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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

4 Must-Dos To Get That Second Date

Robert Manni - Wednesday, July 25, 2012

        

After connecting online and finessing a great first meet up, what does a Guy’s Guy do to make sure he secures the next date? “Just don’t throw up on his shoes.” That’s what an ex-boss advised me before my meeting a potentially game-changing new client.  It looked like a slam-dunk, but in advertising clients have the final say, and I needed the gig. The meeting went fine, but I was reminded to never take anything for granted. It’s the same in dating.   You sent her email and she responded. Then after a quick exchange you connected by phone and you both liked the sound of each other’s voice. So you met at Craft Bar for a glass of Riesling. Lots of laughs and eye contact. You’re thinking that she is awesome. Then comes a second goblet of wine and possibly a savory appetizer to wash down. Okay, that’s enough for the first meeting. Now what?  

1 – Know When To Say Good Night.

I don’t relish coming across as Ms. Manners for dudes, but the world was a simpler place when Ms M. was doling out her advice. After a couple of glasses of vino, you both might feel super comfy and think that you really know one another. Guess what? You don’t. Of course you have to follow your inner compass when deciding if sharing a light dinner with her is in order, but your Guy’s Guy says “proceed with caution”. You had a nice time. You already won. Don’t be greedy. So, pick up the tab, unless she insists on splitting it, help her with her jacket, and always hail a cab for her. Make sure you tell her how much you enjoyed meeting her and that you will call her soon. Wave goodnight. Exhale. You did well, amigo.  

2 - Follow Up Like A Pro.

You might be tempted to get all texty with her now. Don’t. If you must send something, then send one text and keep it short and sweet. Wait an hour or so after the date and hit her up after you think she’s slipped into her jammies. “Had a great time! Can’t wait to see you again.” Or anything that says that you are a Guy’s Guy and not a night stalker.  

3- Stay The Course.

Although we could successfully argue that it may not always be the case with their behavior (ladies, have a sense of humor por favor), women seek consistency in a guy. That means being both reliable and somewhat predictable in a good way. So if you’ve told her that you will call her, then call her within a day or two. You want to keep her on her toes, but you also want to reassure her that you are a smooth, confident dudester.  

4 - Call, Don’t Text.

Call her. No texting, no email. Call. And have a really cool idea in mind for your next date. When you call remember to make her laugh and always ask her how her day is going before you ask her out again. It’s the little things that count, my friend. When she says yes, be enthusiastic and tell her that you will take care of the arrangements for meeting up that weekend or whenever. Don’t ask her out that night. Let the apprehension and anticipation build up. It’s called foreplay. Then when the big night arrives put on some nice duds and go for it. And, always, always relax, be yourself, and have fun.  


Guy’s Guy of The Week:  Adam Sandler in the movie 50 First Dates  

What are your favorite ways to secure a second date?

image courtesy of http://www.date-night.co.uk/

How To Unmask Your Man

Robert Manni - Wednesday, June 20, 2012

 
             image courtesy of Warner Bros Pictures


It’s time for Rod to pay a visit again.  You may remember he is the quintessential Guy’s Guy I introduced in an earlier post who bats for the ladies by dishing out the truth about men. Rod is the pseudonym of Max Hallyday, the protagonist in my novel. In the book, Rod teaches women how to win by penning a column exposing the deepest and darkest dating secrets of men called, you guessed it, The Guys' Guy's Guide To Love.  Want to reveal the naked truth about your beguiling man?  Read on…   

Masked Men 

Your letters say that you want the truth about men. I’m warning you – it ain’t pretty. But okay, here it goes. The modern man is weak and increasingly susceptible to temptation. Look at the newspaper and you’ll see how men continue to succumb to their addictions of sex, greed, violence, and hypocrisy. It’s time for women to rule this world in a better way – one man and one relationship at a time. And I’m here to help. 

Fact: Men lie – constantly. They do it to subdue the truth inside their poisoned consciousness. They hide. That’s why you must confront and unmask your man. Think of their heroes – Zorro, Batman, the Lone Ranger, Spiderman. They all wore masks, and for good reason. To hide their identity. Okay, it’s a metaphor, but it’s true. For you to build a successful relationship, you need to unmask your man and make him reveal himself, even if he doesn’t want to show you what’s inside. Don’t let your man get away with secrecy, because regardless of how much time you spend with him, you’ll remain alone if you let him hide what’s inside his heart. Why do men hide? Isn’t it obvious? Because they’re insecure and afraid that they’re not good enough for you. They do it because they can – because you let them. 
 But if you succeed in discovering the truth, you’ll help your man become the person he wants to be – and the partner you deserve. Men need your help more than ever. Now, the good news: You can win. For the same reason a porcupine has quills and a turtle burrows into his shell for protection, women have been equipped with superior intuitive powers. While men waged wars wielding their brute strength and force, women were developing their sixth sense. And the more you trust your gift – the one that tells you “I just know” – the more you’ll be rewarded. 
Here’s a way to supercharge that gift. Men aren’t that complicated, not the way you and your friends think or hope they are. They’re creatures of habit who spend most of their lonely lives thinking about sex, eating, sleeping, drinking, thinking about sex, watching sports, listening to music, playing sports and video games, thinking about sex, and repeating the cycle. That’s about all. Don’t believe me? Just ask. 
An endless stream of available gratuitous sexual imagery, rump-shaking hip-hop videos, and the nihilistic drone of heavy metal music choke the minds and lower the vibrations of modern males. And the declining standards propagated by reality television have taken their toll. Men are caught in a web of misinformation that force-feeds their lowest common denominators. They’ve lost touch with our values and respect for themselves … and for you. 
How can you make it work? Simple – ask questions. And then ask more questions, and in a gentle yet determined way, keep asking, until you've pushed aside their fragile egos and revealed the man inside. And remember, you have to listen to what he says, not judge him. Really listen or else he won’t open up. Then it’s up to you to decide if he is worthy of your love. Sound easy? It is. Whatever answers you receive, even if they’re non-answers, the man is revealing himself. Find out how he feels about everything important in his life. If you stay on him, he’ll be grateful because – more good news – men really want to open up to you. 
When you call at eleven and he tells you that he’s out with a few colleagues above the background noises, that little voice inside you might have its doubts. Start asking him questions. Which bar? What’s the occasion? Who’s there? And don’t forget to follow up the next day, to make sure he was telling the truth. I’m not suggesting that you jack up the poor guy the minute he walks through the door, but over time, you can ferret out the seemingly innocuous information that will tell you what makes men tick. 
Listen to your man – really listen! Then, heed your gift of intuition. When you do, you’ll know if he was out for an innocent night of beers and make bonding or trolling bars in search of a little “something something” while you were curled up in your jammies watching Glee. 
You deserve better. You deserve the best – so start asking questions. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll learn – the good and the bad. And you’ll discover the man inside of your man. And if your not satisfied with what you find in his heart, let him go. Your heart is too wonderful a gift to open up for anything less than an honest man.  

Until next time,   
Rod


What Ever Happened To Men?

Robert Manni - Wednesday, May 23, 2012

         
image courtesy of http://jolearon.com/tag/daniel-craig/
 
A helluva lot, and nothing. It’s a matter of perspective and each man defining himself as the times change seemingly faster by the hour. 

I was part of the team that came up with the ad campaign for 1800 tequila that asked, “what ever happened to tequila?” Now, two years and one advertising agency later, the campaign revolves around the phrase, “what ever happened to?’. There is one execution focused on men and according to the brand, how soft they’ve become. It’s a timely and multifaceted issue. With so much focus placed on women and their overdue recognition, maybe it’s time that we devote a Guy’s Guy column to exploring how we perceive modern man

Is James Bond a reflection of the social position of men? 

In some ways, you could make that argument. Back in the late eighties Timothy Dalton played a new, more sensitive James Bond. He reflected a softening of the macho side of men. But, after few years he was replaced by a more action oriented Pierce Brosnan. This guy was born to play Bond. Handsome as a devil, suave, smooth, and British.  Bond was now back to where he needed to be.  But was he? In many ways, Brosnan worked for the female moviegoers, but Brosnan did not necessarily connect for men or for Ian Fleming, the writer who created this famous character. More recently a feral Daniel Craig took the reigns as Bond and the franchise was reborn. Yeah, this guy is not so damn pretty and he kicks ass. The point is, our society places men under the microscope, and every time we try to soften them up so they’re more user friendly, those underlying animal qualities are missed and we insist that the inner male again be unleashed.

But what about right now?

In 2012 we are at a crossroads in redefining and reinterpreting men. On one hand we have MMA, misogynistic music, big booty worship, and buzz cuts galore. On the flip side we have metrosexuals, bromances, mantyhose, mangagement rings, he-waxes, guylons, broisery, mandals, and he-tards. What’s going on? It’s all good, but that’s how all over the place we are about men and their changing roles

What can we do?

It helps knowing that women care about guys. But it is up to the individual male to determine his identity. That means being open, but not blindly yielding to outside pressure about how to feel, act, or express himself as a man. Guys can start addressing the craziness by looking inside. It’s the first step in understanding yourself and defining the outside. Just because we live in a crazy, confused world, it is not acceptable for men to “hate” each other or women. It’s about coexistence, not competition. 

It’s not easy, but this is a perfect time for men to step forward and lead by example. Leading is not standing in front of women. It’s standing beside them and respecting all genders, races, and religions. 

As your resident Guy’s Guy, I think that this is a wonderful time for men to be…men. And it’s important that women understand the current assault on masculinity and help their guys behave like men. Women need to be patient, understanding, yet clear in their expectations of the men in their life. 

Are you giving your man the opportunity to be the man you want him to be? 

How Long Is Too Long To Wait For A Man?

Robert Manni - Wednesday, April 18, 2012

 

Image Courtesy of HBO

How long is too long to wait for a man? 

Women have an uncanny instinct for knowing when they meet the right guy. Or do they? Unfortunately, in too many cases the men delay all efforts to move the relationship ahead. So the women are resigned to waiting for their guy to figure out who they are and when they are ready. The process can take years. It’s so prevalent that the new movie, “The Five Year Engagement” tackles the issue.

 Make no mistake about it; the male delay game is insidious. It’s unfair to women and a cop-out for men. And yes, I was guilty. I participated in a long-term live-in relationship with a terrific partner that ultimately went kaput. I take full responsibility and learned a great lesson when it was over. However, we both paid a price, and if I have one regret, it’s that we could have fished or cut bait a lot sooner. 

 Why do men stall? 

It’s not that they want to waste your time and their time. They’re usually afraid of making the wrong decision or missing out on all the hot women that they are probably not dating anyway. It’s that simple. But, the universe has a great sense of humor and it dishes out ironic lessons if we pay attention. In my case, by the time I was ready to take the next step and get married, my partner had had enough of my shenanigans and for her, it was over. And once a woman checks out emotionally, it’s O-V-E-R. Most guys don’t realize that until the door slams in their face.  My final instructions were not to be at home when the moving van pulled up.  I looked into the mirror and admitted that although I messed up, I learned my lesson. And, I did. From that moment on I developed a deeper appreciation of a woman’s patience and a greater sense of urgency for finding and securing the right partner. The good news is that it all worked out. My ex was married within a year and after a few laps around the online dating pond and a handful of wonderful, yet brief relationships, the right woman found me. And, after I swam into her net, we were engaged exactly one year later and married one year from then. And, I’ve never been happier. 

I accepted my mishandling of someone’s heart and was blessed and given another chance.  Unfortunately, not every couple experiences life the same way. Too many great women are left waiting and too many men spend their time waffling instead of taking action. 

 What can men and women do? 

Acknowledging that every situation is different and life often gets in the way, it is critical that couples discuss what they want in clear terms along with their thoughts about timing. That does not mean during the first date. Wait until you are in an exclusive relationship. At that point, once you lay your cards on the table, there are no surprises. A lot of women I’ve spoken with expect a man to know what’s on their mind. Sorry ladies. We don’t. 

 Most men are problem solvers. If something is wrong, men will express their feelings clearly.  So, if they don’t hear their partner stating her concerns about the relationship (I don’t mean leaving the seat up) in direct terms, men think everything’s cool. They are not going to pay attention until you are packing your bags.  When men are being men and women are being women, this is what happens. So we have to go take that extra step to find out how our partner feels about the relationship. Guys will do their best to avoid this, but if you sit them down and let them know that this is very important to you, they will pay attention. If they don’t, why are you bothering with this guy? 

So if you’re a woman who feels that she is with the right guy, but he seems content to keep you waiting indefinitely, you need to have a heart-to-heart with him right now. And if he waffles a bit too much, then ask yourself if the relationship is toast and if you would ultimately be better off moving on. 

 What are YOU doing to move your relationship forward?

Why The Rolling Stones Matter To Guys' Guys

Robert Manni - Wednesday, April 04, 2012


Image courtesy of thenjunderground.com

Guys’ Guys need good music and for the past fifty years, the Stones have spun a wicked soundtrack. Like them or not, you have to admit the Stones have withstood time. Despite the arrival of disco, rap, hip hop, electronica, house, world, and competitors as talented as Nirvana, Guns and Roses, and Led Zeppelin, only the Stones have kept it together and rolled for five decades. And while in six short years the Beatles songs lifted us to ethereal heights that will never be matched, the Stones grounded us in the real world. No yellow submarines or Bungalow Bills here. The Stones wrote classic rock songs about the challenges we face every day, and that’s why they matter - especially to Guys’ Guys.  In this rapidly changing world and a music industry that breeds acts as disposable as a soiled pair of Depends, the Stones have time and gravitas on their side.   But can they still roll or are their steel wheels too creaky?   Their golden anniversary tour has been pushed back a bit because “they are not ready” and with no new music for the past seven years, this seems strange. But, the last standing vestiges of the classic rock era get a well-deserved pass. As quick as you can say “Start Me Up”, Mick will once again move like Jagger. Okay, you have probably figured out that I really like the Rolling Stones. The main reason is that in a strange way, their music helped me develop from angry young man to my hopefully mellower current persona. Here are a few songs that were guideposts for my evolution as a Guy’s Guy.

1- Brown Sugar - Every few months, my mom would drive to the retail district of Hackensack, NJ to shop. There was a record store near the Fox movie theater that carried the latest records. I was in school so I’d write her a list. I’d give mom the money and she’d buy me one or two albums. On one particular trip she returned wielding copies of, The Monkees, “Headquarters” and the Stones epic “Sticky Fingers” albums. Needless to say she frowned when she handed over the Stones album with Andy Warhol’s black and white photo of a guy’s bulging package and the silver zipper on the cover. Hilarious. The moment I heard the song’s opening riff of Brown Sugar that sounded like the gears of a high-octane V-8 engine kicking in, everything changed. I was alive. Since my family lived only minutes from my school, I listened to that song and album every day for the next year when I’d stop home at lunchtime and have a sandwich and a dish of Jell-O with my Mom. I applaud her for never complaining as she was subjected to songs like  “Bitch” and “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking?” as we ate. It was a great time in my life-bonding with mom while listening to the Stones. Although I was now bursting with testosterone, I realized that my mom was also my friend. Cool.

2- Shattered - “Some Girls” was all about New York City. It was raw and insidious in its charm.  The final song, “Shattered” featured lyrics like, “Love and hope and sex and dreams and still surviving on the street” and “Rats on the West Side, bed bugs uptown”. It painted the Manhattan of that time with a brazenly accurate brush. I was still living in Jersey in those days, but I’d drive across the bridge to visit my friends in the city. We partied like wild boys until five in the morning and crash wherever. I remember walking up after an all-nighter on the closet floor of a woman’s apartment with my body entwined with one of her girlfriends.  Those were fun, innocent times and compared to today’s hard-edged nightlife. I found my drug and it was New York City.

3- Start Me Up - Probably one of the most overplayed radio songs of all time, but infectious just the same. Who could shy away from Keith’s opening riff and Mick’s declaration that the girl he sang about could make a dead man come? That’s some woman. I heard the song for the first time while partying in the back of a car cruising up Wilshire in LA while with a buddy from college and his friends. It was the eighties now and things were changing. I was too. At the time, it was all about heading west and discovering America.

4- Anybody Seen My Baby? - The underrated “Bridges to Babylon” album featured a single with Mick sing-speaking his lament about a great girl that had disappeared into thin air. At the time, like my character Max Hallyday, the protagonist in my novel, THE GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO LOVE, I had just left a job I really loved for the promise of money and power. I got some of that, but I also got a wake up call about what really matters in life and it really stuck in my brain. I learned that you could never go back.

5- A Bigger Bang - When the Stones last release came out a few years ago, everything in my life had been blown up in some way. I was completely on my own. It was a very free feeling so I decided that I’d take a risk and write a kick-ass novel that would make people feel good. The CD sounded like the Stones were playing in my living room and the songs were relatively light versus their former harder edge. The digital download provided a great soundtrack for my long runs in Central Park and at the shore and the more circumspect songs helped me work out the novel’s plot twists and turns as I loped along. The music was transformative and the collection of songs provided an ongoing narrative and tone for my protagonist, Max Hallyday.

For most of us music plays a part in modern life. The Rolling Stones have grown up with me and for that I will always be grateful. While they pull themselves together for their final tour, I’m working on my next book and waiting on my lifelong musical friends.

So which songs have inspired you? Maybe it's time to listen to them again.

Interview with Robert Manni (Part Two) – by Matthew (The Bibliofreak)

Robert Manni - Wednesday, March 14, 2012



It’s hard to place The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love in a particular genre – how do you describe it to people?

Great question. At first agents told me that since I was a guy, I should write a thriller. No, thanks. Then it was, why don’t you write the book with a female protagonist? No, thanks. Then they told me, the title sounds like the book is a non-fiction guide to getting laid. Why don’t you change the name to Shark Tank or something like that? No, thanks.

Maybe this book will help guys connect with women better. I don’t know, but I write what I’m passionate about and the story is universal. Most readers can relate to Max, Roger, or Cassidy, so I don’t see why the book must be squeezed into a specific genre beyond general fiction. Once you start chasing the market, you’ll end up writing about a stripper-turned vampire detective. If you write what’s hot - like young adult or Harry Potter - they’ve already seen it. If you write something new, they don’t know where to slot your work. The market keeps evolving, but good stories about human nature with conflicts and choices characters face never go out of style.

Do you have any plans to write further novels set in the world of advertising, or even to revisit the characters in The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love?

Definitely. I have a fresh concept for the sequel in the works. I can’t wait to jump into it head first. I’m not done with the world of advertising yet, either. There are other issues and subjects I plan to tackle, though I’m just getting warmed up.

How long did it take you to write The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love?

The initial draft took about six months. The editing of this novel took over two years to get right.

Describe your life during the writing process.

I wrote GGG2Love during a period of career and personal transition. From working in a high-powered executive position, I went free - lance. I was single for the first time in many years and I was also introduced to energy work. Everything was open - ended. I did not know where the process would lead, but I had faith. This period of time tested me.

I learned that writing is psychically draining and cathartic and exhilarating all at the same time. I ran many, many miles and used that time to mentally sort out and sculpt a muscular plot for the book. I was spending a lot of time at my beach house. I was so deep into the writing process that on some days I would begin my work in the early morning. Then after what seemed like only a few hours later I’d find myself looking out at the ocean noticing that the sun was going down. It was a special time for me.

And when you’re not writing?

I’m president of a boutique ad agency in Manhattan so that keeps me hopping. I also read, write, play and rest. Of course, I spent a lot of time dating or chasing women in an effort to find the right partner.Thankfully, I finally swam into her net. It was a gentle capture. I was ready.

What first inspired you to start writing?

Once I realized that I would not be playing centerfield for the New York Yankees, at a young age writing became my primary passion…that is until I discovered girls. Although I spent my childhood playing outdoors, I read constantly - early mornings, evenings, and quiet afternoons sitting on the front steps.

I wrote a short memoir about our school baseball team when I was sixteen. My teacher, Cosmo Ferraro, read passages from my short book to his students and they loved hearing about their classmates. And that was it. I was all in - hook, line and sinker.

I majored in English Literature, but like my father I was interested in business and world travel. After graduation I worked my way into a marketing position at a corporation and took classes for my MBA. During this time I travelled extensively for business - across the U.S. and globally during a time when the world didn’t feel so connected by technology. I recall how alienated I felt having dinner in a colleague’s backyard in a suburb in Kuala Lumpur when three weeks prior I had never uttered the name of this wonderful city. I think that all the travelling I did early on provided a strong foundation to better understand the human condition with all of its ticks.

What do you hope readers will get from The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love?

I hope they have fun and are reminded that by giving give people a chance, you open yourself up to surprises. Or not. It keeps life interesting, and of course I hope they become aware of Reiki, too.

Which authors, if any, do you compare yourself to, or aspire to emulate?

I admire so many authors -  Mailer, Hesse, Camus, Carlos Castaneda, Hemingway, William Hjortsberg, Dan Wakefield, John Fante, Lawrence Block, Sogyal Rinpoche, even Harold Robbins, but I don’t attempt to emulate them. It’s challenging enough for a writer to find his own voice.

The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love is your first novel; did you attempt any other full length works or short stories before you started writing it?

I wrote a “practice” novel like many other writers and shopped it around a bit to learn the ropes of the marketplace and how the business worked.

How successful were they / What did you learn?

The entire process was an education so I consider it a major success. Thich Nhat Hanh wrote about the wonderful experience of writing a book about one’s life and he was right. I had a powerful emotional release after completing that project. It taught me about possibilities. It also reminded me that story is paramount and my life was not necessarily as interesting to others as it is to me.

What aspects of writing do you find most challenging?

An editor who read both my first project and GGG2Love told me that I had a unique voice that the publishing industry might try to change. He urged me to stay true to my personal style.

I find the publishing industry challenging. The agents and publishers are inundated with material that is not ready for prime time. So some agents begin their process from a negative perspective. Reading takes time and time is money, so you can’t really blame them or take their feedback personally. Your writing needs to follow the rules, yet stand out. It’s tricky.

What advice would you give to people wanting to write?

Writing is not a matter of wanting. That takes no effort. To succeed at it, it must be something you have to do almost a compulsion or an addiction of sorts. Otherwise, it’s too easy to give up. A writer must be driven, passionate, and relentless like a sled dog mushing his way through a blizzard. Onward!

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m now blogging regularly at robertmanni.com while prepping the sequel to The Guys’ Guy’s Guide To Love. I like the spontaneity of posting things that I’m experiencing, noticing, and feeling while hopefully adding value to the readers’ passions about life, love and their pursuit of happiness.

What are your long-term writing ambitions?

Do you mean beyond selling enough books to buy my own Caribbean island and building an amazing writing hideaway? There has been already interest in the TV treatment and film rights so we’ll see where this takes us.

What sort of books do you enjoy / Favourite authors or titles?

My all-time favorite book is Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. I read it every few years or so. The message remains constant, but the story touches my heart in a different way every time.

Are there any new writers you’ve read recently who you are particularly excited about?

I’m not sure if they are considered new, but I really enjoyed Rex Pickett’s Sideways and I think Michael Lewis is brilliant. I also loved Keith Richards’ autobiography.

What, if anything, would you change about writing and publication of The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love?

Like most writers, every time I go back and read the book I see things that I’d like to play with. But I’ve made the tweaks after the first short run, so the story is set and I have to let it go.

Favourite word, and why?

Om. It is the last word in Siddhartha and it means everything.

Interview with Robert Manni (Part One) – by Matthew (The Bibliofreak)

Robert Manni - Wednesday, March 07, 2012


You’ve worked in advertising for the past two decades, what inspired you to turn your hand to literature and write The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love?

About ten years ago I was walking across Sixth Avenue when something inside told me that it was time to get serious about my passion for writing. I read every book that I could get my hands on about writing or subjects that interested me and began writing in earnest.

Before writing this book I noticed a growing chasm between men and women, particularly the ascent of women and the lack of support and thoughtful response from men. That old macho routine was no longer working and it seemed like it was time for a new type of contemporary male to evolve. I call him a “guy’s guy”-the guy who is a bit more casual and generally understanding, but still a man in every sense of the word. Along with these thoughts I was also also fuelled by the irony of this division between the sexes; this despite all the technology that keeps us connected. I hoped these ideas could turn into a story that connected emotionally with readers.

I gave myself ten years to make all of this happen and here we are.

With all that experience it’s inevitable that people will wonder, were any of the characters based on real people you’ve encountered?  

When building the cast for GGG2Love I used archetypes. Who hasn’t met a smooth Lothario like Roger Fox or an entitled rich girl like Layla or a type-A Veronica? As choices define characters, in GGG2Love the challenge for the guys, particularly Max, is how they manage their “inner Roger”. Since I used archetypes to build characters, they are not specifically based on real people.

And did you identify with any of the characters yourself?

I found myself relating to all the characters, including the females. They all faced personal challenges and decisions that defined their true character and possibilities for success, failure, and redemption. Max is the universal everyman and hero, Roger, the contemporary sexual male, and Alejandro is the more spiritual modern man - the moral compass of the story.

In the novel you switch between a range of narrative perspectives, did you find it hard to write from the female characters’ point of view - what helped you gain an insight into the female psyche?

I recall reading Michael Crichton’s “Travels” a long time ago. It is a fascinating memoir about his days as a med student. He stressed the equality and similarity of men and women behaviourally. It really hit a nerve with me. Beyond the nuances, I found it much easier to know women when I treated them the same as I treated my best guy friends, instead of as mysterious, unpredictable creatures, although I admit that at times they may seem that way.

I did my best to imagine how I would behave if I were experiencing what one of the female characters was going through. Then I ran things by my female friends to check the emotional content and the latest fashion trends. I feel comfortable because nothing rang false to the women who’ve read the book.

Manhattan, its inhabitants and their lifestyles are central to the book. What is it that excites you so much about the big city?

After travelling for business for about ten years I realized that America is a concept, a grand idea. New York is like that also. It is a special place with powerful creative energy and it is always changing. The city draws talent from around the globe like moths to a flame. From the guy spinning pizza dough to the cab drivers and people you work with, there is a sense of pride and urgency that permeates Manhattan. You can smell clean fresh fish at the Chelsea Marketplace or the stench of the subway on a summer’s day- all within five minutes of each other. The restaurants, bars, and patrons constantly change, as do the neighbourhoods and the people living in them. The array of food is amazing and it’s true, the city never sleeps. Underneath it all, there is a sense of romance that acts like an undertow to even the most mundane activity. You can find new love at the laundry, gym, bookstore or a cooking class. What’s not to like?

The novel presents an interesting discussion about masculinity and modern man. How do you see the role of men and masculinity in today’s society?

Men need to pay attention and face facts. This is the time for women to ascend and I believe that this is a great thing for everyone, including men. But it’s all in how we view a situation. Instead of putting more pressure on men, women are actually taking on more responsibilities and allowing our male roles to evolve. That’s a good thing for men who see this in a positive light. And if they take their frustrations  out on women, they will be in deep trouble because women are not going to take a step back. Why should they? The ball is in men’s court.

Few of the characters are irredeemably bad or manipulative, do you think this is representative of business in Manhattan generally?

Sure, there are plenty of bad apples in the big city, but my goal was to show the eternal hopefulness that is baked into humanity. Even history’s most despicable dictators believed that they were doing the right thing, so my focus was on the character’s intention and the possibility of good that resides in everyone. I believe in the now, and no one has convinced me yet that people cannot evolve. Of course many fail, but that does not preclude the inherent ability to change for the good. It can happen.

Spirituality, in one form or another, plays a large role in the book (reiki, etc.). These things must be important to you?

This is the question I was hoping for. Although The Guys’ Guy’s Guide To Love is fast, frothy, and fun, ultimately it is about being self-reflective and doing the right thing. 

I’ve been drawn to “spirituality” since early childhood and have no idea why, but once I fell into my studies of Reiki and hypnosis, my energy shifted and my perspective evolved. Everything seems closer and connected now. If this book introduces Reiki to readers then I have achieved something special. I would not have had the energy to overcome the innumerable obstacles I faced while writing this book without my energy work. It is a gift I want to share and I charged this book to do exactly that.

There is a real sense that your characters get what they deserve by the end of the novel, was this internal morality something that was important to you from the outset?

I prefer accentuating the positive and providing possibilities for redemption. Either with characters or with people, I believe in giving everyone a chance, knowing too well that many will fail to live up to my expectations or their own standards. In this novel, as in all stories, the outcome is predicated by the choices the characters make. I left that for them to decide…for now.

Did you have a particular audience in mind when writing the book?

I thought the story would connect with women, men, and readers interested in the world of advertising, New York stories and spirituality.  Lately I’ve been getting a lot of emails from men telling me that they have finally read a story about the sexes that resonates. This inspires me to believe that what sets GGG2Love apart from other male versions of “Sex and the City” is that our guys don’t behave like women.


5 Simple Questions To Find Out If He's 'The One'

Robert Manni - Wednesday, February 15, 2012


 photo courtesy of ebtheceleb.com

 

Guest Post from Chick Lit Cafe 

Dating can be like business. You get it. I learned this sitting across the table from a cadre of new dates and being grilled like a king salmon. The endless questions from their “list” were fired in succession to determine if I had potential to become “The One”. In business we call this “qualifying” a sale. In a marketplace where time is money, it’s mission critical to quickly get to the heart of prospects and potential issues.

Like Max Hallyday, the main character in my debut novel, THE GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO LOVE, I will function as your representative “guy’s guy” to help ferret out the truth about men. Here are my questions designed to get you the 411 on a new guy. I call this, my “unlist”.

THE UNLIST - OR FIVE SIMPLE QUESTIONS THAT GET YOU A CLEAR SENSE OF A MAN. (Note, I’m not suggesting that you prosecute the poor guy the moment he sits down. He’s not automatically on trial for stealing goodies and breaking hearts. Take things slow and easy, and listen carefully to his answers, or lack of answers, which will both reveal his DNA):

1 - What does he want to do? This is code for finding out if he’s a man with a plan. Women tend to poke around this area, but usually ask the same qualifiers like if he is working and where. I can still hear the wheels inside their heads calculating my bank potential although it did not necessarily reveal that much about my character. A job may tell you what a man does, and in most cases, if he is not fully employed the evening wraps up fairly quickly. But I suggest that the focus be on determining if the man has a dream. Men with dreams tend to make things happen. Unfortunately, many ladies that I met for the first time only seemed interested in dreams that had come true, not the journey itself. That’s too bad because in this guys’ guy’s opinion, it’s the journey more than the arrival that can reveal a man’s character. Bottom line, if he has a stated goal, check plus. If he doesn’t know, hmmm…you’ll have to poke around a bit more to see if he has any ambition. And if he doesn’t, you may want to move on unless he smiles like Clooney and has a Swiss bank account and a house in Mustique.

2 - So, what’s his plan? Dreams make a great start, but in this conscious world, you need a plan for grabbing that prize. When I decided I wanted to - make that - had to write novels, I kept my day job and gave myself ten years to hone my craft and get published. Fortunately, I’m right on schedule, but this was a real test of my character and it would have been easy to fold and place the manuscript in the drawer. But that’s who I am.  But many women I met while I struggled to land a literary agent checked their phones and said goodnight once they found out where I was in the process of making my dream come true. That’s okay because that also let me know who they were. And I did have a plan and I was not only willing to discuss it, I looked forward to it because it was my passion.  Yay, me.

3 - What’s his timing? With time our most valuable commodity, it is critical to set guideposts for reaching milestones on the journey forward. I know writers who have been working on their manuscripts for fifteen years. They may be on to something special, but as the pages pile up, the days of our lives are crossed off of the calendar. I am a grinder and grinders set goals and find the time to grind. If you write five pages a day, you can complete a three hundred-page draft in two months. Not easy, but with discipline writers learn to become prolific. The point is that you probably want a man who is realistic about getting things done. That way he has lots of time for you.

4 - What have been his greatest challenges and victories? This will give you a real sense of character and what’s important to him. If he has not been tested, that may be a red flag. He may be soft. Or he may be filthy rich. And his greatest victories may tell you what makes him tick. Was winning the fifty-yard dash in third grade really that important or was it the time he rescued the puppy from the burning home or raised all of that money for charity when he competed in a triathlon? You get the idea.

5 - Ask him what’s next? This will let you know if he is for real. We live in the now so you need to make sure he’s engaged in his life and not meandering or waiting to find out if the Giants make the playoffs before he decides his next move. You probably want a guy who is fun, but determined. He’s called a guy’s guy and there’s one out there just for you if you know how to qualify your prospect.

Are you prepared to ask the right questions that will get you the man you want?

4 Must-Dos Before Embarking On Online Dating

Robert Manni - Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Image courtesy of Du Dãng

Online dating is a big topic and worthy of a book.  As far as getting started is concerned, there are a few overarching rules that apply to anyone who is dating online. You might have a system that works for you, but for most people, they are looking for ways to have more fun and less anxiety when making a splash in the online dating pool.

1. Determine Your Objective

This is marketing and you are the brand. So like any astute marketer, you need to first determine your objective. This is a step that will have ramifications for every online date. Think about it. Do you want lots of dates and partners, or a relationship? Be fair to yourself and everyone else when considering that. You may be thinking, what’s wrong with dating a number of prospects until I meet the right person? Nothing, but it will become a factor with every new person you meet.


2. Find Potential Dates With The Same Objective

Some guys and women use online dating as an efficient way to fill up their calendar, meet new people, score free dinners, and enjoy what happens after dessert. My point is, if that is what you are looking for, find partners who are share the same mindset. You can sort that out fairly quickly. And don’t be a heartbreaker because there are a lot of sincere people out there looking for “The One”.

3. Don’t Waste Time, You Have An Offline Life Too

If you are reasonably intelligent and “normal”, it’s easy to score dates online. There is a bottomless pool of potential partners that is constantly restocked. But this is your time and your money and your sexual and mental wellbeing, so be mindful of your online dating behavior and avoid getting lost in a sea of endless possibilities.

4. Avoid The ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’

One of the biggest challenges to online dating is not falling into the pattern of immediately tossing aside potential mates for anything less than perfection because there’s always another prospect out there waiting to share a glass of Prosecco with you.  

Deciding what you want before beginning something new. Sounds like a no-brainer. So does not texting when you are walking up the subway stairs during rush hour. So put down that BlackBerry and take a few moments to consider what you want before texting that new guy back.

Do you know what you want?

How to Score Dates While Sitting at Home in Your Tightie Whities

Robert Manni - Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Image courtesy of Egan Snow

Hey guys, I’d like to share a few tips on how to meet cool, smart women online. You know, the kind of lady that you probably have admired from across the bar or from the squat rack at the gym, but were not quite sure how to approach. The beauty of online dating for men is that you can relax and plan your introduction without pressure. If you don’t feel like corresponding with her today, she might be in that same location tomorrow. Or maybe not. But why wait when it’s so easy to make your move and connect with her?

1- Read her profile. Twice. 

That’s correct. A lot of dudes flip through the photos and only pay attention to the hottest of hotties only. Tsk, tsk. Of course you want to connect with a young lady that strikes your fancy, but there is a world of important subtext once you dig into her profile. And I assure you that she will be reading your profile very carefully when you send that greeting her way.

You can learn a lot by reading about her. Besides the usual background info and status(avoid ‘separated’ if possible-that can mean she’s in a bad marriage and just scoping the scene), check out what’s going on in her world, and see how much she talks about herself.  Does every sentence begin with “I”?  If the answer is yes, move on.  Same thing if she states anything negative in her profile. That’s a signal for you to turn the page. If someone cannot make it through writing their online advertisement without going negative, imagine how that will spool out on dates with her.

2- Look for someone who knows what she wants. 

Does she mention what she is looking for in a partner or is it all about all about her and the places she has traveled? Does she offer up anything that acknowledges that online love is a two-way street? You’ll probably have to read between the lines a bit, but it’s important to find out if she gets it. To me, no matter how good looking she might be, if you cannot get a good sense of he and the qualities she’s looking for in a guy, it’s a red flag. Same thing if she is too specific. But if she only wants to date accordion players from Alsace Lorraine, at least you’ll know that you don’t fit her specs.

3- No winks. 

Really. Dude, winks are for the ladies. And most women will send a line or two if they’re interested.  Guys need to step up. Tell her that you enjoyed reading about her and that you think she’s pretty and then comment on something in her background info that you can connect with. “Yes, I love Korean BBQ too.”

4- Always ask her a question to make it easy for her to reply. 

And I don’t mean, “Has anyone every referred to you as a spinner?” Come up with an inquiry about her trip to Iceland or that belly dancing class she takes, but without an innuendo about your personal expertise at wiggling below the waist. Take the high road and she’ll see that you are a gentleman.

5- Spelling counts. 

Yes, women pay attention to details and usually have excellent written communication skills. Review your note before sending it on and ask yourself if you would respond to it if you were her. If you are feeling a groove, add a little humor, but again, no sexy time talk. Show her your smooth side and then see if she responds.

6- Never write in all caps. 

I’m sure this is obvious to most, but it’s surprising how many people commit this faux pas which means they are yelling at someone. Bad sign if they do not know this. That’s a sign of not paying attention. Move on, quickly.

7- And, of course, make the first move.  

Show her that you’re interested.  I’ll leave it at that. Good luck.

What are you waiting for?


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