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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Staying Young

Robert Manni - Thursday, May 25, 2017


I usually agree with Mick Jagger, but not when he sings, “What a drag it is getting old,” in Mother’s Little Helper.

Aging is something we all face, but it doesn’t have to be a drag. Genes play a role in how we age, but we can’t let that be an excuse for inactivity and not fighting the good fight versus Father Time. We all know Gen-Xers who look like overweight, fading boomers, and we all know boomers who run marathons and look great. It comes down to life-altering decisions about how we deal with getting older.

Science has proven that the human body replaces all its cells on a regular basis, so you’re not the same person you were five years ago—all of your cells have been replaced. Wounds heal, we gain weight, and some of us keep the hair on our heads. Studies have proven that regardless of your family’s history of a certain disease, it does not necessarily mean you will get it. But, your chances for contracting an illness skyrockets if you allow your subconscious to believe you’re destined to get sick. The point is, when it comes to aging, you can’t leave it up to your genes or family history. Your health and quality of life often comes down to your attitude, beliefs and the choices you make in how you live each day.

With this in mind, I offer you The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Staying Young. Listen, I’m just a Guy’s Guy. I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one of television. But I’m a survivor, and have experienced health scares that forced me to look into the abyss. I’ve done my research, practiced what I’ve learned on my own body, mind and spirit, and have lived to tell. And, I’m better than ever. So let’s get started. Here are a handful of ways to age like a Guy’s Guy.

1. Diet – You are what you eat, amigo. And if you want to age well, look younger than your years, and stay in shape, you need to give that old single-guy diet an overhaul by the time you reach forty. Otherwise, as the years roll on, you’ll have a much tougher time changing your eating habits and making the right choices for your health around the dinner table. It’s not that hard. Simply put, at every meal you make a series of choices to eat either this or that. Start making more of the right choices, and I promise you the process will get easier and pay off in spades in the long run. Start by eliminating or cutting way back on sugar, meat, processed foods, GMO-based foods, dairy, and table salt. Unfortunately, that means staying away from the bacon, too. Of course, go easy on the alcohol, and no smoking. Although most guys like myself considered themselves to be indestructible when we were in our twenties, by the time we hit forty our metabolisms change and it starts taking more time to bounce back. And if we keep abusing our bodies the way we did in college, we pay via expanded waistlines, toxic organs including fatty livers and heavy hearts, and a decline in life force energy.

2. Exercise – I ran my first marathon at age forty. And fortunately I did it the right way. Instead of diving into an intensive three months of training and long runs, I began laying the groundwork on the road a full year before the race. And I’m glad I did. I cruised through the finish line of my first NYC Marathon feeling elated. After a shower I met my friends for a festive Mexican meal and a few shots of good tequila. I should have counted my blessings and taken some time off and healed my body. But, no, I decided to run another marathon a few months later and paid a stiff price. I hit the wall hard in that second race and avoided long runs for a few years. Four years later I ran my third and final marathon. I was in the best shape of my life, but ran the worst race. Maybe it was due to my advanced age. I’m not sure. But I listened to my body during that grueling race when it told me in no uncertain terms that this was our final marathon. I might run a half marathon, but I’m done with the 26.2 miler. 

Partially through proper fitness, I have been fortunate enough to preserve my joints, tendons and knees over the years. So, I’ve kept to a steady regime of running, elliptical training, push-ups, and intervals of weight training to keep me toned. I walk everywhere and almost always take the stairs. Maybe I’m lucky, but I’d argue that I’m somewhat responsible for creating my health through my choices and a lifelong investment in maintaining my body.

Anyone can get in shape at any age. But the longer you wait, the tougher it gets. I suggest starting slow, and staying consistent. Even if you get an injury, try not to let yourself fall too far out of shape. It gets harder and harder to make your way back as the years roll by.

3. Rest and stay positive - You work hard. You play hard. Your body, mind, and spirit need rest. And as you age you’ll need more time to recuperate from working out, a long night out, or a whole lotta love. Sleep is a gift. Your body will thank you. And when life knocks you down, don’t take it personally. We’re here to learn and you can bounce back. A positive outlook goes a long way in your preservation.

4. Meds – When my check ups and tests don’t go as well as I’d like, I do my research I read, talk to people—many in the holistic field, and try various natural remedies before succumbing to meds. Case in point: after a very high cholesterol reading, my doctor suggested that I either go on a vegan diet or take a statin drug. I told him I would see him in a year before making a final decision. I stopped eating meat and cut back on fried foods and foods with high cholesterol for a year, while also working out consistently. Happily, when we tested the following year, my number dropped 90 points and then dropped another 35 the following year. Of course there are times we need meds, but ultimately you need to consult your physician, consider your options and do what you feel is right for you. Keep and open mind and consider trying out natural remedies. You’ll be surprised at what Mother Nature provides us.

5. Never stop learning - Keeping your mind sharp as you age is as important as staying in shape. Throughout our lives, humans only scratch the surface in tapping less than 10 % of our brains’ potential. For many, especially, many of the boomer guys I know, reading is defined as working on the computer as day, scrolling through their phone, or a quick pass through A.M. New York while riding the subway to the office. What ever happened to reading books?  Nurturing and feeding your mind through reading helps expand our horizons and keeps our minds sharp.

Quick story. I exchange texts with an old friend who is a big fan of our current president. His texts read like a rehash of whatever some Fox News host griped about the previous night. I routinely rip him a new one because my pal leads with his chin and does not show a trace of discernment about any issues. Everything comes down to bad versus good, us versus them, and black versus white. People who read know our world is complicated. When a television show needs big blocks of text to support the host’s point of view it shows a lack of depth or an open mind on the subject. It’s called brainwashing and unfortunately, it works on lazy minds.

6. Choose love over fear – When it’s all said and done, do you want to face your final days having lived a life based on making important choices based on fear or love? Choosing love keeps you young. It empowers you to the possibilities that come your way each and every day. Having an open mind is critical to keeping a youthful attitude and a spiritually grounded perspective, especially when we face life’s inevitable challenges. Choose love, amigos. It will keep you young.

7. Enjoy sex – When you’ve been married a long time and have kids and pressure and all the rest of the stuff that eats up our time, it’s easy to forego sex. Often, we pass out on the couch in front of the television before sleepwalking into the bedroom and crashing. Sex is important, amigos. If it gets overlooked for too long, relationships sour, bitterness ensues, and our body rebels when it’s not getting its fair share of intimate pleasure. Folks, please find a way to keep your love alive and the sexual fires burning. A good romp in the sack is good for the heart and the soul and if you ask me, it’s life affirming.

I could go on and on, but I think we’ve covered a number of simply practices that will keep you feeling, looking and being young for many, many years. Life can be a long, beautiful trip. All you have to do is strap in, make positive decisions, and enjoy the ride for as long as it lasts. I hope yours lasts a long, long time.

This week's This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Jack LaLanne, the man who opened America’s first fitness gyms. Jack’s long running television show in the sixties was built around wellness and staying young. And as a show of his commitment to his message, each year Jack would conduct a physical feat far exceeding the expectations of someone his age. At age 54, he defeated a 21-year old Arnold Schwarzenegger in a fitness contest. Jack lived 96 healthy years. You can do it, too.

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 "Guy's Guy" Style

Robert Manni - Thursday, April 13, 2017


They say that men’s fashion is dead. Need proof? Look at all of the retail stores that are closing. Now consider meggings and the man bun.

So where do guys go from here? Studies show that consumers in general have cut way back on clothing purchases since the Great Recession. Between paying off student loans and $17 cocktails, who has an extra $200 to blow on a pair of designer jeans when you can pick up a pair of 501’s on sale for under $50? When it comes to clothes, today’s men are sticking with the proven staples of guydom. But, even when working with the classics, a Guy’s Guy has to add some swagger to make them his own.

A Guy’s Guy is comfortable in his own skin. He creates his own personal style whether he’s twenty-five or fifty-two. A Guys’ Guy’s style is confident, understated, and transcends trends and fads. He evolves his look organically with both feet on the ground and his eyes on the prize. Casual confidence, emotional intelligence, and timeless style are all hallmarks of a Guy’s Guy. When it comes to suiting up, he dresses classically and comfortably, with just a nod to the latest styles without being overly trendy. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t know how to clean up and look great in a suit, a tux, or jeans and t-shirt—It simply means that a Guy’s Guy wears his clothes. His clothes don’t wear him.

Looking through that lens, I’ll riff on a few staples of today’s man’s wardrobe from a perspective that’s more classic than couture, more Varvatos than Versace, and more Levi’s than Gucci. You may agree or disagree. It doesn’t matter. It’s just part of an endless discussion of how we express our masculinity in today’s crazy world.

With that bloated build up, it’s time to roll out the first installment of what I’m calling The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to "Guys’ Guy" Style. Let’s open the closet and take a look at some Guys’ Guy’s fashion do’s and don’ts and how to look great without breaking the bank.

1. Outerwear – Ever notice that when guys get together they often hang at the bar with their coats on the entire night? I do that a lot and I’ve noticed that I’m in the majority when it comes to that weird fashion tick. Now, if it’s fifteen degrees I’ll probably take my down coat off and hang it on my barstool. That said, for the most part when a guy puts on his jacket, it stays on all night. So you better chose a cool coat. I’ve gotten lots of mileage out my pea coats, bomber jackets, and denim jackets. It’s always good to have a quality leather jacket too. A beat up, old school motorcycle jacket is timeless. Finding the leather jacket that fits your personality is fun, as long as you don’t get too crazy and go with black floor-length duster or an 80’s maroon Donnie Brasco style coat.  For leather, go understated and classic.

I know a lot of guys prefer those Patagonia or LL Beam fleece jackets. For me, that’s for a weekend of golf or going to a football game. A hoodie under a jacket also works in casual situations, but if the hoodie is too bulky it won’t work for Saturday night. Plus, every Guy’s Guy needs a quality overcoat or raincoat if he’s in a business wear he wears a suit.

2. Hair – The only rule to follow here is to wear a hairstyle or facial hair that’s in sync with the shape of our face and how much hair you still have on your noggin. More and more young guys are losing their hair early due to stress, the environment, and bad-luck genes. The good news is that if have decent shaped head, rocking a super close-cropped style works. Beyond that, be careful with the previously mentioned man bun, or whatever that weird, pull-back thing was that former Jets QB Mark Sanchez did with his headband a few years ago.

If you have a nice head of hair, choose a style that works over an extended timeframe. Unless you’re a working actor, you’re not playing a new role every six months. Find a cut that works and stick with it for a while. In this case, consistency is not a bad thing. When it comes to facial hair, there are no rules. If you think your big bushy beard is really cool, I just have two considerations—How does that big-ass hipster beard feel when it’s ninety degrees? And remember, mustaches were big in the seventies. How did that work out?

3. Tattoos and jewelry – Tattoos is another area where nowadays, anything goes. That said; think long and hard if you have an urge to rock ink above your neck or God forbid, on your face. Call me old school, but as cool as you think a nose ring might be, I can’t help but think about the consequences of wearing a nose ring and catching a weeklong running nose, or the sight of a seventy-year old man with metal between his nostrils. Just sayin’. Earrings are a bit dated now, so unless you play pro ball, do you need to rock diamond studs?

When it comes to jewelry, be tasteful. If you can afford it, you will never go wrong investing in a classic watch. Bracelets are a personal choice, but if you go for it, consider real semi-precious stones with energetic properties, leather, or silver. If you wear a necklace, same rules apply. Make “clean and simple” be your guidelines.

4. Jeans – Regular and slim cuts are fine, but unless you’re in a rock band or are thin as a rail, super-skinny probably won’t look great on you and they’ll crush your balls. And, ladies really don’t want to see your junk bulging all time.

You can never go wrong with dark washes. They work great across the spectrum of occasions, like for business with a blazer, with a hoodie, or with a t-shirt. It’s worth investing a hundred bucks or so in a good pair of jeans made with Japanese raw selvedge. I have a pair that I bought as stiff as a board. I’ve never washed them, but over time they have broke in nicely and look great.

5. Footwear – Kicks are another sartorial category where personal taste and comfort rules. Let’s start with casual. What guy doesn’t have a closet overflowing with sneakers, training shoes, and running shoes these days? That’s all good, but when you’re out with a lady and you want to wear sneakers, make sure they are clean, up-to-date, and lightweight. I love the comfort of New Balance, but until recently a lot of their styles have been kind of clunky.  Classic causal kicks include Timberlands (I have a low cut pair that totally rocks), chukkas, and smart looking, simple boots. For work, make sure your shoes are fresh and kept cleaned up. Also, make sure you match the color of your belt with your shoes. If you wear a suit to work, simply buy quality shoes that are at least on par with your suits, ties and shirts. A tattered pair of shoes really kills the suited-up look. As far as sandals go, I’m for them, but not at the office. I don’t buy into that “mandals” handle. There are lots of cool, comfortable sandals for the weekend or the beach. And do I need to remind you about no socks with the sandals? I didn’t think so.

6. Dressing up – No matter what he does for a living, every guy needs to own a suit, and possibly a tuxedo. When I started out in marketing and advertising, I had to suit up every day and, man it was hot on those subway platforms in August. Thankfully most industries have loosened up their dress codes, so unless you’re an attorney, banker or work in insurance, you probably dress casual to the office. However, “business casual” does not mean t-shirts and beat up shoes.

Even if you dig ditches, you’ll need a few standard items in your closet that fit any proper occasion that might crop up. I suggest that every guy invest in a quality navy blazer, a dark colored suit (preferably navy, gray or black) in a lightweight wool fabric, and a handful of dress shirts that have collars that fit his neck and facial contours. If you buy three dress shirts, consider owning one that’s button down.

I bought a tuxedo in my twenties. I still have it and occasionally wear it. It’s a traditional cut with a shawl collar. And, yes, it’s black. The waistband has hidden notches that allow for changes in my waistline. For the cost of a few rentals you can own a tuxedo, so buying one is a smart investment. Concerning ties, I suggest not too flashy, skinny or wide. And, if you want to be taken seriously, skip the bow ties.

7. Casual shirts (t-shirts, polo, etc.) – Unless you want to look like a bouncer, you can pass on the black, skin-tight muscle shirts. This Guy’s Guy likes polos, and you can never go wrong with an original Lacoste (alligator logo). They’re expensive, but they are made of Pima cotton, made in Peru, and last forever. You can find them on sale and they age well. My only advice on t-shirts is to be careful about the size of the logo or design. Do you really need to show everyone that you are a Denver Broncos fan? And, although I’m not fan of those omnipresent ironic t-shirts, I’m not a millennial. So, for me, solid colors are the best choice. I favor dark colors like navy, gray or black, or good old white. V-neck or crew collar? It doesn’t mater.

I’ve also invested in a handful of denim shirts. You can wear them anywhere, except in my opinion, work unless you are a creative or at a start up. I prefer a western cut and like how the fit of denim shirts from Lucky Brand, Muji, and J Crew. Levi's makes the gold standard, but I find that they are cut for really slim guys.

8. Summer fun – Shorts are great, but this is another category where you want to keep it simple. Yes, I know women detest cargo shorts, but if you really, really need extra pockets for all of your stuff, I don’t see anything wrong with wearing cargos on a sunny Saturday. I don’t wear my shorts too long or too short and I keep the colors and designs under control. So, although I dig the Rolling Stones, you won’t see me wearing a pair of shorts covered with their lips and tongue logo. That said, a classic white or black Stones t-shirt with one logo works with a pair of shorts or jeans. When it comes to bathing attire, buy a decent bathing suit. Yes, you can wade into the ocean in your cut off sweat pants and tightey-whiteys, but do you think the wet, saggy look is going to attract any ladies? I prefer a bathing suit that comes to your mid-thigh to super long board shorts, and I think most ladies agree. If you live in America, Speedos are for the swim team. Sandals are fine for the beach and trekking around town on the weekend.

9. Hats – Most guys have at least ten baseball caps. I live in NYC and have seen every team logo you can imagine in the subway. I can also unequivocally state that there is no better looking baseball cap than a Yankees cap. Unlike, say, a NY Jets cap, a Yankees cap looks classic and it matches any outfit. Caps in bright colors like the Jets green or Bronco’s orange scream, “Hey, I’m a crazy Jets fan and I might pour beer on you if you look at my girlfriend.” It’s okay to wear a Jets cap and a jersey when attending a game, but what is the message you are sending out when you’re on the street? It’s just something to keep in mind. Again you can never go wrong wearing a New Era traditional navy blue Yankees cap.

For cooler temps, every guy has a woven woolen cap. Most of them are made from 100% polyester, which makes your head sweat and gives you hat hair. I suggest you check the inside label and buy one that is 100% cotton or wool. And, guys, do you really need that sock hat when it’s eighty-five degrees? Just sayin’.

10. Underwear – I used to be a boxers guy. Then I found them to be too bulky for under dress clothes, so I switched to super lightweight breathable body-hugging boxer briefs. They are cool and comfortable and fit comfortably under even slim-cut jeans. Although I prefer going commando once the temperature hits sixty degrees, I wear underwear to work. Believe it or not, sometimes wearing an undershirt under a dress shirt or a polo shirt keeps you cooler. And, it doesn’t look half-bad. This is another one where you can use your discretion and personal style.

The bottom line is a man’s style is a personal thing. There is nothing wrong with rocking out now and then, but for most occasions, it’s better to err on the side of wearing understated clothing. That does not mean boring. It means that the real you will not be overshadowed by your clothes. And remember, the best way for a Guy’s Guy to showcase his style is by being comfortable in his own skin.

Because of the topic, this week’s GUYS’ GUYS OF THE WEEK are George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Jamie Fox, Jake Gyllenhaal, Daniel Craig (as James Bond), Bradley Cooper, and Tom Ford with a special mention of Steve McQueen. These guys know how to dress up and dress down without ever letting their outfits take center stage.

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.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Navigating Change

Robert Manni - Saturday, March 25, 2017


Change doesn’t come easy for a lot of us, but it’s something we all need to come to terms with if we want to live happy, fulfilling lives.

Change comes at us in many forms. Sometimes it’s organic, just a natural part of our journey. Other times it’s thrust upon us whether or not we want it or are prepared for its repercussions. But one thing is for sure—change is part of life and the faster we come to terms with it, the better off we’ll be.

Even us Guy’s Guys often find themselves challenged when faced with change. Like most people, we’re creatures of habit. Job loss, a sudden break up with a girlfriend, or the death of a loved one can often be devastating and require maturity skills to cope with life’s sway. And although not all change is bad, even a windfall of money brings with it important decisions that can have a lasting impact on the road ahead.

I’ve been going through a number of changes lately and have finally have come to terms with the fact that if you live in the present, change is a lot easier to deal with. So here are a handful of tips to help you navigate through the infinitesimal changes that will come your way, whether you like them or not. Did you really think Trump would become president? Talk about change…

1. Stay present - Although change is omnipresent, it comes in different forms. Some of it seems good. In other instances, not so good. Whatever the circumstances are, living in the now keeps you balanced and adaptable. Being present means having your head screwed on right and your hand on the wheel. This makes a huge difference in how you roll, and gives you a major leg up when things get shaken to the core. So when shit happens, even good stuff, try not to overreact. Take a deep breath and exhale. Don’t do anything yet besides grounding yourself. Get your footing before you deal. It will make a difference.

 

2. Take stock of the situation - Let’s say your boss just called you in and fired you out of the blue. Or, maybe you just won $100,000 from your scratch off. Obviously these are very different scenarios with different implications, but in both cases it doesn’t pay to overreact. Nowadays, almost everyone loses a job at one point or another. My dad worked for the same company for forty years with the same colleagues. How often does that occur now? Rarely. So even though your parents might think losing your job is the end of the world, it’s not. In fact, in most cases it can turn out to be a very good thing.

But, a lot depends on how you handle yourself. If you win a hundred grand in Lotto, it’s cool, but it isn’t that much money, especially after taxes. So, before blowing it all on a hot car or material indulgences, sort out exactly how much your win is worth. It’s probably not as much as you expected. But now you know, so give yourself major thumbs up and buy yourself and your lady a nice treat. I’m not saying that you should bank the rest, but don’t be too quick to jet out to Vegas if you want to make that cash work for you.

3. Find the lesson - Nothing in life is sporadic. It’s all about cause and effect, amigo. When your world is suddenly flipped upside down, there’s usually a reason behind it. So whether you lost your gig or had that windfall of coin, there’s a good chance that your actions had something to do with it. I know Lotto is a game of chance, but you did buy that scratch off at that same bodega when Hector was behind the counter, so you did play a role in your stroke of luck. In the case of the job loss, there is always a reason. I’m not suggesting it was your fault. But, there were certainly factors in the decision, and when it’s work related, in most cases it comes down to the money. All of us can become collateral damage when revenues decline. Don’t take it personally, but also be honest with yourself and see if you can discern why you got the axe. Then, keep it in mind for the next time your company trims its headcount. 

4. Be appreciative - This is obviously easier when the changes are good, like in the winning that scratch off. But, even if you lose a job, it almost always leads to other doors opening when the timing is right. And if you follow the first three steps, at some point, you’ll probably find yourself shaking your head and realizing that the gig wasn’t right for you long term anyway. So there you go. 

5. Consider your options, make a plan, and take action – Regardless if the changes were bad or good, after you’ve taken stock of the situation, found the lesson and given thanks to the universe, it’s time to get cracking. Use change and even chaos to make things happen. Most people are sleepwalking through life anyway, so use your recent experiences, bad or good, to elevate your game. Bruised or battered or better, you’re stronger now, so decide what you want and then go kick some ass. After all, you’re a Guy’s Guy.

This week’s GUY’S GUY OF THE WEEK is David Bowie. This man was the consummate changeling—writer, musician, singer, and a true creative chameleon. Wasn’t he the GG who sang, “Ch-ch-ch-changes…?”

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.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Letting Go

Robert Manni - Thursday, March 02, 2017


Life keeps serving us up the same issues until we learn the lesson.

That’s how it works, amigos. Until we experience that V-8 moment, we continually face the same problems that have always dogged us. And because we are either not paying attention or very stubborn, when we learn the lesson, most of us learn it the hard way.

I had an epiphany last week as I watched my 17-year old vehicle being driven away by its new owner. I literally hit myself in the forehead with my palm as my eyes followed my silver sport utility as it disappeared down the road. It was at that moment that I realized that I had held onto it for too long. And because of my unwillingness to let it go, I paid a price in dollars, stress, and time. At that moment I knew that this had been the case in other areas of my life. That was the reason I kept having the same issue raise its ugly head at me over the years.

There’s no plan or special process to follow to achieve success. All you need to do is be mindful of the things, people, and situations that you may be clinging to. Then, step back, make a plan and let go, confident that you’re severing ties to an attachment that has run its course. It’s simple in theory, but can be challenging to execute.

Instead of articulating a multi-step plan, I’ll touch on key areas where I have fallen prey to holding on for too long at the cost of personal growth and success. Although I’ve learned my lesson and have grown wiser as I move forward, I will be tested again. But, I will face each challenge as they crop up. For now, let’s do this. I offer you the Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Letting Go.

Drum roll, please…

1. Love – Who hasn’t stayed in a relationship too long? Most of us, and definitely me. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m lazy, optimistic that people can change, or just lame. When it comes to love, it’s been all of the above. I’ve made the same mistake of hanging on too long more than once. Now that I’m happily married, hopefully I’ve learned my lesson in this area of my life. In a number of past relationships, deep down I knew things weren’t right, but I forged on, and on, and on. Instead of advancing or ending the relationships, I trudged along, grasping at straws that things would eventually turn out the way I had originally hoped. But in each affair, I let the clock run out and each woman caught me off guard and left me high and dry. That should never have happened, but I just let things be for too long.

In retrospect, and in deference to the women, I should have ended these relationships the moment I came to terms with the fact that nothing was going to change. Even if the abrupt exits hurt at the time, I bounced back and hold no grudges. In fact, the only person I am upset with is yours truly, because I did a disservice to the women and to myself by not moving on at the appropriate time. But, that was then, and it all worked out. All of the ladies are now married and I hope that they are happy. I know that I am.

2. Work – Your job sucks, but you hang in there anyway. Yep, we’ve all done that. It could be the money, not wanting to be looking without having a job, or sheer laziness. In any case, as the pages fall off the calendar, that job you hate can start to work against you. And, many times, it doesn’t end well. My career has been a roller coaster of high highs and low lows, but that’s okay. The highs have made everything worth it and each high was higher than the last one, so I know the next high is going to be off the charts.

I’ve stayed in a few jobs that I despised too long and every time it worked against me. The people who were jerks never changed, conditions went from bad to worse, and eventually these jobs turned into torture with a paycheck. A few came of these situations came to abrupt endings, just like my expired relationships. It doesn’t have to be that way though. When you know it’s not happening at work the way it was promised, start looking. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that you’ll automatically move into a perfect situation, but at least you are investing your energy into making a positive change. In the end, it all works out the way it’s meant to be. Just don’t sit there until you get canned because it’s obvious that you hate your job and don’t want to be there.

3. Home – Moving is a pain in the ass, but not moving is not always a good option. This is another area where we all fall prey into staying in a situation too long. I hung onto a modest studio on the West Side for a few decades because it was cheap and convenient. The good news is that I bought the place for less than the price of my car so I always had cash in my pockets. The bad news is the place was below my standards and as a result I hesitated bringing really hot women home with me because I did not feel comfortable about my digs. When I eventually sold it, it financed my current home, so I’m not complaining. But I probably could have flipped it and traded up or bought a bigger unit when my building went co-op and I had access to the insider price. But I didn’t, and that’s that. I made money and had the luxury of keeping a crash pad in the city. I also learned my lesson about holding on to things that no longer served my needs and station in life.

4. Car – I kept my vehicle for 17 years. Never keep a vehicle for 17 years unless you’re a mechanic. Over the past two years my ride was towed three times, and I was forced to invest over $3,000 in various repairs for a sport utility that I rarely drove. And when I did drive it, I was terrorized by every weird sound I heard coming from under the hood.

When I finally found a buyer via a local dealership reference, the guy showed up at my home with a thick wad of twenty-dollar bills. The day before I had experienced a flat tire and a dead battery, and the check engine light was on. Fortunately, I fixed the flat for $15 and got a jump to restart my battery, which somehow shut off the check engine light. I was shitting when the buyer looked under the car and noticed something dripping slowly onto the asphalt. He bought and sold cars for a living so I’m sure he had people who would take care of that, but it was just another stress point that could have been avoided if I would have sold the car a few years earlier. But, he handed over the cash.

Like I said, this experience flipped the switch for me. After I counted the stack of twenties and the buyer drove off, I realized that I had finally learned my lesson about hanging onto things too long.

This lesson also applies to holding on too tight to our dreams and aspirations. I’m not suggesting that you give up. What I am suggesting is that you let go and let God and Oneness and the Universe do the heavy lifting.

Hopefully, I won’t fall into the same old pattern again. But that’s on me. Somehow I think I have a better handle on the situation now that I know what I was doing wrong and why the same things kept happening over and over again. This lesson also applies to holding on too tight to our dreams and aspirations. I’m not suggesting that you give up. But if you let go and let God and Oneness and the Universe do the heavy lifting, you’ll be surprised at the results. I hope this spurs you guys to rethink your own habitual patterns and helps you break any bad habits before they break you.

The week’s GUY’S GUY OF THE WEEK is all of us. It may have taken me a very long time to sort out my issue, but when the time was right the message rang loud and clear. I know you can do it, too.

Valentines Day: The Holiday About Love that Everyone Hates

Robert Manni - Friday, February 10, 2017

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 he a romantic legend created by 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 step 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 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.


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