What does it take to be a man? With how contemporary culture has evolved, Robert Manni explores the idea of authenticity in present-day society where it has become confusing to be a man in today’s world. He delves into what it means to come out and be real with your partner, and stresses how important it is for men to start looking inside to realize who they are and what they can contribute so they can be comfortable with their own skin. In his novel, The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love, he illustrates the dynamics between flawed men and savvy women as they compete for love, sex, power, and money in the city where they play for keeps.
Our guest star is Robert Manni of RobertManni.com. He’s written a book, he has a podcast, he has a script looking for a producer. We talk about the guys’ guy’s guide to life and love, and he has some very similar viewpoints to me in terms of how to be a man, the confusing aspect of what it means to be a man in society, and how to go forth. We give some specific things and some specific attributes of a man to develop to enjoy life, to be more authentic, and to be more real in the present world. We then have Mark ask him questions. We talk about his fear of being authentic and his own fear of what it means to come out and be real with his partner. For more shows, please visit RobertKandell.com. If you feel so inclined, please leave us a review on your favorite podcast app, iTunes or Stitcher. We’d be so grateful. Thank you.
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The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love In This Day And Age with Robert Manni
I’m with my new friend, Robert Manni, as my guest talking about the The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love. Thank you so much for joining us. We are talking about the topics that need to be chatted about. Robert and I will chat and then we’ll have long-time listener, Mark, ask a question, and we’ll see where it goes, improvisational and impromptu. Let’s welcome Robert to the show.
How are you, Rob?
I’m doing well. It’s great to have you on the show. Thanks so much. Robert is the host of Guy’s Guy Radio, featured on Blog Talk Radio and available on iTunes, Stitcher, and all your favorite podcast apps. The podcast features interviews with relationship coaches, entertainers, authors, wellness experts, spiritual guides, sports personalities, and focusing on guy-focused topics. He also has a blog of over 275 articles at RobertManni.com. He’s got his podcast, he’s got a screenplay, he’s got a book. The man is busy. I watched Robert’s branding video that he published in 2014. I want to give kudos to him because he was talking about a lot of topics that seemed so important in today’s evolutionary world around men’s relationship to the world. You’re a bit of a foresight there. You saw things that were coming.
How so? What do you think, Rob?
You and I have a lot in common. You talked about men having the opportunity to change or be whoever they are, but they have no idea who to be. With the last six months of mayhem started by the Weinstein effect and the Me Too Movement and all the uproar that’s going on, it’s more confusing to be a man in today’s world. Maybe you could speak what’s your current view of that epidemic for men.
Let’s start with guys. Before Me Too, women are now getting they’re long overdue recognition, just the start of it, for all the great things they’ve been doing, and that’s fantastic. If you’re a guy, it’s never been a better time to be a man if you look at it with positive eyes, and that’s why we have to look at it. However, for men, our roles have been challenged and a lot of guys are not sure what they are and who they are. If you take like the millennials, a lot of the guys that are caught somewhere between the MMA and manscaping are not sure which way to go. A lot of the boomers define themselves by their paycheck and their job title. Now they’re at risk of being put out to pasture and they’re not sure what’s next.
It’s important for men to start by looking inside, realizing who they are and what they can contribute, and understanding with Me Too the facts. The facts are one out of every four women has experienced some type of abuse. That means that 75% of women haven’t. That’s a good thing. What’s happening with a lot of the backlash with men is there’s been a handful of guys in powerful positions who had been real scumbags and have done some nasty things. As a result of that, they’re being outed and there’s more to come. This is just the tip of the iceberg because we haven’t gotten into politics that much, sports, or other areas of entertainment, but it’s going to happen and it’s going to go deep.
That should shine a positive light on all the good guys that are out there because most guys are good guys, but most guys are guys’ guys, and they deserve to get accommodations for that. They deserve to be appreciated and I don’t think that’s happening now. What we’re experiencing as men a little bit now is a little bit open season. If you watched the Oscars and see a lot of stuff that’s going on Women’s Day which is great, women have to be careful. This is not open season on men. You have to realize that a lot of men have done a lot of bad things. Things have to change and things can change.
You have to give guys a chance to catch up with what’s going on. They can. For men, we have to take a step back, we have to listen, we have to be smart about this, and we can’t push back. This is not a pushback type of an issue. This is change. To be a guys’ guy and to be a real guy, you have to embrace change and realize that women are taking on more than they have ever. It’s a great time if you’re single, if you’re married, or if you’re dating. You can have a blast now because women have to take a lot of stuff off your plate and a lot of that stuff doesn’t taste that good. You can be yourself. It’s just a matter of deciding who you want to be.
Three-fourths have not been physically abused or sexually abused. What is that statistic you’re working on?
I can’t pinpoint it to whether it’s physical or psychological or whatever. It may be physical because I just read that. That’s still too many.
My feeling is that men don’t know the impact they have on women. A lot of guys are good guys and good-hearted, and still don’t know their impact. For a guy who wants to learn to embrace and learn to listen, and yet they don’t have those skills, what would you recommend are the steps to give space for them to listen to all women?
Start by listening and not speaking and hear what women have to say and process that. I don’t want to be taken wrong on that only one-fourth, because I’m sure that a lot of the abuses are not reported. Again, even if it’s one in four, that’s way too many, and that’s probably physical abuse. There are other types of abuse also. The first step men can take is to take a step back and say, “What’s going on here?” If you’re a good guy and you haven’t done any of this type of stuff, you are probably pretty darn surprised, even though I’m sure you know people who have been bad boys about all of this type of behavior. You have to listen actively and see what women are saying about this. Are they out to get us? Are they just using this as an opportunity to speak what they’ve been not allowed to say in the past? Is this a good thing? How can we make it a good thing? It’s about active listening.
There was that whole thing, “It was me,” when the Me Too came out, #ItWasMe. I posted one for myself, and I said, “I have luckily never had the gene, the habit, the motivation to do sexual abuse or catcalling.” I just thought catcalling was a dumb way of doing things. At the same time, I felt the depth of how I didn’t interact when I saw other men acting poorly. I was part of those men that just let things slide or laughed when the other guys were laughing about sexual denigration of the girls I knew when I was in high school. I had this passive participation, if not an active participation.
You have a lot of self-knowledge to be that way, so congratulations. That’s good. I wish more men were like that.
That’s what we’re doing. The work you’re doing is showing them it’s not just the first layer. It’s so many layers deep. Through that active listening, there’s so much more to learn.
Guys are under siege. They had been for the past decade that they don’t know who they are. They’re getting a lot of pressure because women are becoming more educated than guys. They have a higher graduation rate for college than men. They’re starting to catch up, but unfairly, they’re still not paid the same, which is absolutely ridiculous. Why? It goes way into the past when the family unit was a little bit different. This is 2018, that’s ridiculous. Men are being forced now to catch up. They can’t just sit back and play video games and be texting with women and want to hang out. They have to step up and be men again. I interview a lot of dating coaches on my podcast and a lot of them are women.
They all say the one thing that they have to deal with is women being able to dial down the alpha gene when they’re in the dating mode. All of the women are still looking for men to be men. They want guys to be real guys. They don’t want guys to just do exactly what they say and to become super passive and just roll over. They want men to be men and it’s a back and forth because it’s not that men are doing anything that’s so bad. Men are reacting to the situation and we have to respond in a different way. We have to take a look at it with very objective eyes and say, “What’s going on? What can we do about this? How can we put ourselves in the best light?”
In your branding video, you talked about a man’s man, a guy’s man, a lady’s man who listens. Maybe you can show people what it means for a man to be a man. What are the attributes? What do you want to tell men? Where do we need to step up?
Guys’ guy is an updated version of a man’s man, but it’s not the all-macho man’s man where women were in the bedroom and the kitchen and that’s it. Although any guy would say, “That could be fun,” but it’s a lot more than that. The expectation is for men to be is a guy’s guy has casual confidence. You want to be comfortable in your own skin. If you’re doing stuff like catcalling and all that, you’re not comfortable in your own skin. That’s pretty lame activity. A guy needs to have unassuming strength, so you need to be strong but not macho. If you have integrity in today’s day and age where there’s so much bad behavior going around and so much corruption, it’s an unassuming type of a strength and it’s a seductive integrity. It’s not just integrity, but it’s a seductive characteristic. If you can be authentic and you can have integrity, you’re going to attract a lot more women.
Another thing is emotional intelligence. Women look for this, and that is understanding that you can’t control how you feel but you can control how you behave. There’s a big difference there. Women like to talk about everything, and a lot of times guys get exasperated by the discussion keep going on and on. This is part of the differences between men and women. We have to be more feminine in our ways, and women have to be a little bit more masculine and understand us. We have to understand each other. The other thing is for a guy’s guy to have timeless style, be cool, be comfortable in your own skin, don’t necessarily chase the trends, and be yourself. You can be classic. There’s nothing wrong with that because everything comes back in style anyhow, whether it’s music, clothes, or your choice in sports or food and alcohol. Everything comes around, so just be yourself. Do what you like, be what you like, consume what you like.
The bottom line is to have a good time. This doesn’t have to be so serious. Let’s have a good time. Men and women should be getting together and having a blast. Today is a lot better in little ways, and people think it is. In some ways, it’s better than any time in history. If we look at it that way, we’ll make it that way. If people collectively look at things in a positive light, that has a ripple effect on a group mass consciousness. That’s important and that’s all part of being a guy’s guy. You have to be able to look inside to be able to put yourself out there outside.
You wrote a book, A Guy’s Guide to Love. It’s a novel. You wrote, “It is honest but ambitious. Executive discovers corruption is the key to success, and embarks on a dishonesty safari. To learn how to lie, cheat, and scheme is way to love and money.” A first glance, this sounds opposite of what we were talking about.
It doesn’t because he learns. This is his learning, this is a hero’s journey. The book is about two guys in New York competing for love, sex, power, and money. The main character is asked by his ex-girlfriend to contribute articles for her new women’s magazine, a girl power magazine. He says, “No. Women don’t want to know the real truth about guys.” What happens is his best friend starts doing some bad behavior and taking advantage of his clients and sleeping with some women that the main character is not in favor of, so he says, “I’m going to write this column for you.” He starts writing the column by tracking his friend who’s a real womanizer. Along the way, he starts to have a lot of success with the ladies and he starts to become a bad version of his friend because his friend who was a womanizer is a happy-go-lucky womanizer.
He doesn’t take advantage of women. He’s a good-looking, affable guy, but he is a corrupt businessman. The good guy becomes the bad guy and the bad guy has the comeuppances. He learns from his friend and ultimately has to save the main character. I hope that doesn’t sound too complicated because it’s not. It’s a rom-com. Dan Wakefield, who’s a pretty famous writer from the 20th century, calls the book the male Sex and the City. That’s where I was going with this but it’s different because Sex and the City has the four ladies sit around and drink cosmos. Guys don’t do that. This was about two guys competing for love, sex, power and money. Ultimately it’s about love.
Where did you get the idea from? What was your main motivation for writing a novel?
I believed at that time, and I still believe it now, that there’s a great chasm in communication between men and women, in communicating and understanding each other. I thought this would be a good way to lay it out there so men would be able to read a book about how they are and have fun with it. A lot of the guys’ books is about adventure, Game of Thrones or action stuff. They don’t read a lot of rom-coms. I was very inspired by when I saw the movie, Sideways, and I said that’s how guys are. It’s a bromance bonding movie, and I thought there’s something there with this. I also thought that women want to know the truth about guys, but do they really want to know the truth about guys? I decided I’m going to give you a little sneak under the tent. It’s not as bad as you think it is because guys are pretty good. In the meantime, the two main characters, these two buddies, they switched roles and then they switched back again.
Your book also have turned into a screenplay? Are you actively pursuing that into a movie form?
When people read it, they say, “This should be TV,” or, “This could be a fun film.” A friend of mine is a screenwriter and so we worked on screenplay together. I pitched it while I was out in LA and it’s in some different studio hands now. There’s also a TV series for The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love, and so we’ll see what happens. In the meantime, I took on Guys’ Guys Radio, my podcast, and I have been blogging also. I took on the role of the main character in the book by creating content that talks about how men are. It gives women a little bit of truth about men and it gives guys a pat on the back and a kick in the butt to say, “Here we are, let’s do this better.”
What’s been a favorite response to your podcast? I’m sure you get emails and letters. Do you have one that’s been surprising or inspiring?
I started out with relationship coaches. You learn a lot from them as to what’s going on. You find that things haven’t changed that much and it’s always a battle. More and more people are struggling with how to date. From there, I started to get some fantasy sports people. I got a couple of comedians to come on and then I started to get some psychics and some spiritual writers and some wellness experts and channelers. It’s been amazing because the breadth of the brand has gone from just about relationships to about love, spiritual seeking, wellness, and how to be a better man. When men and women can be at their best, everyone wins. That’s the foundation of a podcast and my brand.
You said, “Better men, better world.” I said to Morgan, “Happy wife, happy life.” I thought that was a nice connection to “better man, better world.” It works for me. I’m enjoying. I definitely want to take a look at your book. It’s pretty amazing. In my own teaching, I tell stories after stories mostly about myself. Stories are great ways for people to learn and people to find the nuances. It’s one step from personal. You can look at a book and be like, “That’s a lot like me, but it’s not me,” and still get the message in there.
I started out by writing a book and it was my story, and then I realized, “I know how to write a book and it’s my story and that’s not that interesting.” I decided to write in the third person. I wrote about three main male characters in the book and people say, “You’re this character, you’re that character,” I’m like, “No, they’re their own creations.” They’re archetypes of three types of men. There’s the regular guy, there’s the womanizer, the sexual man, and then there’s the spiritual guy who is a surfer from South America. In those three guys, you see one acts like the conscience. You see the interaction between the three guys and the women and their strong female characters. I’ve got a lot of positive comments from women who like the book. I’ve heard a lot of stuff that’s so thrilling to me where men say, “This is who we are. Thank you.”
Because there’re not a lot of books like this from a male point of view. I had a tough time getting this thing picked up because most of the gatekeepers in the publishing community are female, and they didn’t want to hear about what guys had to say. There’s a lot of interest if you’re broken down, but if it’s like, “These are two guys who are making it happen and this is their story.” It was tough to get that picked up but I did and I’m glad I did. It’s got a lot of great response and it’s been a springboard for a brand. I wrote fiction because I believe in the power of story, and that got me. People said, “You got to do a screenplay, you got to do a TV series,” so I wrote all that out there. What you read is the logline for the screenplay. When you break down a novel, you have to find the spine of it and say, “The movie’s going to be about one thing. It’s never exactly like the novel.”
Let’s see what question Mark has for us and let’s see if we can add some value to his life. Hi, Mark.
I have a bunch of questions that came up. I’m going to go deep and be a little vulnerable and ask you about the identity piece. I find that my habitual pattern is this idea of deferring to my female partner or wanting to please. At the same time, I have the voice that’s grounded in what I want to do and how I want to play. I’m wondering if you can talk about what the key ways to define that self that you’re talking about.
You got to look inside and say who are you and what’s the real you. Be authentic, honest, and truthful. When you get into the type of relationship where you deferring all the time or you just saying, “I’ll give her way,” ultimately it’s not going to please either of you. I don’t know the specifics of your relationship, so forgive me. I don’t mean to be personal, but you have to say, “This is how I feel. This is who I am.” Use the word “I” and not the word “you.” You don’t want to be pointing at her and saying “you” because ladies don’t like that.
If you talk about, like “When I hear this, this is how I feel,” or, “I feel this when people talk to me about this or that, and I feel like this is something I want to do.” When you get into talking about your feelings, the ladies usually get pretty emotionally turned on by that. I don’t mean sexually, but emotionally they say, “This guy is in touch with his feelings.” That’s important because most women think that guys have a hard time being in touch with their feelings. We’d all agree that to a point that that’s true.
In my case though, I’m the one who wants to talk about my feelings too much. I was raised by my mom, and my dad was passive. One of the things that I’ve been working on a lot is this idea of acquiring masculine or embodying the masculine that I wasn’t taught or had access to. I’m always looking to be safe in these when I’m doing this acquiescence or deference. What you’re telling me is just be honest, and in integrity and authenticity.
You have to be yourself. If you feel like speaking about something and your partner doesn’t want to listen to you, that’s not a great thing. If she’s open to listening, I wouldn’t doubt yourself, you’re all man, dude. You’re a guy, don’t worry about that. You don’t have to try to find your masculine side. Next time you go to the john, take a look, it’s there. That’s part of it at least. You have the plumbing. It’s there. Emotionally if you’re in touch with your feelings, that’s a real good thing.
You’re ahead of the curve. I wouldn’t second-guess that or put that down at all. Like anything else, you have to read the room. If it goes where you are just talking about your feelings and you see your partner is starting to roll her eyes, take up the guitar or something and write a couple of songs. You have to feel your way to what feels right. I wouldn’t question your masculinity. You’re all man and just be that. Just be it.
That’s the place I occupy most of the time. How many podcast subscribers do you have at this point?
I don’t count the subscribers, but we’ve done 265 podcasts and I’ve had over 100,000 downloads, so we’re doing pretty good. My next step is to get a corporate sponsor. I don’t think I’m going to have a big problem with that because of the branding piece. My background’s marketing and advertising. I was president of an agency in New York. I did a lot of ads. I don’t know if you remember the Michael Imperioli ads for 1800 Tequila? What happened to tequila? We’ve made fun of Patron. I did all the Bacardi advertising, Stolichnaya advertising, all the flavors, KFC, and a lot of stuff. My background is in marketing and advertising. This is the toughest challenge I’ve had working on my own brand. I’ve got the content. The toughest part is getting that audience in the podcast area and the content area. It’s pretty darn jammed.
When you were talking about your book, you talked about the good guy turning into a bad guy. Can you talk about what that looks like? I tend to have the Nice Guy Syndrome and I work against that as much as possible. Is that what you mean?
The main character is a good guy. He started to write about his buddy who’s a womanizer. He thinks he’s a bad guy because he’s unscrupulous in his business ways. As he starts to write about him, he starts to become him. That becomes a problem because that’s not his authentic self. He has some success with the ladies, his brand, if you will. He writes a column called The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love and he becomes notorious in New York because of it. He’s writing about his best friend and his best friend doesn’t know that.
What’s happening is all the ladies are coming to him and his best friend who was a womanizer has a big comeuppance. His career goes down and they switched roles. The main character, Max Hallyday, discovers that’s not who he is from his friend who is now his fallen friend, and they both switch roles. It all works out because I believe in second chances and redemption. The book is a lot of fun. If you want to check it out, you can get it on Amazon. If you have Kindle, it’s $3.99. It’s in some bookstores. Check the reviews on Amazon.
You have a reverse Cyrano de Bergerac going on with those two characters. One of the things we talked about a lot is the most attractive thing about you is your true self. That ties into your question too, Mark. Your true self is you’re a big guy with big appetite and big love, and the deference, the acquiescence is not your true self. The point is to bring out that part of you more and more. If your woman doesn’t like that, you can find out why she doesn’t like it and then discover these pieces. You invite her intimacy by the truth of your intimacy.
The reality is she likes it more when I’m less like that.
It’s just your fear.
Learning to let go of my pre-supposed consequences of holding my pole.
It’s scary out there and it’s getting scarier for a man. The point that Robert is making is it is scarier to be our authentic self out there in the world, especially with things like Me Too and the persecution that can happen. We have to hold fast to that strong masculine side of ourselves or we die. We die on the inside. That’s the effect of it. Do you have any other questions for our guest?
I feel complete. I enjoyed hearing about the book and the potential TV series. It’s a winner.
First things first, you got to take care of yourself. You got to be your authentic self. Just be you. If people don’t like that, then you have to look at that you want to be with somebody who loves you for who you are. That’s the most important thing I if you feel that you’re getting shutdown or shutoff. If you flip this situation around, a lot of women feel the way you’re feeling because guys are just into themselves and they’re not listening and not paying attention. When I met my wife, I was single for so long that people stopped asking me “When are you going to get married?” when I go home for Thanksgiving or whatever. One time I said, “Mom, I’m going to get married next year.” She said, “Really, who?” I said, “I don’t know, but I just know time is right.” I knew it because I realized the mistakes I had made along the way. I realized what I needed to do was open up my heart to have room for somebody else in there.
I did that and when I did that, the most wonderful person came into my life. We went out three times and the third time I said to her, “You know what? I’m having such a great time. What do I have to do to be a good boyfriend?” She said, “Pay attention.” I said, “Anything else?” She said, “No. ” She still reminds me to this day. We’ve been married for seven years and we have a four‑year-old boy and I still get reminded. It’s great advice. Pay attention to what women have to say. Ultimately, you have to be with somebody who loves and appreciates who you are and who is that person inside. If you feel like you’re getting shutdown and not being heard, you might have a conversation about that. If somebody loves you, they’d be open to hearing what you have to say about that. I don’t know what the dynamics are with you and your partner or anything. I’m just meeting you for the first time here, but I say you got to be who you are and if you feel repressed, talk about it.
In this case, I’m the one who’s doing the repression. It’s just a matter of loosening up and flying right.
You might want to find those times where she’s open and say, “I’ve been thinking a lot about a couple of things. Do you have some time? I’d love to talk about it.” If she says yes, that’s your opening.
I loved what you said about humor and being fun and having fun. What I found is when I’m the least constricted, when I’m the most open and I try funny shit, I’m usually funny as hell. That seems to be a great way to connect and a great way to be together.
Humor always wins.
I’m funny and it’s not just how I look.
Thank you so much for coming on the show, Mark. I really appreciate it.
Thanks for inviting me, Robert. I love your show.
My friend, I’m grateful for you coming on, your words of wisdom. I’m definitely going to check out your book. For those interested in finding out more of your blog, your podcast, where do they go and how do they find you? What’s the best way to contact you?
The best way is you can catch me on Facebook, I’m on Twitter, I’m on Instagram. My website is RobertManni.com. The book is The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love. My podcast, I broadcast every Wednesday but everybody listens to podcasts on demand. It’s Guys’ Guy’s Radio. Check us out on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, and Blog Talk Radio.
Thank you so much for coming on the show. I’m grateful.
Thanks so much, Robert. Thank you, everybody. Thank you, Mark.
I’m now doing two shows a week. I’m doing a show myself and then we do Six Vulnerable Conversations. We’re in the middle of Six Vulnerable Conversation Between Two Women. Coming up, I have a third season of Six Vulnerable Conversations. It’s going to be very exciting. Please pay attention to the website. My new website is coming as well, RobertKandell.com. Until then, thanks so much for being you. Thanks so much for joining us. Go be authentic and listen to Robert Manni’s viewpoint. Have fun. That is the next thing to do. Everyone go and have fun. Stop being freaking serious all the time. Go laugh. I laugh all the time with my lady and it changes our dynamic constantly. Good luck. Thanks so much.
Thank you so much, Robert, for joining us for the show. I enjoyed our interview and hearing what you do. His website is RobertManni.com. Thanks so much. Go forth, get some nookie, enjoy. I love you.
- The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love
- Guy’s Guy Radio
- Blog Talk Radio
- Guy’s Guy Radio on iTunes
- Guy’s Guy Radio on Stitcher
- Guy’s Guy Radio on TuneIn
- Me Too Movement
- Robert Manni’s Facebook
- Robert Manni’s Twitter
- Robert Manni’s Instagram
About Robert Manni
Robert is the host of Guy’s Guy Radio™, featured on Blog Talk Radio and available on iTunes, Stitcher, and TuneIn. The weekly podcast features interviews with relationship coaches, entertainers, authors, wellness experts, spiritual teachers, sports personalities, and a weekly Guys’ Guy’s Guide™ exploring current guy-focused topics. Robert’s web-site, RobertManni.com, features his syndicated blog, On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness, media appearances, branded videos, appearances and events. Robert has appeared on broadcast television (NBC’s Morning Blend, WPIX11 Morning News) and is a frequent guest across a spectrum of satellite, terrestrial, and web-based radio programs and podcasts.
Robert has been featured on ABC Radio’s Men’s Life with Slacker.com and is a contributor to Huffington Post, Good Men Project, Thought Catalog, Cupid’s Pulse, GalTime, is a featured expert at YourTango, and was named a Top Dating Blogger by DatingAdvice.com.