Part 3 – POWER RANKINGS: How good would your quarterback be at picking up girls if he weren’t an NFL QB?

Main Photo

If NFL QBs were stripped of their professional title and say given a mid-level position like “I work in finance” or “I’m a sales account manager at a Top 50 tech company” how would they fair with the ladies. For full ground rules and the rankings of the bottom third of these rankings, visit Part 1.

Hey gang, Dusty here. Looks like we made it. Look how far we’ve come. We might have took the long way, but we knew we’d get here someday. Shania Twain was right about a lot of things. Maybe she was singing about the success of a time tested relationship, and maybe she was singing about two bloggers banging out a controversial POWER RANKING of every NFL quarterbacks’ inherent gamesmanship outside of the pocket. Who can say?

Some people have taken the POWER RANKINGS pretty poorly, citing grievances like Andrew Luck coming in ahead of Kirk Cousins. What do you want me to say? I didn’t write the rules [sic], and even if I did, those rules are an analytical distillation of the subjective collaboration of two white guys born two weeks apart and living very similar lives in the same city. That’s accountability! Who better to balance Tommy’s opinion than someone who knows where he’s coming from? We ranked these guys without talking in the judgment categories, combined our scores, and we left it alone. From there, The Ideal POWER RANKINGS Law took over. Maybe it’s a little off.

Do I look at the picture of a certain lantern-jawed Miamian and think he got hosed at number 12? Sure. I’m human. But doesn’t “lifetime achievement” consideration bleed into the confidence and personality rating of Peyton Manning? The committee here at Writing Bareback thought so. And I stand by them.

As for Blake Bortles, screw that guy. Let’s look at the top ten, and maybe then we’ll all be happy.

Tyrod10. Tyrod Taylor, Bills – A lack of pride and a lot of persistence go a long ways in pickup success, and he’s got #TyrodTailored going for his fashion. But he’s basically a poor man’s Cam Newton. Taylor’s best strategy would be to follow Cam around at the bar and wait for a woman to be bitterly disappointed that Cam wasn’t interested in her. The he should introduce himself and cross his fingers that she thinks, “Eh, close enough.”

Alex Smith9. Alex Smith, Chiefs – Pleasantly surprised to see my boy crack the top 10! Gets an odd bump in looks for the Ryan Gosling comp. Looking like a celeb never hurts. Alex Smith is a guy who would have a girl completely engrossed in the best conversation of her life until Kaepernick interrupts to say “I’ll even wash your clothes in the morning” and shows the girl his abs. It’s too bad. I’m an Alex Smith fan.

Andy Dalton8. Andy Dalton, Bengals – His hair stands out as one of my favorite fashion accessories in the group. He embraces the much maligned gingerness, and in doing so, shows every woman his self-assured nature. He’s got a lot of “Kevin MacArthur” from The League in him which is a pretty lovable comp for a guy who’d make a great Assistant District Attorney. Physically, might as well be cut from stone compared to division rival QB1s.

Romo7. Tony Romo, Cowboys – (admitted blogger-bias) He’s tall, he’s in decent shape, he’s got big ears and goofy smile and lacking in the style department (still trying to bring back the paperboy cap). BUT! So much cool confidence and what a nice guy! The kind of guy that takes a homeless guy to the movies or pulls over in the rain to help an elderly couple change their tire. He’s so comfy in his own skin and the kinda guy you want to take home to mom, he’s definitely getting your number…and you heart.

Marcus Mariota6. Marcus Mariota, Titans – Great showing for the rookie! All the potential is there, but he’s still figuring it out. Marcus is the guy that walks into a bar, and every girl notices him. And then he starts talking, and he’s missing all the openings. It’s frustrating to watch. He looks like he’s hitting his stride with an amusing story about making coconut syrup on the Big Island, and right when she tells him he’s funny, Marcus leans in and says, “OOPS! I’M SORRY. I didn’t mean to spill that on you!”

Drew Brees5. Drew Brees, Saints – Ok, so he’s 6’ tall. But next to these other freak monstrosities, he looks like he’s 5’9” (NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT!!!!). And he does have this large birthmark on his face. But man, the guy is in great shape. And when he talks, you listen. You just love everything he has to say. He’s got the charisma of Ryan Gosling in Crazy. Stupid. Love. When it’s time to go, he’s getting you with his closing line “hey, you want to get out of here?”

Aaron Rodgers4. Aaron Rodgers, Packers – 5 letters baby, R-E-L-A-X. He’s got the ultimate NorCal chill vibe. Cool, calm, collected and confident. He’s not the best-looking nor the best dressed at the bar, but one look into those eyes and you’re sold. Heaven help you if its Movember and he’s unironically donning his finest Tom Sellick mustache.

Russell Wilson3. Russell Wilson, Seahawks – He’s a shorty amongst giants but with a personality that will make you think he’s 10 feet tall. His obscure race makes him dreamy across the board. He’s got just enough swagger with a genuine personality that makes EVERY GIRL think they have a shot. Where does all this confidence come from? Just Google Russell Wilson Sports Illustrated cover.

Brady[TIE] 1. Tom Brady, Patriots – The real reason non-Patriots fans hate Brady isn’t because of his Swimsuit Model wife or outrageous success. It’s because we all know, deep down, that if Tom Brady walked into our office as the new Junior Assistant to the Custodial Secretary on a Monday, he’d walk out as CEO on a Friday. That’s the kind of guy who’s not leaving the bar until he’s leaving with the best.

Cam Newton[TIE] 1. Cam Newton, Panthers – Tall, dark and handsome. Body carved from stone. As for style, he’s the best dressed guy at the bar, no question. This guy is OOZING with confidence and his “I’m too good for you” attitude will keep you on edge all night. Not to mention this guy is just a hell of a dancer. True story, when the bouncer’s complained about his dancing he simply replied “Don’t let me in then.” The only knock on Cam is he just seems a little too full of himself, like he’d go home with himself if he could. Like the kinda guy that gets a mani/pedi/facial weekly. Oh wait…

Cam Pedi


Hey guys, Dusty here. (and Tommy on the edit wagon).

Part 2 – POWER RANKINGS: How good would your quarterback be at picking up girls if he weren’t an NFL QB?

Main Photo

If NFL QBs were stripped of their professional title and say given a mid-level position like “I work in finance” or “I’m a sales account manager at a Top 50 tech company” how would they fair with the ladies. For full ground rules and the rankings of the bottom third of these rankings, visit Part 1.

Crazy day of rankings from Part 1 yesterday, amirite? Who could have foreseen Smoking Jay Cutler falling all the way to 32nd? But hey, any given POWER RANKINGS, as they say. That’s why we write the blogs. Cause you never know. I do need to apologize, and this is all on me. Tommy had nothing to do with it. There was a glaring omission from our bottom 11. A friend of mine pointed it out.

Friend: You left out Brian Hoyer.
Me: Who?
Friend: C’mon, you know who he is. Brian Hoyer.
Me: Ryan Hoyer?
Friend: Buh-rian Hoyer…You know, forget it.

Then he sent me a screenshot with highlights for easy deduction.

Hoyer Forgotten

So I went back and grabbed what I wrote about Hoyer 3 days before we posted. I kid you not, this is unedited.

Brian Hoyer, Texans – What’s there to care about here? IDK. Maybe a guy can build an aura of mystery around himself so great, that the woman actually pursues him because the only way to know this man is to actually know this man. That’s really Brian Hoyer’s best bet…And full disclosure, I don’t want to do research on a guy who I don’t believe will make next year’s power rankings. Prove me wrong, Hoyer!

My bad, guys…But when you’re dealing with the dregs of non-NFL QB lotharios, who gives a crap? We’ll bump Derek “Mascara Man” Carr up to 21 and that’s that. That post from yesterday was your grandpa’s POWER RANKINGS. Now we move on to the medium swinging dicks your POWER RANKINGS. I’m proud to present, #20-11.

Phillip Rivers20. Philip Rivers, Chargers – Almost certainly an insufferable weirdo with the energy of caffeinated Jack Russell Terrier, Philip Rivers looks like Buzz Lightyear, dresses like your dad, and walks into a bar like Gallagher at a fruit stand. YOU KNOW PHIL’S GONNA SMASH!…or propose to the first girl he speaks with. Either way, CONFIDENCE!

2013 UCF Football Team19. Blake Bortles, Jaguars – Want to hear a football joke? Blake Bortles! Fortunately, football has no place in this ranking. You get the feeling that every one of Ben Roethlisberger’s exes would be attracted to Blake Bortles just because he’s exactly like Ben Roethlisberger without the ten years of baggage. But, honey, that’s where you come in.


Carson Palmer18. Carson Palmer, Cardinals – Is he a ginger? His beard is ginger-ish. Yeah he’s a ginger. If Andy Dalton (King of Gingers) is around Palmer’s not getting a second look. In fact, aside from being 6’5” he’s just kind of an average looking white guy. Well, he does have the fabled “butt-chin” which was all the rage in Disney cartoons. Does it work as well in real life?


Matt Ryan17. Matt Ryan, Falcons – When you look at him, you just think Van Heusen or Kohls. An average looking white guy with above average height and physique. Being introduced as Matty Ice in college was a game changer, now it just makes you seem like a guy that’s still holding on to how cool he was in college. He doesn’t say a lot, and that mysterious confidence is absolutely his best bet.

Colin K16. Colin Kaepernick, 49ers – (disclaimer, no longer the starting QB) He just looks like a really jacked and tan elf. I mean I’m sure his bulging biceps that dwarf his XS Affliction t-shirt have some appeal in some circles…in 2007. The guy dresses like Justin Bieber and his voice will have you desperately searching for an Adam’s Apple. Is this bar on the North Pole? No? Ok, he’s gonna struggle.

Teddy Bridgewater15. Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings – Depending on the strength of his Jamaican accent, he could definitely convince you he’s Usain Bolt or the rich kid from Cool Running. Either way if nothing else would be an incredible ice breaker. “Ay mon, Ow much a pola bear weigh?” Let’s just be honest though aside from seeming like a really nice guy and fun name to say, he’s not bringing A LOT to the table. Besides, he went to school in Indiana so he’s probably not much for conversation.

Kirk Cousins14. Kirk Cousins, Washington Professional Football Team – Traditionally speaking, he’s a good looking dude – much like Ryan Tannehil down in South Beach. But Capt Kirk (which is how I’d imagine he introduces himself) doesn’t have what it takes to be the lead guy. He’s much better served as a wingman to someone like Tannehill. We can only hope that if he scores a number he really bros it out with “You like that?!?! YOU LIKE THAT!!!!”

Andrew Luck13. Andrew Luck, Colts – Here’s your true litmus test on the superficiality of women. Nobody’s falling for the “Spanx for my face” chin beard he’s rocking. And the only time “lucky” is a negative adjective is in reference to Andrew’s wardrobe. BUT! I think any woman would be lucky to get him out of those unfortunate polos. He is a cool, confident, built dude who knows his way around a conversation. Hey, I’m a believer in Andrew Luck the non-QB1.

Ryan Tannehill12. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins – Talk about the Bud Light of the bar. Probably a best seller, but SOOOOOO boring. He’s a ubiquitous kind of desirable. Probably not a good sign when Google has only ever recorded you wearing your jersey, a suit, or an untailored khaki shirt. I get that a living Ken doll doesn’t need to try, but it would’ve helped his cause.

Peyton Manning11. Peyton Manning, Broncos – Too old to be in the bar, but hasn’t admitted it yet. He used to be a legendary stickman, so it’s tough to watch him work at this point. Like seeing Fonzie elbow a jukebox and get crickets. Time for the next phase. I’ll bet Peyton would write the best profile.


There you have it. The second tier. Middle management in the structural hierarchy that is slingin’ winks and handing off drinks. They may not be as talented as our top ten, but as another famous middle manager, Michael Scott said, “‘You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.’ – Wayne Gretzky.” Here’s the POWER RANKINGS to date:


Are you with me Leather,
Dusty “Boomer of the Blog” Riedesel

POWER RANKINGS: How good would your quarterback be at picking up girls if he weren’t an NFL QB?

It’s a tale as old as time, errr as old as American Football; the Quarterback gets the girl. But then you think, does he get the girl JUST because he’s the quarterback? Is she interested in him solely based on his football position (be it high school, college or professional)? Then it leads to another thought; If NFL QBs were stripped of their professional title and say given a mid-level position like “I work in finance” or “I’m a sales account manager at a Top 50 tech company” how would they fair with the ladies? And of course, in true sports analogous fashion, how then would these now “average” men compare to each other whilst trying to seduce the fairer sex at your “average” bar/night club.

Ground Rules

First off, this about picking a girl up in a bar, meaning that the girl only has to commit to a next step, which can range from exchanging phone numbers to leaving the bar together for food, dancing, or even drinks at another bar. QB1 does not need to hit pay dirt to have “picked up” the bar girl. In terms Alex Smith could understand, this is more about completions than touchdowns.

Secondly, we’re ignoring current relationships and marriages because leaving out certain married quarterbacks would really let some air out of these power rankings. We’d really rather let fans of every quarterback have a fair chance of winning.

Third, as mentioned, the woman at the bar is assumed to have no prior knowledge of any of the QB1s. This is important when you consider alleged rapists like Big Ben and alleged QB2s like Colin Kaepernick. For argument’s sake, they’re professional contemporaries with their fellow patrons, just like most of us are. Besides, it’s a bar pickup. They could be anything. I wouldn’t put it past Jay Cutler to tell girls he’s a bodybuilder, and when they look at him suspiciously he just takes a drag from his cigarette and with complete apathy says, “Google me.”

Fourth, it’s a standard, run-of-the-mill bar. A few taps, poor wine selection, makeshift dining-turns-dancefloor situation, and a good racial diversity. No one has home field advantage here. It’s like the bar version of a London game.

Finally, the POWER RANKING criterion has been set to the five areas below, each a factor that can pick up a girl when used properly. Tommy and I have independently judged, then averaged each one on a scale of 1-10 (ie.  Sam Bradford I think his looks are a 6, and Tommy lambasted him with a 1, so his looks rating is a 3.5). The aggregate of the five categories is your ranking, making for a highest possible score of 50:

  1. Looks – Basically it’s the shape and look of everything on your head. Not the strongest category for Eli.
  2. Physique – Height, build, conditioning. I like to refer to this as “The Brady Quinn Memorial” category.
  3. Fashion – This can offset a strong physique rating. Also, we’re looking at modern day attire. Peyton Manning is 39 years old. We can’t judge him for what he was wearing when Willenium dropped.
  4. Perceived personality – You could also call this the “brand management” category. When picking up a girl at a bar, you’re trying to present some “best” version of yourself because you know you’re being judged in a pressurized situation. It’s a lot like getting interviewed on national TV about your professional performance. Cam Newton is brash. Tyrod Taylor couldn’t swing brash, so he’s a persistent worker. Brian Hoyer’s brand is, “Brian Hoyer…C’mon, you’ve heard of me. I’m Brian Hoyer…No, Buh-rian, with a ‘B’…You know, forget it.”
  5. Confidence – The ultimate trump card. The “there’s something about this guy that I won’t regret finding out” swagger. Aaron Rodgers has it. Kirk Cousins is trying like hell to have it, and Joe Flacco doesn’t give 120.6 million craps whether he has it or not.

Tommy will be breaking down our NFC quaterbacks, and Dusty “Yours Truly” Riedesel will tackle the AFC. I haven’t discussed it with Tommy, but I’d like the trophy of this thing to be named after Joe Namath.

Game never stopped with that guy…onto the rankings!

Jay Cutler32. Jay Cutler, Bears – He’s got the goods. Tall, fit, great head of hair. But Jay Cutler thinks Jay Cutler has confidence in Jay Cutler, while everyone else just sees a guy that peaked in college. False bravado doesn’t bode well in a crowded bar environment. His best play is to hang out in the smoker-section, bumming cigarettes, sipping his vodka redbulls and picking up on the ladies who are still trying to party like they did in college…or maybe they still are in college.

Nick Foles31. Nick Foles, Rams– “Hey you look like Napoleon Dynamite!” “Hey you look like Donald Trump’s son!” “Hey you look like Mitt Romney’s son!” None of these are compliments. EAT YOUR FOOD TINA!


Eli Manning

30. Eli Manning, Giants – At first look he’s certainly not getting a second look from the ladies. Not to mention if he’s at the bar with his much more charismatic, slightly better looking, taller older brother. But its just something about this doofy-looking, moderately confident guy. He’ll definitely throw out some hail mary’s around 1:45AM and walk away with some surprising phone numbers…or more.

Sam Bradford29. Sam Bradford, Eagles – Really no redeeming qualities here. Not a good looking guy. Not in the greatest shape. Probably wearing matching sweats to the bar. Really not sure why he gets paid so much money to be so average at his job. In the words of Parks and Rec character Mona-Lisa Saperstein, “HARD PASS.”

Joe Flacco28. Joe Flacco, Ravens – Now here’s a guy, who is just a guy, you know? Is he a fun guy? A smart guy? A cool guy? Maybe he’s a crazy guy. Nope. He’s just a guy. You might think to yourself, well, maybe he want so be some kind of guy. You can think that, but you’d be wrong. He doesn’t think about anything. He is just a guy.


Matt Stafford27. Matthew Stafford, Lions – Rule #1 of beard growth: if you can’t round out the beard with the connecting mustache, then you have a chin strap. Chin straps are the cheapest form of birth control that money can’t buy. Combine that with over-confidence and you have a bro who’s definitely CRUSHING Bud heavies at the shuffleboard and getting put in an Uber by his fraternity brothers.

Ryan Fitzpatrick26. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jets – He went to Harvard. But without NFL media reminding you of that every time he plays, we don’t know if he’d be the cool “I had no idea you went to Harvard” type like Tommy Lee Jones. Or the “What’s for lunch today?…Sandwiches? I used to eat sandwiches at Harvard at least once a week” type. Probably the first kind. But his beard is about 3 centuries out of style, and he’s truly afraid of shirt collars.

Big Ben25. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers – ROLL OUT THE BARREL!!! HEYO! I’ll bet it’s a great time to go mucking around the bars with Big Ben. It’s a great time until that 27th beer and he starts talking about how Bill Cosby’s career is now under appreciated…He’s tall. No taking that away from him, but going the “Body by InBev” route is probably a mistake.

Jameis Winston24. Jameis Winston, Bucs – Neck up, not a bad looking dude. He rocks a sweet 90’s fade that just works. Neck down, the definition of skinny-fat. Sure he’s tall, but those baggy sweats aren’t fooling anyone. Confident but not the best speaker. If you’re a sucker for snow crab legs, he’s your guy. FHRITP.

Johnny Manziel23. Johnny Manziel, Browns – Is it okay to talk about Johnny and bars? Feels dicey….He looks like Harry Potter got on some PEDs and he acts like he’s part of the WWE (not a bad 2nd career plan for Mr. Football). He’s pretty low here in the Pickup Power Rankings, but I hope he doesn’t get shut down because, well, let’s just make sure the bouncer’s staying warm.

Derek Carr22. Derek Carr, Raiders – I only have one problem with Ol’ Raccoon Eyes, and it’s not the constant guyliner he was born with. It’s that he insists on doing that single-length buzzcut and then lets it grow out to the tennis ball stage for weeks at a time. His only shot in the bar is if it’s right across the street from his Great Clips appointment.

#21-#11 coming on Wednesday…SPOILER ALERT: Blake Bortles is there, so maybe just wait until we get to the top ten after Thanksgiving.

Rankings 32-22

My great grandpa invented Saran wrap,
Dusty “Unemployed” Riedesel


Becoming a Minnesota Timberwolves Fan: Tips on Properly Bandwagonning

Kansas Jayhawks basketball is one of maybe five things I truly love (possibly four if every retail video rental store is truly gone). Every year, on the first weekend of the NCAA March Madness tournament, my college buddies and I meet in Asheville, North Carolina to play golf in the morning and watch the tourney from lunch to lights out. These reunions take a pretty routine course each year. Jubilant greetings flow naturally into good natured ribbing around stories we’ve told dozens of times. I should mention that most of these guys—myself not included—are hardcore Kentucky Wildcat fans, so usually sometime around dinner, we start fighting about the indefinable morality of how John Calipari  runs a college basketball program. I usually start out sensibly, comparing him to Dr. Doom, Stalin and Hitler, because even though Cal is pure evil, there’s no denying he’s been successful. But at some point after the brilliant analogies, objectivity is lost and our individual fanhood warps us all into completely biased propaganda Gatling guns shooting for each other’s heads. The arguments get personal and put a very real wedge of negativity between our friendships for the remainder of the trip.

It’s my favorite weekend of every year.

Still, my friends and I are hitting our thirties now. It’s time to let go of petty allegiances. I recognize that a Jayhawks fan can be a better human being while still respecting that a Wildcats fan is a kind of human being in their own right. It’s time to reach across the aisle at the next level and bond on common ground. That next level is the NBA, that common ground is the Minnesota Timberwolves. That’s where me and my buddies are going to grow up in a more respectable fashion over the next decade. Back-to-back first rounders Karl Towns of UK and Andrew Wiggins of KU are exactly what we need. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship that aligns our friendships with our fanships. The only real problem here is a classic one. How do you make the successful trip into a fan base without everyone saying you arrived via dreaded transport, the bandwagon?  Here’s some guidelines.

1. The first rule of bandwaggoning is to not talk about bandwaggoning. – No one was actually a T-Wolves fan prior to 2014. I don’t mean no one in my friend group, I mean no one in America. Until last year, the only traffic on Canis Hoopus was Ricky Rubio’s (probably charming) family. So when current T-Wolves fans talk to each other, we all know that the other person is lying to us about their decades of loyalty, but it’s very important to not acknowledge their lie or they’ll call you out as a bandwagon fibber too. It’s a lot like talking about your sexual conquests when you’re a freshman in high school. Third base? You mean my steady Tuesday night?

2. Have a relevant take on the “bigger than the sport” event surrounding the team. – You know when your significant other gives you a benign task like watering a $3 plant or paying attention to your children? And you let that responsibility slide for, like, maybe a few minutes or days, and suddenly a thirsty flower is a huge indictment about how you’ve given up and don’t love her anymore? The “bigger than the sport” topic is like that. True love goes the extra mile. Each team has something like this. Deflategate and Donald Sterling’s racist comments are some easy ones to recall. If you’re a fan of the Patriots or Clippers, you have to have a take on those topics. For Wolves fans in 2015, you need a relevant opinion on Flip Saunders, which honestly is one of the easiest “bigger than the sport” opinions to have. Guy was a Golden Gopher, coached through the Kevin Garnett years, drafted Karl Towns, and he made that deal for Wiggins. He’s directly tied to almost 90% of the moments that made Wolves’ fans smile. RIP Flip. Were there some horribly laughable moments of executive buffoonery in there too? Shut your mouth, you monster. Flip’s a hero.

3. Know the whole roster. – This seems like a no brainer, but it’s really about capitalizing on the market inefficiencies in Wolves convos. Lots of people will be able to say they knew Towns was special while he was at UK, but far fewer will be talking about how excited they were for Nemanja Bjelica’s stretch-four potential when he looked like “shit-you-not the next Dirk Nowitzki” in FIBA Eurobasket this past summer.

4. Buy some gear. – Sure, you’re pressing a little bit. It’s like buying her jewelry on a third date. Do you really want to make a financial commitment this early in the relationship? But we’re not talking season tickets here. We’re talking about a tasteful level of commitment that says, “I’m serious enough that you don’t need to feel bad about moving things along a little faster than normal because I’m going to be around months from now, even if you go a little crazy and end up missing the playoffs.” You know, something like an Andrew Wiggins t-shirt jersey, just because you were watching his highlights of that that 33-point outburst against the Hawks all day long and wanted to do something nice for him.

5. Finally, repeat after me, “I’ve always liked the Timberwolves.” – The ultimate bandwagon defense. You’ve been on this corner for years. It started when you were six years old and just thought wolves were cool. Worst day of your life was that move in middle school where you lost your Starter jacket. But you owned it. You were mistakenly excited for the Christian Laettner era and happily surprised when it transformed into the Kevin Garnett era. You don’t care what Steph Curry is doing, because the best shooter you’ve ever seen is Wally Szczerbiak, and hell yes you can spell his name without Google ( It starts with four completely insane consonants and is an indomitable trump card, btw. It gives you historical props and infers that your opponent is an illiterate chump).

For good measure, you’ll probably want to keep Tony Campbell and the Metrodome in your back pocket. People respect that year one crap. Here’s to my favorite team. Let’s have a great season!

Pouring one out for Malik Sealy,
Dusty “The Little Ticket” Riedesel

Men Emotionally Mature 11 Years After Women. 30 Maturity Checks for Turning 30

I turn 30 this Monday. Does that make me a man? Rhetorical question. I’d like to believe I’ve been a man for a while, but it turns out that men’s brains don’t stop emotionally maturing until an average age of 43. Women are emotionally mature at an average age of 32, and then they just go on enduring us until we catch up. So here’s an emotional check in on how I’m doing with the top 30 maturity failings at the age of 30. Now, this list was done by the British, so it’s not perfect, but bear with me. We’ll keep a tally with a (+) for what I’m still doing or a (-) what I’m now too mature for. Yes, I’m putting emotional maturity in the (-) column. Call it a prediction. But first, let’s experience 29 one last time:


1.Finding their own farts and burps hilarious – I’ve never been world class at either of these things, but I do like doing things like saying with utter sincerity, “I know exactly how I feel about that.” Then standing up, and farting. (+)

2.Eating fast food at 2:00am – It was a bag of Dorito’s a week ago. Probably still counts. (+)

3.Playing videogames – Sent an email out with NBA2K16 and the Uncharted Collection on my wish list just two days ago. (+)

4.Driving too fast or ‘racing’ another car at the lights or on the motorway – I never do this. Partially because I have a horrible driving record that I’m trying to balance out, and partially because I’m a huge wuss. (-)

5.Sniggering a bit at rude words – Only when no one is getting their feelings hurt. I hate hurt feelings. (-)

6.Driving with loud music – I’m a podcast guy now. (-)

7.Playing practical jokes – I love practical jokes. I’m also too lazy to play them. I win this one by accident. (-)

8.Trying to beat children at games and sport – What am I supposed to do? Give them a participation trophy too? (+)

9.Staying silent during an argument – I’m only staying silent so that it doesn’t become an argument. (+)

10.Not being able to cook simple meals – Please. I’ve self-glossed myself “The Kitchen Renegade” because simple meals are too simple. But I can definitely do them. (+)

11.Re-telling the same silly jokes and stories when with the lads – It’s called friendship. If I’m not retelling a story with you, it’s because we have no stories memorable enough to revisit. (+)

12.Don’t like talking about themselves/ having proper conversations – Did I ever tell you about the time I learned a valuable life lesson? (-)

13.Hating books/reading because of short attention span/they’re boring – Do audio and comic books count? (-)

14.Doing crazy dance moves – A lack of grace doesn’t make them crazy. (-)

15.Mum still doing their washing – Only when I’m home for the holidays. She’s doing dad’s anyways. (-)

16.Having their Mum still make them breakfast/any meal – Maybe this isn’t clear. She’s 1,070 miles away. (-)

17.Wearing trainers to night clubs – I don’t know what trainers are. And I don’t go to nightclubs. I go to bars. (-)

18.Owning a skateboard or BMX – Skills I don’t have. (-)

19.Not eating vegetables – Ever heard of lettuce on a hamburger? (-)

20.Changing jobs regularly – If I get fired in the next year, I’ll change this to a plus. (-)

21.Getting too excited over stag do’s – I have no idea what this means. (-)

22.Sometimes trying to do wheelies/stunts on their bike – I assume this is what movies Death Wish through Death Wish V: The Face of Death were about. (-)

23.Driving a modified car or one with a loud exhaust/boy racer – Car costs too much as it is. (-)

24.Showing off about how girls are attracted to them – There’s a very important qualifier to being able to do that. (-)

25.Wearing pyjamas, specifically cartoon pyjamas – Superfluous clothing is not my bag. (-)

26.Using dodgy chat-up lines – I may be misinterpreting, but I think I love this. (+)

27.Showing off about protein shakes/weight-lifting/how much they ‘lift’ – Duh, and hello! I’m a man aren’t I? Could a non-man bench all this weight!? (+)

28.Littering – I won’t even joke about littering. Not cool. (-)

29.Wearing saggy-crotched jeans – “Uh, cause I need the clearance, bro.” (-)

30.Having a cartoon bedspread – Girlfriend picked the spread. (-)

Stunning performance here. Prior to going through the list, I’d have expected to be above .500. Only 9 out of 30. But if I’m being honest, I don’t see those 9 going anywhere soon.

Tally up your own and let me know where you’re at in the comments or on Facebook.

Tommy Gets Married; Thoughts About Love, Commitment and Proactively Washing Dishes

My co-blogger Thomas Cooksey got married this past Friday. The wedding had the usual wedding stuff like vows, speeches, prayers, food, wine, friends, kisses, and at the core of it all, a husband and a wife. But it was all done at a very high level here, which is really all you can ask from a wedding. The rituals are nice, but any five year old can draw a picture. It takes care and execution to make art. And that’s the unusual wedding stuff like sincerity, some risky jokes, poignancy, chicken and waffle appetizers, generous pours, friends, passion, and at the core of it all, honest-to-God true love.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about commitment. Two weddings in 24 hours will do that. I mean, if half of marriages are ending in divorce, then it’s reasonable to say that commitment, while maybe not more valuable, is certainly more rare than love, possibly more precious. It’s odd that commitment requires something like death to be proven. They put that “death do us part” right there in the middle of vows, and that grim certainty is really the best case scenario. It’s probably the weirdest thing about commitment, that you pray you never have to prove the “for worse” part even as you vow it. Love is easy by comparison. Love is warm meals, comforting hugs, and good sex. Commitment is something else. It’s like an airbag. You hope that you always get to just assume it works. And maybe it’s ultimately like a fighter saying they’ve given all they had. That last punch had better of knocked you out, or how do you know? Any other loss means you could have done things differently.

I don’t think people like thinking about that side of marriage. And I don’t blame them. But most of life exists as a string of contingency preparations. I make a lunch in the morning for a hunger I’ll feel at noon. I place a portion of my paycheck into a retirement account for when I’m too old to want/need to earn more. I change my car’s oil, make insurance payments, wash my clothes, go to the gym, and do a million other mundane activities so that my life can move along smoothly and I don’t have to think thoughts like, “Am I going to die with a heart full of regret?” That’s what real commitment has to be, maintenance to prevent breakdown. That’s real passion, staving off the rust. Ambition often looks like fear, because success isn’t that different from non-failure.

Five years ago, I know I didn’t like those ideas very much. But that’s just the procrastinator in me, the same kid who would eat cereal out of a Tupperware container instead of proactively washing his dishes. Nowadays, the idea of process actually seems more sensible, and in some ways, romantic. Save $1,000 a month or win the lottery. They can both make you a millionaire, but only one of them is your creation. Pushing chocolates, fixing dinners, walking the dog. A hundred actions repeated over thousands of days to keep the machine running. Walks to prevent heart failure. Long walks with conversation to prevent failures of the heart.

A couple years ago, Thomas Cooksey had this picture as the banner of his Facebook page:

I’ve known Tommy a while now, and I think it’s safe to say that he gets it. He’s probably always understood this thing that took me running out of Tupperware several times to understand. For that, buddy, I’m proud of you, and I wish you and Annie both the best.

The Best thing to come from True Detective Season 2

Let me start by saying that I’ve legitimately enjoyed True Detective‘s second season. It’s kind of a moot point because I’ll watch anything with Rachel McAdams. I think we always knew this second season wasn’t going to be as good as the first, but it’s the usual flat-circle bullcrap when our human inability to perceive the fourth dimension of time has us sticking with a bad show because it might get better, and saying things like, “Season 1 started slow too.”

It hasn’t gotten better. It’s been slow, and mostly boring. Watching Vince Vaughn on Jimmy Fallon after 6 episodes of True D reminds you how neutered his personality is here.  Season 2 makes you miss Rust and Marty. One was smart, and the other was steady. Rust relapsed into drugs like it was the second coming of Christ, and Marty had an inexplicable knack for philandering in areas that should have been well beyond his service coverage. It’s sad that they’re not around anymore, but aren’t they always around, because now is happening at the same time as then? Rust always knew. He was smart. Marty’s just finding out, and it rocks him to his steady core.