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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

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”.

Ask the Guy's Guy: How to Keep Your Man Happy

Robert Manni - Saturday, August 08, 2015

The Holiday About Love That Everyone Hates

Robert Manni - Thursday, February 12, 2015

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

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

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

So how do we get through this annual ordeal?

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

How to Seal the Deal and Keep it Real

Robert Manni - Thursday, January 22, 2015

Some say that for men, finding a willing sex partner has never been easier. But it’s not quite a glamorous as the media leads us to believe. After all, not every guy has six-pack abs, lots of bank and hooks up with a new hottie on Tinder every Friday night.

And although lot of young guys aspire to be a “Don Jon” style ladies man, many young bucks get sidetracked by porn, the ease of technology and watching too much sports. As a result, “hanging out” has become the new definition of dating. As a result many dudes think they have their swerve on, but are pretty limited when it comes to conversational skills and social élan.  And that’s no way to discover real intimacy with a prospective partner. Enter your Guy’s Guy with a handful of tried and true tips that can help any guy show respect for his partner while getting his ticket punched along the way. And, trust me, if you follow these guidelines word will get around with the ladies that you are one righteous hombre. Here are some ideas to keep in mind when meeting a lady of high interest. Drum roll please.

1. She wants to go to bed with you.

Women are like banks that prequalify lenders. That doesn’t mean everyone gets the loan, but if she agrees to a date, you're in a good position. Stated another way, when a woman agrees to go out on an actual (not hanging out) date with a guy, chances are she’s already thought about having sex with him. Women pay attention and they think ahead. And they don’t like wasting time. At this point it’s up to the guy not to screw things up. But, in the majority of cases that’s exactly what happens. They find ways to drop the ball, and like rookie running backs, they end up on the sidelines, hoping and waiting for their number to get called again. Keep this in mind and you are on a fast track to success.

2. Date like a Guy’s Guy.

Although she’s fitter than you and capable of tapping you out with an arm bar, today's women pine for men to treat them like ladies. That means being a gentlemen and asking her (not texting her) out by phone, or better yet, in person. That also means having a plan in mind that matches her interests. That requires some active listening on your part. She mentioned loving sushi? Need I say more about where to take her on that first real date?

When you greet her, tell her she looks pretty. Put the damn phone down and pay attention to her during dinner. Pick up the tab. Afterwards, hail a cab for her. If things go well and she invites you back to her place, good for you. That said, play it cool and don’t push her. She will let you know how you are doing, but don’t expect the whole enchilada on the first night (more to come on that). Read the signals and know when to go home. On the way home or the next day send her a thank you text. Tell her you had a great time and would like to see her again. Then follow up. That’s all, my friend. 

3. Be patient, be creative.

Good things come to those who wait and improvise. Quick story... One summer a few years back I connected with a hottie on Match. She had curves, piercing black eyes and legs to die for. Oh, I wanted her badly. The first time we met, we shared coffee at a café in the East Village. That was it. She knew she was smoking hot and I was unsure she wanted to see me again. That week I asked her out again and we met for a casual dinner. Following a late night drink she gave me a quick “goodnight” peck on the cheek. My balls ached the entire cab ride home. We met for drinks again that week with the same conclusion. Grrr.

I needed to try something different. I asked her to join me at a Fourth of July parade in the little seaside town where I have a small beach house. On a star-spangled sunny morning we stood side by side taking in the colorful wholesome, real Americana event. She was originally from Taiwan and I noticed how her eyes light up during the parade. She was totally into the pageantry. Afterwards I suggested we stop at my place for a soft drink. As we looked out at the sea I slipped my arms around her and leaned in for a kiss. She accepted my lips eagerly and a few minutes later we were rumpling my sheets like tigers in heat. Patience and creativity had paid off. 

4. Clean up your crib.

I’ll keep this short. Women appreciate a guy with clean sheets and a clean bathroom. I’ve lived in a few dumps in my day and have not always followed this rule. And on occasion I’m sure it prevented me from sealing the deal. Over time I learned that when your place sparkles, you have a much better shot at making hay with a lady. Case closed.

5. A little romance goes a long way.

The women I know really appreciate when a guy does something thoughtful. A bouquet of flowers (no special occasion required), a bottle of her favorite wine, and cooking her dinner can go a long way in sparking a woman’s interest in pleasing a guy. Think about it… And do it because you want to please her, not just for the reward.

6. Be appreciative and take care of her needs.

It took me awhile to get this one straight, but once I saw the light, my love life and sex life really took off. As a guy I know how desperate we can get when we want to get off.  But there is a big difference between getting off and making love. You can get off by yourself. You need a special lady to make love. And if you take care of her needs first and consistently, she’ll probably give you get everything you’ve dreamt about.

There’s more, lots more where that came from, but let’s put a wrap on this for now. A few insightful nuggets can go a long way in the evolution of a horn dog guy to a mature loving man.

Back to Basics: How to Make your Relationship Work

Robert Manni - Thursday, December 18, 2014

With the multitude of dating sites and coaches available, if you’ve got a pulse and can clean up nice, you’ll get a date.

And every so often one of those dates turns into a relationship. That’s where things get tricky. We spend so much time focused on dating that many of us are not prepared to address the slippery slope of a partnership and how to make it work.

Enter Guy’s Guy. I’ve been there and done that by way of many dates, a few educational long-term relationships, and a marriage that’s going on five years. Along the way, and as my partners would aptly point out, I’ve made more mistakes than I can count. But I’ve learned, and in most cases I learned the hard way. And each time I got knocked on my butt, I’ve picked myself up, dusted myself off and started all over again. Now I’ve got a partner who is my friend, lover, and teacher. With that in mind, here are my building blocks for maintaining a successful relationship.

1. Pay attention.

If you’re a guy, you probably suck at this. Women pay attention to everything, at times to the point of madness. But ultimately, paying attention is a good thing. We’re all super busy and focused on ourselves. I get it. But if we want to succeed in love, we need to see it as a two way street and behave in a respectful manner to our partner. That means always checking in with them on a regular basis. A simple, “How was your day?” is a good start. And mean it. And listen to what she says without feeling that you have to solve all of her problems for her. Just listen.

That’s a good start, but it’s not that simple. If you are guy in a relationship eventually you will get called on your shit. Let’s say your partner points out your selfishness too often, and it bugs you. But maybe she has a point. And maybe the reason she told you is she thinks you’re worth the trouble. If she didn’t care, she’d bide her time before dumping you. Most guys have been blindsided and dumped, and many times they don’t know why. This is why. So don’t take her criticism personally. She’s paying attention and she cares about the relationship. But, don’t think you can point out all of her peccadilloes in the same way. She’s already well aware of them. That’s because she pays attention.

2. Give your partner the benefit of the doubt.

If you’re female, it’s easy to fall into the pattern of constantly criticizing your partner’s faults. He probably doesn’t pay attention enough and as a result is prone to repeating his mistakes. But I’ll bet he’s trying. So lighten up if you can. If you believe in your relationship and your partner, it’s paramount to take a deep breath before going on the offensive. Ask him what he was thinking when he does something that defies logic. Like, when he took the bed apart and left all the pieces on the floor and then went out for two hours. Maybe he went to the hardware store to buy new bolts. Whatever. Just give him an opportunity to explain and you might be surprised by his response. If you value your relationship, listen before pointing your finger.

3. Share values.

Long lasting relationships are usually built on a foundation of shared values. That means how both of you view the world and the people who inhabit it. Yes, opposites attract and can provide a nice counterbalance personality-wise, but when it comes to values, it helps if you are seeing the picture through a similar lens. How you view people, friends, family, and even money are important factors to consider when wading into deeper relationships waters.

Let’s take money. When one partner is a free spender and comfortable with debt, how does it impact their partner if he or she comes from the school of “if I can’t afford it, I don’t buy it”? Problems can quickly ensue and many times divergent money values cause irreconcilable harm to a relationship. Think about your successful and failed relationships and I’m sure you’ll see a pattern between longer-term compatibility and shared values. When values match up, there is a much better chance for success. Think about it.

4. Keep the lines of communication open.

When you are in committed relationship there will be times when no one feels like talking. Maybe one partner has become resentful while the other has no idea about those feelings. Eventually the repressed toxins build up and explode. Things are said. Feelings are hurt. Damage is done. If only you knew how he or she felt. But, that’s how many relationships fail. If this sounds familiar, remember, no one can read your mind. If there is something bothering you, discuss it. If you hold your feelings in and suffer silently, your relationship is at risk. Always maintain a healthy dialogue.

5. Always be dating.

It’s easy to take our relationships for granted. Over time, the thrill of new love evolves. This can actually be a good thing. Sure, you want the sight of your partner to be a source of joy and you want the sex to get better and better. It can, although there will have to be some adjustments. The key is keeping things fresh, like when you started dating. And that means never taking your lover for granted. I’ve been married for a few years now and I’ve learned that nothing is a sure thing, even a marriage. You have to constantly learn about your partner and up your game if you want to keep them happy with the direction of the relationship. Nowadays, people don’t settle. Not in life, not in jobs, not in marriage. We want what we want, and that’s not a bad thing. The key to keeping things fresh is romancing your partner. Little surprises, lots of love and affection, and a genuine smile when you see their face are all recommended. I know it’s not that easy, but if you keep this in mind, I’m sure you’ll stay ahead of the game.

There is more, lots more when it comes to keeping a relationship rolling, but the bottom line is to respect yourself, your partner, and your relationship. It all flows from there. What you decide to do is your business, but please keep love in mind whenever you are thinking about your relationship. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?

This week's Guy's Guy and Gal of the Week are Serge and Carole Manni, my folks, who have been married for 64 years. 

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?

Is it Better Dating Only One Person at a Time?

Robert Manni - Thursday, July 31, 2014

Can you have too much of a good thing?

When it comes to dating, the answer is maybe. Between speed dating, Tinder,, texting, sexting, Google, Instagram, Facebook and selfies there are an innumerable number of potential partners at your fingertips in the time it takes to hit send.
I was dating at rate of three or four times a week. Online, offline, it didn’t matter how I met women. It was a numbers game with everyone being disposable, including me. I must admit, connecting with all those women and having sex on a regular basis with a new partner was great, but my wad of cash grew thin and at a certain point endless dating got old. I yearned for a lover who could be my best friend.

To succeed at the dating game, we need to be comfortable with who we are and know what kind of partner we want. And that usually necessitates engaging in lots of casually dating. I can tell you as a certainty that guys like variety, and this may be why so many men defer getting married. Most women I know say they being in a relationship. However most of the women I’ve met online were dating multiple guys. When everyone involved is dating a half dozen other people, things can get complicated. With this in mind, I humbly offer my perspective on the benefits of dating only one person at time.

After a few years of dating, dating and dating, I met a really nice woman. We went out a few times and enjoyed each other’s company. We hit the sack and things seemed pretty cool. I assumed she was seeing other guys, so I continued power-dating. Then I found out that she was only dating me. One day she checked my online profile and asked why I was still active. I gave her a vague answer that kept the door ajar for my continuing to date other people. She dumped me. That’s when it hit me. She was showing respect and giving our relationship a fair shot, while I was chasing other women all over the place. Like so many others, I wanted to have my cake and eat it too.

I licked my wounds, moved on. Then it happened again. I connected with a nice woman, stayed active online and got busted. Then it happened a third time. That’s when I realized that it was time to reconsider my approach. From that point on though, I only saw one woman at a time. I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly things either ended or came together. I’m not preaching that this is the only path to true love, but dating one person at a time worked for me. Within a few months my decision to focus on only one person at a time rewarded me with the companionship I yearned for and the sexual variety I craved…all with one woman! Go figure.

Are you better off dating one person at a time?

5 Ways to Survive a First Date

Robert Manni - Thursday, June 05, 2014

You only get one chance to make a good first impression.

When it comes to dating, truer words have never been spoken. First dates can be exhilarating, anxiety-driven, fun-filled or disastrous affairs. We’ve all been there and we’ve all had some successes and a few massive fails. That’s part of the reason we keep coming back for more—you just never know what’s in that box of chocolates, Forrest. Whether you’re a guy or a lady, there are a number of ways not punch your ticket and move on to the promised land—the second date. Assuming that there’s enough chemistry to make the initial connection, here is my Guy’s Guy list of first date pitfalls to avoid in order to make it to the second date.

Don’t show up late.

A Guy’s Guy shows up first. He never leaves a lady he’s interested in sitting alone at the bar all dressed up, nursing a cocktail. It’s rude, it’s just plain dumb and it’s an invitation for other men to move in on your turf. If you’re a lady, it’s fine to show up to fifteen minutes beyond the anointed time. Anything later and you risk the same fate as the aforementioned guy.

Don’t drink too much.

Alcohol can be a great social lubricant, especially following a hard day at work. A glass of wine, a craft beer, or a cocktail are all fun choices. If the conversation’s flowing and you can handle your booze, it’s okay to call for a refill. But after two drinks, things can go downhill quickly. It’s way too early to start sharing details of your sex life or personal history. One time, on a particularly memorable first date, after two drinks the woman professed her love for oral sex. Take one guess what was on my mind for the remainder of the evening. Yeah. You get the picture.

Have an exit strategy.

Let’s say you finally meet the guy who sent those snappy text messages and he’s less than charming in person. The lack of sparkles prompts you to hatch your escape plan, but it’s if not easy because he’s a nervous chatterbox who won’t shut up. So you make up a lie about having an interview the next morning while reaching for your bag. Awkward. It’s much better to lay the groundwork at the beginning of the date by telling him that you can only stay for one drink. This way you’re having a great time and decide to hang out, he’s going to feel like he’s the man who convinced you to change your plans. Everybody wins.

Don’t talk about your ex.

If you want to start things off on the right foot, avoid droning on about your failed relationships. This goes for guys and gals—nobody you’ve just met wants to hear the gory details of your past. Keep it light and find things to discuss that are all about the “now”. It’s all that matters anyway.

Don’t have sex with him/her.

A Guy’s Guy believes that when it comes to sex, all decisions should always be in the hands of two consenting adults. It’ll happen when it happens. Ladies: it’s perfectly fine to leave something for the imagination, or maybe even the next date. Guys: please demonstrate self-control on that first date. The woman will notice and she’ll secretly thank you for being a gentleman.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. With a little planning, mindfulness and common sense, you can have a great time on that first date and maybe even turn it into the first step of a new relationship. Good luck.

Think you can make it through that first date like a pro?

Technology and Dating: Boom or Bust?

Robert Manni - Friday, April 25, 2014

It’s the best of times and the worst of times.

The preponderance of technology into modern life has pulled the world closer together while at the same time creating more separation. Dating is a prime example of this technological fall out with both men and women paying a price. So let’s take a quick look at how technology and social media have enabled dating and also made it more challenging to find mate.

The good stuff.

Hooray for online dating. Everyone is busy and people don’t have the time to troll the bars and clubs to find their mate. Women can hang with their BFF’s while occasionally checking their phones for the next group of guys who reach out and tell them they’re hot.  And dudes can score dates with hot women while sitting at home in their tighty whiteys. Dating online is fast, empowering and fun. If you’re a guy, all you need is spell check, a photo with your shirt on and the patience to mindfully read woman’s person’s profile. After a short message or email you exchange digits and you’re off and running.

When you get together everything can change quickly. But so what if there aren’t any sparks? When you meet online, you can end it with one keystroke— delete. It’s generally considered that people we meet online are disposal and replaceable. That’s not necessarily fair, but it’s how the game is played. So if you can check your feelings at the door, you have a shot at finding a match. And millions do every day. My wife likes to say that she found me online and there are so many others who have found their soul mate online.

Things to keep in mind.

Not everyone has a thick skin and can deal with the cut and dry aspects of online dating. So we need to remind ourselves that there is a human being with real feelings and emotions person behind their online persona. Just because you met online doesn’t make he or she less deserving of your respect. Keep your standards high and don’t forget the words— please, excuse me, and thank you. And if she’s interested and it’s not a match at least let her know that there were no sparkles if she asks.

Another consideration is that, an itchy trigger finger on that delete button could prevent you from getting to know someone who is worth a little extra effort. Not everyone is consistently at the top of his or her game when flirting online or during that first meet up. That’s not to suggest that you waste your time on an obviously bad fit. But if you think about some of your best friends or lovers, did those relationships always begin under the best circumstances?


Between Facebook, Twitter and Tinder we live in an age of maximum exposure. And once something finds its way online, it’s there forever. Keep that in mind next time you think it’s acceptable to sext pics of your junk to a lady or before you take that selfie while drinking from that bottle of chocolate whipped cream vodka. These might not be images you want to share with a prospective mate or potential employer.

Technology and social media can be a dater’s best friend or worst enemy.  Always remember that dating is a face-to-face activity. Keep it real, amigo.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is any dude who picks up the phone and asks a woman out instead of hitting her up by text to see if she wants to hang out. 

How to End a Relationship the Right Way

Robert Manni - Friday, April 18, 2014

Getting dumped can suck, but most guys are used to it.

We’ve either been or known the guy that’s been blindsided and dumped by his lady. It’s not fun, but guys usually dust themselves off and dive back into the dating pool even if the pain still festers inside. I would be easy to take out our frustrations on the next woman we date. But what does that accomplish? Instead I suggest walking a few steps in a woman’s shoes and consider how she feels after a guy she really digs throws her to the wayside. To make a better world someone needs to take the high road. Here are my five Guy’s Guy tips for manning up for a break up.

1. Be mindful before making your move.

I’m referring to how to bring closure to a relationship. I’m referring to cutting the cord with a woman you’ve dated for at least a couple of months. She’s offered her body in intimate ways and you know damn well she’s interested in being more than friends with benefits. So if you’re just not feeling it, let her down gently and move on. That means no more booty calls. Let her find someone who wants to be with her for more than one more night of rumpling the sheets.

2. Break up in person in a suitable location.

That means no disappearing or dumping her by text or phone call. Pick a public location, preferably outdoors with lots of people in motion. I suggest avoiding sitting face-to-face in a crowded restaurant unless you want to risk seeing what her radicchio salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing looks like on your shirt. Pick someplace like Central Park where you can sit side-by-side watching good-looking people run, walk, and bike past you. This will remind her that the world keeps turning and is filled with potential new partners. 

3. Be direct without placing blame.

Okay, she’s a great girl and you enjoy hanging out with her. But, you’ve given the relationship a chance and now you’re just not feeling it. That’s okay, bro. Over time you’ll become more adept at qualifying your partners early on so you don’t waste each other’s time or needlessly hurt their feelings. Every situation is different, so I can’t suggest the words for you. Once you’ve decided that things aren’t working take a deep breath and tell her how you feel without blaming her or getting into the weeds with details, even if she farts in bed. The bottom line is that you don’t see the potential for a long-term relationship. So it’s not about you or her. It’s about ‘us’ and ‘us’ means two people. 

4. Be kind.

No woman likes being rejected, especially after she’s shared her body and bared her soul with a guy. Once a woman opens up her emotional windows, she’s understandably vulnerable. So be mindful and choose words that avoid hurting her any more than she feels you already have, even if in the long run you’re doing her a favor. And when it’s over, that’s it. Again, no slinking back for a little something something every time your inner horn doggie wants a treat. Let her go, amigo.

No matter how bad you may feel if her tears start to flow, ultimately no woman wants to be with a guy who isn’t totally into her. And trust me, if she is as cool as you think she was for dating you, after you leave she’ll move on faster than you’d expect. And ultimately, that’s a good thing for both of you.

When it's time to call it quits, will you show some class when delivering the news?


This week’s Guys Guy of the Week is Jimmy Kimmel for remaining friends and still doing some comedy bits with ex-girlfriend Sarah Silverman.

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