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The Wedding is Off!

“YOU SON OF A BITCH!!! How could you do this to me? How am I supposed to tell my Mother and Father? The church is full of people! Oh my God…I’m gonna be sick….” Mark stood silent, embarrassed, mortified, devastated, as Samantha ran across the parking lot toward the church, pulling the sheer flowing veil off of her beautifully coiffed hair with one hand while pressing the other hand tightly over her lips. He watched her run awkwardly away from him, across the muddy parking lot. Just an hour earlier she had walked across the same parking lot taking care not to let the antique white brocade dress come within five inches of the ground. As if the mud and dirt could somehow magically jump to the hemline. Now she moved so quickly with so much crazy emotion, that she didn’t even notice the $4,500.00 gown that she’d spent three months searching for, dragging through puddle after puddle. How could he have let this happen? How did it all go so wrong? Hadn’t he been a great boyfriend for 3 years? Hadn’t he helped plan the whole wedding? Hadn’t he offered an opinion on anything she had asked…invitations, flowers, dresses, entrée? He smiled through the whole thing. Shouldn’t years of support and love outweigh a stupid mistake? Now, here he was. Alone. With a church full of people waiting for someone to explain to them why they traveled from around the country for nothing. There would be no wedding.

As Mark slowly forced himself to take step after step toward the big double wooden doors of the church, he felt as if he were sleepwalking; like he was out of his own body, looking down at himself. The first person he saw upon entering the vestibule of the church, the church that Samantha had attended her whole life, was Samantha’s Father. “Steve…I…..I mean…Mr. McCoy…Let me explain…I never meant to…it’s all a big misunderstanding…Can I please see Sam?”
“She doesn’t want to see you, Mark. And I recommend that you turn around and walk out of this church right now. I don’t know how much longer I can contain my anger. I don’t want to deck you in front of your family or mine. And, God help me, I want to hurt you.”
“Fine! Swing away. I deserve it. But I need to see Sam. I won’t leave until you let me talk to her!” He felt his emotions getting the better of him, and he prayed that he would be able to keep from being the one doing the swinging.
“Mark, son.” Finally, a comforting voice from behind him. “Let Samantha have some time to herself. You don’t need to figure this all out right now. She needs some time.”
“No, Dad! I need to see her. I have to make her understand. Just tell me where she is! Where the hell is she?!”
“I don’t know, son. But you need to let her be. Come on; let’s go find your Mother. She’s very upset and wants to know what’s going on. I think she should hear it from you.”
“I’m sorry that Mom is upset, but I have bigger worries right now, Dad! I’m not leaving until I see her! Mr. McCoy, you have to…”

Steve McCoy, the dedicated father of Samantha and her younger sister, interrupted quietly, “You don’t understand, Mark. She’s already gone. Her Mother put her in the limo and they left. I don’t know where they went, and I won’t tell you when I find out. You created this mess. You broke my daughter’s heart, and I’m not going to stand here and listen to you tell me what I have to do. The only thing I have to do right now is figure out how in the world I’m ever going to help my daughter get past this. Now get the hell out.” He reached into his pocket and as his closed hand emerged, it seemed to be coming toward Mark in slow motion. He knew what was being handed to him. In that second he was suddenly back in the office of his jeweler, looking for the first time at the 1.5 carat, classic solitaire that he’d spent four months picking out. The ring that was supposed to be forever remembered as the symbol of their engagement, their beginning, was now being returned to him by an angry man, on a rainy day. Not a beginning, an end.

“I believe this belongs to you,” he said, as he dropped the ring into Mark’s palm and turned to walk away.
Mark was in a trance, staring down at the ring in his hand, when he was brought back to reality by the screechy voice of his Mother’s nosy friend, Cynthia. She was coming out of the church to where Mark and his Father were standing. The guests were getting restless and curious, and it sounded as if Cynthia had offered to get to the bottom of it. Her footsteps grew louder on the other side of the door.

“I’ll be right back. I’m sure everything’s fine. Maybe somebody forgot the rings at the house or something. I think I saw Samantha’s Father come this way.”

The mumbling of the 200 people on the other side of the door was suddenly deafening. He thought his head might explode from the thought of facing anyone in that church. He had to get out of there. He looked at his Father, hoping against hope that he wouldn’t try to talk him into staying and talking to anyone. He probably should stay and talk to the Minister. He probably should stay and talk to his Grandparents who drove hours to get here. He probably should stay and talk to his sister and her six year old daughter who missed her best friend’s birthday party to be here. He probably should go find his Mother…..his Mother…he almost couldn’t bear to think of the pain he’d caused.

His Father understood by looking at his son’s face. He always could. He steered Mark out of the door and toward the parking lot. He would drive him home, and they could face the world later.
“No, Dad,” Mark said quietly as his Father unlocked the door to his Cadillac. “I want to walk. I’ll see you at home in a while. I need to be alone.”

Mark walked the 11 blocks without ever lifting his eyes from the sidewalk.

So, what happened? How in the time it takes to snap your fingers did Mark lose it all? I’ll give you a hint—the bachelor party. What’s that you say? How could a little bachelor party destroy two people’s beautiful future? That’s not for me to say. It’s for you to decide.

Las Vegas has a motto: “What happens here, stays here.” Well, let me tell you something, that’s not reality…not in Vegas, not on a guy’s weekend fishing trip, not on guy’s night out in Anytown, USA. Who you are is not something that can be put on hold. There are no time-outs in life where the game clock stops and whatever you do is no longer part of the game for recorded history. There are always consequences to your actions.

What did Mark do? Maybe it was something as simple as having a bachelor party when he said he wouldn’t. Maybe it was one more oat that needed sowing—it could have been a million different things, but the moral is the same. In each of us lies a line we know we shouldn’t cross, a line where we become someone we aren’t. Where is it? It’s different for each one of us, but each one of us has it. The tale I just told is a fictitious one, but it could have just as easily been true. Want to have a bachelor party? Go ahead. But don’t let anyone force you to cross that line. Don’t let this story become your story.

by Julie Seitz and Fred Cuellar

Trade Up Syndrome

Is it possible that there is one single question you could ask a newly engaged woman that could predict the success of their upcoming marriage? Read on….

In 1988, 200 newlywed brides were carefully selected to participate in a clinical study. To participate they had to have never been married and received a newly purchased engagement ring during their prenuptials. There were 68 participants ages 19-29, 66 participants age 30-39 and 66 participants ages 40-49. In each age group there were approximately the same numbers of Whites, African-Americans, Asian-Pacific Islanders and Hispanics. Each group also was purposely compiled having the same number of people with certain educational attainments. (Less than high school, high school graduate, some college, bachelors degree and more).

The participants were all asked the following question:

“IF GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY FOR A BIGGER, BETTER QUALITY ENGAGEMENT RING, WOULD YOU TAKE THE RING IF IT MEANT YOU HAD TO GIVE UP (TRADE IN) YOUR EXISTING RING?”

Fifty four percent of the women replied no and 46% replied yes. After the question was asked and answered they were purposely misinformed that the reasoning behind the question was to help men in choosing the perfect engagement ring. They were told that men would be advised that if they believed their “fiancé to be” was in the 54% group then they should opt for a larger diamond (something she could grow into) since she was going to be wearing it for the rest of their life. The men who believed their new bride would opt to “trade up” should buy smaller since this wasn’t the “forever” diamond, but a stand-in until the permanent replacement or replacements would follow down the line. The participants were asked to keep in touch if they were going to move because the interviewers wanted to see if their attitudes changed as the years went on. Anyone who disagreed with the ground rules was replaced with a like person. It was agreed that all the participants’ names and information would be kept confidential.

Unbeknown to the participants, the study was not designed to study behavioral patterns in size preferences, but to track marital success rates. Interestingly enough, no correlation could be found on the way the question was answered due to any particular age, ethnicity or educational background. Just as many in each group was on either side of the fence on the question. Those in the 54% group had the same mantra, “No one’s taking my diamond! This diamond is priceless! I don’t care if you got a 10ct diamond in your hand to give me, it can’t replace the sentimental attachment this diamond has to me. I know it’s not perfect or the biggest rock on the block but its mine. My symbol! My love! My eternal love! I can tell you to the last detail everything about the day I received it. What my man said, where we were, what song was on the radio and the first person we told. Nope, I’m sorry if the deal that’s on the table is I only get the new one by giving up old faithful you can forget about it. Now if you’re saying I can keep my old diamond and introduce it to a new friend well, now, maybe we can talk. My diamond has said to me a couple of times it gets lonely.”

The 46 % group was pretty adamant on their side too! “Are you kidding?! Where’s the recycle bin?! If bigger and better comes along, you take it! Look, you don’t keep the first house you ever get. If I want a memory, I’ll take a picture! Where’s my new ring?”

Predictions
Not being a clinical psychiatrist myself I was curious what predictions a top, board-certified psychiatrist might have as to which group (the 54% romantics, the 46% materialistics) would have a better chance at happily ever after wedded bliss. Dr. Frank Montalvo M.D. Ph.D. predicted that after 15 years the materialistic group would be pummeled with divorce. Prediction: 15-18% would still be around to celebrate another anniversary and 82-85% would have already been through divorce court.

Prediction: The romantic group would stave off divorce far better. His prediction was that approximately 80% would still be together with 20% having left for greener pastures.

Results
Five Year Mark
At the five year mark it appears that the doctor is barking up the wrong tree. The romantic group has suffered approximately a 10% divorce rate and the materialistic group a 9.8% divorce rate. At this point there appears to be no discernible differences between the groups. The materialistic group is not on course to do any better or worse based on their numbers.

Ten Year Mark
By the ten year mark something unexpected happened. The romantics’ divorce rate had slowed down and the materialistics had raced forward. Fifty-two percent of those that would trade in were now divorced and 16% of the romantics, were divorced. While there had been a 60% increase of the romantics to divorce the materialistics numbers had increased five fold!

Fifteen Year Mark
When the final numbers came in I was dumfounded, and in awe of Doctor Montalvo’s remarkable, almost psychic ability to nail his predictions. Eighty one percent of the group that said they would gladly upgrade were now divorced while their apparently overly romantic counterparts enjoyed a 78% martial success rate! The only question that I had now was why? “The answer is quite simple,” said Dr. Frank Montalvo. “There are a great many of us, to put it bluntly that don’t like ourselves. They use the trappings of success as a cloak to disguise this disdain that they have to try to make themselves feel better. Selfishness is another reason. People that are always asking what’s in it for me with little regard for others, tend to make a poor mate.”
Finally, we have found that if a person is hard-wired to up-grade their ring for a bigger and better one; their car for a bigger and better one; their house for a bigger and better one; it is not too much of a reach to see that if a bigger or better mate comes along they won’t think twice about trading him or her in either!

Final Thoughts
Interestingly, as the years went by each of the participants were asked if they would reconsider their original decision. By the 15th year 79.1% of the romantics who said they would never consider trading in their original diamond had actually now reconsidered. While their emotional attachment towards their original rock was still quite high, they felt that it no longer represented who they were now. Many of them opted for new mountings (platinum settings) and others traded in the whole thing. (Half of the 79.1% kept and retired their old ring to be passed down to the next generation while the other half waved it goodbye.)

It appeared there was not an actual connection between trading in or upgrading the original ring. It was the initial belief that they could see themselves easily trading in the ring from the beginning that turned out to be the fly in the ointment. In other words, it signaled a lack of commitment.
The final head scratcher I pondered is, of the 22% of the original romantics that ended up in divorce, 97.4% never wavered on their original answer. Is it possible that a bride or groom that was unwilling to change their attitudes ended up stagnating in their relationship because they tried to hold on so desperately to that original love without allowing it to grow and mature? I don’t have all the answers. But what I can tell you is this. In the end those that anticipated a change and those that refused to change ended up in the same place. Back where they started.

by Fred Cuellar the Diamond Guy®

If

by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream and not make dreams your master,
If you can think and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to,
Broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out
Tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And which is more you’ll be a Man, my son!

–Rudyard Kipling
Volume 1, Issue 2
December 30, 2002

The Art of Lying to Your Wife

All right, I admit the title to this article doesn’t sound good. I’ll even use the words “deceptive” or “dishonest”; maybe “disingenuous” sounds better. But, if the male species is to survive we need to know the top five times a bold face lie to our woman is required if we are to stay in a long, loving relationship. How would you respond to the following scenarios?

Scenario #1:
It’s 11:30, lights out, you’ve just finished watching Leno and you’ve given your wife a good night kiss. A few minutes pass… you’re drifting off…when you suddenly hear your Boo Bear say, “Honey, if I ever died would you ever remarry?” What do you do?

A. Pretend to be asleep.
B. Tell her that “A love match like ours can never be replaced”.
C. Tell her that after an appropriate mourning period you would naturally begin to socialize.

Scenario #2:
You’re invited to your ten-year class reunion. Your woman squeezes into her old cheerleading outfit and remarks, “My goodness! It still fits! How do I look? Do I look fat?” Would you say:

A. Maybe we need to call Jenny Craig.
B. It’s like we’ve gone back in time. You’ve never looked so beautiful.
C. The word “Oink” comes to mind.

 

Scenario #3:

It’s your anniversary and your wife has surprised you with a candle lit dinner for two. As you cut into the Cornish game hen dust rises from the incision you’ve just made. As you take your first bite you’re reminded of the Sahara Desert. “How do you like it? I’ve slaved over a hot stove for four hours.” What do you say?

A. It’s a little dry.
B. It’s delicious! Are you related to Julia Child?
C. Even the contestants on “Survivor” would pass on this bird.

Scenario #4:
Your wife’s best friend just completed her thesis towards her Ph.D. Your spouse ponders whether her own accomplishments in life are as worthy and asks, “Honey, in the big scheme of things do I make a difference?” Do you say:

A. In this big crazy world we live in who’s to say what matters and
what doesn’t?
B. Didn’t you drop out after the 6th grade?
C. You make a difference to me and anyone else who is lucky enough to come in contact with you.

Scenario #5:
After your wife’s best friend receives her new Ph.D., her husband pops for a new rack and face-lift for her. Your wife is appalled and says, “I can’t believe it, first she tries to prove she’s smarter than everyone else and now she’s trying to look 20 years younger. Why won’t she just grow old gracefully? Honey, do I need a face-lift?” What do you say?

A. Does the Mona Lisa need a new coat of paint? Of course not!
B. No, I like the wrinkles. They show experience and wisdom.
C. What I think we’re dealing with here is a tear down.

There are five areas where telling the truth may be detrimental to your health. Discussing your wife’s mortality, weight, age, accomplishments or her cooking. Tread softly. If the truth hurts and it usually does, keep your mouth shut or tell a lie. While honesty is usually the best policy, staying alive and your wife’s happiness is a bigger priority.

by Fred Cuellar the Diamond Guy®

Top Ten Proposal Mistakes

1. Proposing on a holiday or birthday: Consider picking a day meaningful to your relationship, such as the anniversary of your first date. Your girlfriend wants her day to shine—don’t propose on a holiday that can’t be yours as a couple.

2. Allowing other women to try on the ring: It’s smart to get a second opinion, but don’t use your fiancée’s friends as guinea pigs. Make sure your fiancée is the first of her friends to see and wear her ring, and let her enjoy the fun of showing it off for the first time.

3. Leaking the news: When you’re ready to pop the question, don’t spill the beans to too many “confidants”. Sharing the news with friends and family is more exciting if you do it together.

4. Forgetting her family: Pull your manners out of the closet and call the appropriate member of her family for “the talk”. According to a recent survey conducted by Korbel*, 42 percent of Americans feel the act of asking a woman’s family for her hand—whether it be her father, mother or even a sibling—is still a time-honored tradition.

5. Playing hide and seek with the ring: Imagine this; you’re about to propose to your girlfriend when she swallows the ring because you “cleverly” hid it in an ice cream cone or cocktail. Sending your fiancée to the emergency room might not be the best way to start your future.

6. Staging a practical joke: Minutes before the proposal, throwing your girlfriend off by convincing her that you’re in jail or that you won’t be ready for marriage for years could have unintended consequences.

7. Missing the VIP treatment: Do your research and you’ll find that many venues are happy to create a special setting for your proposal. For example, many theaters will schedule private screenings, restaurants can provide champagne toasts and amusement parks can offer private rides.

8. Exhibiting suspicious behavior: As proposal time approaches, make sure your behavior remains consistent with how you act on a daily basis. Repeatedly touching your pocket to make sure the ring is secure and coming up with off-the-wall excuses for your whereabouts can both be giveaways to the bride-to-be.

9. Acting like you settled: A surefire way to ruin any proposal is to start with any of the following statements;
  • “You win.”
  • “We’re not getting any younger…”
  • “In spite of what my mother says…”
  • “I have sowed my wild oats.”

10. Losing sight of what the proposal is all about: Your proposal will be perfect if it is honest, heartfelt and passionate.

Character

My dad always told me a gentleman does what’s right even when nobody else is in the room. If he starts a job, he finishes it. If he tells somebody he’s going to do something, he does it.

A gentleman opens a door for a lady and stands when she walks into a room. If he’s seated somewhere and there are not enough seats for everyone, he gives up his seat for her. A gentleman doesn’t use foul language in front of women or children. To be a man is to treat others how you would like to be treated. It means being honest; not 75% of the time or when it’s convenient but 24/7. It means standing up or speaking up for those who can’t do so for themselves. It’s fighting for the rights and opinions of others even when they don’t agree with yours. Do you think you’re a man? A man with character? Give me an answer to the following scenario. You’ve been to the grocery store, bought $300.00 of groceries and upon arriving home you realize you received $1.50 too much in change, what would you do? Wait! Before you answer I’ll share with you how 90% of the people answered who were asked the same question. They said they would keep it. It’s the lottery, not their mistake. Why should they be inconvenienced to drive all the way back? Seven percent said they would return it on their next visit. Two percent said they would call the manager and tell him or her what happened to make sure some cashier wouldn’t get into trouble for a simple mistake. Then ask the manager what they should do. One percent said they would get in their car and return the $1.50.

What would you do? Have you answered in your head? Good. Now, let’s raise the stakes; what if it were $10.00, $20.00, a $100.00? It’s funny how the answer changes for most people. One person I asked said at $100.00 “I’d have to return it because I couldn’t live with myself”. Does morality have a price? Should it? This question reminds me of the old joke where a guy asks a girl if she would sleep with him for a million dollars. Her response, “Ah, well, yeah, I guess for a million dollars I’d have to say yes.” Then he hands her a $10.00 bill. She says, “What’s this?” He replies, “I already know what kind of person you are, now we’re just negotiating price!

I guess my real question is does morals have an on/off switch? Turn it on when it suits us and off when it doesn’t? How about integrity, justice, fairness, honor? Are we allowed the same on/off switch with them? A lot of people I interviewed doing this article said there’s a difference between a little lie and a big lie. They called the little lies, “white lies”. Like putting a white cowboy hat on some lies makes them more palatable. “Keeping money that doesn’t belong to you,” they would say, “isn’t stealing until it becomes a significant amount.” That’s like saying someone is a little pregnant. As men if we are to be taken seriously we need to decide what represents us and take a stand. One man I interviewed told me it didn’t matter how much extra change they got. His answer was still the same, lottery, lottery, lottery. I’ll tell you this, I have 1000% more respect for that guy versus the weasels that say taking small amounts of money is okay but not large amounts. A lie is a lie. Stealing is stealing.

One of the last people I interviewed had the most poetic answer to the question, “What is a man with character?” His response, “A man with a conscience, a man with a soul.” A man that is smart enough to realize that what he takes from others he takes from himself and what he returns to others makes him whole.

My final question is to you; what kind of man do you want to be?

When is it Time to Marry?

When I was a teenager growing up there was a rock group I listened to called Three Dog Night. For those of you who haven’t heard of them they had over a dozen top ten hits like, “Joy to the World,” “One,” “Old Fashioned Love Song,” “Black & White” and “Never Been To Spain.” One of my favorites was “One.” The opening lyrics are:

One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do
Two can be as bad as one
It’s the loneliest number since the number one

I used to love that song and believed its message; nothing can be lonelier than being by yourself. Two can be as bad as one or being with someone else can be as bad as being by yourself but clearly there is no hope for being alone. So when I ask the question, “When is it time to get married?” It almost implies a rite of passage we must undertake if we are to be happy. I mean who would ask the question, “When is it time to stay single?” Naw, that makes no sense since the song clearly states two is the only number that has a chance. But is the song right?

After a lot of reflection I realized that we live in a society where “one” gets a bad rap. Think about it, if a male or female friend of yours is single and getting up in age, nobody says, “Good for him, Mr. Independent!” No, everybody says, “What’s wrong with him? Doesn’t anybody love him? At least he has his friends.” Or God forbid a woman! Turn thirty and she should be sent to a nunnery or off to spinster pre-school. We are brought up believing in soul mates and not being completed till Mr. Right or Miss Right comes along. And you know what? We are wrong! Two may be less lonely, but two doesn’t equal joy.

For example, have you ever been with someone so long that you want to pull out your hair and if pushed hard enough you’d scream out, “Look I just have to have my own space!!?” I bet you have. Look at the Buddhists. Inner peace and happiness comes from within when we find our center, our purpose, our reason to get out of bed in the morning.

Look, I’ll repeat the question, “When is it time to get married?” Or put a much better way, “When is it time to share your life with someone?” That answer is simple. When you know who you are, know where you’re going and have some idea how to get there. Then you can figure out if someone is headed in the same direction and wants to share the ride of a lifetime.

by Fred Cuellar the Diamond Guy®

What Women Want

Many a man in a fit of rage has blurted out, “What in the name of God does my woman want?! I give and I give and I give and still she’s not happy!” I can relate. I’ve been trying to figure women out my whole adult life.

Heck, even the better part of my adolescence was spent on the question. And it’s always the minute I get close to the answer that I’d be sent blindly into a black hole of confusion. Women are a lot like a golf swing — just when you think you have mastered it, your next ball slices off the fairway. Women by definition equal confusion or that which lacks explanation. So hand in hand with the search for the meaning of life, I ventured out on this crusade to answer the one question which seems to defy logic. What do women want?

At the beginning of my search I had to accept the possibility that the question may not even have an answer. I mean certainly not all women think the same, so how in heaven can they all want the same thing? A single gal can’t possibly have the same needs as a married gal. A career woman can’t possibly relate to a homemaker. A teenager can’t crave what a 20 to 30 year old might or for that matter a senior citizen. Women are different so they must want different things. Right?

Well, kinda and kinda no. There are if you look carefully some common things all women want. How do I know? I asked them. Here are my results.

Women want it all or none of it. They want to be understood but not type-cast; they want to be happy but allowed to be sad; they want companionship but don’t need someone to be happy; they want honesty but seldom the truth; they want equality while being placed on a pedestal and most of all they want respect. Respect for who they are, where they’ve come from and where they are going. Don’t pity them, coddle them or treat them with kid gloves. Today’s woman is a woman of diversity and contradictions. What she wants today is not what she will want tomorrow because she is setting new goals. Why men can’t figure women out is because they are a masterpiece in progress. A woman doesn’t grow old; she just gets better. Wonder why you can’t put lightning in a bottle? Because it just moves too quick.

Just like women. Ask your average man what 2 + 2 equals and he’ll say “4” every time. Ask a woman and she’ll say “looks like a little get together.” Women are always one step ahead and always will be.

If we are to keep up there are a few keys to our survival. Number one, listen. Number two, listen. Number three, listen. See a pattern here? We men do a lot of hearing and not enough listening. Want to stay out of trouble? Listen. Want to be the man of the house? Listen. Want to have a long loving relationship? Listen. My God, listen till the blood drips from your ears; listen till you want to scream out a solution; listen until she has nothing left to say and when she’s done, shut up and listen some more. Women are the caregivers and if you want her to give, you’d better do some caring.

Number four, hug her. Hug her in the morning, hug her before you leave to work, e-mail her a hug and hug her ten times when you get home. A woman is a fire. Want to keep her burning? You have to fan the flames. You do that with hugs.

Number five, don’t lie. Don’t white lie, don’t sugar coat the truth, tell it like it is. A woman can forgive a lot of things but she won’t put up with a snake in the grass liar. If you screw up, lost your Christmas bonus at the track, forgot to take out the trash, catches you staring at another woman, give it up, take your licks and move on. I repeat, a woman can forgive anything, but she will not allow herself to be disrespected. Lie to a woman you are dissing her. Tell the truth, you live to play another day.

Six, structure. Every woman I talked to listed structure in their top three needs. A woman wants stability, balance, a sense of order. She wants someone she can rely on. You say you’re going to be home at 6:00, you be home at 6:00. Running late? Call. The hardest thing for us guys is to differenciate between support and total control. Creating a foundation and stability doesn’t mean trying to solve all the problems to the point you disempower the one you love. Your love is not a crutch but a bond. A bond where dependability is synonymous with trust.

Seven, love them. Love them most of all. Let it all out. Let it all out every day, every minute of every second of every day. Be love, crawl up inside of it and approach every problem with the question what would love do now? If you do this, fear will never enter your life.

What do women want? They just want to be happy like us. They just have a different way to show it. If you learn their language, listen when you’d rather speak, hug instead of just walking away, tell the truth till it hurts, be a man she can depend on and love her like you love yourself. You’ll no longer ask what women want, they’ll be asking you what you want and give it to you.

by Fred Cuellar the Diamond Guy®

So Long

If I wasn’t here
would you wonder
where I had gone

If I came home late
would you ponder about me
or your dinner plate

When the children cry
will you call out my name
so their screams won’t interfere
with your playoff game

Am I your reason for living
or a convenience in life

Do you think more of me as a maid
or do I still count as your wife

I still remember
when you dropped to one knee
you said you’d liberate me
you said you’d set me free

But all I’ve done
is replace one cell for another
you don’t want a companion
you want a replacement for your mother

So if you ever want me back
be the man you used to be
the man who put me first
the man who used to see

If I wasn’t here tomorrow
would you wonder where I had gone
you used to have me in your arms
but it’s time to say so long

Signed,
Taken for granted

by Fred Cuellar the Diamond Guy®

Comatopia

More than a few decades ago I was born in Kittery, Maine; the second child, the first and only son. My dad, a pilot in the US Air Force (later a wing commander) brought me up with a code of ethics that I still use today, “If a job is worth doing, do it right the first time.” “Be a man of your word.” “Be a gentleman.” There are a lot of life’s lessons he taught me but he never told me about “comatopia.”

True it’s a made up word but it does have its origin. It comes from the word, “coma” (unconscious, can’t wake up) and “utopia” (a country of perfection). The irony is “comatopia” is a perfect place to live but you can’t appreciate it because you’re out like a light. “Comatopia” is a land every man, young man or schoolboy will visit, is visiting or is stuck in right now. We did not buy a ticket there or were forced there against our will. We volunteered gladly.

Let me explain: When a man/boy meets a woman/girl, his brain goes through an almost instantaneous checklist:

¯ Face
¯ Breasts
¯ Booty
¯ Legs

Then a quick addition followed by a question that if answered, “yes” is a weekend pass into “comatopia.”

¯ “Would I do her?”

The minute a man asks and answers this question to himself, he not only has entered “comatopia” but will be stuck there till he gets kicked out, takes a cold shower or rounds third base. “Comatopia” is a state of mind where a man says and does things purely for the possibility of a booty call. Is she smart? Who cares! Is she kind? Who cares! Are you compatible? Who cares! Who cares! Who cares! I’m in combat mode, get the booty, get the booty.

Women, most of them, are more evolved. They have the capability of not just evaluating the book by its cover but they’ll even skim a few chapters. Women make educated decisions. Men make “comatopia” decisions. There are very few women who will sleep with a man they don’t like, but ask any man from “comatopia” the same question and he’ll snap right back, “What does liking somebody and sex have to do with each other?” I’m not proud that “comatopia” exists or that I’ve even visited there more than once. What I’m trying to do is make all men aware of it so they will stop making fools of themselves for superficial reasons.

1.) You don’t go out with a girl just because she passes the extremely low, low bar of “I’d do her.”

2.) Realize that big breasts do not compensate for character flaws.

3.) Ask yourself if this new person in your life meets the standards of going from an unknown to an acquaintance to being your friend before you even consider how hot she is or isn’t or whether you should do the horizontal shuffle.

4.) I know trying to act like “007’ may be fun but women can see through a phony in a heartbeat. Be yourself, at least if you’re shot down you won’t spend the rest of your life wondering if she hated the real you or your poor James Bond impression. It’s true the truth can hurt sometimes and it may be brutal but without it we can’t make adjustments at half time to be a better person.

The key for men in finding “Miss Right” versus “Miss Right Now” is to fall for who she is, what she believes in, not how she fills out a swimsuit. If on top of all that she’s beautiful too, you truly are a lucky man. But you know what? If you do allow yourself to get to know and fall in love with the person inside first, I guarantee the book cover won’t matter. Just look at us, how many Robert Redfords and Brad Pitts are among us? Not many, but we’re loved anyway. We can learn a lot from women and very little from “comatopia.”

by Fred Cuellar the Diamond Guy®

Are You a Player?

1A.) Have you ever dated more than one woman at the same time?
A. Yes
B. No

1B.) If yes, did the women know or did you keep it under wraps?
A. Yes
B. No

2.) What is your favorite place to meet women?
A. Church
B. Through friends
C. Clubs at ladies night

3.) At the end of the evening would you rather end up at your date’s place or yours?
A. My Place
B. Her Place

4.) When dating a woman, which of the following phone numbers do you give her.
A. Home
B. Pager
C. Work
D. Cellular

5.) When on a regular date you try to spend little or no money?
A. $20 – $50
B. $51 – $100
C. It doesn’t matter

6.) Which statement best reflects you?
A. The truth is open to interpretation
B. A lie is a lie

7.) A player is:
A. Ladies man
B. Man’s man
C. None of the above

8.) Arrange in order of importance to you:
Your ride, your crib, your woman, your women

9.) I work out daily
A. Yes
B. No

10.) I enjoy wearing expensive clothes and suits.
A. Yes
B. No

11.) If forced to pick would you describe yourself as:
A. A lover
B. A fighter
C. Both

12.) When out with your friend do you:
A. Offer to pick up the tab
B. Offer to pick the tab but realize you don’t have your wallet
C. Don’t offer to pick up the tab

13.) Can a married man be a player?
A. Yes
B. No

14.) Once a player, always a player.
A. True
B. False

15.) Men weren’t born to be monogamous?
A. True
B. False

16.) Life is a game?
A. True
B. False

17.) Everyone has a soul mate out there?
A. True
B. False

18.) Marriage is for fools?
A. True
B. False

19.) When making a date, how much notice do you give?
A. Last minute
B. 1 to 3 days
C. 3 to 7 days

20.) Are you a morning person or night person?

Before we figure out if you’re a player, let’s make it clear what a player is and what it isn’t. First and foremost a player is a coward. A boy that never grows up and can never look past his selfish needs for self-gratification. A player believes that everything in this world was put here just for him, to be used up and tossed away like garbage. Players use women, many women, to try to fill a void in their hearts where a soul is supposed to go.

Are you a player? I hope not, but this guide to your responses should help you figure it out. Life is not a game and women are not pawns. Treat either this way and you’ll wake up one day to the sounds of silence and empty halls that lead you nowhere.

Answers

1.) Your teen years are for discovery, your 20’s are to spread your wings but if you’re still dating the whole cheerleading squad in your 30’s give yourself 10 points. (If at any point you lied to someone you dated about dating others, toss on an additional 5 points.)

2.) When a man goes to a place of worship to find a mate and places his trust in his close friends who know him best to find someone he’s not looking to play the field. Clubs are for notches in the bed post. If you’re a clubber, give yourself 10 points.

3.) Players like to score and run. That is more easily accomplished if the night ends at her place. A player knows it’s easier to leave than to get someone out of their house. Give yourself 5 points if you always find yourself at her place and another 5 points if you never spend the night.

4.) Players under no circumstances give out home or work phone numbers. They don’t like to be tracked down. Give yourself 10 points if your lady or ladies never at least get your home phone number.

5.) Take a dollar from a player and he’ll cry. Players only want to spend money on themselves. If most of your dates cost you less than $10.00, not only are you a cheapskate but you’ve gained another 10 points.

6.) To a player lying comes as natural as breathing. If truth is open to interpretation you’ll always be able to justify your deception. 10 points if you chose A.

7.) If you see being a player as anything but a user of people, give yourself 25 points.

8.) There isn’t a material item in the world that can replace the touch of a woman or a warm embrace. 10 points if a woman doesn’t list above anything material.

9.) Working out is good for you but give yourself 10 points if you catch yourself admiring your physique more than five times a day.

10.) Players like decorating themselves in the trappings of success mostly to hide from the world the scoundrels that lie beneath. 10 points if you dress to impress instead of dressing for success.

11.) Like I said before, players are cowards. 10 points if you didn’t choose B or C.

12.) Cheapskates don’t pick up the tab. 10 points for B or C.

13.) Trick question, a player can become married but a player will never act married. If you marked yes, give yourself 10 points. Only a player would be naïve enough to think they can do what ever they want without having to change.

14.) Only cynical people believe that you can’t better yourself and are forced into a single role for a lifetime. Give yourself 10 points if you don’t believe people can change.

15.) Players are cheaters, 10 points if you chose “true.”

16.) Life is a gift from God. To see it any other way would be to dishonor His glory. 10 points for the game players.

17.) If you can’t be open to love you’ll never recognize it when it comes knocking. You’ll know it surrounds you every day. To believe in soul mates is to believe in dreams. To not believe in dreams is not to live. 10 points if you’ve lost your faith in magic.

18.) A marriage is a promise. Promises bind and entwine two souls. Players don’t make promises they ever plan to keep that’s why they mock those that do. 10 points for the real fools.

19.) To be inconsiderate of others and only make plans on short notice are red flags to a player. Remember a player only loves himself and even that love is false. 10 points for A.

20.) Players play at night and night owls aren’t morning people. Give yourself another 10 points for coming home late.

Score

It’s pretty simple. If you’ve scored 150 points or more I’m sorry for you. But as a player extraordinaire you don’t care anyway.

100 – 149 points

You need help but it’s not too late. Try to go one month with out putting yourself first and maybe you’ll turn the corner.

Under 100

You’re a typical male no better, no worse. Show your test results to your significant other and get some brownie points. Congrats!

by Fred Cuellar the Diamond Guy®

34%

In a recent survey of women ages 18-54 when asked, “What was the single most important factor in choosing a marriage partner?” Thirty four percent responded personal wealth.

Personal wealth? What in God’s name does money have to do with love, soul mate and forever? As males, should we be mortified that one in three aren’t looking for a sparkling personality or a winning smile but how fat our bank account is? Or on the contrary, should we be happy that at least the numbers are in our favor? We have a 2 out of 3 chance that who we are matters more than our purchasing power!

When I first read the statistic in a magazine I couldn’t help but take notice, “Thirty four percent!” To me it seemed high. In an age when Destiny’s Child has a number one hit with “Independent Women” and Jennifer Lopez belts out, “My love don’t cost a thing” then who the hell are these thirty four percent and how can single guys stay away from them?

Now I guess if you see yourself as a nerd or a wanna be Sugar Daddy in training you might not care. But it seems to me the rest of us want to know who these thirty four percent are. Maybe we could get them to wear buttons. You know something catchy like, “You can’t have this ass without some cash!” No they’d never go for that! Maybe, “With some money you’ll get lucky!” That’s a little better.

On second thought, it just hit me that they don’t want us to know because if we did we’d pack up our gear and head upstream. Nope, sadly the thirty four percent are destined to be secret agents. Only when it’s too late will their true identities come out.

Is the secret to act poor, and if they fall for us, then we can reveal we’re loaded? Or try to borrow money for a month from them and see how they react? Nah, I doubt it. I think man’s only ally is time. Don’t rush it, take it slow and be yourself. I imagine these thirty four percent aren’t very patient ladies (and I say that loosely). Yup that’s it: “Take your time and see if your relationship turns to wine or dies withers away on the vine.” Yeah, that should be our motto.

by Fred Cuellar the Diamond Guy®

How to Read a Woman

In 1963 I met my first woman. She was beautiful, kind and loving (still is). She’s my mother. As time went by as it inevitably does, I would meet many other women. They came in all sizes and temperaments. Some were flashy and glitzy like brand new cars; others not so shiny and glitzy but very dependable. As I reached middle age I started noticing distinct characteristics that some women had and some lacked. In my head I categorized women into types. When I was done, I believed, I had put a description on every type of woman that existed.

The only thing to do next was prove my hypothesis. So, over a period of quite a few months every woman that I met, saw on television or read about got plugged into my theory. After a little tweaking, seven categories of women emerged. They are presented here in no particular order. They are:

1.) The Beauty Queen
2.) The Amazon
3.) The Drama Mama
4.) The Vestal Virgin
5.) The Black Widow
6.) The Ugly Duckling
7.) The Girl Next Door

What I found was that while there are some women that are 100% one type; they are the exception. More the norm was that most women were mixes or blends. Dominant Amazon with submissive Girl Next Door and a dash of Vestal Virgin; or dominant Girl Next Door with an under current of Ugly Duckling. Every woman was one type at least 75% of the time and spent the other 25% dabbling in others.

I’ve put pen to paper to share my insights so maybe other men might find some solace in knowing who they are dating, married to or separating from. If my little system helps you, I’m grateful.

 

The Beauty Queen

For most of us the Beauty Queen is not difficult to spot. The title is a clear give away. She is first and foremost a sight for sore eyes; a beautiful face, nice figure and sex appeal to match. She’s the Ginger on Gilligan’s Island. What sets the Beauty Queen apart from just a regular beauty is the belief that her looks come with some sort of entitlement, special privileges. The B.Q. (Beauty Queen), as the title clearly states, feels she should be treated like a queen. She shouldn’t have to stand in line because she is a queen. She should wear the finest clothes, the most expensive shoes, the Fendi handbag and name brand jewelry (Cartier, Winston, Bulgari, Tiffany) because she is the queen. B.Q.’s live in their own special world where reality doesn’t exist. Price tags are for somebody else to worry about. Children are for nannies to raise but important to have to feel complete.

Marilyn Monroe was a Beauty Queen. Marilyn Monroe committed suicide. Most B.Q.’s are rarely happy because they live in a world of need and expectation. There is always something they need, there is always something they expect.

What blows me away about some B.Q.’s is how many of them think they are all that and a bag of chips, while most guys see them as nothing but tramps. The tramps should really be called “Wannabes”. They are easy to spot because the Fendi bag is a copy, the make up is a little too thick, a little too much hair spray and a total lack of class or demeanor. Certainly these “Wannabe” B.Q.’s turn our head but kinda the same way a traffic accident gets us to slow down. We just want to see what’s going on. These “Wannabes” believe that their beauty is the only card they have to play. Sadly, for many of them, it’s true. The “Wannabes” gravitate to the strip club, the street corner, and the local bar. Others land fifteen seconds of fame on the cover of men’s magazines or hard and soft-core adult films. Some one once said that what every man wants is a virgin who’s a whore. These women forgot the virgin part.

B.Q.’s, whether high class or downtown, do have that one thing in common–they all play the beauty card. As men we can’t be sucked in. We must determine if she’s holding any other cards. The humor card, the I.Q. card, the compassion card, the reliability card. Are all B.Q.’s bad? No, certainly not. Nobody’s judging here. There are a lot of B.Q.’s that are a staple of society; governors’ wives, senators’ wives, wives of celebrities. What makes them different from the “Girl next door” (to be explained later) is their lack of gratitude for anything and their demand that everything should be handed to them on a silver platter.

 

The Amazon

When most people think of an Amazon, a Linda Carter Wonder Woman- type probably comes to mind. But that’s not what I’m talking about. Amazon has nothing to do with stature but everything to do with attitude and assertiveness. Amazons come in every size, from petite to plus sizes, from gorgeous to something the cat dragged in. A woman is not categorized as an Amazon by anything but her personality. Amazons are the first to ask questions, the first to speak up, the first to sign up. They are extroverts, Type A personalities. If a meal isn’t prepared just right, back it goes to the kitchen. If someone cuts in line at the movie theatre, she’s the first to say, “Hey buddy, there’s the back of the line, now get there!”

Amazons I believe were on their way to being overbearing men in their mother’s wombs but turned into females at the last moment. Spineless men without pants tend to gravitate to these testosterone driven gals. Rarely will you find an equally brazen muscle-bound man who will team up with them. Amazons spend a lot of time proving they are just as good or better than a man instead of appreciating the differences. Amazon women don’t play games (probably one of their best features). They always get straight to the point. If you’re dating an Amazon, you’ll never have to worry why she’s mad at you, trust me, she’ll let you know.

Men who are very secure with themselves and don’t feel the need to tell their woman how pretty they are every fifteen minutes might want to choose an Amazon. They’re honest, straightforward and logical thinkers. If on top of that you get lucky enough to get looks thrown into the mix, hang on! You’re in for a fun but bumpy ride!!

 

The Drama Mama

Ever heard the expression, “Making a mountain out of a molehill”? Well, that is a Drama Mama’s battle cry. A Drama Mama can take any small insignificant thing and by the time she is done with it make it larger than Mount Everest. Drama Mamas have a skewed perception on reality. They are always at Def Con One with a missile launch ready to go at any second. Here is a classic example of a Drama Mama in action:

Wife: Honey, did you take the garbage out?
Husband: I’ll get to it.
Wife: Oh sure, that’s what you always say then we get garbage piled
for days. Next thing you know we’ll miss garbage pick up day
because you failed to take the garbage out to the curb. We’ll
have garbage piled up for all the world to see, then the dogs
will get into it and scatter it over the yard, THEN THE
NEIGHBORS WILL CALL THE POLICE FOR LITTERING!!
IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT?!! IS THAT WHAT’S
GOING TO MAKE YOU HAPPY?!! HUH? YOU WANT TO
GO TO JAIL? DO YOU WANT TO BE SOMEBODY’S
PUNK IN PRISON? DO YOU WANT TO BE KNOWN AS
THE TRASHMAN?
Husband: Honey stop, look, I’m getting up, I’m taking the garbage
out…

Sounds familiar? If there’s always drama in your life, you’re either married to a Drama Mama or are one yourself.

 

The Vestal Virgin

Mother Teresa, The Virgin Mary, Princess Di are all classic examples of Vestal Virgins. Vestals have your classic caretaker personality. Many of them are homemakers, mothers and humanitarians. They will do without until everyone else is taken care of first. Vestals are selfless almost to the point in some cases where it is sickening. In a word, Martyrs.

Vestals are usually not risk takers, conservative by nature and practical. Usually easy to spot because they rarely wear make up unless required. Vestals range in beauty from natural beauties to homely. The highest levels of Vestals have no problem with their self-worth but will always choose the best interest of the whole (family, society, country) versus the interest of the self. At the other extreme, low-level Vestals have a low self-worth and want to please others because they don’t feel they are worthy. Low-level Vestals have one of the highest suicide rates because they believe their life has no purpose.

 

The Black Widow

Also referred to as the Chameleons for their ability to take any form and any one of the other six personas. Black Widows are the most lethal and toxic women walking on the face of the planet. First and foremost they are takers, opportunists, destroyers. The only thing they care about is looking out for #1, themselves. Their motto is, “What’s in it for me?” Different than the bartering Beauty Queens who actually believe the more you need from someone the more you love them. At least Beauty Queens in most cases allow themselves the belief that they are in love with the person that is doing so much for them. Most divorces with Beauty Queens arise when their mate can no longer satisfy the B.Q.’s needs. While long-term relationships with B.Q.’s are forged, the bartering never ends.

The Black Widow should never be confused with the Beauty Queen because she never allows herself the emotional attachment. There is no bartering, just the illusion of it. There are a lot of Black Widows doing time right now because they couldn’t be patient and allow their elderly husbands to pass on of natural causes in order to collect their inheritance. Anna Nicole Smith is a classic example of a Black Widow (in my opinion, please no letters) who was patient and did her time to cash in. A lot of people would argue with me and say she was clearly a Beauty Queen but since Black Widows are inherently such good actresses, who will ever know if her crocodile tears at the funeral were just a stage show. Either way she’s worth more money than me.

A psychiatrist that I consulted for this article told me, just like men, there are women out there prepared to do what ever it takes to get what they want. The end always justifies the means. These women are Black Widows.

 

The Ugly Duckling

Ever see a beautiful, fit, sexy woman standing in front of a full length mirror talking about how fat she is? To a degree that’s what I’m talking about here but at another level. Ducklings see themselves through imperfect eyes. They see fat when everyone else sees thin. They see ugly when everyone else sees beautiful. They see stupid when everyone sees intelligent. Ducklings radar systems are broken. Most, if not all anorexics and bulimics fall in this category. Many ducklings are over achievers and seen by the world as successful only to return home at the end of the day to believe they never cut the mustard.

Different than the successful Amazons who know when they’ve crossed the finish line, Ducklings never measure up to their own twisted sense of perfection. Julia Roberts is a classic example of an Ugly Duckling. To the world she attempts to come off as the Girl Next Door or pretty woman with that contagious laugh while inside she hides scars from broken relationships and name calling from a childhood long since passed. Ducklings need constant reassurance that they are smart enough, pretty enough and successful enough. Needy, to the point of desperation, is the one word that best describes a Duckling.

This overwhelming need for approval is typically the deciding factor that pushes the ones closest to them out of their life. Another good example of a Duckling is Sally Fields. I still remember in her acceptance speech upon winning her second Oscar saying, “You like, You like me, You really like me.” My word, practically the whole world had loved her since the Flying Nun to Smokey and the Bandit but she was still this little girl trapped in a grown up’s body looking for approval.

On the plus side many Ducklings turn into swans and overcome their self worth issues and make the kindest sweetest people to live with but at some level never accept just how magnificent they are. One thing Ducklings should remember is the following quote, “I’m told I’m pretty, I’m told I’m ugly. I’m told I’m fat, I’m told I’m thin. Who’s right? Brace yourself, they all are! What I choose to be on any given day is up to me.”

 

The Girl Next Door

When I was in third grade I lived next door to Mary Vinci. We walked together to school, played together, studied together, got in trouble together. We weren’t boyfriend and girlfriend, heck, we didn’t even know what that meant. What we were, was buds. I could tell her my deepest darkest secrets and she would tell me hers. We stuck up for each other, looked out for each other. When I got older and moved away she would be the one I consulted about girls, even if it was by long distance. Our friendship transcended any and everything else.

As I look back at my relationship with Mary I realized I fell in love with all the same traits she showed me were possible to find in a woman; friendship, honesty, fairness, a sense of humor, intelligence, and inner beauty. Mary liked herself. I didn’t know it then but I know it now. All Girls Next Door aren’t trying to be something or someone they are not. They like their own skin. They like who they are. That alone should be their biggest attraction. Try marrying someone who doesn’t like themselves. See how far that gets you. But when you can find that woman who likes her reflection in the mirror and is all loving, my friend you have found The Girl Next Door.

Untying the Knot

You’ve met the girl of your dreams. You want to spend the rest of your life with this girl. You want her to be the mother of your children. You want to grow old with her. You’ve made a few visits to local jewelers, and planned the proposal in your mind. But, before plunking down the green for the engagement ring, you have a little “sit-down” with your parents.

“Mom, Dad, I’ve made a big decision. I’m going to propose.” You hold your breath waiting for a reaction as they stare at you expressionless. You finally see the smile on your Father’s face. He stands up, comes toward you with arms out-stretched and chest puffed out. As he squeezes you tightly, he says, “Son, I’m so proud of you. She’s a wonderful girl. Is there anything I can do to help? Do you need help paying for the ring?” You pretend not to notice the tear in his eye.

Before telling your Father all about the ring you’ve had your eye on, you notice that your mother hasn’t moved. In fact, she seems to have fallen into a catatonic state. Your father attempts to play down the awkwardness. “Honey, isn’t it wonderful? Our first daughter-in-law! Honey?” And then to you, “She’s so happy that she’s speechless.” You wonder.

She actually doesn’t hear either one of you. Your mother is watching a movie in her mind. She’s watching you take your first unsteady steps as a one-year-old. She’s seeing you get on that big yellow bus on the first day of kindergarten. She smiles as she remembers your first home-run during your second season of Little League. She watches as you drive into the driveway with your Father after getting your driver’s license. Your first date was a biggie for her–she sat by the window waiting for you to come home for over an hour. A tear rolls down her cheek as she re-plays your high school graduation on the movie screen in her mind. Her baby boy…getting married? Not possible.

Some of you may need to be patient with your parents, guys. Not all parents will warm up to the idea of you getting married right away. It might be difficult to understand at this time in your life, but the last 20-some odd years has been nothing more than a blink to them. You couldn’t wait to grow up, move out, and start your own life; but to them, you will always be their baby. They’re not trying to hold you back; they just don’t want to push you away so quickly. They want to hold on as long as they can. Tying the knot with your dream-girl means untying, or at least loosening, other “knots” in your life: Parents, friends, siblings.

When the shock wears off, your parents will realize that this shift in priorities is exactly what they have wanted for you. Your ability to commit, your dedication to your fiancé-to-be, your maturity, your capacity to choose the perfect person to spend your life with; all of these things are a result, to some degree, of great parenting on their part. Reminding them of this may go a long way in softening the blow.

by Julie Seitz

Who is Craig Michaels?

When I was a kid I dreamt about how cool it was going to be when I grew up. I could stay up as late as I wanted; get up when I wanted. I could open up my Cookie Monster cookie jar and gobble as many Oreo cookies as I wanted before dinner because I wouldn’t care if it spoiled my supper. I would wear whatever clothes I wanted and NEVER be forced to throw away a perfectly broken in pair of Adidas or Pumas just because it had front-toe ventilation. 

There would be no more homework or being forced to memorize useless facts to pass a stupid test that nobody cared about anyway. I would be able to have SEX! Lots of sex anytime I wanted. In fact if I wanted to have ten Oreo cookies, ruin my dinner, stay up late having lots of sex, it would be nobody’s business but mine. I wanted to grow up.

I’m 43 now and not much has changed. I still have to go to bed at a particular time or I won’t be able to get up when I have to. I’ve got the Oreo cookies but limit my intake to three because I have to watch my weight which is in charge of watching my cholesterol. I don’t wear what I want because my wife says I’ll scare people in my blue aquarium fish boxers and oversized t-shirt (I do get to wear these at home). Homework has been replaced by work; my tennis shoes last forever (they are making them out of some new space age material where 30 minutes a day use on the treadmill isn’t enough to break them in). Back in the day, I could take a brand-new all-leather pair of tennis shoes and have them trashed (i.e. broken-in) in less than a month. And the sex? Let’s just say I have access and availability but I’m too tired from all the other grown-up stuff  to think about it much.

I got what I wanted– I grew up. I was in such a rush to get here, that I didn’t spend much time looking around on the road to my imagined Nirvana. In hindsight I missed a lot, too many to go into now, but I do want to talk about one. The time after you pop the question and before you say I do. I missed “engagementville”. And I’m not alone. Every buddy of mine made the same mistakes I did. They saw those last few days of bachelorhood as the final drops of water left in a canteen during a trek across the Sahara. The invitations, the honeymoon planning, picking out china & flatware patterns: we missed all of it. With the exception of the bachelor party most men want to be involved in planning a wedding as much as they want to sign up for Chinese water torture. Men are in such a hurry to grow up that they don’t recognize the magic of a moment till after it is gone. A woman knows that a wedding is magic. That the preparation is sacred. And even up until now men just don’t get it. Men just want to rush when they should savor.

A couple of weeks ago I picked up, and could not put down, a book titled “Thirty to Wife: The Tell-All Groom’s Guide to Weddings-How to Get Hitched Without Losing Your Mind or Your Fiancé” written by Craig Michaels. I got to read about his last 30 days as a bachelor. His personal story, his anxieties, his questions, his panic attacks and his peace. I got to know about Deb. He let me in enough to show me a truly beautiful woman. 

Just about one out of three men will never find the love of their life and get married. Of the two that do, one of them will screw it up and divorce. That means only one out of every three of us will find the love we have in our souls and get to share it with another. I’m a gambling man and those are lousy odds. So, if you find yourself in “engagementville” and are in a rush to get out of town, take your foot off the gas and slow it down.

Who is Craig Michaels? He is you.