What Value Doth Saith a Man?

Recently I had a great conversation with a beautiful, young, intelligent, and successful woman. We spoke over a candlelit sushi dinner and with just the right background music playing overhead. Her smile was radiant and her sense of humor was refreshing. She had a confidence about herself that shone through her lovely skin tone. And as we mused about our days and life and fun times she then popped me the question – What can a man offer a successful woman like herself besides his muscles and a dick?

Uh, what, huh?  Come again (no pun intended)?

I stammered as I searched for the answers. Mind you, she was not referring to me as we are merely friends (I think?). But her line of questioning did put me on the hot seat for a moment. I was not ready for the conversation to take this type of turn, but it did. Wow I thought. In my translation of her question I conjured up a doable meaning for me – What value does a man have to a woman?

In my quest to uncover this mystery about us men I felt it was in my duty to educate her but also enlighten all women that might have the same question.

Here are the results that protruded from my brain:

P.S. – I did not use the aforementioned values so eloquently established by said friend.

…waiting for it,

…hmm, harder than I thought, but give me a moment,

…I got it! Wait, I don’t have it.

…Can you repeat the question please?

Well, heck, I really only can come up with two things – good loving and muscles (or the ability to buy muscles).

But is that really all a man can offer a successful woman? Have men not evolved in a way which their value is seen as greater than the two-item list? Are we men resting on our past laurels? My friend then spoke of the unthinkable for a man; she wanted some type of emotional connection. I had to ignorantly, but innocently ask the question, “what the Hell does that mean?” Like, someone to talk to when you are lonely? Talk about my day at work? Should I whisper sweet nothings in your ears? Or are we talking telepathy? I was at a loss for thought and clearly out of my element.

“Check please!”

While I may not be the most metrosexual man of the day I like to think I am a fairly progressive person; someone that has been open to new ideas and various opinions. I believe in letting people speak freely about their thoughts and I usually try to keep an open mind when doing so. But now I was lumped into this archaic value of men – to protect and help make babies. Speechless.

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I don’t think it is a bad thing that a man can provide some muscle when needed. A man can install an air-conditioner when it gets hot outside. He can fix a tire on a cold winter’s day. Some men can barbeque up a storm and with minimal preparation. How about change a light bulb high above or even skin a fish. And a man can sexually satisfy a woman when he puts his mind, body, and back into it. And maybe, just maybe, a man can connect emotionally, evolving of sorts – but call it something else. How about call it thought engagement. That I can understand.

Go well and with love good peeps.

O-M-G! Am I Really Incapable of Love?

What if you discovered something about yourself that was so hideous, villainous, outrageous and terrifying that it pained you to think about it? What if you woke up one day looked in the mirror and discovered you were the boogeyman, albeit wearing a nice crisp Kenneth Cole shirt with Levi straight legs? What then would you do as you left your humble abode to venture out into the world exposed for all to see? What if? Accept what has become? Push it aside as a non-truth? Or face it head on?

In a recent conversation about L-O-V-E (I shudder at the mere mention of the “L” word) I was the Peanut Gallery throwing small bombs of negativity. In true fashion to my pessimistic, sarcastic, and insensitive characteristics I had difficulty answering the simple statement.

L-O-V-E is _________.

Of course I could have wordsmith and found a very poetic description to fill in the blank. Or I could have quoted Biblical scriptures stating the prescribed definition – say it with me you scholars – I Corinthians 13:4. I might even make light of the moment and awkwardly provide a voice of humor sheepishly masking my real feelings. But the real challenge for me was I could not answer honestly. Maybe it’s just me or maybe some of you have gone through this. But how do you answer a question if you are unsure of the context? Better yet, is it possible that we don’t know what we don’t know?

And I may not know what love is. I don’t mean the love I have for my children, or my parents and siblings. Or the love I have for my friends. Or even the love I have for my cats. But what about love for a significant other?

In my marriage I often felt I was out of my league with love. My past relationships were brief compared to others. I never really engaged with another human being on such a deep level that I found myself shallow of thought. Yet, I felt encouraged and hopeful because I had seen an example of love through my own parents. I also believed in love as I was growing up. But something happened and my beliefs were shattered. I felt ill equipped to nurture my loved one as needed or to show compassion when required. I was headed for a bad turn and I didn’t see any way around it. And there it was – THUMP! I hit a wall of despair and my marriage and family crumbled. In the accident I was relieved of all sympathetic thought and any desire to show another human being love.

Therefore, I became incapable of holding onto one of the greatest gifts to mankind. Maybe I held onto the pain of a bad breakup time and again. Or the loss of my puppy as a child deterred me from loving again. I have felt there is nothing harder to overcome in life than the sadness caused by broken dreams. I have been depleted of emotion giving way to a shell of my former self in an effort to protect. In the long run I know this is an unhealthy place to be. Therefore, I recognize where I am and I move forward in correcting this trait.

I can love again.

If I focus on fixing ME the rest will follow. We all hear and many of us ascribe to the idea that we must be made whole. Making ourselves whole is a matter of discipline and introspection. It might be a painful process in the beginning but the results will be magnificent. Butterflies aren’t born beautiful they evolve. And so must I. Musicians George Benson and Whitney Houston (rest in peace) sang it best in the song The Greatest Love of All – “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.”

This sounds like a good starting point for me.

Me and My Mojo Jangles

The following phrase should be sung in the voice of my favorite Blues artist Muddy Waters:

“My mojo done come and gone and come back again; I’m ‘bout to round that bend bringing’ my mojo from deep within! Oh, lord, yawl better watch out!”

At least this is what I’ve been told. Funny thing, I wasn’t even aware I lost my mojo, let alone that I had any mojo to begin with. And this got me to thinking, what the heck is my mojo and am I doing good or evil with it? Don’t we all have a bit of mojo? Shall we explore this idea of mojo together? Let us.

I hear the young-ins talk about SWAG these days and I quietly wonder how this word has grown and taken the place of similar words over time. Swagger, mojo, cool, and debonair are just a few words throughout history that describe the wannabe James Bond in all of us – in particular us men. However, many women desire a similar Je Ne Sais Quoi when ascribing to certain enticing characteristics that evoke appeal. Sex appeal is a powerful trait.

I never thought of myself having any sort of mojo growing up. I was just…me. Yet, throughout the years I would look at others who clearly exhibited some type of cool factor and I often thought these individuals set the bar. Sean Connery, Denzel Washington, and Johnny Depp have that “IT” factor; there are certainly others on your list but these exemplify having mojo on my list.

But, honestly, all of us really do have some type of mojo working for us. Regardless of your stature, your position, your nerdiness, we all have it. It usually is recognized by someone other than us. Someone may mention an endearing quality that we hadn’t thought of that gives us pause and might even make us blush. We take their words at heart and smile warmly as we are given the compliment. Everyone loves a good and sincere compliment.

So what happens when we lose our mojo? This occurs because of life and the turmoil we experience. Life happens, or as my brother says, “shit happens.” And when that poop hits the fan we stop living the life we once lived. We might find ourselves in a funk and begin to get lost in this insidious pool of disgrace and disgust, not knowing how to get out. Losing my mojo wasn’t on purpose – it just happened. And it was brought to my attention during my difficult days because my outer shell began to reflect my inner spirit. I felt there was nothing I could do about it. I accepted the pain and the pity secretly hoping it would just go away or that I would wake up and the nightmare would be over.

And as the story goes – none of that occurred. I still had to overcome and face the demons surrounding me.

The wonderful thing about overcoming is the peace you feel when you do overcome. Or the feeling of accomplishment that comes along with finishing a race. Also, there is euphoria and jubilation that fills our emotions as we look back at the road we traveled. It’s like grabbing a cold beer, sitting on a stump, and admiring God’s handiwork and your part in maintaining the masterpiece. This is where I find myself; through the storms I am recognize the positives of life.

My mojo is just heating up. It is that Godly feeling within that allows my Spirit to shine brightly. And for a moment after numerous challenges I finally believe I can overcome the storm. It is this newfound confidence that I wear so well. And I hope everyone can have this same suit of confidence as well. We all deserve a little mojo in our lives from time to time. So go find yours.

Daddy Dan

But the Words Just Slipped Out

I know I just met you and we’ve only just begun to hang out. And yes, I think you are the most beautiful creature this Earth has created. I couldn’t find another like you if I searched all four corners of the globe! I know you will bring the best out of me and me of you. Seriously, are you thinking what I’m thinking? Is this real or is it just fantasy? I…I…I feel a little confused because of this feeling. Yet, I want to tell you. I want to tell you, “I love you.”

Screech! “Hold on there little pony!” my inner being states.

Back da hell up! Did it really just come out of nowhere? Did I really say what I think I said? Was it an out of body experience? Or was I transported into another man’s body as he was just popping out the most loaded phrase ever – I love you.

Three little words that carry so much meaning and can transform a relationship. These words are not to be used lightly nor taken lightly. It is the phrase that can defuse most any situation and bring back peace after a calamity. We all have found ourselves in this situation at some time in our lives; whether we were 16 or 45. And there is that moment of unsteadiness, insecurities, and nervousness before we let it rip from our lips. But when it does come forth we exhale as if we were holding our breath for a million years.

What next then? It’s like I just climbed Mt. Everest. It’s like I just defeated Godzilla. How do I top that?

You don’t.

You build on it. You live it. You nurture it. You believe it.

So goes relationships. If you both believe in these spoken words you do what you can to make it happen. You will find yourself trying to do what you can to ensure that the words you spoke are real and the meaning behind them never fades. But as our day-to-day realities set in (bills to pay, kids to nurture, a job to perform, sanity to maintain) we have a tendency to move on with our lives and the phrase begins to carry less weight as it once did. Oh, we will say it constantly, and we might even show that we mean it but the first time we spoke it becomes a distant memory. And all we have left is that diminished memory of when that time first occurred. I imagine a fuzzy picture from the past that reveals something nice without the details to show.

Some of us will continue to believe in the “love” portion of the phrase for eternity. However, I am more skeptical that can be the case – there may be too much time passed to really truly solidify the statement in our hearts and any pain received during the relationship may bury the phrase as if it were the Evil Villain from a James Bond movie. We have separated the “I” and “you” to only reveal an empty “love.” And so ends that moment we hoped would last forever.

At some point after a breakup the phrase has to be discovered and uncovered like an archeological dig. It will be carefully excavated from our damaged hearts and delicately washed to reveal its wonderful form. The time it takes to bring the phrase back to the surface depends on so many factors and is going to be different for each individual; we just know that it is possible.

As for me, I’ll keep my thoughts and words to myself for now. I will closely guard them as the treasure I believe they are. I will use them with extreme caution and hope that when the moment comes for me to release these incredible words of hope I will do so with the commitment and fervor I once did. And there will be no second-guessing or confusion, just love with a purpose – longevity of the moment.

Daddy Dan

I Love You but I Don’t Like You

Oxymoronic? Maybe. Crazy? Possibly. Sensible? Debatable. A path to destruction? Very likely.

Work with me on this.

This phrase as well as many other similar phrases is a contradiction in terms when we go to the root cause of the definitions. If I try to understand this statement logically my brain explodes. In computer science we call this an infinite loop which ultimately crashes the computer. BAM! There it goes. So what then on how to re-program my brain to logically understand the statement? That is not possible. What is possible is to understand root cause and then to extrapolate scenarios. These scenarios are what scare me.

Boy meets girl, girl likes boy, and they fall in love (for whatever that is) and get married and live happily ever after. No? Right, because at some point girl says, “ooh, I really don’t like your butt right now!” Boy says, “I agree, I don’t like you either.” They go to bed feeling some dislike for one another. However, the boy is usually going to try and perform make up sex (because we like sex) but the girl won’t have this because her emotions are not there (feeling dislike). The couple wakes up still feeling dislike. This dislike is like a virus. If it isn’t squashed it will harbor in the crevices of our feelings and take root like cancer. The boy and girl haven’t resolved the dislike. Ultimately bitterness sets in. Now what?

The dislike has turned to bitterness, love has not been able to grow, and the couple now faces the daily tasks of trying to figure out how to undo the bitterness that has set in. This opens up the long road of therapy in some form or another; usually unsuccessfully. It unlocks the door to such more sinister things as infidelity, anger, and hatred. And how does one truly rationalize love and hate in the same sentence? You don’t. They are at odds. Like good and evil. Like yin and yang. Like Elvis and Costello? I am just kidding on this last one.

But what I am not kidding about is the destructive pattern the potential “dislike” created. An innocent admission of hurt or disagreed feelings and it escalates into something serious. Relationship problem #1 identified.

We gotta fix this crap!

Well, the fix is in. It isn’t rocket science and we all admit to it and we all say it – forgiveness; the lifeline of civilization. We can stop all wars with forgiveness. We can repair broken relationships with family and friends. We can make the world sing in perfect harmony! We can overcome – anything. We could live without pressures of disapproval knowing that our sins, either conscious or otherwise, would be forgiven. As I write this column I am reminded of the forgiveness from God. It is fascinating when you think about how to forgive.

This is not an easy task. It is much easier to exclaim “I love you but I don’t like you.” We all know that the two adjectives cannot coexist over a long period of time. Therefore, many of us have figured out that over time we do learn how to forgive. Forgiveness comes by choice. However, it can only come after wounds are healed although scars may remain. But we tend to feel better when we sincerely forgive. It ain’t easy but it is vital in this thing called life.

Go well and with love my good peeps.

Sexual Performance Indicator©

I am a finely tuned Maserati blasting on all cylinders. When you hit my gas and push my clutch I perform as I was meant to – full, unadulterated, lasting pleasure. I am a magician in the driver seat seducing you beyond expectations and fantasies. I give you all I got to push you over the limit and feel your blood rush through every vein as you scream with…well, you know the rest.

Then I wake up. Another day. It is time to go make the donuts.

In a recent online conversation I had you would think every man was built like a Maserati when it comes to sexual performance. When it comes to pleasing your loved one…your mate…no, your dip…well, uh, or even your just-for-the-moment chick all of us men believe we are masters of orgasms. Yet, according to some studies the majority of women rarely have orgasms during sexual intercourse. As a side, this number decreases if the woman has first read 50 Shades of Grey (but that’s for a later discussion). Thus, which one of our species is off base; the well-tuned, well-defined hunk of a man or the chick?

We are aware of the facts – we just choose to ignore them.

The challenge here is a man’s ego. Well, frankly, my ego. I, like any man, want to know that I provide pleasure to my woman. I want to believe that during the act of making love (and yes, I like this phrase better than using “sex”) I make her feel special, appreciated, comfortable, and desired. Thus, when I do make her feel all of these things it pumps up my ego – and we all know how fragile a man’s ego can be. But how do I really rate on the scale of sexual performance? Is my 60 minute sexual performance just in my mind and the reality is a mere 5? Inquiry minds need to know. My bright idea is to create some type of measure, a way to gauge how good the sex is. Maybe create some type of indicator that moves up and down (no pun intended) during performance.

A Sexual Performance Indicator (trademarked hereinafter).

This indicator idea is a bit tricky. It is a valiant effort to introduce the indicator to our bedrooms or kitchens or living rooms or public restrooms but it needs to be tested for accuracy. We cannot allow us men to tamper with such a device; this will skew the results. There is no need to trick our women into believing they just experienced the performance of their lifetime, or at least until the next performance comes along. We should just keep it real. And I believe I nearly have the device invented. Or, I can suggest we introduce another way to measure our performance. It is more of an old fashioned way – a way which focus’ less on devices and more on judgment. We can ask our partner for feedback. Gasp.

When we get feedback it opens us up to critique. Criticism is the number one killer of ego cells in America. It is hard to overcome. It can make a grown man cry. It can make a human withdraw. It can hurt. Yet, knowing an area of our lives that could use an enhancer we might actually find ourselves in a better, ahem…position to perform (there goes more puns). It takes a strong individual to listen to criticism and then make adjustments. There is nothing wrong with that. I, for one am willing to swallow my pride, take it where it hurts, and go with the flow to improve in an area of life that we seldom want to speak of – our sexual performance.

If this doesn’t work I will have the SexPi™ available soon for a mere $19.95 (shipping and handling not included).