Real Men and Chick Flicks

A real man is willing to see a chick flick with his wife and/or his daughter.

He realizes that just because he’s a real man, it doesn’t mean he can’t sit down with the woman he loves or the daughter who adores him and enjoy an activity that they like from time to time.

A real man doesn’t complain about watching the chick flick either. I’m not saying he has to be enthusiastic about it, but he does show a genuine appreciation to be spending time with the important women in his life.

Now, like all great axioms, this characteristic of a real man does come with a caveat of sorts. While a real man is willing to see a chick flick with his wife and/or daughter, it is OK for him to not be willing to see the same chick flick with a woman who is merely his girlfriend.

In fact, it is recommended that he NOT see a chick flick with a woman who is not either A) wearing a wedding ring that he purchased or B) the product of his relationship with the woman who is wearing a wedding ring that he purchased (see scenario A above).

A man who sees a chick flick with a woman who he has not yet made a lifetime commitment to is treading on thin ice. There are just some things in life that are best reserved for the sacred bonds of marriage.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with chick flicks, once a man starts sitting down to watch them with a woman who he has not yet committed his life to, he is on a slippery slope. If he’s not careful, it won’t be long before he’s wearing a mud mask facial, getting a pedicure, while a petite woman in a white smock waxes his upper lip… all the while daydreaming about the next opportunity he’ll have to tune in for a Lifetime movie.

So… the next time your wife or daughter wants you to go a see chick flick, if you want to be a real man, just do it. Not only will you get to enjoy quality time with someone who is very important to you, but (selfishly) you’ll also be accruing points for the next time you want to take her to a football game, the bowling alley, or a remote stream for a little trout fishing.

Along those same lines, the next time a woman who you have yet to take the vows of holy matrimony with suggests that the two of you watch a chick flick together, you’ll be doing yourself and the relationship a favor if you kindly (remember, a real man is kind) but firmly decline. To preserve diplomacy in the relationship, you might even trying following with an offer to try an activity together that’s a little more gender neutral. Something like skeet shooting, or bowling, or trout fishing.


Songs that speak to my heart as a man

As someone who appreciates the musical arts, there are certain songs that speak to my soul as a man. Songs that when I hear them always stop me dead in my tracks, at least for a moment. Songs that either: A) take me back to a different time, B) remind me of some great truth, or C) provide a moment of catharsis. In case you haven’t guessed, this is the introduction of yet another series.

“Night Moves” by Bob Seger is one of those songs for me. For those of you who haven’t heard it, the following is a quote from the Wikipedia article for the song:

“Night Moves” is a mid-tempo number that starts quietly with acoustic guitar. Bass guitar and drums are introduced as the song’s setting is described: 1962, cornfields, ’60 Chevy. An intense summertime teenage affair is described, knowingly more sexual than romantic, with short instrumental lines breaking the evocative imagery sometimes in mid-sentence. Piano, female backing vocals, electric guitar and organ are added as the song’s emotional nostalgia builds momentum. Then suddenly it stops, as the narrative flashes forward to some period in the future. To a quiet acoustic guitar, the narrator, awakened by a clap of thunder and unable to fall back asleep, ponders a different sense of the title phrase. Then the rest of the instruments fall back in, for an extended coda vamp of the chorus.

Now, before you go getting the wrong idea about me or the romantic exploits of my youth, I feel the need to qualify this post by saying that the song is only nostalgic to me in the general sense.

In the specific sense, my summer romances were a little different than Mr. Seger’s. For example, for me the year was 1998 or 1999 not 1962, the car was a ’93 Nissan not a ’60 Chevy, the cornfields and woods were parks and abandoned parking lots, and… oh yes, my romantic exploits were a lot more G rated than Seger’s seem to have been.

However, the same themes remain. I WAS a little too tall and could’ve used a few more pounds. She was a {strawberry blonde} haired beauty. We weren’t in love {YET}, oh no, far from it. We were just young and restless and bored. Living by the sword. And we’d steal away every chance we could.

While it’s certainly a song about teenage romance, “Night Moves” (at least to me) is song that’s more about the simplicity and (in many ways) immaturity of youth. It’s a song about summer and coming of age. I can’t hear it without fondly reminiscing about the summers of my youth. It’s a reminder about what things used to be like for each of us when we were young, stupid, and life was a lot more simple, at least the way we remember it.

The last few lyrics of the song are the ones that always really seem to stick with me and get me the most reminiscent and nostalgic feeling when I hear them:

I awoke last night to the sound of thunder
How far off I sat and wondered
Started humming a song from 1962
Ain’t it funny how the night moves
When you just don’t seem to have as much to lose
Strange how the night moves
With autumn closing in

“Night Moves” also reminds me of a time when, though I thought I was a man, my motivations and actions were obviously more selfish and boyish than they were masculine.

At the same time, “Night Moves” also speaks to the part of my masculine soul that longs for a time (past, present, or future) when the simplicity of life far outweighs any of life’s real or imagined complexities. For that reason, it’s just one of those timeless songs that will always speak to my natural inclination for nostalgia.

And yet, it’s also a good reminder that yesterday was not always as great as we make it out to be in our minds… that time does have a funny way of smoothing over the problems of the past so that the memories we have today are more fond than not.

And no matter what season the calendar says we’re in, “Night Moves” will always serve as a good reminder that autumn is, in fact, closing in.

P.S. In case you haven’t heard the song, please enlighten yourself:

Stuff My Dad Taught Me #2

“Always be kind to people, you never know who they’ll turn out to be.”

As a kid, I heard this in my mind when I was tempted to make fun of people who I perceived to be less “cool” than I was. I mean, let’s be honest here, kids can be pretty cruel. I probably would have been too if it weren’t for my parents. And while I was far from perfect in this area of my life, it could have been a lot worse.

As a kid, this habit was pretty selfishly motivated. I approached it from the perspective where I tried to be kind to people because I believed they might grow up to be someone I want on my good side… a boss, someone important, someone who might hurt or help me in life.

As an adult I hear this voice in my head in a different context. I think of it (subconsciously) with almost every interaction I have with other people. Not because I think I might work for them someday or because I think they might be someone important.

Today, I hear this voice in my head and it reminds me that every one is walking on a different road in life and I never know when I might have the opportunity to make someone’s day. People carry around a lot of pain and baggage and we just never know when we might be the person to give someone hope who had none before.

That “incompetent” person helping me on the other side of the counter that I want to blow up at to get them to make things right… for all I know, they just lost a loved one or they have a child who’s struggling with cancer. We just never know.

The next time you think about saying or doing something unkind to someone else, remember, you never know who they’ll turn out to be.

P.S. My mom gets credit for this one too. It’s just my dad’s voice that I hear in my head.

(forgive any grammatical or spelling errors in this post — I wrote it on my iPhone while sitting in a hotel lobby this morning)

Stuff My Dad Taught Me

“If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”

Sure, it’s a triple negative, but you get the point.

My dad’s a pretty wise man and I’ve learned a lot about life and being a man from him.

It’s amazing how many times I hear his voice in my head on a day to day basis.

This is a new series dedicated to sharing and catalogging that wisdom.

Boyish v. Masculine

I decided to add a subcategory to this series to better reflect what I’m trying to say about masculinity. I want to make it clear that I think boyhood and boyishness are the opposites of manhood and masculinity.

This series has nothing to do with womanhood or femininity, as they are not (in my opinion) the opposite of manhood and masculinity. They are virtues in their own right, to be just as highly esteemed as masculinity and manhood.

This topic could merit a whole other blog post in and of itself, but Bret McKay over at The Art of Manliness has already covered that subject much more adeptly and exhaustively than I wish to for my purposes here.

This post is already too long and so without any further ado, I give you…



Swagga Wagon

Someday (probably sooner rather than later) it’s all too likely that I will trade in the convertible for a minivan. When that day happens, this will be (as they say back in the hood where I come from) how the Mitchell’s roll.

Someone… please get me the mp3 version of this song. Seriously. I will pay you.

Best line: “Where my kids at? Where my kids at? Where my kids at? No, seriously honey, where are the kids?”

P.S. If the folks at Toyota really wanted to prove to the rest of the world that they were down with what’s up, they would have used “Swagga” instead of “Swagger” in the title of this video. I’m just sayin…

Real Men and Pizza Dough

A real man can make a homemade pizza. I made one last night. None of this store-bought junk… though Tombstone and DiGiorno are pretty good.

My crust recipe (and only my crust recipe because a real man knows that the quality of his pizza hinges completely and solely on the quality of his crust) is below.

Memorize my next few words and they will serve you well in life: Bad crust = bad pizza. Good crust = good pizza. Everything else is cream cheese.

Don’t worry about what goes on top of your crust. Too many people like too many different kinds of toppings and you never please them all. Heck… don’t even try. Just make the man crust and let them choose their own toppings.

Enough of my jibber jabber. The recipe:

3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons yeast <— I usually double this one
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Pour warm water into a bowl. The water should be about 85 to 115° F. Test it with your hand. It should feel very warm, but comfortable. Add the honey and salt. Mix by and hand (or any other method) until well blended. Add the yeast and mix some more. Let this mixture sit for about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of flour and the olive oil and mix until well blended.

Add the rest of the flour (and any other additions) and mix well. The dough should turn into a ball. If the dough does not ball up because it’s too dry, add water one tablespoon at a time until it does. If your mixture is more like a batter, add flour one tablespoon at a time. Adding water or flour as needed to get the right consistency will assure you always get a perfect dough. Just remember to do it in small amounts.

Once the dough is balled up, place the ball on a floured board and knead for about a minute. This builds the gluten which helps the dough to rise and become fluffy when cooked. Place the dough in a plastic grocery bag or a covered bowl and store in a warm, dry area to rise.

After about 45 minutes the dough should have about doubled in size. Show it who’s boss and punch it down. That’s right, give it a good smack so it deflates. Let it rise for another hour to an hour and a half. The dough is now ready to be rolled out.

You can punch the dough down one more time if you want and wait another hour or two before rolling out. The choice is yours.

(This dough can also be made in advance and refrigerated for a day or so, or even frozen. Be sure to let it come to room temperature before using.)

You’re now ready for to roll out your dough, top with your favorite toppings (or everyone else’s because a real man puts others first), and throw that bad boy in the oven at least 450 degrees Fareheit until the cheese bubbles and the crust turns golden brown.

Thank you Mitch for the recipe. Your name is as good as your pizza crust. Well done sir. Well done.