days, but I felt great. I ran my race exactly as I planned it. I completed two more marathons, but it wasn’t the same, for me at least. I became too concerned with my time and as a result struggled both times in the last third of the race. Take it slow and you won’t be sorry, friends.

Are you ready to run your marathon?

This week’s Guy’s Guys and Gals of the Week are the participants in this year’s NYC Marathon. Have a blast and stay safe. 

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Things That Are Better Now

Robert Manni - Thursday, October 10, 2013


There are so many things wrong today—government shut downs, GMO’s, NSA snooping and Miley’s coated tongue.

It’s too easy to add to the list and bemoan our plight. Instead, let’s go back thirty years to 1983 and compare notes. That was the year Michael Jackson dominated the charts, the Swatch was launched, McNuggets came out and Lotus 1-2-3 was our preferred software.  Here is my Guy’s Guy Guide to Things That Are Better Now. One caveat—technology is more advanced than in 1983, so we’ll put the tech-related items into context. Enjoy!

10. Central Park – From its lush greenery to the calming energy that permeates the sprawling fifty-block area to the expanded running paths and new playgrounds, Central Park keeps getting better. Central Park was, for the most part, a scrubby dump in the seventies and eighties that you could not venture into after dark. With the commitment from the city and the hard work of the Central Park Conservatory, it has been transformed again into the wonderful oasis as it was imagined.

9. Beer – No longer are we limited to old standbys like Bud and Miller. The beer industry has exploded with creativity, craft brews and innumerable fine selections available in bars, taverns and delis. You can even brew your own beer. This is very good news for beer lovers whose idea of excitement in the past was waiting for that shipment of Coors in a refrigerated container to show up on the East Coast.

8. Cooking – I thought about calling this, “Food”, but with the advent of GMO’s and factory farming, food has not gotten better. That said, the world of gastronomy has expanded and in many cities you can sample any kind of cuisine at any hour of the day. The “foodie” movement has given us an education on preparation and matching flavors. If you want more proof, check the frozen food aisle of your local supermarket. The section that once offered a merger selection of TV diners and frozen pizza has now become a smorgasbord of global offerings.

7. Clothing – Let’s face it, people can showcase their personal style a heck of a lot better now than in 1983. Men’s suits are more flattering, mixing and matching of patterns has become an art form and women have an endless selection of shoes, bags and hairstyles to embrace and call their own. Of course there's a down side: we’ve seen the casual movement turn air travel into a parade of tracksuits and ladies, those yoga pants are a bit too ubiquitous now. That said, it’s hard to argue with being comfortable.

6. Publishing – Instead of following the music industry's demise until it embraced digital offerings and sent more bands out on tour, the publishing industry was taken by surprise when self and hybrid and independent offerings created stars. Before they knew it, sales of eBooks were in line with physical book sales. This is great news for both readers and writers. Meanwhile, the publishing industry is busy peddling celebrity books because they don’t require “breaking” a new name or building a brand. Snooki had brand awareness before her novels launched.

5. Social Media – Okay; we didn’t have social media in 1983, and you may not care for those pithy, inspirational sayings from your Facebook friends, being on the receiving end of a poke, reading political rants or seeing photos of someone’s sushi lunch, but keeping in touch with long lost acquaintances can be fun. And if you’re not interested, you can turn it off at any time. Period.

4. Weed – We’re moving from draconian Rockefeller laws to medicinal use, and that’s only the beginning. Pot is going to become legal at some point during the next decade. Why? Follow the money. Marijuana is the next cash crop and it’s ripe for reaping tax revenues.

3. Gay Rights – Who would have conceived of legislation legalizing gay and lesbian marriage back in 1983? We’ve come a long way in accepting and protecting the rights of everyone regardless of their sexual preference. There isn't enough love in the world so let’s hope this will soon become a non-issue.

2. Coffee and Tea - Similar to beer, we’ve moved from a handful of mass brands to a plethora of exotic, great-tasting blends from around the world that are featured in small independent stores on every corner of the city. The same goes for tea. Once there were two big, boring brands on the shelves. Now we have dozens and even yerba mate comes in an array of flavors. That’s a good thing.

1. Broadcast Media – Cable grew from a handful of new channels to the thousands of selections we have today in a short period of time. We can watch whatever we want, whenever we want, wherever we want, with or without commercials on a multitude of devices. That's cool. Okay, I don’t like those housewives shows either, but you know what I mean.

This is just a first pass. There’s also been advances in traditional medicine, an increased awareness of holistic healing and yoga, cell phones with cameras that capture so much more good and bad behavior, and of course Duck Dynasty.

Now that doesn’t necessarily make this a better world than thirty years ago, but it’s too easy to fall into a malaise and cry about once what was. Hey people: things change and they will keep changing faster than they did over the past thirty years. Guy’s Guys look on the bright side. How about you?

Do you appreciate the many changes in our culture since 1983?

 

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Frederick Law Olmsted who won the Central Park design competition in 1857. Nice work, amigo.

Celebrating the End of Summer

Robert Manni - Friday, September 06, 2013


The media began bemoaning the end of summer on September 1st.

Guess what? It continues for another few weeks. Let’s stay positive and recognize a handful of reasons why September is a great month and fall is a great season, Guy’s Guy style.

Farewell, tourists.

As a fan of the beach and the Jersey Shore, nothing pleases local inhabitants and beachgoers more than the disappearance of what are referred to as “Bennies”, tourists form northern NJ who come down the shore, go crazy and then leave after Labor Day. More parking spaces, no waits at restaurants and fewer drunken dudes from Staten Island pounding shots of bubbleberry vodka all make up the fall dream. The same can be said about the overload of summer tourists in fanny packs clogging our NYC sidewalks. Have a nice day and goodbye.

The weather rocks.

It’s summer for three more weeks, amigos. The beach is empty, the temp's perfect, the water warm and clean and it usually stays this way through October. In the city, the days are spectacular and the nights are no longer hot and humid.

The Women.

In NYC, the women’s fashion parade begins in full swing in September and for a Guy’s Guy, it can be heavenly. Women in NYC have style and go to great lengths putting together cool outfits. Beyond their $400 jeans and designer dresses, Manhattan women have made an art of putting together their hair, shoes, and bags and the results are pleasurable to the eyes of any Guy’s Guy. It’s all in the details, so let's give it up for the ladies.

Sports.

The baseball season is rounding third base and heading for home while at the same time football and the accompanying fantasy football drafts are in full swing, making this the best time of the year for sports. Football has never been so popular and fantasy football has taken the game to a new level of fandemonium. Let’s face it—football is built for television viewing and now is the time to get our fill. And let’s not forget the US Open tennis and the NYC Marathon.

The Arts.

Film, books, television, the Met, the museums, Broadway and even the dreaded DWTS all kick off new seasons at this time of year.

Okay, these are but a few obvious reasons why they we can say “yay” to the end of summer. What I like about September and the new season is that it reminds me how each day is a new beginning filled with new opportunities. If we live in the now and focus on what can be, and tune out the media’s incessant ringing of the doom and gloom alarm, we can savor life as it’s meant to be, one beautiful day at a time.  And then we can watch the holiday sales ads.

Are you saddened over the end of summer or pumped up for the fall?

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Sir Thomas More, an old school 16th century Guy’s Guy and the subject of the Oscar-winning “A Man for All Seasons”.    

Single In Stilettos Interview with Suzanne Oshima

Robert Manni - Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Interview with Linda Strasburg on KTalk Radio

Robert Manni - Monday, April 29, 2013

Playboy Radio Interview with Tiffany Granath

Robert Manni - Monday, April 01, 2013

In A Culture Built Around Judging, How Can We Possibly Get Along?

Robert Manni - Thursday, March 21, 2013



Turn on any media outlet and there is a show built around judging others.

 When Survivor made its debut over ten years ago, the winning contestant was the person who demonstrated the best survival skills in the classic sensesuccessfully foraging for food in the jungle while avoiding getting nipped by a crocodile. Over time, the template seems to have changed to get rid of the most skilled contestant and form “alliances” that determine who will be the next person to be backstabbed by a small coalition of players who come together to destroy the others. Yes, watching the drama unfold can be fun, but I think you can see how the game has changed. And this mentality has permeated many other areas of our modern lives, for better, but mostly for worse.

Reality television keeps rolling throughout our culture.

Most reality shows fall into one of three categoriesthose featuring people we feel superior to (Swamp Brothers, Hillbilly Handfishing, Jersey Shore, Honey Boo Boo, Buckwild, and on and on) shows that make us aspire to live like the cast (Kim and Kourtney Take Miami, Vanderpump Rules, The Real Housewives of…, Top Chef, The Millionaire Matchmaker etc.), and the competition shows (Chopped, Cupcake Wars, Iron Chef, Amazing Race, American Idol, The Voice, etc.)  What all of these media offerings have in common is that they are built around judgment. I hate her, his food sucks, what a loser, you’re chopped, and so on. It’s all about I win, you lose, he sucks, whatever. All of these programs are built around conflict, which is a core component of storytelling, but life is not all about conflict and our culture is more than a story.

How the culture of judging has embedded itself into our culture.

I’m as competitive as the next Guy’s Guy, but I prefer competition to result in growth and improvement. Competition in business is healthy.  Consumers weigh in and companies launch or evolve their products. Most products are sold based on how they meet that consumer need. They usually stand on their own without trashing the competition. Sure in a few cases this has worked, but it has been done playfully as in the successful campaigns ads for 1800 tequila and Apple.

But it’s not quite the same nowadays with the people in business. People call when they need something. If not, it’s rare to hear from anyone or get a call back from even people you know. People are busy, but courtesy has taken a backseat to expediency and the new attitude of judging what’s in it for me? That’s a result of our judgmental culture. People too often see others as commodities and means for rewarding themselves, and that’s it. Friendships are few and loyalty has been reduced to a cherished and rare commodity.

Unfortunately, the excessive sniping and clawing and rejecting that predominates much of reality television permeates people’s behavior in the real world. The online dating world can be a cold place. You can dump someone without ever interacting with him or her again.  Just delete them and move on. Feelings? What? Many online players are serial daters who are endlessly getting laid and trading up. His checklist and her checklist are all that matters. If you don’t stack up, you’re out. That’s just the way it is for many folks, but you do not have to live that way.

What can we do?

We all have free will and can chose to live life our own way. And that’s how it should be. Guy’s Guys and their female counterparts take the time to get to know people and are mindful about treating others with respect. It’s so easy to judge, but have you ever noticed the empty feeling inside when we trash another person? Yeah, we’ve all done it. The question to ask yourself is have you imagined yourself as the target of someone else’s judgments? Think about it next time you’re about to go negative.

Our Guy's Guy of the Week is Thich Nhat Hahn—one of the most respected Zen masters in the world.

Are you doing what it takes to transcend our culture of judgments? 

The Guys' Guy's Morning Blend Interview

Robert Manni - Friday, February 15, 2013

How to Jumpstart Your Dating Life in 2013

Robert Manni - Thursday, December 27, 2012


With New Year's right around the corner, it is easy to get discouraged by thinking about all the things that sucked in 2012. From Sandy to horrible shootings... 2012 was a challenge. But a new beginning follows each year-end and it is up to you to take charge of your life. And the best way to get started is by having a plan, so here are some Guy’s Guy resolutions for sparking up your dating life and igniting love in the new year.

1. Let Go Of The Past

It’s easy to get all mopey if your love life did not shine as brightly as you wanted during this crazy past year. There was so much toxic news spewed out by the media—the endless financial crisis, nauseating politics,  and another batch of housewife shows. What to do? Start by breathing and letting go of 2012. You made it through the haze, kiddo, so give yourself a pat on the back and remind yourself of all of the good things you accomplished like not saying anything when that big, smelly guy squeezed into the middle seat next to you on the C train last August and would not stop moaning and slurping as he stared at that toe cleavage in your Jimmy Choos the entire ride to 96th Street or when… oh, you know what I mean.  It doesn’t matter because that was last year and it’s over. Let it go, baby.

2. Live Right Now

The new year comes with the possibilities for change. It only takes one connection between two people to forge the bond for a great couple. Decide what you want in your partner and why. Then ask yourself if you're being realistic and fair to your suitors. Don’t ask for the moon if all you are offering is green cheese.

3. Ditch The List

That’s right. Take that damn checklist—you know the one that starts with his being a six foot three investment banker with smoldering eyes and thirty million in an offshore account just waiting to be spent on you. Yeah, that one. Toss it before it imprisons you. When you’re open-minded, life brings surprises. When you get controlling, you also get frown lines and crows feet, and them's for the birds, not for chicks like you. If you always get everything you wanted whenever you wanted it, either your name is Beyonce or you’re an heiress. For the rest of us, and no one is suggesting that you sell yourself short, but if you are weighed down by so many rules, you’ll diminish your sparkling energy, which is what attracts the dudes. Does that make sense?

4. Big Smile, Please

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

5. Get Up, Get Out

Unless you want to spend your weekends uploading your pictures on FB again, do what Mick Jagger suggests. "Get up, get out, get into something new". Action creates action, ladies. Decide what flips your switch and get moving. Take a wine class, run the park, learn Mandarin, or have cocktails with an old friend. Staying on the couch with sweet lovable Fluffy is comforting, but it will not help you meet The One. He’s out there doing something and hoping to meet someone just like you.

I know this can be easier said than done, but you can do it. Remember, no one has a better handle on your future than you.

Are you ready for a new beginning or will you drop the ball after New Year's Eve?

This week's Guy's Guy of the week is Ryan Seacrest. Not our prototypical Guy's Guy, but he was handed the baton by Dick Clark so let's give him his props.


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