Man Rules by
Excerpts from the Book
There is an old joke about two hunters in the woods being chased by a bloodthirsty bear. The dumber one tells the other, “There’s no way we can outrun this damn bear. We’re going to die”. The smarter guy says, “I don’t need to outrun the bear. I just need to outrun you.” So informs the Theory of Male Relativity. That is, compared to all other men on this planet, you are either more or less manly. You are somewhere in the grand hierarchy between the world’s most dominant male and the world’s biggest junior boy in a little sailor costume. While your global ranking may not affect your day-to-day, the axiom holds just as much weight in smaller groups of men, like office coworkers, college dorm rooms, beer league softball, and certainly the gathering of underground criminal organizations in the backs of nightclubs.
No matter where a man groups together with other men, it is essential that you not be the weakest male in the room. Every gazelle in the massive herd need not defeat the lion in attack; they just have to do better than the weaker members of their party. What’s for dinner? Andy, your happy-go-lucky gazelle cousin. He liked to make daisy necklaces. It’s a real shame about Andy. Though less of a shame since you get to live another day. Every group of men has an easy target gazelle. The guy who is the butt of every joke and always has to be the designated driver. If you are unsure who the biggest pussy is in your group of friends, it is likely you.
Regardless of what they believe in Northern New Jersey, not every man has to be an alpha male. Admitting that you are not the toughest man in the world does not make you less of a man, it reveals an honest self-evaluation and a confidence in your place in this world. However, if that same sharp examination indicates you’re the most delicate of men, it’s time for some self-improvement, or in the very least, a functional disguise. Remember, your goal is to climb the ranks but a little. Do not overcompensate with poor facial hair decisions, steroid ripped muscles, or fantastical tales of high school athletic prowess. That’s far too obvious. As is targeting the second weakest, most pathetic guy you can find and insulting his manhood. Other men will see right through this ruse.
Being the biggest pussy is far from a permanent state. You’ve set the bar so low, it does not take very much to be more of a man. In prison, you might have to beat up the biggest toughest guy in your block to prove your toughness, but in this situation, maybe just take your voice down a couple notes on the scale and stop commenting on how you’re dying to see Hamilton.
Sometimes it rains. That’s a reality we all deal with. But men do not carry umbrellas. Ever. What are you afraid of? Getting wet? Catching the sniffles? It is just water and you’re no longer six and being hustled by your mother to shelter. She has maternal instinct and a desire to protect you from harm. You’re a man and you can military press your own weight. Do you take waterproof gear with you in the shower?
The same holds for rain boots. If you are afraid of getting your shoes wet, don’t wear nice shoes out in the rain. A trench coat is permitted because classic males wore them during the Golden Age of Cinema. Stay away from the cigarettes and fedoras. Not everything classic is classy any longer. If a woman offers to shelter you under her umbrella, you may oblige for the sole purpose of talking her up. That’s why she invited you in the first place. She’s not a mom and she knows you won’t melt.
Men have always had to brave the elements. For the first ten thousand years, no man chided another man to remember to bring his jacket. You brought the coat, or you died, your choice. Talking about the weather was purely ceremonial chatter among men. Your barber mentioned the weather. You mentioned something back in a rote manner. He commenced cutting your hair. There were never any meteorologically significant elements to the interaction.
Our male ancestors marched through waist high snow and waited for hours in the cold and rain to hunt animals for the tribe. Do you think they used an umbrella or rain boots or checked their weather apps to see when they might be able to switch to shorts?
Your grandfather survived torrential tsunamis in a foxhole in WWII while being fired upon and you can’t go four blocks without a designer rain blocker over your head like mother’s blanket? These innate survivalists sucked it up and held back their shivers, because that’s what men do. Women complain about physical discomfort as a means of conversation. Men suffer in silence, to make women aware of their inadequacy.
Men don’t wear gloves to keep their hands warm, unless maybe if you are shoveling a driveway full of snow, performing surgery, or climbing Mt. Everest. A man blows on his hands if he’s cold. It’s almost entirely ineffective, but it’s a way to let other men know you’re freezing, but you’re not a victim. Snow boots are permissible if you are walking through serious snow or ice in situations such as alpine rescue or hunting. You wouldn’t expect your mailman to lose a toe in pursuit of his work duties. But if you’re using them to get from your front door to your car in the driveway or parking lot, that sound you hear on the wind is the spirit of your great-great-granddad laughing at you.
You can wear a couple of pairs of socks or long underwear if it’s less than fifteen degrees. You shouldn’t even publicly mention ‘the cold’ until it’s below fifteen degrees. Or hot until it’s in triple digits. The same goes for high winds. They’re not a tornado. You’d know if they were, because men would be talking about them. Weather that can’t kill you isn’t worthy of a man’s time and consideration. Take a moment to check your drawers and closet for a scarf. Now, give it away to a chilly toddler. You’re all grown up.
At a certain point you’re going to have to meet your girlfriend’s social circle. You’ve been putting this off longer than that digital rectal exam you promised your primary care physician you’d endure four appointments ago. You’d rather be out on the lawn with a flashlight hunting for gophers in the sleet. You adore this woman on some level. There is no logic tree to detail how you might adore the other people that she adores. When her college roommate is yammering on about her rescue dog and the how vegan organic mayonnaise tastes just like Kraft’s chemically optimized masterwork, stay focused. Pretend like you want to be there. As with the rectal exam, breathe through your nose and relax. You’re taking the stand in an important jury trial. Do not look bored; it makes you look guilty.
For these types of meetings, secure a neutral battleground. Upscale restaurants are strategically solid, but pose a financial problem. Her second cousin just returned from a Peace Corps stint and hasn’t had a decent meal for two years. A double order of surf and turf later and she’s adamant you all split the bill. At risk of looking cheap you need to throw down your credit card without a hint of hesitation. You’re having sex with her cousin. She knows you’re good for the tab. Get used to this arrangement.
The key is not to have to endure the stories. Your girlfriend thinks by never telling you about her previous boyfriends, she’s sparing your feelings. What you wouldn’t give for some sordid sex tales by way of her ex-lovers in lieu of having to sit through an evening with a friend of hers from work friend giggling about that time that guy did that thing. Pretend you’re far more spontaneous than you actually are and suggest an activity to distract from a conversation that will eat away at your soul. Bowling works. So does, an arcade. Possibly a guided burro tour. Maybe you all meet for drinks at the local sports bar. You couldn’t have foreseen the noise at the place for Game 6 of the World Series. Smile often and don’t get caught watching the game.
Make sure you meet her friends at an evening venue. Brunch is absolutely out of the question. Brunch is a weekend meal designed solely for you to have to endure your own family, not others. Friendly brunches result in bottomless mimosas and belligerently screamed anticlimactic stories about a bitch whose name you can’t make out that is either “Susan” or “Shoshanna”. You’ll anxiously look around the room but there is nowhere to go, not even in your mind. You’re bolted to that table and there’s nobody to blame but yourself.
Instead, pick something as late as night as possible. Mention how badly you want to meet her dear friend, but you can’t get there until 10. Show up at 10:30 and apologize. At 11:15 make your first suggestion that it’s late and you have work in the morning. Women respect a man who will turn down another round to be ready for work in the morning. That’s not you, but tonight it is.
If you’re in line to meet her parents, tuck in your shirt, plaster on a fake smile, and ride it out. They’re not going to like you. You’re penetrating their daughter twice a day, once on the ride over to meet them. They were once you. They know this. They’ll size you up within five seconds because most of their work has been done in advance with background checks.
If you’re employed and have no criminal record or serious credit problems, they already find you acceptable. Parents don’t want their daughter to be happy; they want her to be cared for by somebody other than themselves. They might try to shake you with an in-depth grilling about your career track or that uncle you have who committed a rather serious felony, but remain steady. Use vague adjectives like “strong” and “promising” to lull them into a stupor. They’re probably thirty years your senior. Use that to your advantage. Have you mentioned that you have work in the morning? Time for the doggy bags.
Occasionally your girlfriend will have protective male friends who will try and size you up. They’ve known her since high school and they think of her as a sister. That only means they’ve never been able to have sex with her for all of their big brotherly treatment. They represent far less threat than you might imagine. Confess to them you’re a compulsive gambler with a penchant for Thai massages, it doesn’t matter. Nobody cares what the guy in the football jersey and stupid hat thinks. If they mention anything to your girlfriend, be sure to let her know how jealous they are that you landed the best woman on the planet. Problem solved. She will now let you try that thing you’ve been mentioning since your fifth date.
On the ride home from any of these events to meet her friends or family, she’ll turn to you and ask for your honest opinion on the people you just met. Do not give her your honest opinion. This is very much akin to when she asks you, “How do I look in this dress?” It’s only a trap if you’re extremely daft. Grin the perfect width and declare that her friends all seemed fun and she’s very lucky to have grown up in that family. Next time you’ll be busy reprogramming the garage door.