Monday, November 30, 2009

Dear Mr. Manly ...

After the stress and fun of the holiday and the horrors of Black Friday, I thought a bit of laughter would be in order. I can't think of a better person to tickle the funny bone and create laughter, than John Philipp.

Everyone has problems. It's part of the human condition. Life is not designed to be fair (why is another column). So, we do our best to cope with life and yet, as with many other endeavors, we run into a double standard.

Women are inundated with advice to help them resolve their problems, even problems they didn't know they had. Entire wings of bookstores are dedicated to female "help" books that cover all possible past, present and future problems a woman might have. There are support groups for everything from recent breakups to body size and every newspaper has an advice column, occasionally written by a man but always with a female bias and byline.

Men not only have no male self-esteem section in the bookstore, they have no books. Men have no support groups unless you count sports bars, which only help a man by causing him to forget his problems temporarily. Most important, men have no one to write to for advice.

As a result, men are perpetual faux-pas machines, blindly stumbling through life, hopping from embarrassment to embarrassment. Women are no help here. They just comment "There he goes again," reinforcing the stereotype of the incompetent male.

The fact of the matter is that there are win-win solutions to most male problems, or at least solutions where the man walks away less damaged than he would be normally.

Today we offer a new advice column, hosted by, Mr. Oliver Manly, and targeted at today's muddling male.

Dear Mr. Oliver Manly: My wife always invites relatives over when there are really good sports games scheduled. Then
she gets upset when I turn on ESPN. I feel I'm in a lose-lose situation: I don't like her relatives and I don't want to miss my games. One year she even hid the remote. I need advice. I'd hate to move out.

Blacked Out in Baltimore

Dear Blacked Out:

Women don't understand the importance of regular sports viewing to today's modern male. Find a sympathetic doctor and get a "sports prescription." Have him include words like "increased testosterone" and "sustained foreplay ability" on the scrip.

If that doesn't work, wear a Bluetooth earplug. Your grandfather listened to sports. You can too.

Dear MOM: Now that we have three kids my wife wants to redecorate our game room so it can double as a guest room. The problem is she wants to replace my Wall-O-Beer —constructed of cans representing every different brand of beer I ever drank — with a large oil painting of some farmer's field and two sconces (whatever they are).

I'm willing to walk away from the foosball table but the Wall-O-Beer is my life's work.

— Dry in Des Moines

Dear Dry:

If beer is your life's work you need to get another life. Seriously, keep the Wall-O-Beer and cover it with tapestry draw curtains. As a sales clincher, let her "chance" upon you sitting in the dark in front of the Wall sniffling (there are audio tapes available for this purpose).

P.S. Take a photo off the Wall ASAP. Sometimes mementoes that lie in the way of decorative progress have accidents.

Dear MOM: I'd like you to settle a dispute. My wife complains when I leave the toilet seat in the up position and insists this is a social fo-pa [sic]. First, I don't see what her pa has to do with it and second I'm pretty sure tinkling with the seat down is unhygienic.

--Up or Down In Upper Detroit

Dear Up or Down:

Your wife is trying to be diplomatic in her explanation of the problem, which centers not on proper protocol but on feminine physiology. If this isn't clear, let her draw you a picture.

Women use a more ladylike posture in the powder room. When stumbling into a dark bathroom in the middle of the night, an upset commode can lead to social and physical embarrassment. If that's not clear, here's the straight skinny at your level: No one likes to sleep with a wet behind.

Social Maturity Hint: Once one is old enough to get married it is customary to stop using words like "tinkle."

Mr. Manly is open for your questions.


John Philipp is a weekly humor columnist for four Marin County, California newspapers and has won numerous humor and memoir writing awards. His humor columns are posted at wisdom (with Phil Prank's cartoons) is posted at Thought~Bytes


Unknown said...

Hi Sia and MOM!

I loved this post, omg, I can't count the number of times the men in my life have left the seat up. LOL!! If I didn't have to wash the damn sheets, I would come to bed still slightly moist!!

The Wall-O-Beers would have to go, not even gracefully. I hear there's an open spot in the garage though.

And I agree with MOM on the ear bud bluetooth device. I really don't care if you visit with my relatives or not, most don't like you either, just keep the volume off and we'll all be happy.

Dottie :)

~Sia McKye~ said...

John, good to have you back OVER COFFEE.

I loved the article and the laughter, thank you!

Tonya Kappes said...

I shouldn't had read this first thing in the morning with hot coffee!!!!

Judi Fennell said...

Ah, John... I'm willing to convert our study into a guest room if you'd like to move in and give pointers. :)

VA said...

Glad to say I'm not married to any of these women.

Note: sport's bar therapy is only temporary if you stop drinking.

Sherilyn Winrose said...

This is one of my favorite columns of yours John. Hasn't the first dude heard of TiVo?

John Philipp said...

Judi, send me a plane ticket.

John Philipp said...

Hi Sia, dropping for a second.

Dottie, if the up seat happens all the time, shouldn't the woman take some of the responsibility? If you know he's going to do it wrong ... :)

VA, a most excellent point about not stopping the drinking.

Sherilyn, hearing of Tivo and having a Tivo are two different things.

James Rafferty said...

Mr. Manly, thanks for all of your sage advice. Though I do have a support group -- my rock and roll band. Definitely beats the sports bar and the brews are better too.

James Rafferty

Sheila Deeth said...

Hi Sia! Hi John! Loved this one.

John Philipp said...

James, what you have there is known in the male-support trade as a "band bar." It's like a sports bar but less noisy. Congratulations.

Hi, Sheila.

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Sia, thanks for the laugh. You and MOM made my day. cheers!

Kat Sheridan said...

Dear MOM:

Knowing that the only way to train--um, live with men is to appeal to their gadget gene, here's my suggestion:

Laughed loads at this one!

~Sia McKye~ said...

OMG, that's hiliarous, Kat. ROfLMAO! My luck, Dan would think aliens had landed...I shudder at what could happen if the shotgun came out.

*still giggling

~Sia McKye~ said...

Dear Mr. Manly, can you explain the penchant for men in the Rurals, to grab weapons at the least unusual circumstances? I really worry about those raindeer, this year.

~Sia McKye~ said...

John, I do appreciate having you Over Coffee!