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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

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 Love - An Exploration of the Heart

Robert Manni - Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Jagger had it right when he sang, “Love, it’s a bitch”.

Sure, it makes the world go around and can make your heart go pitter, patter, but love can also break your heart and cause a lot of pain. How can we maintain a loving heart in a world filled with so much hateful behavior? At times it’s hard to love our fellow man. But, it’s not all bad. If you look deep inside, there is a light that shines. It’s a spark, that part of you that comes from God. And it keeps burning no matter what.

This week, your Guy’s Guy is taking on love, with all the hurt and happiness that accompanies it. This one’s is not about my novel, The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love per se, but it runs along a parallel path by exploring the different kinds of love we experience—romantic, friendship, family love, and the love of humanity and all its flaws. Hopefully, we’ll come to the same conclusion; ultimately love is all we have, and we need to do everything we can to express it every day.

Let’s take a look at the various forms of love, to see if we can find common ground, and ways to understand how we can keep our love alive.

1. Family - The old saying states that you can’t choose your family. But I’ve also read in spiritual texts that before incarnating we choose our parents and family based on lessons we need to learn.

This makes more sense to me, because human ascension requires certain experiences for growth. I’m sure many people would welcome the opportunity to choose their families again because not every familial situation brings joy. Throughout history, family members have done horrible things to their relatives. Not all, but some. That’s just how it goes. And I think you’d agree that at times, everyone’s family seems like it’s totally screwed up. But however we became connected to our families, we’re here now and in it together, so we need to find ways to make the best of it. I’ve learned this the hard way.

Maybe your family is like mine. I like speaking my mind, and for years I assumed you could talk to your family honestly about anything. But I was wrong. My family is made up of good, well-intended people. The problem is, they don’t get me—at all. Compounding the issue, my brood doesn’t share its feelings. Over the years, this has created frustration and occasional outbursts. Over time, I reluctantly decided to shut up and look elsewhere for understanding, validation, and honesty. At family functions I bite my tongue (for the most part) and I’ve learned that it’s better to simply love them than try to get them to understand me. There wasn’t one incident that switched on the light. It took time, lots of time, to understand that although these nice people are my family, it doesn’t mean that they think the same way I do or live their lives the way I do. And, it’s okay. I’ll love them unconditionally regardless. In my heart I thank them for their love and the lessons they are teaching me. I love them.

2. Friends – What’s the old saying? Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. At times, they can feel like one and the same.

I’ve done my very best to maintain long-term friendships, and as you know, that’s not always easy. Some people change and evolve, and others travel a different path. But that’s okay. If my friends and I remain on the same page with how we relate, laugh, and treat others, we’re good. But of course, that’s not always the case. Everyone relates to their friends differently. Some never initiate a call, but they are always there if you come up with an idea. There can be misunderstandings, and for some, it’s easier to talk behind a friend’s back than engage in an honest conversation about a point of contention.

I have a friend of over thirty years who for some reason did not respond to my wedding invitation. Ironically, I had been his best man. Eventually I called him two days before the wedding. When I asked if he was attending, he danced and dodged about things that were going on in his life. He couldn't bring himself to just say “no”. Instead he said, “I might stop by.” WTF? Initially I was understandably irked and cut him out of my life. But over time, he began reaching out and acting very cordial and differential to me. Still no mention of the wedding. I finally got together with him this summer when he arranged a road trip and bought concert tickets for our old crew. I showed up and had a nice time. Still no mention of my wedding. I had to make a decision. We’d been friends for decades, but it just wasn’t in him to deal with that issue. Like me, he is a flawed individual, although we do things differently. So, although I don’t go out of my way to see him anymore, I let the ”issue” pass. In my heart, I love him as a person, and for the good times we shared. I’ve moved on. That’s all there is.

You have to make smart choices about friends and which ones are worth keeping. You’re not going to change them, so you either accept them as they are or move on. Sometimes, the choices are tough, but if you use your heart as a guide you’ll make the right decisions. And, you can still love them for the times you shared.

3. Romance – Love hurts. No matter how you look at it, we’ve all felt the pain of a broken heart.

The good news is that relationships are great teachers. The practice of opening our hearts is a great practice. I have loved and lost, loved and lusted, and simply loved. I most enjoy loving and lusting. The biggest challenge for most people when it comes to love is letting go. In retrospect, every time I got dumped turned into ultimate good fortune. I managed to avoid marriage until a few years ago, and I am glad I did.

My last long-term girlfriend dumped me. I suspect she was cheating on me with a colleague. She didn’t cop to it, but all the signs were there. They took unnecessary business trips together and then he and his wife, at the time, took us to a concert, and it felt weird. When the end came, I was at initially devastated. My heart did not want to let go. But, it was time, so I shed a tear or two and moved on. They got married and I dated like crazy before finally meeting my wife. Now I’m beyond grateful that all of this happened. I had my fun, got away from an unfulfilling relationship, and met the right person for me.

Looking back on all of my relationships, I can honestly say that at the time I loved all of these women and regardless of the dirty details of the break-ups, I harbor no negative feelings for them. In fact I love them as people and hope they are happy. We had our good times and I am grateful. It’s so much easier this way. After all, who wants to be in a relationship with someone who does not share the same feelings toward them? It’s easier to simply love.

4 . The Human Race – People do screwed-up, crazy, mean shit to each other every day.

It upsets me, especially the little stuff, because it is so unnecessary. Here's an example: I hire a plumber to replace my water heater. They do the job, but while at my place, promise to come back a replace a cartridge in my leaky faucet. Since he did not have one on the truck, the guy who did the work said he would come back in a few days, give me the plastic cartridge for free and charge me 15 minutes time to fix it. I’ve been calling the main office on a daily basis for over a week now to get this done. Unfortunately, I’m forced to deal with the same repressed, passive-aggressive person who always answers the phone. She keeps finding reasons for why the work has not been scheduled yet. “I told my boss”. ”He doesn’t come in to the office much”. “I gave her the message”. “We’re very busy right now”. She’s got a new excuse every time I call. And she never calls me back. It’s obvious that she has no interest in helping me. In fact, in her own strange way she’s getting off on exerting her minuscule bit of power in life by preventing me from having my faucet repaired. What can I do?

I decided to thank her internally for helping to teach myself how to control my temper and develop patience. I’m almost choking on my words, but I love her. I may feel like giving her a wedgie, but I realize that she has her own issues. I recognize that we both come from the same loving spark of God. And so, I will love her, no matter how difficult it feels. And, I’ll check out YouTube and most likely fix the faucet myself.

There’s so much more to love. For me, the key is to recognize that we all come from the same spark. It’s not up to us to decide who is worthy or not of love because we are all equally deserving. I know it can be a challenge, but love is why we are here. Learn how to love everyone.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is ex-Beatle, John Lennon, who so aptly said, “It matters not who you love, why you love, when you love or how you love, it matters only that you love”.

Why Bruce Jenner is a Guy's Guy

Robert Manni - Thursday, May 21, 2015


Yes, I know. It’s not Bruce anymore. And although we don’t know the new name yet, the guy who was once Bruce is now a she. And that’s a good thing for him, for her, and for everyone else. Why? This is who he is. And who are we to judge this poor soul? Amigos, there is not enough love in the world.

While watching Jenner’s revealing “coming out” interview with Diane Sawyer, I could not help but sympathize with this tortured human being. Bruce began the conversation with a take on his life from the view of the good Lord. Jenner said it must have been quite the joke when God made little Bruce and decided to put him into an amazing male physical vessel while also giving him the soul of a woman. Bruce shook his head as he laughed at the life-long challenge God had provided. Who of us has never felt out of place or that we don’t fit in or that people don’t get us, or see us we truly are? And now Jenner simply wants to live out his remaining time as the woman he kept buried deep inside for all those years.

The fact that Jenner began his coming out talk with this amazing example of self-awareness, humor and grace increased the respect I had already had for the Guy’s Guy I watched win the 1976 Olympic men’s decathlon in Montreal for Team USA.

At the time, he became an instant celebrity and American folk hero, gracing the front of the Wheaties box and inspiring young men all over America to grow up and be the next Bruce Jenner representing their country in the Olympics. And now, here he was at sixty-seven years of age, shaking his hair out of his ponytail and revealing to the world that all this time he’s been living the painful life of a man with the soul of a woman trapped inside. Hopefully he's now at peace. And hopefully Jenner can front a movement to bring awareness, understanding, and equal rights to the transgender community. Do we really care which sex he decides to date or what he does with his body? That’s up to him and now, to her. And who knows, maybe this is the long-awaited contribution we’ve been waiting for from the Kardashians. Take that, Kanye.

Jenner had been a late night punch line the past few years, as we saw him slowly allow his feminine side to emerge. Of course, many people saw him as a confused freak that did not know who he was. But, the opposite is true. Here is a man who actually knew exactly what and who he was. The problem is most of us looked at him scornfully while we held onto our preconceived notions about what men, women and their behavior should be, from our perspective. Jenner’s coming out (I don’t have a better phrase for his revelation) is nothing short of heroic. We get it now. You can be physically born one sex, yet have the soul of the opposite sex within. It’s complicated, but it does not make you any less worthy of love.

The Guy’s Guy credo is “when men and women can be at their best, everyone wins.” And that’s why Jenner is a Guy’s Guy. Let’s get something straight about being a Guy’s Guy. A Guy’s Guy is not a macho man. A Guy’s Guy respects his fellow men and women while living a life built on a foundation of treating people with respect. You don’t have to be a man’s man, a straight man or even a man to be a Guy’s Guy. It’s about making the world a better place, one man, one woman at a time. Jenner fits that bill just fine for me.

Throughout my life, when I’m in doubt about new concepts, new people, what seems like new behavior and cultural evolution, I step back and remind myself of a phrase to help me withhold judgment. These words have helped me choose love over fear, every time, without fail.

There is not enough love in the world.

It’s as simple as that. So next time you come across something new that you don’t yet like or understand, wait. While your judgment coils like a cobra ready to strike, consider these words. There is not enough love in the world.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week? Do you really have to ask?

God bless Bruce Jenner.

The Anti-Guy's Guys

Robert Manni - Friday, March 06, 2015


In a Guy’s Guys world, men and women are at their best and everyone wins. It’s about guys stepping up in a time where women are beginning to receive their long overdue recognition.

It’s about our displaying the more admirable characteristics of the “Man’s Man” from a latter day without falling prey to an overload of machismo and a superior attitude towards the ladies. A Guy’s Guy is cooler and more casual than his predecessors from the twentieth century. He’s got timeless style, emotional intelligence, and quiet confidence. And most of all, he respects women.  There are millions of guys who are evolving and becoming better men, but at the same time there are still way too many total bad actors.

Maybe it’s fear. Or anger. Or maybe some guys are just a-holes. I’m not sure, but why is it so tough for some dudes to fit this new definition of masculinity? Since we’ve focused so many posts on ways to embrace the positive qualities of a Guy’s Guy, maybe it’s time to shed some light on those who are not making the grade. I’ve limited my list to cultural personalities and left out terrorists, militants, and even politicians. Here is my first batch of Anti-Guy’s Guys. These dudes have failed miserably. Let’s hope they see the light and change their act.

1. A-Rod.

This knucklehead was on the fast track to not only break MLB’s all-time home run record, but also be inconsideration as the best baseball player EVER. So what does he do? He takes steroids. He gets nabbed. He denies it. Once the evidence is presented, he admits it and says he’s sorry. And, oh yeah, and he’s learned his lesson and will never do it again. Let’s fast forward three years and one Yankees World Championship later. He gets caught again and the same scenario replays itself. He gets suspended for a season. Now he’s forty years old and has two bad hips which could very likely be the result of his steroid abuse. And now, he’s penned a hand written note to the fans asking for forgiveness and support. And guess what? He just can’t figure out why he took those dang steroids and took on his team and Major League Baseball in court. To make matters worse, the Yanks are stuck with his sixty million dollar contract. Yikes, A-Rod. I’ve only scratched the surface of your ego-driven narcissism. You are not a Guy’s Guy. Get help, please.

2. Ray Rice.

Dude, you don’t hit women. Period. And when it’s your finance, what can I say? You need help, and since this prized pair is now actually  married, she needs help also. Recently Mr. Rice had his PR team draft a, “I’m sorry and I’ve learned form my mistakes, so can I be reinstated right away?” release. I suggest deep counseling, lots of soul searching and finding a new line of work besides the NFL.

3. Bernie Madoff.

Methodically and consistently bleeding your friends and family of their hard earned savings is unconscionable. To make matters worse, I don’t recall hearing much from Mr. Madoff in terms of apologies and contrition. He was greedy and he got caught. He lost his trial and off he went to jail, leaving a trail of heartache and pain behind him. Hey Bernie, read my blog. You’ve got the time now.

4. Congress.

With an approval rating below 20% and an overwhelmingly male roster, this group has done very little in the past eight years besides taking partisan stands and lining their pockets from donors and K Street lobbyists.  As a result, the citizens of this great country are paying their salaries and benefits while at the mercy of their corruption. Guys, do me a favor and read the Declaration of Independence and the U. S. Constitution a few times. 

5. Corporations.

The food companies work like hell to sell us processed products like sugar-laden Frosted Flakes that are Grrreat for us, while also fighting tooth and nail not to let the consumers see what’s in the products they are shilling. Big pharma makes a killing selling consumer drugs that are weighed down by side effects requiring, guess what, other drugs. Hence the prescription drug cocktail. Oil company spills have ravaged our seas while their billions in profits could be used to fund alternative energy sources that don’t imprison our economy to pollution-causing crude. The list of industries goes on and on, all fueled by chasing the almighty dollar over any consideration about their fellow man. And by the way, the vast majority of corporate CEO’s are men. Guys, please take a break from counting your stacks and start thinking about sustainability and how to save our fragile planet.

6. Ben Carver. 

A brilliant neurosurgeon decides to run for president and quickly shoots down his candidacy in one of his first national interviews by firmly stating that being gay is a choice. He backs up his claim by telling the interviewer that many men go into prison straight and exit prison gay. I don’t think Mr. Carver has spent any nights in prison. If he wants to make a difference, I suggest that consider he perform the world’s first self-lobotomy.

7. Media, Brian Williams, Bill O’Reilly.

There are only a handful of news organizations remaining and they decide what they collectively deem as news. You can click your remote back and forth on any given night and see the same stories being told the same way by a different set of pretty faces. We get constant updates on the stories they choose, until they decide the story is played out and ready to be replaced with the next one of their choosing. How many headlines on the evening news are about our eight-year war in Afghanistan? Yet, we all know when Bruce Jenner gets into a fender bender. On top of this we have so-called journalists who have been ginning up fond memories of their legacy-embellishing escapades that have been found to be not exactly true. This is amazing and sad. And yes, men run the media world, too. 

8.  Floyd Mayweather.

You call yourself the GOAT (greatest of all time). So why have you ducked the same fighter for the past six years? Finally, this talented, undefeated welterweight has been shamed into meeting a smaller Manny Pacquiao in the ring for a paltry estimated purse of $300 million. Mayweather picked the date, the venue, and the other variables. Will he also hand pick the referee and the judges? Let’s hope not, but hope he shows up. Here’s to 47-1.

So there you have a short list of people and organizations that need a wake up call. It’s not so difficult to be a Guy’s Guy. Just respect yourself, your fellow man, and women. The rest will fall into place.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Tyler Perry. This talented actor, writer, producer, director recently purchased a new van for a woman with cerebral palsy whose vehicle was stolen from her driveway. Coincidently, one his most successful film projects is, “Good Deeds”. Well done, Mr. Perry.

Confessions of a Horndog: The Way Guys View Sex

Robert Manni - Sunday, October 19, 2014


Sure we’re approaching 2015, but have things changed that much when it comes to how men and women view sex? I’ve been thinking about that a lot these past few weeks. Most guests on my Guy's Guy Radio podcast take a politically correct stance, insisting that all things are equal when it comes to how men and women view sex.

Let’s agree that women’s empowerment is growing, and it’s long overdue. And when it comes to sex, although more and more of today’s women hunt male prey the way guys chase women, does the majority female mindset view sex the way men do? I’m not sure. Let’s take a look at some of the ways men view sex. Then I’ll let you ladies determine if women see it the same way.

I have a lot of guy friends and they seem to fall into two camps. One group is made up of total horn dogs. Regardless of their age or relationship status, they think about sex all day. They are visual, they fantasize, they talk about sex, and although they may not stray; they’re mentally sexed up. I fall into this camp and I always have.

I love sex and I think about it a lot. In the past I’d act on my impulses, even when I was in a relationship. I was young and believed that you only live once. You can say that I was a selfish guy. I was, but I loved sex and if there was extracurricular activity, it was simply a physical act to me. Although I had to have some connection with them, I kept the sex in a non-binding neutral, unemotional, no-strings attached box. And it worked for me.

There are a lot of guys who see sex this way. Sex is sex, and since it is always on our minds, we tend to take advantage of the opportunities as they present themselves. After all, when you are single, you’re single.

Now that I’m married and a bit wiser, I focus one hundred percent of my attention on my wife. She deserves it, and I’m doing everything I can to be the best partner. That said, I’m still a horny guy.

Living in New York City, I see and interact with a lot of hot women. Do I think about having sex with them? The thought has crossed my mind from time to time (that means yes), but I don’t act on it. Part of the reason is that I know my wife is loyal and I don’t think my having sex with other women would be fair to her. Most of the others guys I know in the horn dog camp think and behave this way, also. We enjoy the company of an attractive woman in a business or social situations, but we are men now so we keep things under control. The question is: could I have sex with a random attractive woman and just leave it at that? I could, but again, I don’t. If I did, it would simply be a curiosity and a matter of variety. That’s all. But, I don’t. Will my wife kill me if she reads this? I don’t think so. She knows that I am a horn dog, but one who is on a leash.

Here is one more thing to factor in about the horn dog camp. As with any group, you always have a lunatic fringe. These are the guys who can’t stop going to strip clubs, chasing women, and having sex with whoever they can, regardless of the guy’s age or if they are married. I don’t know many women who fall into this camp, but plenty of guys do. And, unfortunately, most of these dudes are married.

The other group of guys I know never discuss sex, make a sexual comment or even crack a joke about sex.

I find that most of these guys are married or involved in a one-on-one relationship. They don’t “cheat”, but many times they fall in love with other people. When things don’t work out, they divorce and get right back into a one-on-one relationship, many times with someone they fell for when they were married.

They don’t like dating and they find comfort in always having a special someone at their side. I don’t know what you call these guys, but I’ve heard them referred to as serial monogamists. Since I do not fall into this camp, I don’t have as good a grasp on what’s going through their heads when it comes to sex. Do they think about it as much as I do? Are they repressed? Why do they go from one relationship to the next? I don’t know. It seems like these fellas are not interested in recreational sex, but I could be wrong. Maybe they’re horn dogs also, but just more discreet.

I’m wondering if today’s women fall into the same two camps: lady horn dogs and serial monogamists. Maybe nowadays men and women actually do have the same perspectives about sex. But again, I’ll let the ladies decide.

And I’m not certain if there is anything we can do with these confessions and insights beyond being true to ourselves and fair-minded in how we see others. Sex is a personal issues and such a lightning rod subject in our society. The more dialogue we have about it, the better chance we have of understanding the opposite sex and ourselves. And that’s a good thing.

Is your guy a horn dog, and is that a bad thing?

NYC vs. SoCal - Part 2 (The Subtle Differences)

Robert Manni - Monday, August 25, 2014

This isn’t your usual comparison between LA and NYC. We’re not talking movie stars and masters of the universe or beach bunnies and fashionistas or the Yankees and Dodgers. Those comparisons been covered quite well by numerous insightful writers and bloggers. This post targets those under the radar differences in how people live on both coasts. For context, my in-laws are in Temecula, ninety minutes southeast of LA and I visit them every summer. So through my Jersey-bred Guy’s Guy lens, I’ve spent the last week studying the day-to-day nuances of the people and the area. Here are my findings on the nuances between the two coasts. 

Oil and Water

In most cases, these two liquids don’t mix. But in SoCal they’re fundamental resources that drive the economy and lives of the vast population of this sprawling state. The highways are jammed with gas guzzling vehicles at all hours across the myriad highways woven through the mountains, plains, cities and beachfronts. For the most part, the vast terrain is stained brown and parched except where developments have been built and landscaped. All the foliage needs constant hydration to counteract the impact of an ever-blazing sun. Without oil for transportation and water for hydration, this state is cooked. Back East, we don’t see the importance of these resources in the same way. We have the option of mass transportation. And, the ravages from flooding far outweigh the infrequent dry spells. In SoCal, drought is the norm. There have been rumblings about privatizing the water supply since. If the water supple continues to dwindle, watch these closely.

Old vs. New 

In SoCal, you constantly see land being cleared and vast, new developments being built. In New York, it’s all about gentrification and the re-re invention of neighborhoods throughout the boroughs. What was once a ghetto is now a million-dollar listing. In New York, old becomes new. In SoCal, everything is new except those off the beaten path, barren and forgotten small towns in the valleys that look like they were built in the seventies.

The Ubiquitous Taco

In Manhattan, if an establishment serves decent tacos, it gets a write up in the coolest city-centric blogs and publications, lauding its creativity and authenticity. In SoCal, there is a Mom and Pop taco shop or chain store situated on every other street corner. And most of them still beat the pants off any Mexican food you can find in the Big Apple.  The inverse is true for pizza and bagels. They’re great in NYC and for the most part still fall short in SoCal. Go figure.

Health Foods

Advantage SoCal. Chains like Sprouts and Roots are light years ahead of Whole Foods and the small health food stores permeating the city. The produce is fresher, bigger, tastier and far less expensive. I bought a gluten-free tuna wrap the other day for three dollars. I did a double take on my way to the register, thinking the sandwich dude had messed up. But, no, the cost was one-third of what I pay in NYC or Jersey. In fact, all the food in SoCal is way cheaper than in New York. But with the exception of mahi-mahi, the seafood in SoCal is in no way comparable in quality or taste to what we get on the East Coast. Go figure.

Stores and Service

Let’s face it. Everyone in New York who works in retail hates their job and most of them let you know it. Who hasn’t dealt with the grumbling, grunting retail employee whose idea of friendliness is a curt “no problem” when you ask for a bag to carry your groceries? In SoCal the vibe is looser, sometimes to the point of absurdity. Yesterday the check out guy at Ralph’s in Temecula looked at my San Diego Padres baseball cap and exclaimed, “Cool hat!” I wondered if he was talking to me. After all, the Padres are the local team. Does anyone say this when you wear your Yankees cap in New York? The other night I ran into Albertsons to buy ice. The check out guy looked at my paper coffee cup and said, “Ah, having a late night cup of Joe?” People just don’t say things like that to you in New York. As innocuous as this comment is, it would feel intrusive.

Another example of the differences—my wife and stopped by a local Coffee Grind at 9:15pm for a decaf lattes. The Place closes at 9:30. We’d had not been there in a year. However, the owner told us we looked familiar. Then he gave us one half dozen doughnuts that he was planning on tossing. And they were really good. A bonus example: I called Sports Authority to find out the stores hours. The place was closed. Yet, someone answered the phone. “Sports Authority. Hi, this is Eric.” Never happen in a New York minute. I chalk all of this up to the fact that unlike in the hectic grind of New York City, people in SoCal have more time to be friendly. Another cool thing. The supermarkets sell wine and booze and most have banks under the same roof. And for some crazy reason, despite the non-stop, scorching sun and baking heat, the tanning salons do quiet well out here. Go figure.

Parking

In New York, pedestrians usually seek out the sunny side of the street. In SoCal, drivers keep their eyes peeled to find a spot in the shade. What the heck do you call those silver and black mats drivers prop up against their windshield to block out the sun? Go figure.

Proximity

In SoCal you can hop in the car and be in the mountains, the beach, golf or gambling within an hour. Technically you can also do this in New York, but the Catskills are not six thousand feet high, as far as I know.  And my beloved Jersey Shore is not Malibu. And the number of accessible and affordable golf courses in SoCal dwarfs New York. And all the Indian Reservations in SoCal are less seedy than Atlantic City or the dumps in Queens.

Sounds like your Guy’s Guy is contemplating a move west. Maybe. But despite all of its crabbiness and dirt, there really is no place like New York. There is a passion that permeates the air, the energy and everyone you meet in the five boroughs. Hell, even the guy flipping pizza on Carmine Street dough has attitude, gravitas and a few stories to tell. I’m an East Coast guy through and through, but I do love the So Cal lifestyle and with each trip out west I find more to enjoy about it, despite things that seem weird to a New Yorker. Go figure.

Is your vibe East Coast or West Coast?

This week’s Guys’ Guys of the Week are all the people who love New York and SoCal and find the joy wherever they’re at.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to When Guys Get Together

Robert Manni - Friday, June 20, 2014


When the boys get together and hoist a few cold ones, they discuss almost everything under the sun… except their relationships.

As guys congregate, the general topics of conversation are work, money, toys, sports, politics and jokes all around. Is this a bad thing? Let’s discuss. Here are the things men usually discuss when they get together with their best buds.

First round of drinks: Career and Money

Men like to share their business success with their friends. In general, men want their friends to get ahead, but they want to succeed on a bigger scale. There's an unspoken, healthy competition between guys. A lot of guys keep score and measure their lives by who has the biggest job, bank account, house, or hottest wife or girlfriend. Is this America? Is this capitalism? No worries. This is human nature in the alpha kingdom. Men understand this.

Let’s say one guy has recently been overlooked for a promotion. He probably won’t tell his friends because he thinks of it as a fail. So, when one of the other guys at the bar announces he’s landed a huge new job, the first guy is happy for his buddy, but also asking himself, “what’s wrong with me?” That’s how men roll and I'm sure women react the same way to a certain extent.

Fortunately, over time, a Guy’s Guy’s priorities change. They realize that their relationships, family, health, and friends are what make the difference in the quality of their lives. But that’s for another column.

Second round: Toys, Sports, and Politics

We don’t need to spend much time on this. Men love to crow about their cars, vacations, golf clubs and wine collection. They all have their favorite teams and their favored politicians. While the games drone on in the background, the guys argue endlessly about the Red Sox, Yankees, Obama, the Tea Party, or which club they used on the par three at Winged Foot. Of course nothing changes until the next game, golf match, or election.

Round three: Women and Relationships

Even if a guy is having relationship issues, he’s not going to share them with his boys. Whenever I overhear two or more women having drinks, the subject of men invariably comes up. Women seem comfortable discussing personal stuff and emotionally tinged issues with their girlfriends, all the way down to joking or bragging about a man’s size and performance. But regardless of things being good or bad in a relationship, guys don’t share the details, and especially not with a group of friends.  Here’s why.

Let’s say a guy is dating a woman who's dynamite in bed. There's no way that he wants the other guys to know this; you never know what they think of her. And we all know that men sometimes poach another guy’s partner (it happens). If the woman he’s dating is bringing him down and he’s not sure what to do, he won’t tell his friends. That’s a fail. So when it comes to finding an objective voice to discuss a relationship issue, it’s not that easy being a guy. Guys will never discuss their relationships in a group unless one guy announces something major like he’s gotten engaged or his wife is having a baby.

Round Four: The Details

If a guy has come to a major decisionmaybe breaking up or divorcing, he’ll probably pull a close buddy aside and spills the beans. He’s not looking for advice. He is looking for support for his decision and to be heard by a trusted friend. The other guy knows this, so he actively listens and does his best to be supportive. If he thinks his friend is using his left-brain to address a right-brain issue or if he’s making a tragic error, the friend will weigh in with a few pointed questions. Again, this is a one-on one private conversation, not group bar talk.

Closing Time

So you see that being a guy can be a lonely experience. In the male culture we don’t often talk about our feelings or relationships. And we rarely discuss what we are thinking with other men before we make our decisions. Even when it comes to relationships, men make their choices independently and then tell their friends. Is this a good thing? I’ll let you decide. One way you can help men out is by being available to any guy who seeks you out with a problem that he wants to discuss. This means you’re a trusted, special person to this guy, and that’s a good thing.

So next time you see a bunch of guys hanging at the bar, they are probably talking about their careers, toys, sports, diversionsanything but their relationships.

Our Guy's Guy of the Week is your neighborhood barkeep, who hears all the chatter from the other side of the bar and focuses on his task at hand while keeping his point of view to himself.

So, do you know what that group of guys across the bar is talking about?    

Our Negative Culture

Robert Manni - Thursday, May 22, 2014


Seeing all the videos, parodies and effusive comments on social media about Pharrell’s omnipresent hit song, “Happy” makes me scratch my head.

If everyone is so damn happy, then why do we wallow in a bottomless pool of gory, violent, toxic stories in the movies, on television and in the news? The common denominators on our palette are negativity, human failure, and buckets of blood. Welcome to 2014.

For some reason, studios and networks insist on showcasing deceit, vengefulness, violence, and dishonesty as entertainment. I thought that’s what we have to deal with at work. Who wants to experience this angst again in their free time after hours in HD? Could it be the hypnotic power of that 54” screen dominating our living room and minds? Your Guy’s Guy takes his media medicine in small, detached doses and decries, “Is this the best we can come up with?” Here are a few considerations for consuming content.

Violence

A Guy’s Guy likes a good dust up and action-packed films, but lately, things have gotten out of hand. Even the Hollywood legends have gotten into the act. Stallone’s “Expendables” franchise is really just a bunch of aging action stars shooting, stabbing and punching their way to a paycheck. Sly’s latest endeavor is something called, “Bullet to the Head”. What can I say?

Ah-nold? His recent film comeback includes “Expendables 2” (number three is on the way), “Escape Plan” with Stallone, and “Sabotage” (a B version of an Expendables movie). The poster features the usual cadre of buff guys and gals wielding machine guns of varying sizes. And the next generation of stars is on a similar path of death and destruction. Have you seen the trailer for the new Tom Cruise movie, “Edge of Tomorrow”? Its tagline is, “Live. Die. Repeat.” We see Tom wrapped in futuristic battle amour, toting an assault weapon that appears to be welded to his arm. Didn’t Matt Damon already do that in last year’s futuristic death match, “Elysium”? This is just a sampling of what the big stars are up to. Let’s not forget, “Machete” and “Machete 2013”? Wonderful.

Some say Hollywood is simply giving the people what they want (lots of video game action) and anti-heroes like we had in the seventies. When I think of anti-heroes, Clint Eastwood in “Dirty Harry” and “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” or Charles Bronson in “Death Wish” come to mind. Sure, their movies had selected violent scenes, but the acts were focused on moving the story along.  They didn’t glorify killing and maiming as an art form. With all the hype about Dirty Harry’s Magnum, he rarely used it.

Fast-forward to today and we see blood spurting and mayhem starting from the first scene. Even the once car-based “Fast and Furious” franchise has gone ultra-violent. After seeing the first two “Fast and Furious” movies a few years ago, I recently watched the first fifteen minutes of “Fast and Furious Six”. I was amazed at the non-stop violence. No breaks: just kicking, punching, and fighting amongst all the main characters.

I’m not even going to get into the video games aimed at kids and teens. So many of them are hyper violent and focused on deception, thievery, and war.

Shady Characters

We also are inundated with hit show and films like “Penny Dreadful”, “Scandal,” “Revenge”, “Breaking Bad”, “House of Lies”, “Shameless”, “Wolf of Wall Street”, and “American Hustle” all focused on human failure with main characters lacking in moral fiber. The industry tells us they’re always looking for “interesting and intricate characters”. Yes, I know that conflict drives storylines, but do you have to be an a-hole to be interesting?

For a change of pace there is “True Blood”, “The Walking Dead”, and all the shows about zombies, vampires and creatures bent of exterminating mankind. Want a change of pace? How about those housewives, the slippery realtors in NYC and LA, the backstabbing contestants on “Survivor”, and lying bachelors and bachelorettes? There is little escape from bad behavior and dysfunction unless you turn to the talent shows.

And Now To The News

Adding to this Gatling gun of toxicity, is our news industry. Regardless of which network we watch or what newspaper or major website we follow it spits the same selected, fear-inducing stories at us.  If you don’t believe me; just turn on any local or national news network and you’ll see the same stories rolled out and read to you in almost the same order by a different talking head. Fire in the Bronx kills three, measles on the rise, the world economy on the brink of collapse, voter fraud, and on and on. Until you reach to the last two minutes, it’s all bad news and human failure. During the breaks, most of the ads are for cars we can’t afford, fast food that makes us obese, and from pharmaceutical companies selling us medication for all of our diseases. Your Guy’s Guy is getting a stomachache.

The Solution

We live in a culture that requires connectivity, so it’s almost impossible to simply tune out. We need to be mindful of our media consumption and make the effort to unplug whenever possible. The folks running the networks and studios need to make a buck, so they are not going to change unless we stop consuming what they push our way. Here are three suggestions: Don’t watch the news or violent shows before going to bed. Do not keep your TV in your bedroom.  I know we all need to check email and do our jobs, but each morning, see how long you can go without tapping into mass media. Your mind will become more peaceful and quiet, and you’ll get to know that wonderful person hidden inside you a lot better.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is George Clooney. No, it’s not because he’s getting married. It’s because he chooses to make movies that are well-told stories that are never ultra-violent.

When Guys Cry

Robert Manni - Thursday, May 08, 2014


I’ll admit it. I shed a tear at the end of “Silver Linings Playbook” and when Joaquin Phoenix retakes the stage as Johnny Cash towards the end of “Walk The Line”.

It doesn’t matter what film it is. A successful Hollywood movie expertly knows how to evoke emotion from their audience. At the same time, I recently watched a segment on ESPN about NFL draft picks crying after teams call out their names. These are big strong, manly men reduced to tears while being made instant millionaires. That’s seemed a bit much for this Guy’s Guy, so let’s discuss.

Guys need to be mindful about managing their emotions, even in this new age where the men moisturize and the women play the alpha role in so many relationships. It’s gotten to the point where if I call to get a friend at home with the hopes of luring him out for a round of golf, I have to ask him to put his supervisor on the phone before I get a decision. That could be, “Sure, Larry is free on Saturday, but he needs to be back by six to pick up the kids,” or “ Sorry, Larry promised to sweep out the garage this afternoon. Give us a call next month.” That said, Guy’s Guys celebrate women’s ascension and long overdue recognition. Even if many guys roll over and let their women call all the shots now, Guy’s Guy see the change as a win-win for both men and women when handled evenhandedly. But even with the new freedoms each sex is experiencing, unlike women, men remain under the microscope when it comes to their emotions.

Today’s world needs men to be men—more evolved, less ego, more caring, but men just the same. And women want men to be men. So how do our newly sensitized guys deal with their emotions, and specifically, crying? Good question. I would not dare to lay down a strict set of rules on this delicate issue, but I will throw out some loose Guy’s Guys parameters to consider when it comes to men shedding tears. Let’s call it, Cry—No Cry.

CRY

A family member, close friend, colleague, or pet passes. The birth of a child, marriage of a daughter, break up after a long-term relationship. During a movie or piece of music that strikes an emotional chord. When a son or daughter returns home after serving their country. Did I leave anything out? Probably.

Within the context of a relationship, a guy can cry once. And it doesn’t matter why. He gets a free pass. After that he’s walking a thin line where his lady might secretly think the worst. So guys need to be mindful that women don’t want to date a blubber puss.

NO CRY

Following the last episode of “True Blood”, “Breaking Bad” or any favorite television series. When you get a promotion. When you are selected by an NFL team to play left tackle. When KISS gets elected to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. When you graduate anything. When she lets you bed her for the first time. When opening your Christmas presents, unless you get a Maserati. When you win your fantasy football championship. When your son says, “Da Da” for the first time—be proud, but don’t cry. When you finally beat her in tennis or Scrabble. When you finish your first marathon (hydrate, don’t cry). When you lose your job—wallowing won’t pay the bills.

I think you get the picture. Crying is certainly acceptable for men, but we have to be careful no to allow the waterworks to take over our emotions. There is still something to be said for a guy who can on occasion still be the strong silent type and someone a woman can lean on when the going gets tough.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Lou Gehrig, the famous New York Yankees first baseman, who shed tears when referring to himself as the, “luckiest man on the face of the Earth” during his farewell speech at Yankee Stadium after being diagnosed with the fatal malady now known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. 


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