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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Love and Money

Robert Manni - Thursday, September 21, 2017


Once upon a time, guys paid for everything. And women were not your bosses. And jobs were not downsized and replaced by robots.

Life was so simple. Or was it? All the changes that have occurred over the past thirty years have reconfigured our lives and how men and women relate to one another. But throughout it all one thing has not changed. Money can still have a major effect on a relationship. So you better get on the same page with your partner when it comes to managing the cash. I’ve lived, loved, and learned a lot about money and relationships throughout these past three decades. Now I’m taking this opportunity to share a few secrets about how to make your relationship thrive when it comes to dealing with financial issues.

Surprisingly, the key to success isn’t necessarily tied to how much money the man or a woman earns. It’s more about the ways a couple share certain values about money. If they do, they can turn their love into a true partnership where everyone wins. But there’s no one size fits all solution. The world is a different place now, so if you are a guy, your partner may now earn more than you. And that’s one reason that couples need to be flexible about how they view cash. So, here are my insights in what I’m calling The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love and Money. To help clarify some of the issues and nuances I’ll segment my tips into three categories:

1. Dating – The best time to set the tone for dealing with money in a relationship is at the beginning. Although for the most part men still earn more than women and unfairly still get paid more to do the same work, many things have changed over the past thirty years. Back in the day, a guy would ask a woman out and pay for the date. It was accepted and expected. Nowadays, people meet online or through apps for a meet up, a coffee, or even a quickie. So things are more fluid.

And there’s more. Today’s young women are entering the workplace more educated than the guys, and are making more money than ever before. They don’t need a guy to take care of them financially like their parents’ generation rolled. But, that still does not mean women want to pay their equal share.  I’m not judging, but because of this perceptual selectivity, things can get off on the wrong foot and pretty sticky if a few ground rules are not put in place.

To make things work right from the start, I suggest that when a guy asks a woman out for drinks, coffee, or dinner that he pays for it. It makes sense, and who wants to end a first date on an awkward moment when the check arrives? Guys, suck it up and pay for that first date. After that, if you want to get together again, set up another date and when the bill arrives, don’t flinch. Reach for the check again. One of three things will happen—she’ll either let you pay, she’ll offer to split the tab, or she’ll pay for it herself. At this stage of the game, it still doesn’t matter. You can easily pay for a second date, so pick up the check and don’t sweat it. After that, you hope she comes up with a plan to treat you right, by maybe offering to take you out or inviting you over to her place for dinner. Any of those options is a good thing because what you want is a natural, comfortable flow where mature adults deal with money like champs and money is not an issue. Based on who earns more money and other factors, a pattern usually surfaces that suits both of you. However, if she never picks up a tab or makes you dinner or comes up with something to contribute on her own, it’s a potential red flag. The truth is that some women, regardless of how much money they earn, still feel that the guy is responsible for all of the cash outlays in a relationship. If that turns out to be the case, then you have to decide if that works for you. If you run a hedge fund and she’s a teacher, it should not be an issue. But if you are both earning about the same amount and she expects you to pay for everything, you’ve got to determine if it’s a workable situation. In my experience, all the cool women I’ve dated were chill when it came to doling out the cash. I’ve dated a few women who never reached for the check or never even baked me a cupcake. Over time, it didn’t feel right so I moved on. But, that’s just me. You have to find a happy place based on your income and what feels right for you, and for her also. If you like her, but she never, ever picks up the tab, there is nothing wrong with bringing up the subject, although it can be a touchy area that could become a deal breaker. But that’s better than avoiding a potential sore point.

2. Committed or co-habituating - In all likelihood, if you’ve gotten to the point in a relationship where you are committed or living together, you probably have a grip on the financial aspects of your relationship. Most likely, you have fallen into a groove where and you pay for different things. Maybe you pay the rent and she pays for groceries and cable. Or you pay for dinners out and she buys the groceries. Or, she moved into your pad so you handle the rent and she pays for utilities and meals. Whatever. The point is, by this time if you are in a real partnership you most likely have sorted out the money issues.

But, maybe not. There are many variables to consider. What if you bought a condo and she moves in? You pay the mortgage, what does she pay for? Does she expect to share the equity built into your place because she is living with you? Do you charge her rent? Will she be resentful if she pays you? Every situation is different, but one thing is for sure. You need to work out what feels right and consider any and all potential scenarios if you are living together or preparing to take that big step in a relationship. Like most things in life, it’s all about anticipation and expectations, so put on your thinking cap and make sure you have a fair-minded system that works for both of you. The last thing you want is for your partner to latch on to feelings of unspoken bitterness. That is often a silent but deadly relationship killer. Trust me. I’ve been there. Get your perspectives out in the open and be willing to discuss what you feel. Whatever you do, come to terms with a mutually agreeable solution before shacking up.

3. Married – Marriage comes with a whole new set of financial considerations. Many couples these days have at least one partner who has been previously married. They may have kids, or have a very specific set of financial issues they are dealing with. So when you marry, it’s good business to get full disclosure about their fiscal obligations, especially if you’re planning on pooling your assets.

There are a number of ways to make things work. Because life gets so complicated many older couples sign pre-nuptials before marrying a second or even a first time. You’ll need to determine if pooling your assets or maintaining separate bank accounts is the way to go. There are benefits to both paths. Couples usually save money when they jointly file their taxes, but that does not preclude their maintaining their personal investments, bank accounts, and credit cards.

And it’s only fair to consider these options, especially if one person has been very diligent about his or her credit score and savings while the other may play things a bit more fast and loose when it comes to managing debt and doling out cash and managing their lifestyle. There are huge discrepancies in how we spend money for what some consider everyday purchases where others consider those same things as unnecessary. Take coffee as an example. If you buy a good brand of coffee, brew it at home, and fill up your thermos each day you can save at least twenty bucks a week. That may be a drop in the bucket for some, but now add in the savings from making your lunch at home versus paying twelve bucks for a chopped up salad in a plastic container every day. You’ll probably save close to another fifty bucks a week just by schlepping your lunch to work.

The point is, the little things add up so make sure you and your partner are singing off of the same song sheet when it comes to how you two spend your cash. You don’t want to quibble about take out food, but if you are not paying attention, you may see your pile of dough sink a lot faster than you anticipated, mainly because you are no longer solely in control of it. The older I get, the more sense it makes for couples to maintain separate checking, savings accounts, and credit cards. This way you don’t have to totally freak out by having to see your partner’s purchases, although in reality you are probably sharing the costs of everything. You just don’t have to have the your partner’s purchases rubbed in your face all the time.

I’m a good saver so keeping some things separate has proven to be protective of the partnership. I do my best to maintain a cushion of savings for when things go haywire, which they often do. These days, people lose their jobs and change careers in a flash. That means couples need to be in synch when it comes to managing their money, and even more so when kids come into the picture. So think things through and talk about financial issues with your partner. You don’t want surprises. I promise you if you keep the lines of communication open it will eliminate most of the stress when things get random.

When it comes to money, whether dating, living together or married, couples need to find out what works best for them. We live in a capitalistic society driven by consumerism. There is no escaping our needing to face down various financial situations almost every day, including those inevitable rainy days, too. Think about money, talk about it with your partner, and get on the same page. When it comes to love and money, communication is the only way to make things work. Good luck.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK are all the couples who have found a system, a formula, and a way to co-exist in a financial partnership built on their love. It’s never easy, but it can be done. 

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Navigating the Friend Zone

Robert Manni - Thursday, June 01, 2017


For many guys, there is something worse than getting blown off by the girl of their dreams. It’s called the “friend zone”.

But, fellas, the friend zone is not so bad. It doesn’t have to be a recurring nightmare of rejection. In fact, the friend zone even has a few hidden perks worth discovering. In fact, if you play the game like a boss, you can work your way out of the friend zone and into the relationship zone. So let’s explore what I call, The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Navigating the Friend Zone and find some ways to make it work for you.

1. The friend zone is a better than the “not even a friend” zone. We know how heartbreaking it is when that girl you want badly doesn’t share the same feelings you carry in your heart for her. It might feel soul crushing when she lets you down with the news that although she’s not amped to date you, she’s reserved a place for you in her friend zone. Of course you don’t want to hear that—you want to be up close and personal with her instead of being a pal or confidant, especially if she’s still in the market while you wallow helplessly on the sidelines. But if you think about it, staying within close proximity of that special lady is not the worst thing that can happen.

That’s look at the bright side. At least she hasn’t out and out rejected you. She thinks your cool, but just not cool enough to date… right now. When you’re in her friend zone, it means she trusts you and your opinions, maybe even your perspectives about men. Now that’s a place of power. While you hang close and search for ways to win her over, you can gently steer her away from the competition. Ultimately, if you care for her, you want her to be happy. So, this might feel a bit underhanded. But, as they say, everything’s fair in love and war. So, it’s worth a shot.

Plus, if you’re in her friend zone and work yourself into her inner circle, there’ll be numerous opportunities to win favor of her posse while showing them the real, authentic you—the guy she should be dating. Here’s another consideration: If she’s hot and she likes you, trusts you, and sees that you’re still available, she might see the light and reconsider her position. And who knows? She may even set you up with one of her comely girlfriends. I know you don’t want a consolation prize, but you never know how things can work out for everyone. Another consideration is that over time, you might not find her as appealing as when you first met her.

The bottom line is that as long as you stay close to her, you’re in the mix. And when you’re in the game, things can change. So don’t get too bummed out if at first she places you in the dreaded friend zone. If you play it cool, you can work your way out of the sidelines and into victory lane. Oh, and one more thing: Sometimes just being a good friend has its benefits. Wink, wink.

2. Stay positive. Be authentic – Whatever you do, don’t let her see you sweat when she sentences you to the friend zone. Take it like a man and keep smiling, even if you are falling apart inside. She’ll be impressed, surprised, and curious when she sees you maintain your composure after she jackknifes your heart.  Remember not to take her decision too personally. As long as she keeps you in her friend zone, she maintains a favorable opinion of you. Just stay cool, put on your happy face, hang in there and be a good friend. Things can change. And even if they don’t, she might be a great friend.

3. Have a plan. – If she rejects you, but you have to win her heart at any cost, then you’ll need patience, and a strategy to win her over. Changing a woman’s mind after she’s regulated you to the friend zone is no easy task, but it’s not impossible. One approach is to find out what she likes to do and then keep inviting her to do things together… as friends. This might be chilling and binge-watching Netflix, meeting for a drink after work, taking a yoga class, or seeing the latest exhibition at the Met. If she says yes to any of your suggestions, it’s a good sign. But above all, be cool, amigo. Don’t fall all over yourself trying to impress her, or make any obvious romantic overtures. Show some restraint. Wondering why you’re not hitting on her might drive her nuts. And if you’re simply having fun, she’ll want to do more stuff with you. If this keeps up for awhile, you’re almost dating her. If you can move things this far then there’s only one thing to do together that you haven’t done yet. At that point, if she’s interested, she’ll let you know.

4. Show her respect, and know when to call it a day. – Amigo, you just might pull this off. If so, congrats to you both. But, if after you’ve played the game to the best of your ability and she still only wants to be your bud, show her what you’re made of and let it go. Be happy that you got your shot at the title and move on. After all, do you really want to be with someone who really doesn’t want to be with you? I didn’t think so. Personally, I’ve found that when looking back, I’m glad things did not work out with a few of the ladies I so admired and ended up where I am today. I may have missed out on loving me some hotties, but in the long run I ended up in the arms of the perfect woman for me. And that’s no consolation prize.

This week’s Guys’ Guys of the Week are all the guys who successfully either escaped the friend zone or won the heart of the right woman for them.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Simplifying Your Life

Robert Manni - Friday, May 19, 2017


Modern life is way too complicated. It doesn’t have to be that way.

There's a myriad of ways to cut through the chaos we face each day, and benefits of breaking your day-to-day life down into tasty digestible chunks are many. Start with piece of mind; add a splash of humor, and a dash of creativity. Life doesn’t have to be so damn overbearing. Regardless of what your boss says, there can be a separation of life from work. And that’s why your Guy’s Guy is serving up a platter of ideas that will help make your life more pleasurable and manageable. I call it the Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Simplifying Your Life.  Here goes…

1. Stop double and triple booking – Most of us manage our calendars digitally so you’d think we’d be smart enough not to double up on our appointments. Wrong. Lots of folks say yes to everything that comes our way. We pile multiple events on the calendar before choosing what we feel like doing the most at that time. Then we blow off or reschedule all the other appointments. But it doesn’t end there—we end up doing the same thing a week later.

Overbooking might make you feel like an important person, but all it really means is that you don’t know how to manage your day. No one wants to disrespect people, and we’ve all cancelled on at the last minute. But even if there’s a valid reason for a change of plans, it can be annoying when you’re on the receiving end of the cancellation. Bottom line, overbooking does not make anyone feel good, and often creates anxiety while causing chaos. My suggestion is to plan just one event in a time slot. If you are already booked when something else comes up, do your very best to find another time. Then show up, be present, and enjoy the time without worrying about what you’re missing.

2. Get a handle on your dating life – If you’re single and in the game, it’s easy to fall into that all-too-familiar trap of having too many dates, but no meaningful relationship. Between all the dating apps and services, anyone one with a pulse, a personality, and can clean up can score their share of dates. But too many dates can be a trap. When you date too often, people become disposable. You trim the herd by ghosting or deleting potential partners without giving them a real chance. Before you know it, you’ve lost focus on why you are dating in the first place.

I realized that after years of dating and broken relationships that the reason I remained single was because regardless of my current status, I’d stayed active online and on the lookout for the next partner. Frankly, I was selfish. And this self-absorption cost me. I paid the price by losing a number of relationships because of selfish cravings and lack of focus. Everything changed when I met my wife online. We went on a few dates and things felt good. I was really enjoying her company. I was still dating for the first couple of weeks, but after I asked her what I needed to do to be a good boyfriend, she said the two words that changed everything.  She said, “pay attention”. And that was it. At that moment I decided to give our relationship a real chance. I logged off the dating sites and took the time to get to know this wonderful person who became my wife. And I’m glad I did. It settled me down and got me focused.

3. De-clutter – If you’re like me, you don’t follow the trends. You know what you like, your choices are practical and classic, and you take care of your things. That can be a good thing, but it also means you’ve accumulated a lot of “stuff”. Things like clothes, books, music, tech, furniture, and other stuff that clutters up your space. When your space is congested, all that clutter gets in the way, and even affects the way you think. It’s challenging to solve problems and create fresh perspectives when you sit down see that same pile of crap around your workspace.

Take the time to rifle through your closets every so often so you can prune and toss what you don’t use. The old 80/20 rules for clothing (people wear same 20% of their clothes 80% of the time) still applies. Plus, giving some nice things to charity helps those less fortunate and helps you. The same thing applies for furniture, books, and music. Even if you are not that charitable, you can still make a few bucks by selling your stuff online or at your local book or music store. 

4. Be present. Focus on doing one thing at a time – My son is turning four this week. How time flies. As you probably know, toddlers’ minds and behavior is often unfocused and contrarian. You tell them to do one thing and they do the opposite. It’s not because they’re ignoring us, it’s because their minds have not fully developed how to process, discern, and do what we ask them. It can be extremely frustrating, so I came up with a very short list of “rules” for my son. One of our favorites is “do one thing at a time”. Like many adults, he’s got an overactive mind and is always multitasking. And like an adult, he’s at his best when he concentrates on doing one activity at a time.

Staying focused and present has its rewards. It allows us opportunities to immerse ourselves in our work or play, clears our mind, and provides opportunities for accomplishment, as opposed to running around from place to place with three balls in the air. Try staying present and doing one thing at a time. Then see how it feels.

5. Treat yourself to a little down time, every day – Life is for living, not stressing. Unfortunately, we live in a culture driven by fear. Don’t fall into that trap. Manage your media consumption, social media, and meetings as best you can. Find an hour or two every day to get outside, exercise, meditate, or read. If you can’t do that, at least take a few moments each morning and evening to take stock of your life and what’s most important to you and your happiness. Use this time to reflect on your life, your family, your friends, your loves, and your dreams. Ultimately, amigos, isn’t that what it’s all about?

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is you, the reader. By reading up to this point in my post you’ve taken the time to consider what I hope is a simple message that helps you live your best life.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Slowing Down

Robert Manni - Thursday, May 11, 2017


Let’s face it. Modern life moves too damn quickly.

We work too hard and sleep too little. We get to bed too late and get up too early.  As soon as we enter the office, we’re slammed with deadlines and requests. Hey world, we need more time to handle all the shit you throw our way. When life moves too quickly and we don’t pump the brakes now and then, we head towards a breakdown. Heck, even a Guy’s Guy gets uptight when there’s too much to do and not enough time deal with everything on his plate. To keep our skills sharp, every so often we need a respite and some chill. That’s why I’m serving up The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Slowing Down, with ways to find refuge inside our hyper-paced world. Life is a gift. So let’s make it our business to get the job done and have enough time to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Drum roll please…

1. Unplug – Between our phones, iPads, and laptops, we’re plugged in 24/7. Studies show that 80% of millennials sleep with their phones next to their bed. This is an unhealthy way to soak up poisoning radiation all night and prevent a good night’s sleep. While it’s true that we need to stay plugged in most of the time, it’s good to take a break every so often. I live in NYC, and unlike many folks I see, I don’t constantly wear ear buds while I’m on the go. I like to read on my phone, but the city itself provides more than enough stimulation. And frankly, isn’t one of the reasons we live in New York to take in the show that is the city itself? If I need to mentally check out while I’m in transit I read, repeat affirmations and mantras, or send blessings to my fellow travelers. Studies show that one person’s consciousness impacts a vast number of people. You really can make a difference. So, turn off that mind-scrambling video game, calm down, and stay present.

2. Get more sleep – I know it’s easier said than done, but finding even an extra hour for sleep can do wonders for your mind, body, and spirit. Sleep helps your body rejuvenate and also helps you lose weight. A quiet mind is also more apt to stoke creativity and solve problems. So try hitting the sack an hour earlier, without watching TV or bringing your phone into your bedroom for a few weeks. I’ll bet you’ll feel better in the morning.

3. Walk, take the stairs, run – If I’m within ten blocks of my destination and I have the time, I always walk. I love the city and walking provides great opportunities for people watching, clearing my head when I’m stressed out, and getting my metabolism flowing. I also recommend finding time for quick a walk after lunch. It helps digestion and can help put things into perspective when you’re having a tough day.  I’m a runner and to me there is no better mental getaway than a jaunt around the outer loop of Central Park or a boardwalk. I’ve managed to slow my mind down to the point that I break down complex issues and piece things back together including solving complex plot points for an entire novel.

4. Meditate – Regardless of how busy our lives get, it’s important to find a little time each day to get calm and centered. Even if it’s only for a few minutes, make it a habit to sit quietly and go inside. Just a few minutes will enhance your mental energy, empathy, and focus. I’ve been doing this for so long that I shut down even on a crowded subway. Meditating makes the city more tolerable and helps me think clearly and creatively.

5. Make time to eat – Like most Guy’s Guys, I love chowing down. But I also like to taste, chew, and savor my food. I know fast food is meant to be eaten fast. That’s why I don’t eat fast food. It’s made fast, it doesn’t satisfy or nurture my body, and there is really nothing there to savor. Therefore, I eschew fast food at lunch in favor of salads, green shakes, a wrap or a veggie burger. No matter how busy I am I do my best to push away from the computer and find a quiet respite for lunch so I can clear my thoughts and enjoy my food. Afterwards I usually take a few minutes to walk around before returning to my work. If you make it your business to slow down the pace of your day, you can make it work.

6. Don’t rush love – In today’s tech-driven dating world, singles are in a rush to see how many people they can date in a month, a week, or even a night. As a result, they often lose our perspective about why they are dating in the first place. I’ve found that investing some time in getting to know the person you’re dating before rushing into a relationship or into bed makes sense. Forget about obsessing over how quickly you can get a woman into the sack or even the three-date rule. If it’s meant to be, it will happen. All you need to do is pay attention, amigo. In her own way, she will let you know. And if you play your cards right, it might even be on the first date. This isn’t the Olympics. Just have fun and get to know her, take your time, and be present.

I could keep going and going, but my point is clear—modern life moves too fast and we need to slow down. And if you can slow down enough you’ll know how important it is to slow down. Yeah, I said that. See you next week.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Trailanga, a yogi who reportedly lived to the ripe old age of 280 by slowing his metabolism down through slowing down his breathing and other yoga practices. 

Where to Meet Women

Robert Manni - Sunday, April 23, 2017


In marketing we like to say, “fish where the fish are”. Why? Because to sell product you need to find out where and how your consumers live.

A few years ago I wrote the book, The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love. Partially due to the title, I received a lot of exposure as a “dating expert”, whatever that means. My book is a novel, which means it’s fiction, but it deals in truths about men, women, and relationships. When I was interviewed on radio, television, and online, I was frequently asked where women could meet guys. Although I’ll devote a future post to where women can meet men, they are easy to find and unless they’re celebrities, universally open to women approaching them. But meeting women is trickier, so I thought I’d write about them first.

You see, when a woman is interested in a guy she sends signals that most guys don’t see. And for most guys, it’s tough to sort out if and when a woman is open and approachable. But, before a guy can even get to the place where he’ll need to summon the courage to introduce himself to a woman of interest, he needs to know where women congregate and which places are best for a guy striking up a conversation. That’s right, a conversation. Not a text, a swipe right or an email. Let’s discuss the best places for guys to meet quality women and how to navigate those environments for successful interactions. I won’t include bars and restaurants (better than bars for meeting women) because they are no brainers. Regardless of the location, a guy needs his élan, his confidence, and a sincere interest in getting to know a woman to succeed. So, without further adieu, here goes.

1. FITNESS CLASSES (yoga, spinning, cardio, and the gym etc.) – We’ve all seen the hotties glistening with sweat as they pour out of classes at Barry’s Boot Camp. It’s a sight to behold. They’re usually yapping to each other about the class as they make their way to the smoothie bar. And there are lots of great looking, cool women, but a guy is not going to make any headway if he gets in their face right after class. Same thing goes for a yoga class or while pumping iron in the gym. Even though there are hot chicks dripping with perspiration, how can a guy have a chance of breaking through?

The answer is patience, patience, and patience. These girls are working their butts off for a reason, and it’s not just to look good for their friends in their super skinny jeans. They want to look good for themselves and for guys.

To win, first a guy needs to find an activity that suits him. Let’s say it’s yoga. He’s not going to meet many women if he sucks at yoga and spends most of his time in class gawking at the nimble ladies doing the downward dog. He needs to start at the beginning, and that means by taking a basic class and showing up. Over time he will become a familiar face and he’ll develop his skills. But he’s got to have the same commitment for yoga as he does for meeting women. After a few classes, if he catches the eye of the woman he likes, he can begin the dance with a smile, a nod or a hello. That’s it. Over time he’ll get better at yoga, including knowing what to do with his mat and what to wear, all the while become a recognizable unthreatening face. Before long women will take notice of the new cool guy. They might show him some love by asking him a question, or he can begin with a very gentle approach of his own, maybe with an innocent question such as, “What do you think of the class?” The point is, when integrating into a female-dominated environment where they are sweaty and focused and getting into their spiritual zone, you need to be cool. Over time, the shields will be lowered and you can make a few friends before deciding which one you want to really get to know. All it takes is patience and confidence. We always hear that women don’t want to be hit on at the gym, but I’ve met lots of women at the gym by taking the time to fit in, being polite and friendly, and most importantly, treating the ladies with respect for their space. It’s called being a gentleman and they will notice and appreciate it. 

2. LANGUAGE CLASSES – There must be a reason why little girls are more verbally adept than little boys. And if you think about it, even though guys are good at grunting, it seems that way with adults also. Language classes are packed with women and in this environment, they have to talk to you, even if it’s in French. At least it’s a start. I’m not suggesting that you take a language class just to meet women, because if you do you’ll probably be the slowest learner in class and that’s no way to impress the opposite sex. Learning a language is good for your brain and for your career, so investing one night a week in a Spanish, Mandarin, or French class can pay dividends for your resume and as a way to meet smart women. I took Spanish at night for four years and met some really cool women. Another bonus is that you usually don’t find drunken alpha dudes in these classes, so you don’t have to compete for a woman’s attention the same way you have to at a bar. 

3. ART MUSEUMS – After two years of taking my young son to the Museum of Natural History one day I decided to take him to the Museum of Modern Art. Holy crap, Batman! The place was jam-packed with attractive, well-dressed women.  Many of them were waltzing around, taking in the paintings on their own. This is a dream scenario for a guy who wants to meet cool women. But—and there’s always a but— it helps if you have some idea of what you are looking at and know something about the artists so you can carry on a conversation. Women appreciate art, so it helps to have your art game on if you want to score points. It also helps to dress up a bit for the museum. It adds to the picture that you project about yourself when meeting a lady. As always, maintain a low-key approach and make the woman feel comfortable when you do your thing. You don’t want to come across as creepy guy trying to pick up chicks at the Met.

4. RUNNING / RACES – This is another place where you’ll find lots of women. And almost all women who are runners are in great shape and have nice legs. I’m a runner, so trust me when I tell you that Central Park if slammed with good-looking women out for a run, especially right after work. I’ve also run a few races in my time and there are mucho women out there every Saturday or Sunday morning in parks all over the city or wherever you live. Running isn’t something you can fake. Like anything else you’ve got to put in the time, but if you do there will be ample opportunities to chat up new women after a run or race. When those endorphins are flowing, people feel pretty good and that’s always a cue for conversation.

5. WHOLE FOODS – I thought about calling this “food shopping”, but many of the city’s food markets like Trader Joe’s and West Side Market often feel crowded and too frenetic for meeting someone. Depending of what you buy, Whole Foods can be expensive, but it has the layout and an environment, and the well-heeled women that make it conducive to chatting up someone new. Again, keep it casual, smile, and start with an open-ended question about the organic quinoa.  

6. WORK – No matter how many warnings we’re given about not dating co-workers, doesn’t it seem like everyone you know has dated someone from the office? Maybe a reason is that we are spending more and more time toiling at work. Lots of people eat at their desks and many are forced to work ridiculous hours if all their team members of are drinking the boss lady’s Kool-Aid. But, you can only focus solely on work for so long. People are people, sparks are going to fly, and shit is going to happen. So, be smart.

I’ve dated and cohabitated with a co-worker. It can work, but it can create problems also. There is jealousy, envy, and lots more potential issues, especially if one of you is the boss. My recommendation is to keep your love life one step removed from your workspace. That means dating someone in another department, at an agency, or a partner company. Keeping things outside your physical space is a failsafe when issues arise. You don’t want to feel like the walls are closing in or you might get reported by someone you broke up with.

7. FEMALE FRIENDS - Who better to hook you up with cute women than your female friends? They know all sorts of other women, they know you, and often they know just what you need. Quick story. I met a woman in a gym I frequented. We always had nice easy conversations. But she wasn’t my type, and frankly she wasn’t interested in men. One day after I hopped off the elliptical trainer, she motioned to me and suggested that I meet one of her girlfriends. I had been in a cold spell following a long-term relationship that went bust. I wasn’t seeing anyone and was in need of female companionship, if you know get my drift. She must have sensed it. She texted me her name and her number. The following week I met the woman over drinks. After I fetched a second round she blurted out how much she love oral sex. Actually, she said it a bit more graphically. This was a very nice, attractive businesswoman who really loved cock. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination. The next time I saw my friend at the gym she gave me a big smile and asked, “So what did you think of Charlene?” I laughed and thanked her for the connection. The point is, although some women might try to hook a guy up with their lonely heart girlfriends, other women will hook you up with just what you need. And you can meet women at the gym.

8. COFFEE HOUSES / BOOKSTORES– There are two types of coffee houses. The first one is where you stand in line, blurt out your order and march out the door. The other type is more conducive to grabbing a seat and savoring your latte.  You can meet women in either environment. If it’s a get your java a go place, it’s usually frequented by the same women at the same time. If you get a handle on the timing you can greet that cute blonde you see every morning at 8:15 and buy her coffee. Hey, it’s a start.

I have met women in bookstores. It’s easy. Just browse for books while scoping out the scene. Find a woman who looks interesting and approachable (yes, that’s important), and ask her about the books she’s checking out or about the bookstore, or anything that has to do with reading. Take it from there and make sure you know what you are talking about if you name drop Albert Camus, Herman Hesse, or Phillip Roth.

9. WEDDINGS/CHURCH – if you want to meet a lady all cleaned up and open to meeting a nice guy, look no further than church or a celebration that takes place in a church— like a wedding. If she’s at a wedding she’s probably looking to loosen up with a few cocktails and dance. And if she’s single she’s thinking about men. It should be easy pickings for you, amigo.

10. ANYWHERE – If you do your prep and have your game on you can meet women anywhere. That includes on the bus, subway or yes, even on the street if the circumstances lend themselves to the opportunity for a verbal exchange. Just because women often look like they are unapproachable while hidden behind their iPhone and ear buds, women are looking to meet guys the same way as guys are looking to meet women. Meeting anyone new is about projecting the right energy and being an authentic, confident person. Just be yourself and don’t over think things next time you see a cute woman that you’d like to meet. Smile and say hello. What’s the worst that can happen?

This week’s GUY’S GUY OF THE WEEK is Roger Fox, a reformed womanizer and pivotal character is my novel, THE GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO LOVE. Check it out here on Amazon.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Keeping Love Alive

Robert Manni - Friday, March 31, 2017

Rule number one: Don’t take your lover for granted.

You know how it goes. You get busy, you fall into a routine, and before you know it the sparks of love have turned into the embers and ashes of a once hot relationship.

Modern life brings challenges to any relationship, no matter how deep and committed the connection. And, so many guys, even Guy’s Guys, get bored and fail to take care of their relationship. Left unchecked this leads to undesired results. And since a lot to dudes think with their penis, unless their sex life is constantly cranked up to ten, they mistakenly think that their relationship is waning. That is usually not the case.

Women get bored too, but they work on ways to make the relationship better. Unfortunately, guys are often oblivious to their efforts and the little things women do to improve men’s lives. As a result, couples drift apart and when communications break down, the relationship can implode. Relationships are tricky and keeping the sexual fires burning is no small task, especially if you have kids. So, couples need to listen to their partner, empathize with their needs and find common ground so they can meet each other halfway. That’s how loves “works”. When love is not nurtured, it fizzles out. But if two people in love put in the effort, there is not reason why they can’t maintain a long-term loving, sexual relationship. Here’s how…

1. Pay attention – The fastest way for a guy to ruin his relationship is by not paying attention to his partner. No matter how bad things get, women always pay attention to the relationship. Although it often goes unspoken, women expect the same from their man. And, it’s the least we can do. After those initial three blissful months of drinks and sex and sleeping in together, it’s easy to sluff off when shifting into the next phase of a relationship. Maybe you lounge around your crib in the same sweats too much and stop buying her flowers. Maybe you storm out on those nights when she wants to chill and watch her housewives shows. I get it, but, even if you see her in the bathroom more than when she is decked out in lingerie, don’t take her love for granted. Make an effort. Check in with her, ask her how her day went, and give her a hug. And actively listen to her. Every day. That’s not all you need to do to keep the fires burning, but you get the idea. Be present. Do something nice for her every week. It will remind her why you’re a champ and I promise that if she loves you, she’ll pay you back in kind. One other thing. Try not to fart in bed.

2. Roll with the punches – You may think you have it together, but in reality you’re no Superman and she’s not Wonder Woman. Once you realize that we are all human and flawed, the easier it gets to savor a partnership, warts and all. Everybody has a past and with it comes baggage. Over time you’ll find out some weird shit about your partner. But take heart, amigo. Not all weird shit is bad. Maybe she was bulimic in high school and now she’s on a vegan diet.  Maybe she despises sports. Gasp. No worries. These are details, and you probably watch too many sports anyway. Our differences can be positives if you maintain the right attitude. Consider where she’s been, where she’s coming from and most importantly where she’s headed.  And don’t sweat it. Look at her tastes and quirks as opportunities for you to learn and grow, and don’t take anything personally. Everyone is different. Live with it.

3. Be open to change – Here’s a quick case study. I was a long-term carnivore when I met my wife. She was a vegetarian. So, on our first date I decided not to order a cheeseburger. I must have gotten a check plus for that because on our next date she ordered fish. Now, neither of us eats meat, but we both eat fish now and then. We were open-minded and considerate, so it was easy finding common ground and making things work. And, I’m very happy that she showed me a healthier lifestyle by her example.

4. Forgive – Guys screw up all the time. Fortunately, most women are understanding and pretty reasonable about most of our snafus. Of course if you cheat and get busted, all bets are off. But for the most part, forgiveness is a great quality to have in a long-term relationship. Because you’ll need it. You are bound to have spats and blurt out something stupid, so couples often need to apologize or forgive their partner. It happens to the best of us. What can you do? Start by practicing kindness and empathy when your partner messes up.

5. Remember how and why you fell in love – It’s easy to take love for granted, but, if your eyes start wondering and you get that itch that needs scratching, stop and think before you do something that hurts your partner and your relationship. Think for a moment about how you fell in love with her and the qualities that endeared her to you. Then take her out for dinner and remind her about why you dig her so much. If you’re not interested in stepping back and putting in a little extra effort when you get an urge to sample the menu, that’s a sign. Maybe you’re taking your partner for granted or you are in the wrong relationship. It’s your move. But, don’t be hasty and toss a good thing away without thinking about the consequences. Good love is hard to find, so be appreciative and do your best to show her she’s the best thing that ever happened to you.

Our GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is the actor Hugh Jackson. He’s a Wolverine and a heartthrob that’s stayed in a long marriage when he could be banging his way through Hollywood.

No Wingman, No Problem

Robert Manni - Friday, March 10, 2017

 

Dating in 2017 can be tricky, but the game of love hasn’t really changed all that much. Despite the plethora of online dating sites and apps, swiping left and right making a one-on-one connection still requires a Guy’s Guy to step up and seal the deal on his own.

And that’s the way it should be. Your best bud can be a good sounding board on the front lines at the bar during your hunt for female companionship, but when all is said and done, does a Guy’s Guy really need another dude to help him chat up and connect with a lady? I think not.

The concept of deploying a wingman emerged over the past few decades. Maybe it began when the online dating technology nudged its way into the mainstream. No longer did a guy have to man up and approach a lady face to face with the real possibility of flat-out rejection. Instead, young bucks can sit at home in their tighty-whiteys plinking on their keyboard and chirping with attractive women on one of the many dating sites and apps. Maybe guys have gotten lazy and soft because they don’t have to put themselves on the line. And as a result, some younger fellas may have fallen behind their older male predecessors in the art of charm and small talk. So on those occasions when they head into the night out looking for love, they recruit a friend to help break the ice with the women. No judging, mind you.  But if this makes sense, read on…

Now, there is nothing wrong with going out with your buds for a few brews with the possibility of meeting some ladies, but ultimately, there are certain things a man needs to do on his own. One of them is stepping up and forging a face-to-face connection with a woman. You don’t need to be rubbing shoulders with your best bud to make that happen. Sure, there are a few advantages to bringing along a friend when trying to meet women. You won’t risk being seen as the creepy guy who is out by himself. And, your wingman might help grease the wheels during those often-awkward first exchanges with a strange woman and her friends. But, when having a wingman on board can also crate a few unwanted problems? What if he thinks you’re his wingman and you find yourselves both interested in that same cute blonde? Or what if he’s not looking, but the lady you’ve got your eyes on is more interested in him? Or, maybe he’s better looking, has more bank, or a better rap than you. Then you are competing with your wingman. Not good, amigo. And, even if he’s in a relationship and not looking, he’s still human. And that means he might be taken with the same lady that caught your attention. So, on the surface it may appear that recruiting a wingman has some benefits. But as you can see, there are a number of pitfalls that come with the program. 

Now you may be thinking, “Oh, what about a female wingman or wing woman”?  That’s a better option, but do you really want to deal with filtering your horn doggie passions through the lens of a woman friend who may not like the ladies you are chatting up? And what if they don’t get along? Or what if your wing woman only accompanied you to either check out your game or maybe she even has her eyes set on you? It’s gets complicated.

Amigos, the news is not so bad.  There are plenty of opportunities to meet women without the help of a wingman. You can meet women at work, through friends, at clubs or organizations, at the gym (if you keep your cool), in a class, at a wedding or a party, at Whole Foods, or the museum, all by just by being yourself. Nothing beats the old-fashioned, organic way of chatting up women anywhere, anytime, any place. No pick up lines, no games, and no bullshit necessary. Just be your authentic self and approach a woman confidently with an observation, an open-ended question, or a smile and, “Hi, I’m Jason.” Believe me, just being you works. Once you get comfortable in your own skin, you can talk to any woman. Not every woman will respond the way you want them to, but so what? It’s a game, and when a lady expresses some interest, then it’s on you to keep things going. And, you know what? That’s a Guy’s Guy game and one you can win. So, although it’s comforting having a wingman at your side, you’ll be ahead of the game and a leader of the pack if you go it alone. Vamanos, amigos!

This week’s GUY’S GUY OF THE WEEK is Vince Vaughn. Here is a guy who plays a role like he owns it. He knows his game and can talk to any woman any time, anywhere. And, that my friend is money.

Building Your Digital Dating Presence - Part 2

Robert Manni - Wednesday, June 15, 2016


Stay Positive – It’s important to be in a good frame of mind when writing your profile because your mood impacts your decisions about what or what not you include in your profile. How we feel about ourselves is often communicated by what we post online. So, it’s important to focus on the positive. Think of your bio as both an introduction and a conversation starter. Would you like meeting someone new who starts by saying, “I don’t like… I don’t like…” or with a list of negative things to say? It’s a buzz kill that short-circuits people’s interest. So try not to include all the things you don’t like in your profile. Everyone has pet peeves and personal characteristics that rub them the wrong way. But, your online bio is not the place for them. Unless you have an overarching deal-breaker such as being allergic to dogs or not wanting to date a smoker, do your very best to eliminate the negatives from your profile.

Finally, self-perception, how we feel about ourselves, is also communicated by what’s posted online. Just as a list of negatives of what turns us off is not desirable, also avoid including anything negative about yourself. Focus on your good qualities. Talk to your friends to come up with a list. Then ask a friend to read it and give you feedback. A short list of positives communicates confidence. A list that is too long reeks of narcissism.

Honesty - Another critical component of your profile is honesty. Many online daters have been known to stretch the truth about their height, weight, occupation, and of course, their age. I don’t condone it but in some ways it’s understandable. For example, people age differently. If a forty-one year-old woman in great shape identifies herself as thirty-nine it probably won’t be a deal-breaker. But, if things work out over the long term, eventually she’ll find herself in a situation where she needs to tell the truth. The bottom line is that if you are less than truthful about any aspect of who you are, you’re taking a chance. Your true height, weight, occupation, marital and financial status will eventually surface, so be prepared for the possibility of losing someone due to what you may consider only to be a white lie. You never know what the deal breakers are for other people.

One area of your profile where dishonesty will not be tolerated is your current relationship status. You always need to be absolutely truthful about your current relationship status. Always let your connections know if you are separated, divorced, or even in an open marriage. The other person deserves your respect, and that means knowing your dating status. The same honesty applies to kids. You cannot hide this fact, nor should you. Another area where honesty is helpful is letting the market know if you’re interested in dating casually or looking for a relationship. When it comes to online dating, it’s best to stay open-minded. Many casual daters meet their match online and evolve into a committed relationship. And that’s a good thing. On the other hand don’t let honesty keep you from showcasing the very best version of you to the online dating universe. Take a tip from politicians and savvy marketers who know ways to shape the truth. Maybe due to your current financial situation you have not been able to travel as much as you did previously. That does not mean you cannot profess your love of travel and penchant for snorkeling in the Caribbean. You can also mention far off places you’d like to visit. In any case, when it comes to travel, you can set your sights higher than the neighborhood amusement park if you want to communicate your sense of adventure and lust for exotic locales, especially if you’re interested in meeting someone who shares a similar interest.

Food is another area where you can have fun. Most singles eventually share a meal on a date. Since everyone experiences food through their own personal lens, sharing your likes and experiences is where honesty can help you find a better match. In today’s culture food tells a lot about a person. That makes it a topic worth considering for your bio. Beyond the cliché, “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”, food is definitely an area for bonding that bridges many cultures, lifestyles, and financial status.  Consider a mention of your fondness for Asian fusion, your favorite restaurant, or that special dish you like to cook. A woman who prefers five star dining is probably not going to enjoy a night out with a guy who chows down on fast food every day. Also mention if you are vegetarian, vegan, gluten free or whatever food restrictions you feel is important to share. These days, food choices might become a commonality that makes it easier to connect with someone new.

Your Wish List Your profile should include a short list of the qualities you’re seeking in a partner. The keyword is short, meaning no more than two or three characteristics in a partner that are important to you. I realize that over the years many people have compiled built lengthy lists of must-haves for their prospective partners. These lists include everything from income level and profession to their date’s taste in shoes. Long detailed lists like these do not guarantee success in online dating. Rather, it may become an obstacle by narrowing the range of people that are “acceptable” to date. If you’ve decided that online dating is for you, I suggest putting that list aside or trimming it down to a few mission critical must-haves. Otherwise you are setting yourself up for the same results you’ve gotten in traditional offline dating—a general frustration that there aren’t any people worthwhile to date. If there is one definitive truth about online dating, it’s that you’ll meet lots of people you never would have met if you had not signed up for the service. That’s a good starting point. So, limit the list, keep your profile positive, and remain open-minded.

To be continued…

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Online Dating (Part 3)

Robert Manni - Monday, May 23, 2016


I was still determined to master the art of online dating by using my skills as a long-term marketer and advertiser. I reminded myself that my profile was not for me. I was not the customer. My profile was for the person I wanted to date.

So I reviewed my profile and once again asked myself what I wanted, what made me different, and what I had to offer a woman. It’s easy to be self-critical, but we’re all special in some ways. I identified the qualities that I thought separated me from the herd and asked a few women I knew if they agreed. I asked them what they looked for in a man. Most of them wanted to date a guy with a job, a dream, confidence, and a sense of humor, kindness, and relatively good looks.  I used this feedback in my profile and made sure there were no typos or grammatical errors. I also changed my specs for the type of women I was interested in meeting. I realized I wanted to date women who knew what they wanted, shared my values, and were emotionally available. Finally, I expanded my geographic search parameters beyond the world of Manhattan and the ‘lists’. You may have read about women’s lengthy lists of must-have qualities men need to have to be even considered datable. My advice? Shake it off. Be yourself because nothing beats authenticity. Ultimately, everyone wants to be with someone who’s interested in the real person, not the “best front” we sometimes present during our initial weeks of a courtship.

Then I went back online. I decided to keep my contact rules in place before meeting anyone in person. If things did not feel right when we met, I wouldn’t waste our time. I’d share a drink and move on. However, even if there was no spark or the possibility of a romantic connection, it was important to treat the women I met respectfully. In today’s digital dating scene, it’s easy to disappear like a ghost or simply delete someone with a keystroke, but we’re dealing with people who are just like us. People who have feelings and who are also searching for a connection. So if there was no real chemistry with my date, I did my best to keep the conversation going until she finished her cocktail. It was the least I could do. As a result, some of the women that I met became friends. In fact, a few of them even set me up on dates with their cute friends. It pays to be nice.

With my newly updated profile, I was getting better responses from women than when I first signed up. When I saw someone I was attracted to, I read her profile a few times to get a sense of whom she really was. I made sure her bio wasn’t laced with, “Me, me, me…” or  “I don’t like…” I’d send a brief note— never a wink or a poke. I’d also mention something she had included in her profile—maybe that Korean dish she made or her recent trip to a yoga retreat. I might also add something about me that wasn’t in my profile. If she replied, I’d respond with another short note and my phone number, full name and personal email address. This way she could Google me to make sure I wasn’t an axe-murderer. If everything checked out, I’d suggest that all important phone call. Most women sent back their phone number so I could initiate the first call.

If the call went well, I’d suggest meeting for a glass of wine or coffee depending on her preference. A word of caution—no matter how great things might feel during the email and phone call, don’t invite someone to dinner without first meeting them in person. As mentioned, the vibe could change dramatically when meeting for the first time, and first dates can take bad turns. If you have dinner with someone you’ve never met and there’s no chemistry, it can make for a long, uncomfortable, and often awkward evening.

As I continued to date, I also continued to fine-tune my set of rules. I found that when meeting someone new, it was best to make it a short night. If things were clicking, I’d suggest a second glass of wine. If things were really going well, I’d offer to take her someplace else for a quick bite. Then I’d call it a night and hail her a cab. I found that a show of restraint added a sprinkle of mystery and stoked the anticipation of a second date. Soon I was dating more and more interesting women—clothing designers, entrepreneurs, fitness models, photojournalists, and teachers, along with selected professionals and corporate types. Most importantly, I was connecting with almost every woman. After a few months of non-stop dating, I got into a relationship with an attractive woman, took a break from the site, and dated for a year. After the relationship ran its course, I logged back on the site, reviewed my profile yet again, made a few more tweaks and in no time began dating like crazy for another year. My online dating system was working like a well-oiled machine.  Having a clear set of rules helped, but I soon found out that, as in life, when it comes to online dating there are no unbreakable rules.

Like other indulgences, online dating has a shelf life. I reached a point where I was content. My system was doing a lion’s share of the work. Dating had become easy. And as soulless as it sounds to me now, at the time, I thought I’d be happy dating for the rest of my life. Everything changed though late one night when I logged onto the site. A new woman had winked at me. She was pretty, even if her photo was a random late night selfie without makeup. I was intrigued by her photo and by the carefree flow of her profile. So I began the usual process. I emailed her and she replied the following day. We exchanged another email. The vibe felt right so I sent her my number and suggested a phone call. However, this woman did not think that a phone call was necessary. She suggested that we meet in person. I wrote back, trying my best to arrange a phone call, but she again declined. What about my rules?  I needed to make a decision.

I was torn. My rules worked. Why should I change? I read her profile again and stared at her cute photo before my intuition kicked in. This feels right, so, what the hell? It’s just a rule that I made up. We skipped the call and met on a balmy July evening. Things went well. Real well. And I wanted to see her again. I followed up by text after our date and we got together again the following week. Out of curiosity I looked up her profile again, but it was gone. When we got together for dinner I asked why her profile was hidden. She told me that she’d only signed up on the site for a three-day trial. Since she had a good time she wanted to give us a chance. She saw no reason to stay active on the site. I wisely deleted my account shortly after and we were engaged one year later. We’ve been married for six years. I know now that online dating is an art, not a science. It’s okay to go with your gut and break your rules now and then.

The bottom line is that if you pay attention to what you are putting out and who you are, online dating can be fun and fruitful. You might stub your toe and get your heart broken a few times along the way, but you can win. Always show respect for yourself and the people you meet. And, don’t take anything too seriously. Remember; dating and meeting new people can be an adventure, not something that creates anxiety. If you take the time to build your personal brand (know yourself, what you want, and what you have to offer), communicate clearly both online and in person, and display the confidence from a well-lived life, you’ll be on your way to making the right connections.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Online Dating (Part 2)

Robert Manni - Monday, May 16, 2016


It’s said that necessity is the mother of invention. I couldn’t agree more.

Take my experience for instance in online dating. After being with a woman for five years, one day she said that the relationship was over. I’d always thought that when a woman had issues with the relationship, her guy would be the first person to know. I assumed that the woman would want to have, you know—the talk. But in this case, she packed up her bags and was gone. I found out a few weeks later that she had already moved in with another guy. I was blindsided and devastated. Man, I was pissed off. But once I had time to really think about our relationship, my emotions shifted from pain to relief. I realized our relationship really hadn’t been working and I owned up to my share of why it went wrong. I asked myself if I wanted to be with a woman who was unhappy and didn’t want to be with me. And the answer was, of course, I didn’t. I was glad it was over.

It took some time, but I licked my wounds and self-assessed. I definitely did not want to make the same mistakes again. When I felt I was ready to meet new women, I realized, most of my friends were married and had kids, so they were not going out to meet women with me. So, initially I returned to my old habits of trolling the bars, gyms, classes, and bookstores alone. Hunting as a lone wolf soon proved to be a tough world for a guy over forty, especially after years of being in a live-in relationship. So much had changed that soon, there was no fun going out on my own. After a few lonely Friday and Saturday nights, I had to do something new. I decided to give online dating a try.

I signed up at the most popular online dating site. Like most guys, I slapped together my profile and anxiously dove into the fray. At first, I perused only the women with pretty pictures and pursued dates solely based on women’s photos. As a result, I met a lot of attractive women. I’d sit across from them thinking, they’re nice looking, but where’s the ‘spark’? Something was definitely wrong. I was not using the head perched on my shoulders to make my decisions. I was wasting a lot of time and money meeting the wrong women. I needed a reboot. The best thing I did was to take a break and hide my profile. I reviewed my personal brand (who I was, what I was looking for, and what I had to offer) and reworked my profile making sure it had the right messaging and photos to attract the type of partner I was looking for. This was the first important step in developing an online routine that finally worked for me.

After reposting my profile with a new headline, photo, and bio I went back to the work of dating. I set a few directional rules for myself. I decided not to invest too much time with online connections I met online before deciding whether or not to move forward. I’d exchange a few emails, maybe starting with a compliment or question about something in her profile. Then, if I liked her response I’d decide to talk on the phone. The call was always helpful. Nowadays, after a text or a tweet, people meet up without having a call. I wouldn’t take that chance too readily. The energy exchanged when emailing or texting is quite different than what we experience on a call. I’ve had experiences where the emails would flow with wit and élan, then come to an awkward silence when I got them on the phone. And even if that first call lasted an hour it did not guarantee success. Very often the energy dramatically changes, again, when we meet someone in person for the first time. I’ve found that we can’t control chemistry, and it’s impossible to predict. I paid attention to how the energy felt at every touch point—from first contact online to email, then to a phone call before asking a woman for a date. All this saved a lot of time and disappointment.

In time, I learned that, like my initial foray into online dating, other people also charged in without figuring out what they wanted from the experience. There were a lot of lonely people out there. And many of them were over forty and desperate for love and attention. They’d sign up on a dating website in haste and plunge into the unchartered online dating waters like new members of the Polar Bear Club on January 1st. After a few failed dates and often the icy chill of rejection, many singles withdrew from these websites as quickly as they dove in.

Here’s an example of what happened while I was developing my online dating chops. I met a woman for a date at a bar in Manhattan’s Flatiron district. She was a senior-level television executive. She was attractive, successful, and immaculately dressed in a white designer suit. We’d exchanged two short emails and a quick phone call before agreeing to meet after work. Everything felt good and I was looking forward to our date. Over small talk and a glass of wine I sensed the tension in her voice and body. I asked her about her job, thinking that she’d had a tough day. She told me she worked in television ad sales and she was having a banner year. So I asked her how long she’d been dating online. She said I was her first date. She’d signed up for the service the day after her long-term boyfriend dumped her. Initially, I thought that was a favorable omen for rebound sex, but she was so out of sync that I didn’t want to get intimate with someone in her vulnerable state of mind. I asked her if she had considered taking some time for herself before jumping back into the dating scene. Her eyes welled up with tears. Then she said, “I don’t want to be alone.” Sadly, this attractive, high-powered television executive was an emotional shambles.

This was not the first time I met someone who was obviously not ready to date. I consoled her over a Chardonnay before grabbing the check and hailing her a cab. The following day, Ms. TV Executive sent me a lovely email, thanking me for being so understanding. But our short night was another reminder that I needed to do a better job when screening dates. I was still doing something wrong. Many of the women I had met were fun online and on the phone, but uptight and anxious in person. Between learning about their lists of must-haves or surviving first dates that felt like job interviews, this online dating thing was quickly lose its appeal. I realized that I kept going out with women who reminded me of my ex—corporate stars who were not enjoying the ride. It was time for another break from the site.

To be continued…


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