Who do I listen to? ADVICE vs. DIRECTION

I am a strong advocate for being an adult who makes decisions and deals with them.  The good, the bad and the ugly that comes with the aftermath.  At the same time I am not one of those people who does not take the opinions of the people around me into consideration.  It is very fine line for people.  How much do you listen to people?  Do you take all perspectives into account?  What specific people do I take advice from?  And how do I take advice and still maintain my perspective without offending the person giving the advice?

I do not make a habit of taking advice, criticism, direction or praise from people who do not take the same from me.  This sort of thing creates and imbalance in a relationship.  It makes people feel like the only useful role that they have in your life is that of someone who tells you what is best for you.  Even when they may not truly know.  This is especially true with parents.  They get so consumed with always telling you what is best, that a part of their esteem is built upon the hierarchy or pedestal that  that is established when you are a child.  But all children grow up.  And in pursuit of independence parents are naturally going to lose some level of superiority.  And they fight it with these ridiculously exaggerated claims of you being “disrespectful” for not responding to their direction the way you may have when you were a child.  You cannot let that stop you from pushing forward with your own independence.  Continue reading

Identifying a Maintenance Call

New year, New me!!!  Isn’t that what people say when they are trying to turn over a new leaf?  Get themselves motivated to start that new job.  Trying to convince themselves after gorging their bellies from Thanksgiving through the new year that they are going to start consistently going to the gym?  Or even making up our minds that we are going to take control of our dating or social circumstance.  New Year, New Me!!!!!  But what does that really even mean?  I once watched Denzel Washington tell some aspiring young artists that “Dreams without goals remain dreams and fuel disappointment…..”  Now the context was a little different as he was making a point about not being complacent with your desires but I personally think the message is really applicable for people who want to make strides in improving their dating circumstances.  You cannot just WANT something better for yourself.  You have to make some personal steps toward whats best for you and take control.  Own your situation.  Command it to the extent that you can.  And a key part of that is not being someones back burner option. 

I have a couple of friends who keep in touch with me to talk about relationship stuff.  And sometimes as a single guy who hasn’t been to any psychology school or relationship training seminars or even delved into becoming a relationship coach, I sometimes wonder why they think I know anything at all.  I have kind of summed it up to me just being someone who will tell my friends the truth about what I see without simply taking a side with them and encouraging them to absolve themselves of any accountability if they have any.  Which in most circumstances we always do.  But most importantly I want to always be FAIR.  Fair to my friends and fair to our friendship.  I think that is sort of why they ask me about things…….  Of course that could just be some ego driven assessment that I have subconsciously come up with to feed my over inflated ego….  but whatever.  Let’s go with it.  The point of me talking about these friends is that they often times have an inability to recognize when they are not someones priority and instead just an option that someone is only partially enticed by.  And the confusion can be brought on by the most subtle of things.  An extra moment of attention during conversation at work.  An out of the blue text that comes at the most random of times.  And the most emphasis of them all is the Maintenance Call.

People make maintenance calls at least 3 times a week.  And they usually come around three pretty obvious times.  Continue reading

The Problem With Blaming Former Partners for Failed Relationships…………….

Anyone who has ever been through a tough break up knows what it is like to sit around and wallow in your circumstance.  It is a pretty natural thing to do.  You are feeling all sorts of emotions that can send you into either a terrible spiral or an epic rebirth.  It all depends on what you decide is going to be your fate.  But the trouble that many people have is that they are not Deciders.  They are Receivers.  Just recipients of whatever the world has in store for them.   And they only become deciders when the decisions are either extremely obvious or convenient.  And being a receiver has one major benefit that being a decider does not have.  It absolves you of any level of accountability and control over your circumstance.

When people part ways with someone they inevitably let their mind wander into a a space where they start to think of all that they have contributed to the positive aspects of the relationships and all of the things that they have “put up with”.   I believe this is the natural reflex of the ego that drives you to hold on with a vice grip the image of yourself that you want to believes exists within you.  So your mind starts to highlight all the positive things that you have brought to the table, while simultaneously ignoring the contributions that you have made to the demise of the relationship.  “I picked her up from work every single day!  I paid her cell phone bill for a whole year!  I took her little brother to T-Ball practice”  Or how about, “I cooked for him and washed his clothes, and this is what I get from him in return”  No one is perfect.  And none of us are without our shortcomings that someone else is “putting up with”.  But the truth is that when you are putting up with these things in relationships it is because you chose to.  Not because your arm has been twisted.  It is because you feel like the the things that you put up with or do for someone are not that bad in comparison to the benefits that you are receiving in other ways that are off shoots from the general companionship.  And ultimately to complain about those things after the fact as though someone else was wrong is pretty lame and very immature.  If you do not want to cook, clean, or play big brother then do not do it.  Do not do nice things for the person that you are dating in a begrudging manner.  And more importantly do not claim that these were stressful and overwhelming things for you to do after you split with someone.  That sort of sentiment reeks of pity-seeking, vindictiveness and internal personal dishonesty.

But why do people stay in that space?  Why do you carry on that tone of bitterness months after it is over?  Why do we repeatedly ask people, “How can he/she do this to me?”  Because we are being  receivers and not deciders.  It makes some people feel better to take little to no responsibility over the end result that has taken place.  For me to chase around a woman who only shows marginal interest in me, that I have tried to woo with expressions of attention that essentially equate to me showing a willingness to spend my money in exchange for her time is silly.  It is flat out ridiculous.  And at some point during the process of me begging her out to dinner and offering to loan her money to fix her car and tolerating the fact that she never calls me despite me always calling her, that singular thought of hesitation comes across all men’s minds.  The thought that this is stupid and that I should not be doing this.  But in some foolish sense of ambition I persist.  Almost in some sick attempt to guilt her into being what I want her to be in my life.  And when she does not comply and ends our communication, I brand myself as a mistreated victim.  Receiver.  In this moment you are making yourself a receiver.  A person that can experience nothing good in this world that is not delivered by blind luck or the benevolence of someone who is willing to give you something.  Someone who is a less powerful and in control person than a Decider. 

While being less powerful and in control than a Decider is easier to do it is far less rewarding.  As a decider you make up your mind that you are going to admit that you did something that was not in your best interest and that you have a wielded a hand in the current circumstance that you have in your life.  And at the same time you can wield that hand of power in the effort to change, improve and control your own circumstance.  What people are really doing when they cry and bemoan what someone else has done to them all the time in relationships is the idea that there is absolutely nothing that “I can personally do to be happy or better.  I just have to contritely and patiently wait on someone to make me happy and whole.”   Is that really how any grown person should live?  No one should live without feeling s sense of personal power and authority over their life.  But in order to do that we have to accept the responsibility that comes with the bad decisions and not just the praise and success that comes with the good ones.  Frame your circumstance in a way that puts you at the helm.  The captain of your own vessel.  The Starship Destiny!  And navigate your own course with power through all the experiences that await.



Phishing for Compliments! Part 2.

Part 2 of the article on Internet Phishing:

  • 3. Do not click on links, download files or open attachments in emails from unknown senders. It is best to open attachments only when you are expecting them and know what they contain, even if you know the sender.

4. Never email personal or financial information, even if you are close with the recipient. You never know who may gain access to your email account, or to the person’s account to whom you are emailing.  You would really be surprised at just how many people are commonly sending their information all over cyberspace because someone was able to put together a fake email and copied and pasted template that sounds official.  If you already are comfortably banking with a solid institution you should never have a need to communicate with another.  Also check for available telphone numbers that you can call yo confirm anything suspicious.

5. Beware of links in emails that ask for personal information, even if the email appears to come from an enterprise you do business with. Phishing web sites often copy the entire look of a legitimate web site, making it appear authentic. To be safe, call the legitimate enterprise first to see if they really sent that email to you. After all, businesses should not request personal information to be sent via email.

  • 6. Beware of pop-ups and follow these tips:* Never enter personal information in a pop-up screen.* Do not click on links in a pop-up screen.

    * Do not copy web addresses into your browser from pop-ups.

    * Legitimate enterprises should never ask you to submit personal information in pop-up screens, so don’t do it.

  • FY!:  Always invest in a good pop up blocker for your personal computer.  It will save you a lot of headaches in dealing with this sort of thing
    • 7. Protect your computer with a firewall, spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Do some research to ensure you are getting the most up-to-date software, and update them all regularly to ensure that you are blocking from new viruses and spyware.
    • Suggestions:  I always use Microsoft Essentials products on my computer.  Also Comodo produces excellent fire-walls and pop-up blockers.
  • 8. Check your online accounts and bank statements regularly to ensure that no unauthorized transactions have been made.

You should always be careful about giving out personal information over the Internet. Luckily, companies have begun to employ tactics to fight against phishers, but they cannot fully protect you on their own.  Don’t be afraid to use your own common sense.

I hope this information helps.  But at the end of the day it is important for you to use some of your own common sense.  Be skeptical about things that come across as too good to be true.  Because most of the time they absolutely are.  Phishing attacks are not only things that happen to people who are too old to understand that internet.  It gets the best of a lot of smart people who do not think before they click.  Don’t let that be you!.

Phishing for Compliments!

So as we move ahead with a series of articles on internet security and general safety for we want to explore what it means to go “Phishing”.  Not with a rod and reel like our parents did with us when we were little.  And not like seeking compliments by telling people how fat we feel after we have just lost 10lbs.  No, we are talking about a much more sinister and clandestine type of “Phishing”.  In the IT world phishing is something that we pay close attention to and warn the clients and colleagues about all the time.  And in the social media age of today it relates to those weird emails and posts that we see all over Facebook that tempt us to click on the most unbelievable things.

In the most technical of terms as recorded on the Almighty Wikipedia, “Phishing is the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.[1][2] Communications purporting to be from popular social web sites, auction sites, banks, online payment processors or IT administrators are commonly used to lure unsuspecting public. Phishing emails may contain links to websites that are infected with malware.[3] Phishing is typically carried out by email spoofing[4] or instant messaging,[5] and it often directs users to enter details at a fake website whose look and feel are almost identical to the legitimate one. Phishing is an example of social engineering techniques used to deceive users,[6] and exploits the poor usability of current web security technologies.[7] Attempts to deal with the growing number of reported phishing incidents include legislation, user training, public awareness, and technical security measures. Many websites have now created secondary tools for applications, like maps for games, but they should be clearly marked as to who wrote them, and you should not use the same passwords anywhere on the internet”.  Whew!!  That was a mouthful.  But at the end of the day I think we all get the basic point.  So much of your critical information can be stolen from you when you open links on your computer from unfamiliar locations.  So be on the lookout for outrageous headlines and scammers who entice people on the internet with get rich quick opportunities.

So let’s look at some easy ways to protect yourself and avoid these attacks.

1. Guard against spam. Be especially cautious of emails that:

* Come from unrecognized senders.

* Ask you to confirm personal or financial information over the Internet and/or make urgent requests for this information.

* Aren’t personalized.

I promise you that their really is no prince in Nigeria who wants to send you money.

  • 2. Communicate personal information only via phone or secure web sites. In fact:When conducting online transactions, look for a sign that the site is secure such as a lock icon on the browser’s status bar or a “https:” URL whereby the “s” stands for “secure” rather than a “http:”.

    Also, beware of phone phishing schemes. Do not divulge personal information over the phone unless you initiate the call. Be cautious of emails that ask you to call a phone number to update your account information as well.

Stay Tuned for Pt. 2!!

You Can take a shot for the Flu, but how do you protect your computer from Viruses?

I feel pretty healthy.  I have for the most part been able to avoid major illnesses ever since I was about 13.  That was my last time having walking Pneumonia which I actually had twice!  Two winters in a row.  But ever since then I have been able to stay pretty healthy for the most part.  A cold once a winter and a yearly check up and I have been able to really avoid the flu bug.  But my computers have not always been so lucky.  As consumers though we treat our computers with a lot less care than we take our health.  Which makes sense, being as though you can replace a computer but you only get one life to live.  YOLO!  (that was corny).  But the reality is that our computer systems can be even more fragile that our immune systems and need special taking care of.

So there are many different ways to define a computer virus but this definition is pretty easy one to understand………..A computer virus is a malware program that, when executed, replicates by inserting copies of itself (possibly modified) into other computer programs, data files, or the boot sector of the hard drive; when this replication succeeds, the affected areas are then said to be “infected”.Viruses often perform some type of harmful activity on infected hosts, such as stealing hard disk space or CPU time, accessing private information, corrupting data, displaying political or humorous messages on the user’s screen, spamming their contacts, or logging their keystrokes. However, not all viruses carry a destructive payload or attempt to hide themselves—the defining characteristic of viruses is that they are self-replicating computer programs which install themselves without the user’s consent.  Now we talked a little bit about Phishing before and how it spreads malware but in general Virus writers use social engineering and exploit detailed knowledge of security vulnerabilities to gain access to their hosts’ computing resources. The vast majority of viruses target systems running Microsoft Windows, employing a variety of mechanisms to infect new hosts,and often using complex anti-detection/stealth strategies to evade antivirus software.

Now while you won’t die from a computer virus like you can from the flu, it can certainly put a hefty strain on your finances.   Computer viruses currently cause billions of dollars worth of economic damage each year,due to causing systems failure, wasting computer resources, corrupting data, increasing maintenance costs, etc. In response, free, open-source antivirus tools have been developed, and a multi-billion dollar industry of antivirus software vendors has cropped up, selling virus protection to users of various operating systems of which Android and Windows are among the most victimized.

So let’s take the proper steps to stamp out the costly viruses that plague our idiot boxes.  I mean “Lovely Computers”!

1) Installing and running anti-virus software is the first line of defense to prevent infections and attacks against your computer.

2) All operating systems include a firewall that boosts the effectiveness of your anti-virus software.

3) Adjust your browser’s security settings to maximize its ability to prevent unwelcome intrusions.

Stay Tuned for Pt.2!

You Can take a shot for the Flu, but how do you protect your computer from Viruses? Pt.2

4) Be wary of opening any email attachment. Even when you know the sender, it’s entirely possible that their efforts to prevent attacks weren’t adequate and that a threat has infected their system, only to be passed on to you through some innocuous-seeming email. Don’t ever be afraid to contact your sender before you go clicking on random links that you do not know where it will lead you.  Often time we have friends who send out randomness and we are accustom to it.  But if you get something random from someone who you never receive a forward from them chances are that you should double check before clicking on that link.

5) File sharing is another common source of contracting computer threats. Be sure you are downloading clean material. And for all of you who are still downloading bootleg movies and pirated music this is going to be tough for you to do.  Because most times people do not check the source.  The best way to do this is to resort to legitimate sites that have pre-screened files for you. Be aware that if you download pornography, many of those sites are notorious sources of infection. Again, good security software will scan these files before they can be loaded onto your computer.

6) Don’t leave your computer operating idly for any length of time. Physically being present and a part of your internet security system is a useful way to prevent the failure of your computer’s other defenses.  Physical Security is the most basic of defenses.  Use it!

7) Here’s a little grab bag of safety tips that can help prevent disasters. Be careful when loading external media such as flash drives without scanning them, and know who is using the computers on your network. When using social networking sites such as Facebook, be careful about clicking any links that look suspicious.  And by suspicious I mean anything that would be just too outlandish to be true.  I promise you that you are not going to the find the Obama’s sex tape on Facebook.  SMH  Creeps.

Learn what running a sandbox or virtual machine is and how to use it to test new applications. Create a different account on your computer to avoid using your administrator account for daily use. It’s a lot easier to repair a user account than a corrupted administrator account.  I know some of this stuff sounds foreign to you and like some over the top computer terminology but at the end of the day it would not hurt any of us to brush up on some of our computer language.  Especially since they have become such a vital part of our day to day life.

8) Keep up with news about new computer threats. If you hear of something from a legitimate source, update your security software and make sure that the particular threat is covered.

Again I cannot stress to PC users enough how much I use Microsoft Essentials to protect my laptop.  They have tons of free anti-virus software that works great and saves money.

Hope this helps and stay healthy my friends!

The Tale of An Awkward Hugger….

So it pains me to admit this about myself. I have never been geeky or awkward or in over my head when it comes to social experiences. I like to consider myself to be closer to the James Bond than Steve Urkel. But there are indeed certain aspects of my life where I can come off as slightly…..awkward. Even to say this about myself gives me a weird chill, as I sip my Dos Equis, loosen my perfectly tied Bow Tie, unbutton my Tuxedo jacket and turn down my John Coltrane to a low shallow hum……. But as a gentleman who believes in challenging yourself to be better I want to admit to all of you that I have some things that bring out the most awkward moments of tension for me. Of course as I have said many times before, the idea of telling a woman that I do not like her creates more tension for me than meeting the Gooch in the parking lot after school. For a guy with a pretty slick mouth piece I suddenly turn into a tongue-tied Charles Barkley when faced with the thought. Then of course there is the totally uncool reaction that I have to seeing blood. I get slightly weak-kneed and even more light-headed when I see a lot of blood. Needless to say I am not looking forward to one day having to be in the delivery room with a wife. But the most common example of my awkwardness is the one that has been most recently been brought to my attention. And despite my best attempts to duck the accusations, the reality of the situation stares me right in my face. ****Deep Exhale***** My name is Jackson Bracey, and I am an awkward hugger.

I never really saw myself as being and awkward hugger until I had two women call me out about it in the span of a week. I literally didn’t understand how you could even be an awkward hugger until I stopped to think about what sorts of emotions or intentions we convey with our hugs. Clearly I do not hug the woman I am dating the same way that I hug my mother. I hug my mother with love and affection, but very little passion or intensity. As is to be expected in most non-incestuous dynamics. But when I am dating a woman seriously I hug her closely and tightly so that she not only can hear my affection through the words that I say but also feel my affection through the body contact that a warm embrace can bring. Trust me when I tell you that people a well placed hug can tell a woman Everything that she needs to know about how passionately you feel about her. But while I can cover the bases on hugs for a girlfriend or my mother, what do I do with all the women in between? The Friends, the Co-Workers, Elders at church, the lady who I randomly stop to change her tire, UNDERAGED GIRLS…..what do I do with these women? This is where the awkwardness comes in.

So there are a couple of things that I have learned about the awkwardness of my hugs. I have become very cognizant about what sort of message my hugs give off to women who I am just friend with. Since we know how intense an emotion can be conveyed when you hold someone close, you never want to hold a women TOO close. I try not to give off the sexy man vibes to women who I am friends with. But sometimes it can be so difficult to avoid. As illustrated in the above video, black women hug with a ferocious love and affection. And it can be seen as a diss if you don’t properly reciprocate. I can’t give a grandmother hug to a woman who is in my age group. And I have definitely been chastised on more than one occasion for giving a woman the hand pat on the back when I hug. Somehow this is received much differently than the all important circular back rub. But probably the most important key in giving the proper hug is the power of the embrace. Women like to be embraced forcefully but not to the degree that causes them to lose their breath. But understandably they mean mug you if you give the sort of light embrace that makes them think you are not welcoming of said hug. So ultimately for me I have tried to establish a few guidelines around my hugs to make me a bit less awkward but at the same time keep me from grinding a woman or feeling like she is grinding me.

Rule #1
If at all possible, initiate the hug from a side position that puts her under your arm first. This usually allows a woman to wrap both her arms around your mid section without any personal body parts rubbing up against each other.  Always effective!

Rule #2
When faced with a full frontal hug avoid any bodily contact below the rib cage. It is wildly inappropriate to rub pelvis’s together with women you are not involved with. It screams of the do me vibe and you have to be careful about giving that off to women in today’s climate when they suspect all me are trying to do them anyway.

Rule #3
Always place arms around the upper chest or shoulders. This is important. It allows people to be brought in closely to embrace without feeling we have to be right in front of each other. I have given a many hugs from across a church pew, table corner, or from a seated position because I was pulling them near from the upper half of their body. The alternative that you want to stay away from is grabbing people at the waist! Pulling someone close at the waist screams sexual advance. It forces private regions together. You see this all the time with young kids around the hormonal high school age. They LOVE to grab each other at the waist to make sure that their entire body is mashed against someone. And this is not necessarily a bad thing if you are hugging someone you have some serious interest in. Because we have all seen people who are getting it in and observed how they mash against each other when they hug. Full body press… Starting from the legs to the knees, slightly pausing as their mid sections meet. And because they are holding each other at the waist the get to stare into each others eyes right before she presses her breast against him and their faces meet! Sound dramatic I know. But just today I had a friend confirm for me that she does like to press her boobs against a man she is flirting with for a hug! And I certainly can’t knock her because guys are typically itching for that sort of cheap feel from women anyway.

**** As a side note I once was leaving a job to take another position and my team took me to lunch. So as is customary people say how much they appreciate you and give you a small cake and then you go back to work to finish out the rest of your last day. Well upon my departure my team lead was the last to say good bye and she, like the rest of the team, extended to give me a hug. But as I leaned over at the waist to embrace her at the shoulders….SHE GRABBED MY WAIST and totally thrust her waist next to mine! This old lady blatantly tried to accost me by grinding me in her office. And for a super awkward 2.7 seconds she sort of stared at me as she slowly leaned in with the rest of her body and squeezed me tight. My body got super tense and I gave her the short alligator arms pat on the back because at that point as she was forcing the action I tried to cool her heels by not totally reciprocating the intensity. So I walked out of there totally grossed out with a parting memory that has scarred me as an awkward hugger****

Now as I have explained my awkward hugging I think it necessary to sort of explain where the whole thing stems from. I was not unloved as a child or touched in the showers at camp or anything salacious that would explain my apprehension with hugs. But I was at one point in my life a high school English teacher. And that can be an environment where the wrong impression given through a hug can lead to accusations that could change a man’s life! We all remember high school and the excessive hugging that goes on every time you pass someone in the hall way. Well that can be extended to teachers as well. At least to Cool Ones! (totally describes me! the cool teacher) But being one of the younger teachers I understood early on that these hormonal young girls who are prone to crushing on a younger teacher are getting their cheap feels off by pressing their newly formed boobs on me! So I put a stop to that real quick! And it just made me more aware of what sort of messages are being sent with that type of physical contact.

So they say the first step of rehabilitation is admitting that you have a problem which I did in the opening paragraph. Then you have to seek out the root of your problem which I just explained with my former teaching experience. And now…in the final phase I must diligently work to correcting my behavior. So I guess that means that Jackson Bracey is accepting all hugs of a friendly to borderline sexual nature! Please be patient with me as I am a recovering Awkward Hugger.  Someone find this girl below and tell her I need some practice.




Sick of Corny Pick-Up Lines? Why He Won’t Just Ask You Your Name…..

Ahhhhh yes….  The masterful art of the pick up line.  A very disciplined and challenging study for any man to master.  The various techniques.  The decorative approaches.  The array of angles and nuances that must be mastered.  But just like golf, the tradition of approaching women with crude, clever or even disgusting comments can never truly be mastered.  As the times evolve, a man’s mouth-piece to remain affective.  But where does this need to be clever and witty come from?  What is so hard about simply saying…….  Hi…..  My name is Jackson.  What’s Yours?

This has been a growing topic, at least amongst many of my Facebook friends.  And one that was started from a conversation that was sparked about whether or not it is offensive or inappropriate to tell a lady to Smile when you approach her on the street.  And two things for sure came from that conversation.  #1, women very eloquently explained why some do not like to be approached like that and  #2 the very obvious question of why men feel the need to use pick-up lines.  And the answer is really simple.  So simple that women already know the answer.  But before explaining it let’s talk about THE LIFE OF A BOY BECOMING A MAN IN THE CONTEXT OF HAVING WOMEN LIKE YOU.  Doesn’t that sound like a fascinating book title?

In general young boys seem to take an interest in girls a couple of years after the girls start to take an interest in boys.  And it is generally not until the approach of puberty that boys really start to take an interest in the opposite sex.  Prior to that boys are learning about girls in the context of how to treat them more than they are how to seduce them.  We are conditioned to be more gentle, more delicate and more considerate of young ladies than we are each other.  Understanding what the term Fairer Sex truly means.  And in that grooming, we learn that girls are pretty much just like us but softer with different interests.  And being silly little boys we just ignore you until we are forced to interact with you at places like school, church or some silly birthday party that our mother made us go to…..  But all in all as adolescents, there is no problem for us communicating.  If we like the same stuff, we talk to you about it like we talk to the other little boys.  With excitement, jubilant enthusiasm and without reservations.  But something shifts right around that puberty age that sets up a dynamic that changes the way men communicate with women.  Something that shapes how men develop their technique in approaching women moving forward.  For some men it is illuminating and enlightening and for other guys it is debilitating and crushing.  But one thing is for sure……. The First time a guy gets dissed, it has a lasting impression.

Every man alive knows what it is like to be shut down, stepped on and embarrassed by a woman who just cracks his face for all to see in broad daylight.  And after facing that trauma it is followed by the equally embarrassing walk of shame!  That head hung, directionless walk back to where you came from that has you feeling like everyone in the school cafeteria saw this girl just tell you that you were ugly.  Now despite the contrary words of so many woman I am pretty convinced that just about every woman has dissed the shit out of a guy at least once in her life.  And I say this because I have seen just about every woman I have grown up with either do it or laugh about doing it at a later moment.  Now I do not think that doing this sort of thing in most instances deems a woman as being a bad person or some Evil Bitch as I heard a kid call a girl who told him he was ugly.  Not at all do I think it makes her an awful person.  I think it makes her a human being.  Human in the sense that she is merely doing what makes her feel most comfortable.  Now no doubt there is a hint of defensiveness and immaturity in those sorts of behaviors but there is also a very valid component in there as well.  Most women are just looking to draw a clear line between what they are attracted to and what they are not.  They are making a distinction between IT and NOT IT.  And to do that they go to extremes.  And some of those extremes are super hurtful.  What makes you think I would ever have any interest in you?  Or how about when a girl holds up a mirror and says Look at me.  Now look at you!  Do you think we match at all?  I even once heard a woman say to a guy, You need to go over there with that ugly girl and talk to her because we the bad bitches over here!  Or of course my favorite……  The diss when the girl just looks you up and down and laughs!  That is the classic one.  As sweet as women can be in one moment, they can also be pretty ruthless in others.  And it is fair to say that this sort of behavior comes from different places and not just the notion that women are evil.  Some of it is immaturity for sure.  But another part of it is people’s desire to elevate themselves over others to support their own sense of esteem.  Very human sorts of things.  But no matter what the reason it clicks something in a mans mind that makes him reassess his approach.

Pick up lines are just as much a mans defense mechanism as it is a way to approach a woman.  It is an attempt to approach her without totally submitting yourself for her approval.  Submitting yourself to be either dissed or embraced.  Women like to think that men should just put up with this sort of dismissal as sort of our “manly duty”.   But the effect that harsh words have on a man is real.  And it puts a guy in a position where as a man, he will only take so much abuse before he gets antsy about dishing out some abuse in return.  So what do guys do?  How do they adjust?

Saying to a woman “Hi, my name is Marcus.  What’s your name?”  is a submissive sort of approach.  It leaves a woman in a position of approval or disapproval.  Which by the time a man is 22-23 he is pretty much sick of that game.  So as an adjustment, guys come at you differently.  First we stop telling you our name and we just stiffen our voices and ask you who you are.  That is a more strong approach.  One that can almost be bully like.  And with that, you always have the risk that a woman may believe that you are just as likely to try to rob or assault her as you are to ask her on a date.  So the progression advances even further.  Men start to approach women with compliments or clever words.  Something to catch her attention.  Some way to engage her without submitting yourself for her approval.  You see, telling a woman she has a nice pair of shoes is a compliment and not a request for her approval.  I can conceivably tell a woman something nice about herself without wanting to be in her company.  I am not asking for anything or putting my esteem on the line.  I am just being nice.  And if she rejects my nice compliments I can always lash out at her as being an ASSHOLE.   And that I was just being nice and not trying to talk to her.  Now……instead of me having my esteem killed, she just made herself look like a bitch!  This is the thinking of a man who is trying to protect his esteem.  And I purposely say esteem and not ego because after years of being dismissed on the approach, a lot of men deserve to have their esteem protected.  And not marginalized by framing it as just a simple case of EGO.

So when women hear guys say things like,  You look nice today pretty lady or encourage a woman to Smile when they see her, these things are done to merely gauge a woman’s interest without being played out.  It is a man’s way of testing to see if you are open to any further conversation.  A way to back door his way through a woman’s defenses without catching the barrage of bullets that women can sometimes shoot into a man’s face when he says…….  Hi.  My name is Marcus.  What’s your name?  Ultimately, we are all human beings just trying to protect ourselves.  And the more we can get an understanding of the others perspective it allows us all to communicate with each other in a way that allows us to see the humanity in each other…….  And not frame the things that we do not like in the worst possible context.






It Is Definitely Your Right to be Rude…….But Don’t Expect Me To Like it

So when I have down time at work I try to skim through some of the hot topics that float around the internet as young bright minds expose wisdom, humor and down right ratchet happenings for the whole world to share in.  I like to say that Twitter is a place were people go to be insanely profound or profoundly ignorant in 140 characters.  But I like to skim through it because sometimes you find diamonds in the rough of people having really great dialogues and conversations.  Which is what I stumbled upon yesterday with a post by a Helena Andrews who wrote and awesome article titled, Dear Strange Men,Stop Telling Me to Smile.
Now immediately upon reading the title I spit up water all over my keyboard.  A little messy I admit, but I live for those moments when something moves me to laughter in such a way that I cannot control my instant reflex to burst out with an ebullient response.  Not a response that mocks the topic or title in any way but in the recollection of a conversation that I had with my friend Michelle about men telling her this exact same thing at her job.  And we always laugh about it because she goes into a whole lecture about how sometimes, she doesn’t feel like smiling!  Who walks around with a big ass smile on their face anyway?!  And sometimes I just don’t feel like talking?!  We laugh about it and I calmly respond to her that by saying, Damn Michelle!  How hard is it to just not look menacing?  No smile necessary.  But just don’t look like someone just stole your breakfast platter in the morning!  But that is just me encouraging her to not walk around with the mean-mug.  A friend of mine, Paul Brunson, does this thing on twitter where he promotes No Mean Mug Mondays.  And it is centered around just being more polite in your presentation with people and the energy that you give off in the world.  Because that energy surely comes back to you in one form or another. Continue reading