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GUYS' GUY'S GUIDES
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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

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.

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 Patience (and Perserverence)

Robert Manni - Wednesday, December 14, 2016


If you’re like me and most New York Guy's Guys, you want what you want when you want it.

You like your pizza hot, your beer cold, your payments on time in cash, and your woman’s skirts short and tight. Okay, that last one was a bit sexist, but everyone’s bundling up as we enter another long, dark New York winter. We live in a fast-paced town where people rarely demonstrate patience, a key personality trait of people who know how to win at the game of life. I’m as guilty as the next Guy’s Guy—I want my shit now. But, over time I’ve learned that sometimes not getting that thing I wanted when I wanted it, even if at the time I believed it was perfect for me, was not in the cards for good reason.  It was either wrong, or it wasn’t the right time. The Universe was protecting me.

Over the years I’m still learning how important having patience is to personal development, maturity, and an appreciation of life. Maybe you didn’t get that job, that girl, that deal, or that fantasy football championship when you thought it was in the bag. But, when your ship comes in, even if it happens long after when you wanted it to enter that harbor, you’ll eventually find out that everything falls into perfect timing and what’s right for you.

Before you put your hand up and say, “Hey, Guy’s Guy. What about that time when I was supposed to win that blah, blah, blah?” Sorry, it wasn’t meant to be, amigo. Your path still remains on track even if at times it feels like you’re stuck in a ditch along that the long road to enlightenment. You will get there and so will I. All we need is patience. The Universe hears us. It knows what we want to experience, but it has a different concept of time than our hyper demands for getting what we want now, now, now. With all that in mind, here are my Guy’s Guy perspective for learning patience and why it’s a very good thing.

Remember that job you applied for after college, thinking it was the perfect? Even though you may have landed the job and thought it was the right one for you, that opportunity doesn’t matter very much now, does it? If you were like me, you got the job, but over time had misgivings. I thought working for a big corporation that sold cookies and confectionary was the perfect gig. I met a lot of smart people, and I got solid experience and international travel under my belt. Then, after a few years and endless rounds of bosses, teams, and changing rules and politics I came to the realization that the people marketing a fun products like bubble gum and candy bars were some of the least fun people I had ever met. Packaged goods marketing was a notch on my career belt, but it was not what I wanted going forward. So I took my time and got a solid job in the image industry that suited me much better. In fact, I was much happier. It took time to make the change, but it was worth it. I was bored and miserable in the packaged goods industry, even though at the time it was the perfect place for me to start out. I got what I wanted when I wanted it, but I also learned that it there was something better out there. I took what I could get out of the experience and forged ahead. In this case, patience prevailed.

Here’s another example. Have you ever run into a former high school, college, or ex from your twenties and then suddenly experienced that “what was I thinking?” moment? Someone you had previously thought was the hottest, coolest partner. Maybe she dumped you, and left heartbroken. It made your desire for her become even hotter. But now, after a few years you see and there’s really no attraction whatsoever. You still respect her, but you’re not in any way, shape or form attracted to her physically or energetically anymore. What happened? Life happened. Aren’t you glad that things didn’t work out the way you had wanted back then? That’s what I’m talking about. You’re probably a lot smarter, happier and hanging with a partner who is better suited to you. It took me years to learn this valuable lesson. I learned that the hard way. In more than one relationship, I tried to force something to work that deep down I knew was not meant to be. I didn’t have the belief or the patience with myself and my abilities to just take a deep breath and move on. So I burned my time and probably hurt some feelings. But eventually I learned to be patient with change. And when I was more mature and ready to share my life, I met the woman who became my wife, my best friend, and lover. I’m glad the Universe taught me the rewards of patience.

Final story. A few years ago I took a break from the advertising game and began building the Guy’s Guy brand in earnest. I knew it would be hard. At the time I sat in a personal reading from a famous spiritual channel. The Guides that channeled in knew me inside out. At the time, I was eager to cash in on my novel, screenplay, TV script and treatment, podcast, non-fiction book series and all of the bricks I’d been laying in the foundation of my Guy’s Guy brand plan. I wanted it all right then and there, but there was more work to be done.

The Guides asked me an interesting question. “Would you be willing to do what you are doing without knowing if you would make money?” It was a striking question about my personal beliefs and intentions. I considered what I was doing and why. I felt the same way I did as when I was writing my novel. This was not just something I wanted to do; it was something I had to do.  I knew that I had to be patient, learn my craft, and hone my message so I would be properly prepared when my ship came in. After the reading, I went to work.

It’s been a few years since that reading and it’s not always been easy. I could have given up. At times I’ve said to myself, “WTF?” But overall, things are good. I’m healthy, strong and wiser than before and my family and my personal needs are being met. And, even though I still don’t know exactly how or exactly when my dream will manifest, I know it will happen at the right time, in the best way possible. That is my intention, and I am patient in my knowing.

So what’s the take away, Guy’s Guy? Do we sit here and just wait for our ship to come in? No, you do your work, set your intentions, and live, live, live in the moment. As you develop your patience you’ll eventually know that all things in your purview are happening in perfect timing. Good luck.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Abraham Lincoln. Here is a list of thirty years of his failures, plus a few successes on his way to becoming one of our greatest presidents. The man had patience and perseverance.

  • 1831 - Lost his job
  • 1832 - Defeated in run for Illinois State Legislature
  • 1833 - Failed in business
  • 1834 - Elected to Illinois State Legislature (success)
  • 1835 - Sweetheart died
  • 1836 - Had nervous breakdown
  • 1838 - Defeated in run for Illinois House Speaker
  • 1843 - Defeated in run for nomination for U.S. Congress
  • 1846 - Elected to Congress (success)
  • 1848 - Lost re-nomination
  • 1849 - Rejected for land officer position
  • 1854 - Defeated in run for U.S. Senate
  • 1856 - Defeated in run for nomination for Vice President
  • 1858 - Again defeated in run for U.S. Senate
  • 1860 - Elected President (success)

Image courtesy of WhiteHouse.gov 

The 5 Most Important Pieces of Advice I've Ever Been Given

Robert Manni - Monday, October 17, 2016

In most cases opinions are like, well you know what part of the body I’m referring to. Hint: everyone has one and you are probably sitting on yours while you’re reading. But on rare occasion a pearl of wisdom is bestowed on each of us that truly resonates and helps guide us to a better experience in life. These nuggets are memorable and stick to our ribs. So when a fellow Guy’s Guy suggested that I write about the best pieces of advice I’d ever received, I first asked myself if anything quickly came to of mind, and sure enough, five bits of helpful advice almost instantly popped up in my mind. And I think you will agree that these are truths that have stood the test of time. So in no particular order, here they are, along with whom they are attributed to. Drum roll please….

1. PAY ATTENTION – At the end of the third date with my future wife, I said something like, “I’m really enjoying our getting to know one another. I’ve dated quite a few women and had ongoing relationships, but obviously they did not work out. What can I do to be a good boyfriend?” Without even a moment’s hesitation, she replied, “Pay attention.” I raised my eyebrows and said, “That’s it? Anything else?” She looked me in the eye and said, “No.” In a flash I got the message. I realized that I, like so many men, was too focused on me and my world and not paying enough mind to my partner and the “little things” that women keep a handle on. I decided right there that I would work on being more attentive. We’ve been married for six years, so I must be making progress. But, make no mistake about it. Paying attention is a way of life that transcends romantic relationships into every key area of our life- work, family, money, friendships. Basically, all of our human interactions.

2. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF – About twenty years ago I was in the midst of a personal crisis due to a job loss. I’d built up a sterling resume, but for some reason had not connected to my next gig yet, and it was driving me crazy.  I often visited my folks in Jersey during this time, just being a good son. But, I was obviously giving off an anxious vibe due my frustrations.  My father always asked me about work and it became annoying to keep telling him I was not back in the saddle yet. I guess he was paying attention though, because he sent a card to me in the city that really hit home. On the cover was a drawing of a young boy on a stage facing a huge crowd. He was holding a violin behind his back. I opened the card curiously and stopped in my tracks when I read the inscription. It simply said, “Believe in yourself”, Love Dad. I placed the card on top of the doorway that led into the main room and it remained there for a decade. I landed a great job pretty soon thereafter, but left the card perched on the molding as a reminder. It’s tucked away somewhere now, but the message still burns in my consciousness. I believe in myself and will always be thankful for my father’s sensitivity to me and his support and encouragement. My father traveled quite a bit during my younger years and I had to figure out a lot of things on my own, so it was heartwarming to receive this gift from him.

3. THIS TOO SHALL PASS – Many people are under the impression that this famous quote comes from the Bible, but it doesn’t. Some scholars attribute it to King Solomon or Sufi poets, but its origins remain unknown. It came to me from my mother. I’ll bet she thinks it comes from the Bible, too, but what matters is the underlying truth in this statement that is often shared with someone going through a tough time. The bottom line is that it’s true—this too will pass. Things eventually change. That means everything, the bad and the good. The lesson is to not get too caught up in what we are currently experiencing because it is temporary. Life is transitory. And although you might not always get want you want, when you think about some of those things you may have missed out on a few years later, we often realize that the thing, person, or opportunity we were obsessed with was probably not right for us and we are better off that it did not happen. And when you think about it, there really is no past or a future. The only thing that matters is right now. So, try not to get too hung up on what looks like a bad situation. Things change, life is transitory, and you have free will.

4. IT’S ALL CONNECTED – Probably my all time favorite job to date was at a small, hip, and now defunct NYC ad agency. I can honestly say that I never once got up in the morning and dreaded coming to work. In fact, it was just the opposite. I actually looked forward to every new day at the agency and the challenges my team faced rebuilding a global vodka brand and catapulting a now world-famous gin to new heights. Every day was an adventure. The agency had a wonderful work ethic and environment with great people who got along, as well as fifty or so advertising people can get along. And we did great work and succeeded in building our clients’ businesses. What else could you ask for? Well, maybe a higher salary, but I made enough and had a nice expense account so no complaints. Like most situations in the ad game, at a certain point the landscape shifts.  If you're smart you can see the changes on the horizon. So, I accepted a bigger job on a massive global account at another agency. On my last day, my boss, the agency’s owner, stopped by my office. He was a man of few words. But he said two things that stuck with me to this day. First, he said, “good job”. That was high praise because he wasn’t one to dole out the flowery compliments. I knew I had kicked ass and he validate it. Then he leaned in and said, “Remember, it’s all connected.”  Then he shook my hand and walked out. The message did not sink in at that moment, but it still resonates with me until this day. He was right. Everything we are and do is connected, and we are surely connected to each other. That was been a huge gift and I remain appreciative of this gift of teaching me about “Oneness” as it applies to career, people, and our lives.

5. NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON THE OCEAN OR ONCOMING TRAFFIC – (another reminder about paying attention). Sounds pretty obvious, right? But often even the simplest common sense tenants are ignored and often times followed by dire consequences. I’m not sure where I heard these two tidbits, but I keep them in mind each time I go for a swim at the Jersey Shore or step off of the curb in New York City.

We’ve all seen pedestrians rush across city streets in traffic without looking both ways. And virtually every time I go for a swim in the Atlantic, so many people turn their backs when the waves get rough.  And we all know how many accidents there are in the city and in the water. I think this advice also applies to all aspects of our lives. It’s always best to pay attention and look before you leap.

So there you have it. Five pieces of advice that have helped me live a better life. I hope they will help you, too. That’s all I’ve got for right now. Peace out.

This week’s GUY’S GUY OF THE WEEK is Serge Manni, my Dad, for having my back when I needed a boost and for always being there for me, even if at times it was only in spirit. 

The Guys' Guy's Guide to When the Going Gets Tough...

Robert Manni - Thursday, March 24, 2016


Shit happens. What defines a person and a Guy’s Guy is how they handle things that don’t go right. We’ve all had hard times. Maybe you did not get that job or promotion, or maybe you just lost your job. Maybe your savings are dwindling while your prospects aren’t growing. Take comfort, amigos. Your Guy’s Guy has been there and done that. He has the physical and the emotional and psychological bruises and scars from living in what feels like a tough, unforgiving world.

When bad things happen, we can either curl up in a ball or take stock of the big picture before taking action. So the next time you get dumped, or your car breaks down, or that pipe under the sink breaks and causes a flood, or the size of your debt appears insurmountable, take heed. I’m going to share my best hacks for dealing with the pressure, one issue at a time and put you in position to not only deal with your troubles, but turn what on the surface are bad things into good things.

So here are three Guys’ Guy’s hacks for handling the curveballs life throws our way. Drum roll, please…

1. Breathe, focus, separate – In my personal experience I’ve found that bad things occur in bunches. A few weeks ago on a cold rainy morning I traveled by train for two hours to my beach house. I needed to explore contingences for repairing the fire escape and replacing of the housing for the exterior gas meters, which was brought to my attention by the gas company. These are things we take for granted.

Upon reaching my place I immediately noticed that my car was gone. Suddenly a cop pulled up. I gave him my info and he informed me that my vehicle had been towed two weeks earlier due to a gaseous odor. Unfortunately, no one made an effort to contact me by phone. As a result, the retrieval and repairs to the car cost me dearly. And of course no one involved in the process the cops, towing company, impound yard, or repair shop were empathetic. The process was painful at a time I was on a tight budget. I also found out the cost of the gas meter housing was in the five-figure range and the fire escape estimate was off the charts. This all happened over the course of one morning.

The avalanche of problems dumped on me felt like my system had been nuked. I started feeling hyper and had to do something to maintain my sanity. I decided to step away for a few minutes. I needed to breathe deeply, clear my mind, and re-set myself physically and emotionally. It wasn’t easy, but it was necessary and I am glad I took those few minutes to regain my composure. In those few minutes I breathed, prayed, and asked my higher self for guidance were crucial to how I felt and how things worked out.

I realized I may have saved my family and my life by learning about the small leak in the tank this way instead of finding out while zooming down the highway and potentially bursting into flames. I also realized my tax refund will pay for the new gas tank. I convinced the impound yard to knock off the price of the tow, and my insurance company picked up most of the cost of the impound. Sure, I’m still faced with replacing the gas meter housing and fire escape repairs, and I am sure there will be more. I’m determined to deal with each issue individually as it comes up. Overall, I consider myself fortunate. I’m alive and in this case, things could have turned out far worse. And, I handled it as smooth and calmly as I could. Bottom line? I’m grateful.

2. Get out there – Recently I’ve found myself in a new situation where I am handling projects and building my personal brand while working from home. This is a major change for me after years of schlepping to an office and spending ten hours a day in the company of many colleagues over the past three decades. It’s really different and I’ve had to adjust to how I allocate my time, finances, and mentally dealing with most of my friends still being immersed in corporate jobs.

I’ve learned that lifestyle changes like this can be devastating form some folks if they are not aligned to a new realty and with new possibilities. It’s easy to stay inside and create content all day, but it is equally important to get out there and rub shoulders with people. They say action creates action, and it’s true. I’ve found that the more I interact with people, either face to face or by phone, the more opportunities arise and the more creative ideas spark inside my mind. So if you think things aren’t going so well for you and you begin shutting down, do yourself a favor and get out and face with the world. It helps.

3. Remember what we're here for - Many metaphysical teachers claim that our lives on Earth are primarily for learning and future ascension. And some even say that suffering is our greatest teacher. They might be right. I have found that whenever I come out of the end of a painful experience I am always a better version of myself due to experiencing the pain. Do you agree?

And while you are at it, make sure that you don’t neglect every aspect of your health when you’re facing tough times. That means being mindful and taking care of your physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Treat yourself well; eat clean, healthy foods and exercise. If you stay in top shape, mediate, and get enough rest so you can be at your very best regardless of the current circumstances you’ll feel a difference in your ability to deal with your troubles. Tomorrow is another day. Make sure you are in good health so you can enjoy it.

I could go on and on, but I think there are some things to help you deal with the tough times we all face. Breathe, deal with one issue at a time, and take care of yourself. You are worth it.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Abraham Lincoln, a man who faced some of the toughest circumstances of any leader in the history of our nation. Lincoln is the person who said, “This too, shall pass away.” 

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Being Alone

Robert Manni - Wednesday, February 17, 2016


We enter this world alone and leave the same way. Keep calm, amigo. It’s not such a bad thing. Even the most outgoing people spend a majority of their time alone. So let’s face facts. To master life, we need to master the art of being alone.

I'm a social being and enjoy the company of others and being part of a team in work and at play. But I also relish my time alone. Only on rare occasions have I ever been bored. Ever since I was a little boy, I found ways of entertaining myself. My earliest recollections are staring up at a colorful mobile hanging over my crib. According to my mother, I’d stare at it for hours at a time. In fact, because I was so quiet she often checked in just to see if I was alive. And it’s been that way ever since. Nature, music, a ball, a good book, a bike, and now a long run have been faithful companions for me, even when my friends, family, and colleagues are nowhere around. I firmly believe that learning how to spend time alone provides us with a wonderful education in how to live with yourself.

In today’s fast-paced culture and all of its connectivity, getting off the grid even for a few hours is tough. But making the time to get together with just ourselves is critical to getting the most out of life.

Here is what I’ve learned about mastering the art of being alone and its benefits. I hope this helps you as much as learning to be alone has helped me.

1. Disconnect, clear your mind, become one with your thoughts. When I was single, the first thing I’d do when I came home was flick on the television, radio, or my stereo system. I could not bear the sound of my own thoughts. Then it was the Internet and my phone, and you know how that goes. Before you know it you are taking your iPhone to bed. The Super Bowl, NBA All-star game and trading deadline, the Grammy’s, Kanye, the election, and our impending economic collapse are the tip of media’s toxic spear aimed at your consciousness. If you keep yourself tethered to electronic and social media, you’ll forget who you are and become depressed and sick. Soon you’ll start buying the meds they sell on television. That’s a downward spiral, amigos.

Fortunately, a few years ago my wife took notice of my behavior and asked, “Hey, what’s with all the noise around here?” She’s a yogi and prefers peace and quiet to all of the barking on WFAN. Suddenly a light bulb flipped on inside my head and I became mindful of not only this compulsive behavior but of my thoughts also. And although I still enjoy getting my sports news while showering, I assure you that the simple act of disconnecting from your electronic devices and social media will prove to be a major first step in learning how to quiet your mind and thrive during the invaluable time you spend alone with your thoughts.

2. Exercise, focus, solve problems, create. Any time I have two hours to spare, I do my best to figure out a way to get a workout in. If I succeed, I’ll have invested that time wisely because while I am conditioning my body I also have time to get into a focused mental zone where I can sort things out in my mind. I mentally wrote and edited my entire novel, THE GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO LOVE, during a series of long runs. The plot points and character arcs dissembled and then took shape each time I reached a state of being mentally locked while I lumbered down the boardwalks of the Jersey Shore and the running path along the Hudson River Park. It didn’t matter that I usually had music playing through my ear buds. I was so in the moment that nothing could break my concentration. I’ve also broken down complicated business issues after my endorphins kicked in and come up with solutions that worked as well.

3. Meditate to get to know your true self. Learning to mediate has changed the fear of being alone into a gift. The key to meditation is practice, practice, practice and finding that 15- 30 minutes a day to sit alone and simply breathe. Over time, you go deeper and get more benefits from this quiet time. Your attitude changes from scrambling to find time to slow down or making excuses about it to looking forward to the special times you can be alone. If you have trouble meditating on your own, there are myriad of mp3’s you can download that will help you quiet your mind and release all the monkey chatter. My intuition and mental functioning has never been better. In fact I feel I feel that since I began meditating I am using more of my brain than ever before. And studies show that meditation is good for your physical health as well.

4. Read, enhance your creativity, and never feel alone. Whether it is a novel, non-fiction or the info we scour online, reading is a very personal behavior that we indulge in alone. And being alone with our thoughts and the thoughts of others on subjects of interest to us exposes us to new ways of thinking. This does not mean scanning your Facebook feed. That can be toxic. Too much bragging, half-baked opinions, hating and memes can cause anxiety and don’t nurture the mind. I’m referring to going a bit deeper, maybe following a favorite blog or reading an in-depth article on gravitational waves. In any case, when you read, you are alone with your thoughts and if managed mindfully, it’s a healthy practice.

5. Step out into nature, count your blessings, forgive. Another helpful practice when alone is getting outside. And even in a city like New York, you can find yourself alone in the crowd. It can make one feel lonely or it can be a good thing if you are comfortable in your own skin. I personally feel grounded on a crowded avenue as I move mindfully, maybe practicing affirmations or thinking about the good things in my life and the reasons to forgive those who have wronged me. And the moment I step into Central Park, I feel the energy change and slow down. The sights and sounds of nature help me relax and reconnect with myself.

6. Celebrate your independence and oneness. Once you realize you are a divine aspect of the Creator; you can find solace in your individuality as well as your connection with everyone. And when you begin to see yourself and your world in those terms, you become calmer, less anxious, and a more self-assured individual. Go inside, discover your possibilities and then explore the ways to get it done. Being alone can be a great blessing once you get comfortable with who you are and your place in the world.

So if you want to learn more about who you really are, enhance your confidence and creativity, and improve your physical and mental health, find a few minutes each day just for yourself and use it to your advantage. The benefits are many and it costs nothing. It’s just you spending time with yourself, and loving it.

This week’s GUY’S GUYS OF THE WEEK are all the spiritual men and women throughout history who learned how to be alone, how to be quiet, and how to live a better life from the inside out. You can be one of them. Just give it a try.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Managing Fear

Robert Manni - Tuesday, December 01, 2015


Fear runs rampant throughout our culture. If you don’t believe me, check out our newspaper headlines, evening news, movies and scripted television series.

Tales of terror, hate, murder, looming economic collapse, disease, and death fill our headlines. Listen to the language used by your friends, relatives and people on the street. In many of these casual conversations doom, gloom and threads of fear are etched in the subtext. And it’s true—the world can be a scary place, and there is a lot to worry about if we decide to focus on the negative. But is that how we want to live our lives? Of course not. So, this week I humbly offer my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Managing Fear as a way to escape this omnipresent perceptual trap.

Like Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “We have nothing to fear except fear itself.”

Those immortal words have never resonated more than right now. Fear is mindset, a perception, a decision to claim anxiety and potential negative outcomes lurking around every corner. This is a myth. When bad things happen, if we don’t immediately succumb to fear, we get a better handle on the situation and can make better decisions. For example, if you lose your job, you can freeze up, shut down, or panic. Don’t do that. Take a step back. Breathe in. Exhale.

When change comes abruptly, it’s better to study the situation before making any unnecessary moves that can be driven by fear. Be cool, amigo. You might be out of a job, but most of time life’s twists and turns eventually turn out for the better. Think back on when that job went kaput. Were you happy? Was it your dream job? Probably not. Now, what can you do with the down time? You can reassess your future and life’s purpose or go barreling into the first job you get offered because you are afraid that you will never get another job if you don’t take the first one you’re offered. Hey, I know the market is tough, but I’ve been there and I’ve done that and it was not a good move. Sure you’ve got bills to pay and you need that cash, but if you can hold out, don’t let fear control decisions on your life’s work. You may wind up in the same situation a year later, all because you let fear get the best of you.

Are you a spiritual person?

Most of us think we are spiritual. If that's the case, there is no reason to be afraid. Because if you have a spiritual foundation you believe that God or the universal consciousness has your back and is on your side. So why are you afraid? And most importantly, if you do have a spiritual underpinning pointing the way, you know that you’re exactly where you need to be and at the perfect place and position to learn whatever need to learn right now. This may sound like a convenient way to brush aside the seriousness of real life (and sometimes death) circumstances, but if you really think about it, how can you live in fear if you believe in God? Don’t be afraid. Believe.

Turn off the television.

Because of my inner work and meditations, I’m finding that I start to feel ill if I watch too much television or ingest too much media in one sitting. Hey, my background is in marketing and advertising so I appreciate a well-told story or an engaging advertisement. I also like to keep up with what’s going on in our world, so I like to check in on the news now and then. That said; the news and our media thrive on fear. The news stories scare the shit out of us. The movies and television shows show us how dysfunctional we are, and the ads sell us what we need to feel better about our lacking selves. Need I say more? Be careful of what your mind consumes, amigo. Which leads us to…

The mind is our most powerful tool.

The more you can control your thoughts, the more you can control your life and manifest or actualize what you want. In other words, if you spend your time thinking about what you fear most, you may end up getting exactly that. So let’s spin it another way. If you focus on what you want and your intention for it as being the highest good, you’re putting yourself on a positive track.

Gratitude works.

Mentally expressing appreciation and thanks for all my blessings upon awakening and right before falling asleep has created a less fearful mindset. It clears my mind and creates space for good things to come into my life. After all, if our minds have been choked with fear, we need to make room for the things we want. So again, each morning and night I mentally express thanks for everything in my life even experiences of loss or rejection. Somehow it calms me down and slows my mental chatter. If you don’t believe me, give it a try for a week and see if you don’t begin to experience a shift in your mindset from fear to feelings fueled by positivity, abundance and gratitude.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Pope Francis. He’s fearlessly taken on the conservative, static framework of the Catholic Church, world leaders intent on power, people’s prejudice, hypocrisy, and warring factions across the globe.

Image courtesy of Stu Mayhew on Flickr.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Dealing With Adversity

Robert Manni - Friday, April 10, 2015


Shit happens. Death, job loss, divorce, and bankruptcy: the list goes on and on. Our world moves very fast, so we are bound to bump up against obstacles and challenging situations. Part of earning your Guy’s Guy stripes is keeping cool under fire and making the most out of the curveballs life throws your way. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that often times what seems like a major headache can be a great teacher that opens a path for personal development. And this is important, because in a Guys’ Guy’s world, when men and women are at their best, everyone wins. So take a deep breath, relax and let’s take a look at my tips for handling adversity.

1. Don’t panic – When trouble strikes, a cool head can be your best support system. If you let nerves get the best of you, the problems can escalate quickly, especially if you have a knee-jerk reaction. If you have time, assess what’s going on, ask for guidance, and then act.

I once got caught in a riptide off the coast of LA while on vacation. At the time, I was unaware of the possibility of a rip current. My friends were high as kits and preoccupied with a Frisbee a ways down the desolate beach while I was being led out to sea. Time was of the essence so I did my best to swim along at a manageable angle to the current so I would not use all of my energy fighting the sea. Eventually I cut through the current and shook myself free of the tide. I needed all my strength and resilience, and maybe divine intervention to save myself. I was lucky, but maybe I helped create an opportunity by keeping my wits about me and conserving energy by not panicking.

2. Look for the lesson – And there is always a lesson. In the case of the riptide, I now make sure to check for warning signs before wading into the ocean. I also pay attention more after a long-term partner packed up and left me ten years ago. I had not been watching for the signs and I got hit right in the kisser. After being stabbed in the back a few times in business, I learned to be more careful about trusting people. I learned that not everyone holds the same standard about his or her words and deeds as I do. I may have never learned these valuable lessons if I was not handed some harsh realities. But guess what? I’m here and I am better for it

3. Take responsibility for your actions – I owned all of my actions that lead to some real-life challenges and hardships. I’m sure my lifestyle contributed to a painful kidney stone and two robotic surgeries on my kidneys last year. I am sure I could have been a better, more caring partner before my former lover said adios. And I am sure my cavalier trust led to being skewered in business a few times, That said, I will never lower my standards of behavior when others act badly. The point is; you have to own up to your shortcomings and not simply assign blame. Once we take ownership, we can make great strides as mature people.

4. Show gratitude – I know; it’s not easy to be thankful when someone screws you over for no apparent reason. That’s a special challenge, but it’s one worth facing. The pain of betrayal or loss can be great catalysts for change. I’m not suggesting that we invite people to spit in our faces, but the people who do bad things to us are in pain and on their own path of learning. They have a role in our lives. Although it might not be obvious on the surface, their doing bad things creates more pain for them. Karma is real and payback can be a bitch. Remember: duality is part of our lives. The quicker we accept the good with the bad, the more peace we will have. With more peace comes more joy. More joy becomes more love.

So next time someone cuts you off on the Garden State Parkway, or doesn’t pick up their dog’s poop, or steals your girlfriend, take a breath and consider the potential learning from the situation. Maybe the guy who cut you off will get a ticket or get into an accident. Maybe that dog poop will fertilize a beautiful flower. Maybe you were destined to meet a better, hotter girlfriend. Maybe not. How you take the bitter and the sweet in life is up to you. Take the high road, amigo. Take it like a Guy’s Guy.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is the Kentucky men’s basketball team. They suffered a heart-breaking loss in the NCAA semifinals of what would have been an unbelievable 40-0 perfect season. Maybe there is a lesson somewhere in that loss for these young men. Maybe not. It’s up to them to look inside and find out.

When Guys Cry

Robert Manni - Thursday, May 08, 2014


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

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

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

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

CRY

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

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

NO CRY

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

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

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

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Getting Back Into the Game

Robert Manni - Friday, February 21, 2014


The most important person to know in your life is yourself.

Yet so many people spend the majority of their time reacting to what’s going on around them. Before they know it, each new day has turned into a Xerox copy of the previous one. And there’s no other area than dating that demonstrates this repetitive, redundant behavior where we too often rush into a new situation without considering what we want and need to be happy. They say the heart wants what it wants, but we can be swayed by the conscious mind and exterior world into believing someone is right for us when they really aren’t.  Since we’ve just begun a new year, let’s address our dating goals like a good investigative reporter and ask a few basic questions before hopping back on the dating merry-go-round. And of course, we’ll approach it Guy’s Guy style so everyone can win.

Who?

There is no better place to begin than by asking who we are at this point in time. Many daters are not in touch with themselves and as a result they continually chasing after people they think will make them happy. If we take the time to slow down and explore our hearts we might find that we have been putting our emotional eggs into the wrong baskets. If you don’t know who you are and what makes you tick how can you really know someone else that you want to give your heart to? This is the critical step for finding the right partner. In advertising terms, it’s called knowing your brand.

What?

This is another critical question to ask before beginning another dating cycle. Many women have a list of criteria they expect in a man. Maybe it’s money, a certain occupation, a physical look, style or even a specific attitude. Nothing wrong with having parameters, but instead of simply asking ourselves what we want, let’s consider what we have to offer a potential partner. Men make this mistake all the time. I know a lot of guys who expect the women they date to have a stripper bodies and razor sharp minds. Unfortunately, a lot of these guys are just regular dudes who spend too much time on the couch watching the game with a Bud in their hand. If we ask ourselves what we have to offer, we’ll be more realistic about the type of person we can attract.

Where?

I recently read a book by a prominent dating coach to help women find and meet men. I was amazed that this had become such an issue. There are guys everywhere and a simple smile will usually get their attention.  The bottom line is to fish where the fish are. If you want to meet men, you may have to hit some bars, ball games, ski slopes and gyms. You can also meet lots of cool dudes in wine tasting or cooking classes, tech stores, libraries, the museum, the laundry mat, book stores, running clubs, and on and on. Guys are omnipresent and usually approachable. Meeting them is more a function of your attitude.

When?

Nowadays we’re all so busy with our career nowadays that we say we don’t have time to invest in dating. Okay, but just like anything else in life, you get out what you put into it. So if you are seeking a partner, you’re going to have to meet new people and that takes time.

Why?

Hey, Guy’s Guy, between all the circumspection, knowing my brand and fishing where the fish are, this dating business really does takes up a lot of time. Why am I doing all of this? A-ha. That’s the magic question. Go ahead and ask yourself.  And then ask yourself who, what, where and when before jumping back into the dating pool. Hopefully you’ll be more prepared to meet a partner that’s right for you.

Are you asking yourself the right questions when it comes to dating?


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