DUDE Shield

My friend Erinn, just texted me two pictures of different Blackhawks Jerseys. Our friend Jan has been so generous to us both and Erinn thought one of these would be a nice gift to say, “Thank you.”

Erinn 2

I should have put up my “dude shield.” Every guy knows what a dude shield is. It’s that mental barrier we have to put up to defend against incoming questions, polls and seemingly innocent inquiries for her clarifications or “group decisions.” In other words, I should have known that I was not really being asked for my opinion; my friend Erinn had already decided on what she was going to buy for Jan or Erinn was just “thinking out loud,” as women do.
What women don’t seem to understand is that we men are literal. If our dude shield is not up, we actually think what you are saying or asking is what you are saying or asking. When we talk back to girls, we always like to give our opinion. In fact, we are ego-centric (you knew that one already) so we like to give our opinions, on just about everything, and we only like it when you agree with and act upon our opinions. It goes along with our need to fix things right away.
Nothing is “about the process” for us — it’s the end result. We don’t enjoy thinking out loud. We want the big finish or win. If we have to talk too much, learn something too difficult, practice or work too hard, we will lose interest. When Erinn asked my opinion, my dude shield was down, I became engaged and I believed I was part of making a final decision. Here was my honest response:

Erinn 2

When Erinn gave me a third choice, that’s when I should have put up my dude shield. If this was read as a court manuscript, a judge would say this was a clear case of “leading the halfwit” by confusing me with the men’s sizing thing. This new information just made me associate: this was a man’s shirt so I only thought of myself wearing it, not Jan.
I should have realized Erinn was just “throwing things out there…” But, with my dude shield still down, I was still conversing like I was talking to another guy; on my mobile phone, viewing a small selection of items, picking out one — done! — A sense of wellbeing and accomplishment would surely follow.

Erinn 3

Eight minutes later, when Erinn texted back, I realized my folly. There was going to be no win for me. No sense of “mission accomplished.” I was just “one of the girls — just talkin’.” My responses or opinions were not being used properly and I was probably going to have to be very careful about what I was going to say next. What I wanted to say was:

Erinn 4cc

But every guy knows what would happen if I said “WTF.” I would have to pay. I’d have to pay by listening to, I don’t know, something like, “I do value your opinion. But you didn’t really elaborate. I thought you weren’t paying attention.” Erinn’s a girl, so she could turn anything around to make me think I was nuts or illogical and, of course, an asshole. So I let a few minutes go by before I responded, but not too much time as to let her surf the net for three or more choices to throw at me.

Erinn 4a

And then I waited. And waited. I knew there was going to be more. More questions. More pictures. Just more. And I was going to have to hold back and be careful. I’d only give short, succinct sentences. “Yes.” “No.” “Great!” Either way I was going to be put out of my misery. I just didn’t know how quickly and to the wick it was going to be.

Erinn 4b

The End

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mafia hairdresser head shapeJon-David is, admittedly, a guy. Even after 30 years of doing women’s hair and writing about the human condition in his introspective novels and how-to ebooks, he’s still a man who is trying to figure out women. No, he does not judge his client’s hair or clothes when they cross paths on the street. No, doesn’t remember the exact haircut and style he constructed for you Hanukka of 2013. He’s a guy. Yes: Jon-David is a women’s best guy-friend and constantly tries to be a better guy.

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50 Days of Women Day 1

Mafia Hairdresser Explains Women

This is the start of my new series about women. I’ve been wanting to write about my women friends, my clients and my female family members for a while. (Watch out, sister in-law!) You see, I last left you off with my 50 Days of 50 series, I wrote 50 blogs in 50 days leading up to my 50th birthday. But, as real life and reality blogging go, my mother became ill during this time and what was supposed to be a light funny look at ageing turned into a bitch-slap on my ranting face and tribute not-quite-finished. That was quite a while ago and I have turned the blog into an eBook titled, 50 Days Turning 50, and you may download the PDF version free if you like. It’s my gift to anyone who is reading this. The reason I bring up 50 Days of 50 is because, as I was writing it, I kept writing about my mom and the other women in my life and I thought, “I should write a 50 Days of Women series. Come on…, who could write more “dishilly” and lovingly about women than a hairdresser who has made a career and gladly lived a lifetime listening to them?

Other than blogging for TheLocalTourist.com, SassyMomsInTheCity.com, JudyTheShow.com, SalonSpaChat.com and MafiaHairdresser.com, I’ve been neglecting my creative writing by not blogging here at WordPress. The emotional toll of the 50 Days blog was immense so I shied away from creative writing for a while. You see, my mom passed away around my 50th but I kept writing and blogging on through that experience. I never published my mom’s story, here at WordPress, nor did I let the public know what really happened at the end of those 50 days. It took me over a year to even add those journals into the eBook version. But I’m free of that at last and now I want to get back to some fun.

Fun for Women2

Women are fascinating creatures and I don’t care how much gay men think that they have so much in common with them, they are not like us (men) at all. So, next week I’m going to dive in without abandon and I shall be the bearer of good spews about the “opposite sex.” I will be kind and I will be as factual as I know how to be which means that I can be almost as bitchy as a woman and I don’t mind telling a few fibs to make a point; like all ladies do.

I will choose my subjects at random. I may use real names. Every woman in my life should be wary of my pen because you are or have been in my life. I am a better man for this or I am completely at my wits end because of our differences, I will either glorify you or take you down for this. I was going to call this series 50 Days of Women… but,…. Yeah, let’s just call it 50 Days of Women: BUT I’M ONLY COMMITTING TO WRITING ONCE A WEEK, BEYOCH!

(Thank you to Janice G. Ross for igniting my writing today. Sometimes all it takes is a nudge on Twitter and you’re inspired to write again.)

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50 Days Forward by Liz

50 Days of Women

I love my mom
John, Marie, Jess, Jon-David

Today’s blog is dedicated to any writers with Writer’s Block.

I’ve had a really hard time getting back to writing. You see, my mom died less than six month ago and, since then, every time I sat down at my computer to “let the magic happen,” or when I picked up a notepad to scratch out the skeleton of a few creative projects that have been glaring at me from an old goal list, my mind became a solid mass of clay. Soft, but firmed up and unmoving. I had a passion to sculpt this clay but the fear of what was inside of that clay was too intense for me. For inside of my head of Play-Doh is probably hardened marbles of emotions that I had never seen before. I wasn’t ready to investigate the marbles; let alone play with them for literary gold or publicly displayed catharsis.
I will not put the pressure upon myself to write 50 days straight about my new subject: women. (As I did with 50 Days of 50: soon to be an eBook). But I am committed to writing at least one entry a week. Monday’s are good for me. You can count on it.
There should be no question as to why I chose women to be the focus of this upcoming series. They are fascinating. They are multitasking. They are manipulative and beguiling. Enduring, long-suffering and self-sacrificing pave the feeling tone of describing women’s un-flailing and undeserved patience with men.
I had planned to write this series long before mom went in the hospital for a quick yet risky operation that went well… that is until a simple, yet undetected, complication took her from me, my brother and father. I was with my mother every second that mattered during the time she left her body and it was the most precious few moments in my life and I shall hold that in heart as my greatest honor. Of course I will also write about mom. She was character and a wonderful woman. Every mother is the most important woman to everyone’s life and my mom was the single most influential woman in mine. This series is dedicated to you, mom. I miss you very much.
If you are my client, or sister-in-law, or one of the gal-pals in my posse, you should not be afraid. Yes, I’m writing about you beyoches. But I will write from the love and wonder I have for you in my heart. One of my best friends is Allison, she’s also my boss at Joseph Michael’s Salon & Spa. She knows I’ll write about her too but she’d also assure all of you that I would never write anything that would or could be seen in a negative or embarrassing light about you. (At least not that you would recognize…) I adore you all and you have shared your stories and your views with me and I want to relay those thoughts here on my pages–for the laughs and tears and wisdom they can bestow.
Part of what has me committing to this series now is that I’m about ready to shoot a Youtube mini-series called The Judy Show. I’m Judy! I’ll also be writing a blog as Judy, so getting into the mind of a woman has been my job as well as just a subject that I felt needed to be mined. I hope you take a look and subscribe to The Judy Blog as well as this one. She can say things a lot differenty than I can. (“Coincidentally,” Mondays will be her entry days as well.)
So give me a week, ladies and gentlemen, and then read all about beautiful, sexy, mothering, smothering, mesmerizing, infuriating women.

It’s nice to be back.

Jon-David

How to live with man.

“I don’t understand why he doesn’t respond in a reasonable manner to my requests.” Yes, I know: No one really says that sentence in that way. But that is the basic sentiment that a lot of my female clients express to me about their boyfriends and husbands. Mostly, it’s just my job to just keep making pretty hair on their heads while telling them, “I hear ya,” so they end up feeling beautiful, emotionally open, relieved, reassured and, ultimately, empowered!
But, as a writer, I get to say, “I’ve been doing your hair for years, for almost as long as you’ve been doing guys, and you still keep saying the same frustrating thing about your men. Listen to yourselves, beyochs! Men aren’t ever going to respond in a manner that is reasonable to you because we’re guys and we respond to all requests, and all stimuli, as guys. And you woman keep expecting men to respond to your requests as you would like: as a woman. That’s insanity!”
Oh yes, I’m going to give you a straight-to-the-point tutorial, with bullet points, on how you can get your man to do what you want him to do. But first, let me tell you how my overly-broad rant was born. Today, my client, “Betsy,” came in for her highlights and she was typically depressed because her husband was being distant and they were having another, nothing out of the ordinary dry spell in their communication. He didn’t understand that when she asked him to do things like take out the trash, that it was helping her to have more time for him and doing other things like make dinner reservations, organize the cleaning help and nanny, and buy his family their Christmas gifts. I love this stuff because a)it’s not my problem, and b)hearing this stuff constantly assures me that I’m not crazy and that I’m just one of the human race who has the same problems (not exactly tho) that no one talks about publicly enough! Oh yes, and c) because I’m a writer and I get to process my clients’ thoughts and stories and wrap and weave them around my fictional characters so I don’t have to actually delve into my own psyche or process my own personal frustrations with women and men. In other words, I get to write and judge.
Which leads me to my first bullet point:
• We will avoid processing any information, emotional or otherwise, if our mind is on something else.
So if you want your husband to help pick up, or watch the baby “for just ten minutes!,” when he gets home from work , just take a cheap Libby brand glass and smash it on the kitchen floor and yell any old thing about going crazy. After your less-than-a-minute tirade, your man will be glad to watch the baby because his mind had immediately let go of his day at work and he will then be in the mode of trying to placate and appease you, the mother of his child. (So what if it’s out of fear.) But if you try and explain to him why you need a breather and how much you really do while he’s at work, you’re going to get glazed eyes and you’ll only get ten minutes. Go for results. Not reason. For the next time: always switch it up–never repeat the same tirade.
• If we nod yes to your request, and have a glazed look in our eyes, it means that we checked the listening box in the “I’m doing a good thing list,” but we will not remember what you just asked us. The memory of your request will be gone in less than 7 minutes. And if we know you saw that look that lets us off the hook.
My boss, Allison, sometimes forgets that I’m guy (believe me, when you work with and for women, it’s easy to do, even if you’re a straight dude…another article…), and sometimes she gives me pertinent work information too quickly or casually for me to process or remember. She told me, in casual passing (she’ll deny that), that there are these little forms to fill out if I wanted to take a day off, which would insure that my clients didn’t schedule on a day that I was not going to be there. Simple. Right? Well, I remember filling something out, but I don’t think I gave them to her. Doesn’t the front desk process paper things? (I do remember thinking that.) Anyhoo, I think I put them on the front desk… Story short: I was calling a bunch of clients a day ahead of their scheduled appointments to tell em, “Allison, didn’t tell me how to submit the forms so….” What Allison should have done, in the first place–to snap me out of what I was thinking, or not thinking at all (she saw the glazed eyes!), was to give me a mental & emotional picture; such as how I would feel like shit and be embarrassed if I had to personally call my clients to tell them that I would not be there for their scheduled appointments.
F__k the one-minute management stuff if you’re trying to make a man remember your request: use scary mental visuals. Remind men that you might come unhinged if your request might not be completed as stated. Scary visuals and memories work.
• If we get quiet, it means we are rejecting your request but are avoiding any confrontation on the issue.
This is the one where you get to be very quiet. No tirades or threats, and no reasoning! A good stare down will disrupt any rejection of your request to something like, “I really think the dogs need to be walked now.” Of course he doesn’t want to walk the dogs. Dexter’s on and setting the DVR would mean taking his hand away from his beer bottle. But a disturbing long stare into the side of the head is so unnerving that he’ll just get up and do it without any wasted long winded explanations.
• If we ask you for details about something like, “what exactly do you want me to pick up at the store?” We are asking you for simple list on a piece of paper.
Do not go into a diatribe about why you want the shit, who birthday it’s for and when we are giving it to them… TMI! If you want men to actually remember to take the list with to the store: paperclip it to his wad of cash.
• If you’ve done something fabulous and want him to notice, leave out the tell-tale signs for him to see how much work you’ve put into doing it.
If you’ve got your hair done: wear a better than usual outfit & pumps, then have your Gay over for an early evening martini when he gets home. Most men are a little jealous of their woman’s friendship with their Gays. If he’s always relieved you are with your Gay so it gives him more time for football you will have to include your Gay’s hot straight brother in your posse.
If you’ve taken it upon yourself to putty, sand and paint that short wall where he took down the partition between the kitchen and living room last winter: leave out the paint, and putty knifes and make sure you put a drop of paint on the cuff of his favorite blazer that he left on the stove the night before. When he gets home, apologize profusely for ruining his coat. He won’t be mad at all but he’ll feel like shit and you’ll probably get taken out to dinner.
If you’ve gotten Botox and you want him to notice, you’re an idiot because you should know that no man can discern those subtle changes in his woman-friend-spouse’s face because we are always looking down when we are listening to you.
Look, it’s about results and harmony. It’s not about training or getting men to think like women. I think if you ladies, and men who live with men, would just shift your thinking, we’d all be a lot happier and we wouldn’t even know why.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Please order your copy of Mafia Hairdresser, the novel about my life as a hairdresser to a mob couple in the 80’s, and subscribe to this blog!