Movies That Define a Man…and Why

February 19, 2009

We are men, we love movies. And believe it or not, there are those movies we watch that actually inspire us. We see certain scenes that make us want to jump for joy, cheer out loud, or go take on the world. Here are some of the movies that change us, and why (warning: there are few romantic scenes in here).

1. Tombstone.tombstone Watching Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp slapping Billy Bob Thornton’s face and daring him to slap leather will get a man’s blood racing every time. Why? We realize the moxy it would take to stand there unarmed and dare someone to be man enough to draw a gun that man knows we’re going to shove up his rear and pull the trigger of. Add to that the way Wyatt sticks up for his family. Someone hurts his brothers, he forms a posse and hunts them all down until they’re dead. Game over.

Val Kilmer’s Doc Holliday is a real treat as well. Even though he’s hacking up a lung for most of the film, he still exudes confidence and wit as he faces down Johnny Ringo and the other cowboys. And that final showdown? Amazing.

Guys love this film simply because it has it all. A strong sense of family, plenty of action, men who aren’t afraid to stand up for themselves despite overwhelming odds, and the good guy gets the pretty girl in the end. Real life in a perfect world.

The only potential downside to this flick is that you’ll have to listen to your man saying “I’m your huckleberry” for the next three days.

2. Die Hard. die-hardOne man against armed terrorists. Bring it.

Bruce Willis became the ultimate action star to men in the 80’s with this film. He wasn’t in the best shape, he was losing his hair, he was having marriage problems…basically, he was most of the men in the audience. But when the time came he threw down and wasn’t afraid to take the fight to them.

This is the one movie you’ll find in almost every man’s top ten, and the reason why is no mystery. We love this movie simply because John McClane is the man we all hope we could be if we found ourselves in a building taken over by terrorists. The pressure mounts around him throughout the film, but he always takes it in stride and no matter when comes he keeps fighting back–and winning. Most guys would wet themselves if they had to look over the edge of a 50 story building and get ready to jump off with nothing but a water hose attached to them, but we all like to imagine that would be us if the need arose.

Another catchphrase in this film as well…though it’s doubtful he’ll be saying this one around the kids or pastor.

3. Raiders of the Lost Ark.raiders-of-the-lost-ark What does a bullwhip-snapping archaeologist have that makes him something men pay attention to? A life of action and adventure. Indiana Jones is just an ordinary guy out to do something simply extraordinary with his life. If he succeeds, the good guys win. If he fails, the world suffers.

Any guy who saw this movie as a kid in the 80’s left that theater wondering where he could get a bullwhip and a fedora. 20 years later, anytime the credits roll on the film, we still wish we had them. You think I’m joking? Stand in a crowd and you’re almost guaranteed to find at least one guy with the “Raiders” theme song as his phone’s ringtone.

Why does this story stand out? While we basically live a drone life of work and home with a week’s vacation where the most exotic thing we see is Disneyworld, Indiana Jones is waking up in a new country every week, running for his life from Nazis before lunch, and saving the world before dinner. He’s the adventurer we all wish we could be. He’s the life of excitement we all wish we had. If adventure had a name…it would be us.

4. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (or any of the “Vacation” films). national-lampoons-christmas-vacation-1989Clark W. Griswold just can’t get it right. No matter how hard he tries, his “nice family trips” always end in disaster. Something bad always happens to him, and he never gets it right. So why would this type of movie define a man? Because we always see ourselves in Clark.

Yes, we may imagine life as Wyatt Earp or Indiana Jones, but truth be told we’re mostly just Clark Griswold, trying to survive the holidays or vacations with our dignity intact. We go on trips we can hardly afford to places we don’t want to be and spend time with relatives we don’t really know. We try to look cool, but oftentimes we end up looking anything but. Truth is, we’re just trying to be a dad who is fondly remembered by his kids when they start their own holiday memories years from now.

Of course, if Christie Brinkley (or whatever her modern-day equivilent would be) ever wanted to go skinny dipping in a hotel pool with us in the middle of the night, I’d like to think we could keep our mouths shut no matter how cold the water was.

Tips for New Year’s Resolutions for Men

December 27, 2008

Let’s be honest, as January 1st rolls in, people everywhere are scurrying around to make plans for big changes in the upcoming year. Most of the time, these changes will be the same ones they had the year before, but that never stops anyone. Here are a few tips for some resolutions you might actually keep for a change.

1. Forget the exercise machines.Yeah, this is going to get used. If you aren’t already a member of a gym, now is not the time to start. If you don’t already own (and use) a Bowflex, then put down the phone and forget it. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with exercise, but let’s face it: the gyms get crowded in January, and thin out by February. Why? Because everybody wants to get into shape, but then when they find out it takes effort they give up on it.

Rather than spend money on a home machine you won’t use (or will only use twice), save the money. Do simple exercises at home for a while, and if you’re still interested in getting into shape in a month, then look into a membership. But don’t tell anyone…everyone has heard it before from other folks and they won’t believe it. Wait for them to start noticing the difference in you.

2. The year probably didn’t suck as bad as you think it did. We all want a better year next time around, but be sure to appreciate everything that happened this year. It may not have been the best year ever, but try to find a few things to be thankful for and then plan on repeating at least those successes this year.

3. You are not going bungee jumping. We look back on the year and we realize we never did do that “big thing” we always wanted to, so what do we do? Well, that’s when we usually make that"Holy Cow, what have I done???" stupid mistake and sign ourselves up for some over-the-top experience we think will make up for it all. The next thing we know, we’re standing at the open door of an airplane 20,000 feet up with a parachute strapped to our back and some surfer boy half our age giving us the thumbs up as he shoves us out of the plane.

Dude, just admit it: you’re not going to do that “big thing” everyone else is pushing. It’s a lot of fun to watch someone bungee jump off a bridge over a raging river, but it’s another thing entirely to be the fool tied up and going over. So for heaven’s sake, don’t sign up for anything from December 26-January 15! It’ll all blow over by then.

4. Set it in your mind to do something about it, or just shut up.If I have to hear about her stupid cat one more time... Face it, the first week of January around the office stinks. Why? Because everyone is lamenting the previous year and giving their ideas for what they’re going to do to make this year better. They’re going to get in shape, get married, have kids, climb Mount Everest, or any of a hundred other ideas that will never take shape. The problem is that you know they won’t take shape, but you can’t say anything about it without seeming like a jerk.

Instead, just don’t join the ranks. If you want to do something with the year and you know you are going to do it, then talk about it. If it’s nothing more than an inclination, shut up about it. Let the people around you stand in shame next year as they talk yet again about how they’re going to do this or that, while you stand there the man of his word.


As you can see, there’s nothing earth-shattering here, but it’s just little

things to think about. Set yourself apart from the crowd this coming year.




Christmas Gift Ideas for the Woman in Your Life

December 15, 2008

Let’s face it: very few men can shop and come away with something useful for their woman without guidance. We may live with you, sleep with you, and breed with you, but we are clueless when it comes to what to get you when the need arises. Here’s a few tips for the guys this time around:

1. If she says don’t get it–unless it’s jewelry–then don’t get it. I told him not to buy this! He never listens to me! This one was suggested by a reader (thanks, Jessica!), and it’s true. You’re walking in the mall with your lady and you notice something you think she’d like. You point it out and she says, “No, don’t get me that”…that settles it. Don’t buy it. Don’t second-guess her, don’t override her–just don’t buy it! Trust me, if she honestly wants it, she’ll let you know. The last thing she wants to do is open something she plainly told you not to buy and yet now she has to act like she likes.

The only time this is not true is when it comes to jewelry. That’s when you’ll get the coy little, “Oh no, that’s too expensive!” routine, with a little smile and twinkle in her eye. At that point, if you do not buy her that item, Christmas morning will get very ugly.

One year my wife mentioned she’d love diamond stud earrings, but that they were too expensive so I shouldn’t buy them. I did anyway, and then proceeded to put them in the very bottom of her stocking, underneath all the useless stuff we usually cram in there. She opened all her gifts and enjoyed them, but I could tell there was something in particular she was looking for. She had a slightly deflated look on her face as we reached for the stockings (the last thing we open on Christmas morning), and tried her best to appreciate the socks, candy, and whatever else was in there. Finally, she found this little package at the bottom and opened it. The look on her face was priceless. Trust me, this one is rock solid.

2. If you have to know weight or size, DO NOT GUESS!Game over, dude. I cannot stress this enough: you cannot win if you must guess a dress or shoe size! Unless you know beyond a shadow of a doubt what size she is, avoid clothing at all costs! Get it wrong, and you are a dead man. Checking in the closet to see what her other outfits are will not help much either. Men buy jeans based on waist size and length. We can easily know what we’re looking for because it plainly says 34×34, and we can understand that means 34 inch waist, 34 inch length. Ahhh, but women’s clothes…that is a much different animal. Even if she can fit in the exact same pair of jeans you wear, her’s won’t say 34. Oh no, her’s will say “10” or something like that. My wife wears a “4 S” which actually means “4 short” (I have come to understand). While to me as a guy that seems like I should be looking at doll clothing, this is an actual size to a woman. Dress sizes are just as confusing, and just as dangerous. Numerically, there isn’t much difference between the numbers “6” and “8”, but to a woman that’s like 20 pounds!

The only worse thing you could do is purchase the wrong size bra. Too small, and you give her an inferiority complex (“Do I look that little to you? Am I not enough for you?”). Too big, and it isn’t any better (“What? Are these for your girlfriend or something? Are you saying I need to grow into them? You want me to get a boob job, don’t you?”).

Unless she has plainly written out for you on a sheet of paper exactly the size she needs for everything, steer clear of any article of clothing. Instead, go for a luxury, pamper-yourself type item like bubble bath (provided you’re going to watch the kids long enough to let her use it) or perfume.

3. Don’t buy anything for her to wear that’s edible. Just buy a Big Mac and ask her to wear it. We men think it’s perfect gift because it involves our two favorite things: sex and food. What could be better than a woman wearing food? It’s like making love to a Philly cheesesteak! Women, however, do not see it that way. Few will actually wear it (does anyone actually put those on?), and it will be a wasted gift item. She’ll open it thinking (from the look on your face) it’s something wonderful, only to have her balloon popped quickly. The truth is edible undies don’t taste that good anyway. It’s like trying to tear shoe leather off a woman’s naked body without biting her hard enough to ruin the mood. It should actually be a game on a reality show somewhere.

Most women love Victoria’s Secret stuff. We men used to love it because they used to sell sexy stuff in there. Now it’s just mostly normal underwear. Get the list of sizes I told you to get from her and go nuts. She’ll probably love just about anything from there that isn’t too skimpy.

4. Just because she mentions she likes something, doesn’t mean she wants every possible variation of it. "But you said you liked balloons?" Understand something: we men are desperate for gift ideas. If a woman casually mentions she likes Garfield, we scream “Thank You, Jesus!” and rush off thinking we finally know what to get her. We grab Garfield shirts, panties, socks, dolls, videos, and anything else we can find. Suddenly she’s sitting there on Christmas morning with a confused look on her face trying to figure out why on earth you bought her a Garfield lunchbox and a dozen other weird items to go with it.

See, men are different than women in this respect. When a guy “likes” something, he doesn’t mind having lots of whatever it is, in very different forms. For instance, I have a friend who “likes” the Miami Dolphins. His man-cave (basement) is filled with everything you could imagine. He has Miami Dolphins pictures, commemorative plates, a signed football helmet, Christmas ornaments, posters, magnets, old schedules, and tons of other crap just like it. He even has a dolphin’s head with a Miami helmet on it!

His wife, on the other hand, “likes” snowmen. The entire rest of the house (which is hers to decorate) has exactly 3 snowmen throughout. To her, that is a collection. See how we men could get a little confused as to why you’re not falling over yourself because we found that Garfield foot warmer?

If you’re sure she likes Garfield, get her one unique item that makes the statement “I know you like this cat, and I wanted to get you something that shows I actually put some thought into this.” Shop Ebay and I promise you can find some unusual jewelry box (put a necklace in there while you’re at it), small porcelain statue, or something that she never knew existed. That one item can make more of a statement that a dozen Garfield panties ever could.

And finally…

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.I admit it, I'm clueless. It’s a lot of pressure trying to make sure your lady isn’t disappointed on Christmas morning. If you are wandering through the store aisles still absolutely clueless over what to get her, then get someone to help you. Call her best friend (that should be you, but whatever), sister, mom, or someone else who might have actually listened to her when she mentioned stuff she wanted. Rather than just grab things you hope she’ll like or guess she’ll like, take the time to find out what she really will like. Ask her to write out a list of ten items (and sizes of each…listen to me on this, man!) she’d love to have. Maybe it feels a little like cheating to you because it doesn’t seem like she’s getting any surprises, but I promise it’s the best thing to do. You want her opening that gift to find the purse she’s been wanting, not the toaster/waffle iron/cappuccino-machine you thought was a good idea.

In all honesty, while it’s not easy to find the perfect gift, it’s not that hard to at least find something she’ll enjoy. Before you go to the mall, know what you’re going for. I promise you, putting the extra effort in before you get there will make all the difference in the world.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Gift Ideas to Avoid for Men

December 8, 2008

Well, since my last group of ideas was so popular, I thought I’d give you a quick heads-up on a few things you definitely want to avoid. Some of these might seem fun or useful, but please don’t do it!

1) The Giant Viagra Pill (or anything remotely like it). viagra_1Unless your man is an absolute stallion in the bedroom and he knows it without a doubt, this is a bad idea. It’s a really bad idea if your man is having a few…ahem, issues…in the bedroom already. Nothing will absolutely crush his ego like a not-so-subtle reminder he needs to get with the program under the sheets.

So what if you’re the passion-starved woman in the relationship and you want to let him know he needs to kick it in a little? Go with something like silk boxers and massage oil, along with a note saying you’re looking forward to seeing him in these, but you’re more excited about seeing them hanging from the ceiling fan. Tickle his mind with ideas and give him a gentle nudge in the right direction. Final hint: save this gift for Christmas night after the kids are in bed and it’s just the two of you.

On the flip side, if you’re breaking up with a guy, send him this in an unmarked box to his company Christmas party, along with a note saying, “Thought you could use the help. Sorry about your problem.” in huge letters with lipstick on the signature. It will definitely pop his balloon.

2. A tie. christmas_neck_tiesMaybe it’s because we used to throw these off on our own fathers because we had no idea what else to get them, but this seems the most impersonal gift you could ever give the man you love. Nothing says “You aren’t worth shopping for” like a tie. I know you think a gift card would be more impersonal, but at least with a gift card we know we can go get something we want with your permission. If you get us a tie, we know we have to keep it.

3. A man-thong. man-thongOk, so I suggested silk boxers, but I’m saying a thong for him is wrong? What’s up with that? Simple: unless your guy works out like crazy, he’s not going to have the butt to pull this off. You have to have mountains of self-confidence to wear one of these, even in candlelight!

Don’t get me wrong, we understand that putting this on is going to result in sex. This isn’t a gift you give a guy for every day casual work attire. But just the same, it’s a big step for a lot of guys.

Yes, I know, you ladies might think “Well, he wants me to wear one!” And you are absolutely right. But let’s take a moment here and consider things: just be honest, which if you has the better butt? Not being sexist here, but honestly, women are designed by God to look better back there than the average man. From the front, it’s a beautiful, smooth design highlighting the back. You can wear one and look amazing no matter what, whereas we look like we’ve got a puppy crammed in the front of our underwear and our buns need a shave.

4. Self-improvement books. relationships-for-dummiesUnless he specifically asked for it, you might as well just give him a note saying “You a worthless, directionless, lazy bum and I want you to do something about it.” The only way this rule does not apply is if the book happens to have “Kama Sutra” in the title. If that’s the case, bring it on!

And finally…

5. Glow in the dark or flavored condoms.glow-in-the-dark I’ll bet you’re thinking this is a great idea he’d love because it lets him know you’re ready to help him use them, right? Well, that’s not quite right. Yes, we know it’s leading to sex, but the thoughts of the lights being out in the bedroom and suddenly this glowing pickle (or carrot, or Vienna sausage…whatever the case may be) shows up…it’s a little distracting. Now imagine that glow appearing and disappearing, appearing and disappearing, etc. It kind of seems like we’re making love on a neon sign. On the other hand, it does allow us to have our own personal Light Saber, so if you’re willing to throw in the Star Wars special effects sounds (and wear the Princess Leia metal bikini from “Return of the Jedi”) combo-dutt-coverit might be fun after all.

As far as flavored goes, please don’t. Most of those things have a strong scent. I mean, if you’re going to…um…make use of the flavor, that’s cool. Otherwise, we open that puppy up in the heat of passion and suddenly have this incredible urge to stop what we’re doing and run to the kitchen for strawberries and mint.

So that’s it! If you’ve already bought any of these, I hope you kept the receipt. Ladies, feel free to comment on ideas of what you want your man to get you for Christmas. We’ll try to put something together to help out those last-minute shoppers.

Hope I’ve been a help this holiday season!

Christmas Gift Ideas for the Man You Love

December 3, 2008

Christmas is coming, and I thought it would be nice to say a little bit that might help you buy just the right gift for the man in your life. Believe it or not, we men still love Christmas. And while we may hate shopping with a passion, we love to find that perfect gift waiting for us under the tree. Here are a few tips you can take or leave about making the man in your life happy:

1) Anything from Best Buy is an automatic winner. best_buy1Want to have some fun? Tell your man you want to go Christmas shopping. You can practically see the excuses flying through his head and racing to his mouth. Then tell him you’re going shopping for him, and you need him to drive you to Best Buy! You haven’t seen such a rapid mood swing since…nevermind.

It’s not that Best Buy is some wonderful store…it’s just that almost everything in Best Buy is something a guy would love. Consider it the “Toys-R-Us for Men” (though we still love the real Toys-R-Us). Where else can you get a plasma TV, computer, Playstation 3, complete seasons of The Sopranos, and music? Yes, I know Target sells all that, but there are clothes there too. Best Buy is just the fun stuff!

Let him drive you there, leave him in the car with the windows cracked, and watch him as you walk inside. He’ll be drooling like Fido and boucing around the backseat watching for your return.

2. We still love toys. You know how it always seems to take so long to get your husband/boyfriendnerf_gun out of the toy aisles when shopping for the kid in your life? Ever notice how he seems to get that glint in his eye when he sees the latest “Nerf Double-Barrelled Shotgun with Laser Sight and Sniper Scope”? It’s not because we’re considering that stuff for someone else–we want it for ourselves!

No matter how old a man gets, he still wants them toys! I mean, we grow out of the Fisher-Price stage, but throw us a Nerf gun, Laser Tag, or Super Soaker, and we’re 10 again. Give us the latest video game and/or gamer console, and we’ll slap your 12 year old nephew down if he tries to touch it. I swear we’re not that complicated…just keep us entertained.

3. Sometimes the best gifts are the ones we men don’t even get to use.lingerie1 Here’s where I’m going to get those ugly “how sexist!” comments, but I’m just telling you the truth. Remember the wedding night when you came out in that white/black nightie thing and stood there a moment letting us see you before the real action started? Yeah, we’ve never forgotten that moment either. Over the years, those moments can become fewer and fewer until they never happen anymore. Maybe it’s the fact that we get so busy with work, kids, or life in general, but those moments of seduction get crammed into seconds of frantic pawing before the kids wake up.

I know it takes effort to clip, buckle, or tie everything in one of those things, and you know you’re just going to take it off in a few seconds anyway, but words can’t describe how it makes your man feel to see you in one. You see, we realize the effort you had to go through to put it on…and we know you did that for us. See where I’m coming from? For those moments, we’re not just quick sex–we’re the man you find desireable enough to seduce. That can do more for an ego in ten seconds than a million words can say. Don’t just tell us you love us and think we’re sexy…show us. I promise we will reciprocate by fixing the sink, washing your car…heck, we’ll even vaccuum when the game is on if we know that’s the post-game entertainment coming!

So watch his face as he opens a gift with something slinky, sexy, and not even for him. And if you know ahead of time you aren’t going to want to go through it all again later (just being honest), then let him rip it off you in the heat of passion. You never have to wear it again, and he feels like he’s just put Angelina Jolie through the mattress. Win-win situation all around.

4. Play with us and we’ll love you for life. So your man has unwrapped the gamer-girl_1Playstation and latest game you bought him, now what? Simple: get in there and play with him. We men remember our childhood fondly, and there are those “best friend” moments we never forget. Those moments are mostly bonded to our mind through some secret we shared, or through some incredible play times growing up. Guess what? We still remember those moments.

Be that fun girl that isn’t afraid to grab the controller and blast our digital butts to pieces in Halo 3, or can kill us in Madden 2008! Even if you don’t beat us, it’s still the thought that counts. The fact that you’re playing with us for a few minutes is something we won’t forget–and I promise it’s something we’ll be bragging to our buddies to at work later.

And here’s my big hint to you in this: if you know you’re going to buy the game, play it ahead of time. Either in the store on one of the displays, or maybe you know a kid who has it and will show you a few tips on it. You don’t have to master the game, just learn your way around it a little. When we turn on that game for the first time and have a problem mastering the controls, you can say “Let me show you how it’s done” and take the controller. A few jaw-dropping moments later, you will have established that playful challenge we love. You will be our dream woman (especially if you follow this up with tip #3 later that night).

So that’s it. A few simple tips that hopefully will un-complicate an already complicated season. If you think I’m wrong, read the title of my blog again. There’s a reason I chose it.

I’m working on a few tips for the men who will be shopping for the ladies, so feel free to sound off in the comments if you have some suggestions.