Let The Guy Do What He Loves!!

Today I am going to re-cycle the first post I ever made on this blog.  Time hasn’t diminished the story or the statement so I think it is still relevant to today’s audience.  Enjoy!!  Tommy

When I was in my early teens, I remember when our next door neighbor, Linda, was complaining to my mother about how much time her husband spent working on his race car and how he spent every Saturday night at the local drag strip racing it. Linda felt like Russ should be spending that time with her. She wanted him to fuss over her the way he fussed over his car. Being so young, I had no idea if Russ was paying enough attention to his wife, and I still don’t. I did know that Russ was fanatic about his car and had even built a bigger garage than the one that came attached to the house so he would have more room for the car and all the tools he needed to work on it. My mother didn’t know if he was giving Linda the proper attention either, I am guessing, because her advice to Linda did not address that issue at all. Mom was simple and straight forward with our neighbor as she said “Linda, Russ LOVES to work on and race his car. It makes him happy and he truly enjoys it. You need to realize that and stop complaining to him about it.” The incredulous look on Linda’s face I can still see today. She had fully expected my mom to agree with her that Russ should sell the car and spend more time with her. Mom continued “At least you know where he is, Linda. And you know he is doing something he loves. That beats NOT knowing where he is or what he is doing.” I don’t remember any more of the conversation. I may have become bored and gone out to play ball or ride my bike. But I do remember that, about a week later, Linda was again in our kitchen talking to mom when I heard her say “Midge, I have thought a lot about what you said last week about Russ and his car and I have decided that you are right! He DOES love working on and racing that car and I should let him do what he loves.”

At the time, I did not realize how smart my mother’s advice had been nor how insightful my mother was about men.  It was really just a way of life at our house that my dad hunted and fished and went to the sprint car races on ocassion and spent a lot of time restoring his old “32 Ford Coupe because those are the things he loved to do and mom never complained about any of it. In retrospect, I understand why my parents stayed together until death did them part, because they understood that they both enjoyed things the other did not and they never tried to deny one another the chance to do those things.
As a result, I have never understood why women would tell their man that they “couldn’t” play golf, go fishing, go to a baseball game or any thing else that he wanted to do. After all, she is his wife, not his mom. Women need to realize that by trying to deny a man something he loves, she is just driving him away from HER, not away from the activity he enjoys. When we get married, we are not giving up our individuality, we are just adding someone we love to the equation. As I look back at my life, I realize just how much my mother and father taught me about relationships without even trying. They just set a wonderful example that I have emulated without even knowing it.

 I think Kahil Gibran said it best “Stand together, but not too near together, for the oak and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”

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You Look Dashing, My Dear!

Men love to squire a gorgeous woman about the town.  It is a real adrenaline rush to have a beautiful girl on your arm who is dressed to the nines, making you the envy of every other man around!  But what a man doesn’t know is this – just exactly what are they saying when they see the happy couple?  “Don’t they just look great together!” would be nice.  “Wow! What a gorgeous girl and handsome man!” would be even better.  Either one of those is exactly the effect being sought.  But,……… what if the reactions are more like “How did HE get a girl like that?”  Or, even worse, “She must have real self-esteem issues to be with a slob like him!” 

No one wants those comments being directed at them! Your date wants the same thing you want, to be seen in public on the arm of someone gorgeous.  To be the envy of every woman around.  We need to make that happen for her just as she is making it happen for us!

Let’s face it men, which reaction we get is based entirely on how WE look, because we know our date looks ravishing!  She looks that way because she knows how to dress her body.  She knows styles.  She knows fashion.  She knows colors and cuts and textures and how to use them.  Sadly, most men don’t.  So we have two options, fellows.  One, we learn about style, fashion, colors, cuts and textures and how to use them. Two, we let our women dress us!!

I am partially color blind and thus have been “dressing challenged” my entire life.  I knew I didn’t look good based on the comments I received but I had no idea what to do about it.  Then I got lucky.  I met the love of my life!  She understood my angst when “trying” to pick out clothes to wear and she volunteered to choose my clothing for me.  Every Sunday, she would put together my clothes for the work week.  All I had to do was put them on each morning and go to work knowing that I finally looked “put together.”  On other occasions, including golfing, all I had to do was ask and she would go through my wardrobe and put together an appropriate outfit.

Then, I got lucky again! (Not NEARLY as lucky as the first time, but lucky nonetheless!)  I started watching “What Not To Wear” and Stacy and Clinton taught me which colors are neutrals (black, tan, gray and navy) and that ANYTHING goes with a neutral!  Now, I can not only pick out my own golfing attire, but clothes for other non-formal occasions as well.  I still depend on my wife for the dressy stuff, though.  If it requires more than two pieces of clothing, I always ask for help!!  (I still haven’t mastered ties! Never can tell which one looks best with “this shirt and this suit”.)  

You may be like me, never able to master the art of formal dressing.  But you can at least be able to select casual clothes that don’t clash on a regular basis.  And if you DO need help, don’t be too macho to ask for it!  ” ‘Tis better to ask for help than to look like a dork.” – Tommy Tuesday. 

Of course, you could only take women to places that require you to wear a tuxedo.  EVERY man ALWAYS looks great in a tux!!

Communication – Handle With Care

When I was somewhere in my mid-teens, not old enough to drive but quite old enough to want to REALLY badly, I was riding in the back seat of my grandparents car which was towing a trailer on our way to Burr Oak State Park for a weekend camping trip.  We did that quite often as my father and mother loved to camp and my maternal grandparents quite often came along.  In fact, I still remember my father saying that “if it wasn’t for us, Noaie and Merle (slang nicknames for Noah and Murriel)  wouldprobable never go anywhere.”  Indeed, I am hardpressed to remember a vacation back then when Grandma and Grandpa were not with us. 

In this particular case, I had chosen to accompany them on Thursday so we could get there before the weekend rush and secure a good campsite as well as  reserve one right next to us for Mom and Dad when they arrived with my two brothers Friday evening.  You see, my grandfather was retired but my Dad wasn’t and we used this system often for our weekend excursions.  I went along because it got me an extra day of camping and fishing and, well, because it was always good to be the only grandchild around Grandpa and Grandma.  

On the way down, Grandpa was driving and commented “We need to turn left up here at Route “something or other”” My Grandmother, in the front passenger seat, or what we called the “navigator’s” seat, replied with a simple “Right”.  Grandpa immediatley answered, with a little edge in his voice, “We turn LEFT up here.”  Again, Grandma answered “Right.”  Okay, I know that all of you know where this is going by now, so it should be no surprise that Grandpa, much more annoyed this time, barked “Dammit, Merle! I have driven this route before and we turn LEFT!!” 

I really don’t remember how many times this went back and forth between them, but I do remember sitting quietly in the backseat thinking, “Should I say something?”  After all, I was just a kid and back then a kid did not easily insert himself into a conversation between grownups.  It was not the way we were raised.  But finally, I couldn’t stand it any longer and blurted out “Grandpa, she is AGREEING with you!”   Well, the light went on over his head and he realized how foolish he looked.  He “Harumphed” a few times, trying to stay grumpy but couldn’t pull it off for long.  And he laughed, I laughed and Grandma laughed the loudest. (I have wondered over the years if Grandma, who was more than a little bit ornery, had done this on purpose just to get a rise out of Grandpa.  But that side of Grandma is a story for another time!)

The point here is that it is extremely important in a relationship to understand fully what the other person is trying to say to you.  Homonyms, synonyms, workplace jargon and slang can throw us for a loop sometimes and misinterpretation can lead to completely uncalled for, needless arguments that can have disasterous results.  So don’t be so quick to get defensive.  Take a moment to analyse what the other person just said that you took offense to and decide if that is what they REALLY meant.  Most of time, it isn’t! If you are not sure, for crying out loud, ASK them!  Especially you men, check that macho ego that gets you into way too many bad situations at the door.  Ask. Listen. Talk about it.  Work it out. Save the anger for the politicians.