Monthly Archives: April 2012

Preparing Against Failure: A Complete, Iron-Clad, Pre-Marital Checklist

I was recently, randomly, and mostly against my will, forced to think about marriage.  A coworker of mine (who will remain unnamed because the following conversation makes us both look like tards), asked me if I was ready to get married.  As I typically do with overwhelmingly important topics, I gaffed at it by saying, “Not a chance.”  A salesman born, my colleague followed up by restating, “But she’s the right one?”  Why, nameless colleague? Why?

“I guess if I knew the answer to that, I’d be ready to get married.”  Case closed.

What bothered me about this exchange wasn’t the personal nature of the topic (I actually love getting over-personal), it was the complete lack of criteria within which the conversation took place.  Am I ready?  Is she right?  Those sound like questions that will be better-fielded by future Dusty, no matter when they’re asked.  Oddly enough, the defining statement related to this “hindsight is 20/20” mindset came from my current girlfriend who opined, “You never truly know someone until they do the thing you thought they’d never do.”  In other words, you will never know if you made a bad decision until it’s too late.  High-quality and completely unhelpful truth bomb from my lady friend.  There aren’t enough clit-lit questionnaires to tell a woman when that will happen, and I don’t even know where a man references these kinds of relational queries.  My thoughts on sound relational decisions?  Nothing premeditated unfortunately. When I’m selling or advising, I often try to work in the question, “What’s your process for evaluating important decisions in your life?”  The irony is that I have no such process for anything, especially something like marriage.

Until now.

I’m going to give you the ultimate, unsubstantiated, pre-marital checklist from the male perspective.  If you can agree with 100% of the statements below, then you’re with the right girl, and you’re ready.  Before reading this list, it’s important for you to remember that I’m 26-years-old with nearly zero life experience.  I’m like Will Hunting with the brain of a normal person.  That disclaimer aside, there’s no way this checklist shouldn’t be a mandatory questionnaire during pre-marital counseling (also, this is written for a straight man, or the “butch” looking to be in a gay pseudo-marriage).

  • You’ve had at least 37 make-out sessions lasting over 15 seconds
  • You knocked those out in the first 45 days of dating
  • She doesn’t hate animals
  • You don’t hate animals (or if you do, you plan to never have children)
  • ŸYou and her see eye-to-eye on the “kids” thing
  • You’ve met her parents, and they’re tolerableŸ
  • She doesn’t revert into a pre-teen drama queen around said parents (ie. “deal-breaking revertigo”)
  • You farted in front of her before she ever farted in front of you
  • She thinks Archer is a funny television show
  • She at least pretends to enjoy watching your favorite sports team between 5-10 times per year
  • She cooks
  • On general topics, she has requests instead of demands (if someone “demands” that the toilet paper roll faces a certain direction, they don’t know how to value another human being)
  • You’ve stood by her as she went through a crisis
  • ŸShe stood by you as you went through a crisis
  • She doesn’t force you to watch shows on the CW (unless you want to, then that’s different)
  • You don’t lie to her about enjoying things like CW shows to appease her
  • You don’t lie to her
  • She doesn’t park in handicap spots
  • She’s frustrated that Two and Half Men was ever popular
  • She was never agnostic for longer than 4 years. That’s just not trying
  • You haven’t bought a video game in 6 months
  • You know what an emergency fund is and have actually funded it
  • She finds you interesting
  • Honestly, she actually is super-interested by your personality
  • You checked both those boxes above
  • Neither you nor her thought this was credible in any way

Helping you get out of your own way,
Dusty “The Real Hitch” Riedesel

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NBA Playoff Beards: The Best and The Worst

With Tommy’s permission, Dusty will be commenting in these italics throughout the article (in fact, this is Dusty doing that now). I couldn’t help but talking about beards and the NBA, probably both in the my top ten topics if you ever broke down my personal zeitgeist by “time spent discussing.” Anyway, I’ll hand it back to Tommy…

Fact: I’ve only shaved my face with an actual blade 3 times in the last 2 years. Once was for a job interview. The second was for my Ace Ventura Halloween costume. The third was out of boredom I think.
Dusty – I personally think the third time is because he was so overwhlemed by the best start-up video of the year. (Tommy again…this is actually true).

Needless to say facial hair is a part of my life. In fact, I can only count a few times when I’ve seen my old man with anything less than a mustache. It’s a testament as a man to don a healthy beard. Among other things its something that separates us from the fairer sex. A well put-together beard says “I’m rugged, but I also pay attention to the details.”
Dusty – Schockingly, we are not sponsored by the Gillette  Fusion Proglide Styler.

I also have a love of sports and the superstitions that inevitably come with them. I wouldn’t call myself superstitious per se, but in the words of Michael Scott, “I’m a little-stitous.” Either way, I love the annual hockey playoff beards that come out this time of year. I even grow one myself and it unites me with my team in some weird way.

I started thinking, “You don’t really see a playoff beard in the NBA.” Why? I don’t have an answer for that. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some powerful (and shameful) facial hair(s?) on display in the NBA. Below is a collection of the Best and Worst facial hair examples in the NBA.

Worst:

3rd: LeBron James – Dude, LeBron. Come on. Its like he wants a perfectly oval face and as his hair line fades back, he shaves his beard further down his face. It’s getting dangerously close to being a Neard. The Neard is not a good look for anyone, regardless of how much money you have. I’m trying to think of a beard joke that integrates not being able to finish the 4th quarter, but I’m drawing a blank. Dusty..anything?
Dusty – I have to admit a lack of objectivity when it comes to The Basketball Judas LeBron started growing facial hair at roughly the same time he started eating solid foods. He has the talent to be the greatest beard grower of all-time! Instead, we get a neard. It’s no coincidence that this neard didn’t come out until after he left Cleveland. His facial hair is the physical manifestation of his lost soul.

2nd: Kendrick Perkins – Hey Kendrick, you got your body into incredible shape (no homo), your game is average (more intimidation than raw basketball talent) but what the hell is that enormous, black cotton ball dangling off of your chin? It looks like all of the hair on your face melted together and slid down to your chin and decided it was the most fertile ground. The last time this type of intentional facial hair design was the Egyptians in 1000 B.C. My personal opinion, you’d look much better with a handle bar mustache. Pullin for you guys in the playoffs though buddy.
Dusty – Perk’s beard (I use the term loosely) is the single reason that Blake Griffin did this to him.

1st:  Joakim Noah – Where do I start? Let’s start at the point where the parts of your beard connect…wait…that’s impossible. This beard is like the “State” of Hawaii – a bunch of random shaped patches that don’t actually touch anywhere. (That’s slightly redundant since the definition of an island is a body of land surround by water, but you get my point). Here’s my advice, watch the video in the first link of this post, invest $1 a month and never grow facial hair again. Unless you’re dressing up as a gay French man for Halloween and you just want to let that weak mustache grow.
Dusty – I feel like if someone played word association with me, my insta-response to “French” would be “gay” (which is odd since I’ve never known a single French person). In all fairness to Joakim, his hair and face are so ugly that you barely notice the beard…check out this “fun with Noah’s hair article.

Best:

3rd: Barron Davis – The modern day Baron has dialed the beard back a bit for  more of the John Legend look. But the Baron of old had a luscious beard that was equal parts Kimbo Slice and Rick Ross. If you put some big shades on Baron, he would look just like that ENORMOUS gold face Rick Ross wears around his neck. Look at the picture below. Much like our favorite beard of all time, Chuck Norris, “Even Baron’s beard has its own sweat glands”
Dusty – Baron’s beard guy coined the term “perfectly coiffed.” His beard is actually a great foil to LeBron’s neard. Physically out of shape and loafing through the regular season, Baron’s beard displays his inner confidence that has always made him great in the clutch.

2nd: Kevin Love – Well done, sir. Well done indeed. A threat every night for a double double. You’ve slimmed down, grew your hair out and stopped growing that damn chin strap line beard that probably got you laid by hundreds of Asian girls at UCLA. This beard isn’t particularly great by any stretch. So why is it number 2? I like to refer to this as the Every-Man’s beard. It just looks natural and unkempt like any average guy you might see (read: me and Dusty) who has decided to embrace his inner Bohemian and rock a beard with his t-shirt, jeans and a PBR.
Dusty – An every-man’s beard in the NBA is about as rare as, well, a good white player in the NBA. Rarefied with commonality, Kevin Love has the diamond of NBA beards…and as far as I’m concerned, it’s conflict-free.

1st: James Harden – I know what you’re thinking. “Damn, why is that picture below so big?” The answer: A beard that big deserves the full size picture that I copied from someone else’s website. Most people have a face with a beard. This is a damn BEARD with a face. It’s so perfectly groomed all while being Paul Bunyan long. It’s like he doesn’t even have a mouth until he has something to say, like his beard is actually talking to you. Combine that with the baux-hawk (black guy faux-hawk) – which was really big about 2 years ago and you have a man who is making a statement with the hair God blessed him with. “I’m a love, not a fighter. But my beard will kick your ass. So don’t mess with us.”
Dusty – Classic case of the beard growing the man. James Harden has improved every year in the NBA. Causal explanation? His beard’s been getting longer and thicker (I have a theory about dingleberries being beard Viagra, but the theory is actually more vulgar than that synopsis). I drop my razor to you, Mr. Harden.


As a special bonus…this guy isn’t even in the Association anymore and probably never should have been. But his facial hair, hair, fatness and overall face are just too much to leave off of this list.

Adam Morrison – I’m laughing too hard at this to even make a comment. This is a staged photo. He showed up to have his picture taken, for his player profile with this on his face. Question 1: Why is it so uneven? Question 2: If you touch it, will it bite you? The female cashier at WalMart had a more complete and better groomed goatee than this. Poor guy. I wish you the best of luck in Germany, Kazakistan or wherever you’re playing (or not) in the world today.
Dusty – No words, just emotions.

Thinking about growing a ‘stache,

tc

The Male Playbook – “The Tony Robbins”

When push comes to shove, men don’t always answer the bell. For reasons that aren’t crystal clear, we don’t always give 110%. So when the going gets tough and no one’s tough enough to get going, what do you do? For starters, don’t rely on clichés. While it’s true that you can answer 99.8% of all sports-related questions with clichés, they’re too narrow in focus to turn an emotional tide. Instead, motivate the troops with a full-blown, perfectly-composed, motivational speech. Motivate them with “The Tony Robbins.”

The Tony Robbins is one of the most important plays to master. It successfully captures the aggregate emotion of all the greatest motivational speeches, and it does so within an easily replicated, functional blueprint that will allow you to spur on any lackluster group. So whether it’s convincing your friend to have the heart to embrace single life, getting the guys to find the stomach to eat every last rib at all-you-can-eat rib night, or giving the team an emotional leg-up on the competition, The Tony Robbins is there to give negativity .

Every great emotional speech follows this three-prong layout. Memorize and execute:

Prong 1: Calmly state the bleak facts.

  • If you break up with her, you may not see any action for months.
  • Maybe this rib joint does have 10,000 more ribs in the back.
  • Sure they’re stronger and grow more facial hair than we do. But you know what….

Prong 2: Excitedly cite intangibles and act as if they can’t fail.

  • …I know from experience that freedom makes an excellent lover!…
  •  …Last time I checked, the heart doesn’t say, “I’m full.”…
  • …I think we got a stronger spirit, and it’s time to grow some balls!…

Prong 3: Get the crowd to commit, physically or verbally. 

  • …Now shout it like you mean it, “FREEEEEEEEEEDOOOOM!!!”
  • …I want my baby back baby back baby back, I want my baby back (keep going until they’re singing with you).
  • …[really anything in this situation. I personally opt for the Titans warmp-up].

And there you have it. In less than a minute, you can turn a room full of despair into a cauldron of positive energy. To demonstrate the flexibility of The Tony Robbins, Watch this YouTube clip:

Dr. Tom – The Essential Summer Playlist (Part 2): P.A.R.T.Y?

Last week we discussed some crusin’ tunes: Dr. Tom – The Essential Summer Playlist (Part 1): Cruisin’ Tunes

Now it’s time to talk about how to set the perfect tone for your Friday night party/pregame/whatever. Let’s be honest, a party without (good) music is like a hamburger without cheese or a cherry Pop Tart with out butter…it’s useless and only enjoyed by people who are lactose intolerant. I have a couple of good friends who aid me in my musical discoveries. My buddy Nick has a playlist for EVERYTHING. I don’t mean that figuratively, I mean that extremely literally, and its awesome. Having an 80’s party? Check. Having a rager? Check. Barn party? Check. If you grew up in a city you have no idea what a barn part is, and the rest of us forgive you.

My other good friend is Tom. In college Tom unknowingly effected me for the rest of my life with one single quote. He was huge on having music always playing at his parties and would adjust it to the mood of the party. At one point during a party, someone paused the music by mistake and almost instantly followed by Tom shouting “What the hell is this silence? I’d rather listen to Bette Midler than this silence!” I’ve since quoted him on this at least 50 times over the last several years, because I also couldn’t agree more.

I preface it this way, because the music at your parties is probably terrible. You put on a mix of Top 40 and Nickelback or simply turn your Kenny Chesney Pandora station on, and leave the ambiance of your tunes to complete chance. I’m gonna share 4 solid songs that I promise people will tap their toe, nod their head or get down to in your living room/garage this summer. (Spoiler alert: I’m also going to give you 3 bonus songs).

1. fun. – “Some Nights” – At this point everyone and their mother (and I mean that literally) has heard “We Are Young,” which in it’s own right makes it a solid party choice with inevitable sing-a-long-ability. But let’s be original and interesting and make the cute girl you invited say “This band sounds familiar, who is this?” and you can woo her with your in depth musical knowledge which extends beyond the current hit. You’re welcome. “Some Nights” is so reminiscent of a modern day Freddie Mercury and Queen and is probably going to be the next single from the album. So get on it now.

2. Childish Gambino – “Heartbeat” – It starts off slowly and you’ll think, Dr. Tom this isn’t the right prescription. And then 49 seconds in, you’ll say, “Thank you.” Not sure if I can use any other word to explain this song other than sexy. So I’ll leave it at that. Disclaimer: He doesn’t use a sensor when writing these lyrics.

3. Skrillex (The Doors Mashup) – “Breakin a Sweat” Ok ok ok, it’s dubstep. You’ve heard about it. Maybe you like it, maybe not. I had a serious debate with my buddy Quint about whether or not it is actually “music.” Personally, I don’t care because it sounds awesome and its perfect for your Friday night party. Besides it blends new wave music with The Doors, I mean…come on. If you’ve never seen the movie “The Doors” see it. But at 2:38 in this song you hear Morisson himself talking about the future of music 40+ years earlier. This won’t let you down. Scout’s honor (I wasn’t a Boy Scout, so that is an empty promise).

4. Head Automatica – “Beating Heart Baby” – Another dance jingle for you. It has a cowbell in it. Need I say more?

BONUS ROUND!

These next 3 songs are because I care about your well-being and popularity amongst your peers. I’m kinda like the doctor who “over-prescribes” your aderall so you’re free to share. (I’m not an actual Dr. and don’t recommend this).

The theme of these extra three songs are songs we were probably too young to actually drink and party to, but EVERYONE at your party will know them and sing along happily. A little nostalgia mixed with some alcohol is ALWAYS a good thing. Save these for after the power hour.

5. Blink 182 – “Damnit” – You know the band. You know the song. And you know that you were younger than 15 when it came out. If you were drinking at 12, then me and your family would like to invite you to a show called Intervention. Crank this at your party, everyone will know it, everyone will sing it and if the don’t, please uninvite them to future parties.

6. Wheatus – “Teenage Dirtbag” – I threw this in here because for some reason I’ve always liked it. It’s not even that good of a song, honestly. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I was kinda a nerd, or I like the movie Loser (no idea why). I just really wished we all still dressed like this. And who wouldn’t wanna be the guy in the band who plays nothing but simple hand instruments that no one hears? (maracas, tambourine, etc).

7. Chumbawamba – “Tubthumping” – My cousin dubbed this onto a tape when I was in 8th grade and I played this song on my Walkman until the tape actually ripped. Then I’d dance awkwardly at 8th grade dances with girls that I was too afraid to talk to with this song in the background. They talk about drinking multiple types of alcohol in this song…why were they playing it at an 8th grade dance? Anyway…drink a whiskey drink, drink a vodka drink, drink a lager drink, drink a cider drink (damn that’s redundant) sing the songs that remind you of the good times, and get up again.

Next up – Pool/Beach songs.

Party on Garth,

tc “Wayne”

 

 

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

How old where you when your first dream died?

It’s an uncomfortable question.  It admits failure and implies disappointment. But I don’t know a single person that doesn’t have an answer. Perhaps you count the instant you found out that Santa Claus was a hoax. Maybe it was a surprising death. The answer I hear most often to this question is the answerers particular experience of finding out they can’t be whatever they want to be. Maybe that’s my fault because that’s the context in which I answer the question, so related conversation is usually the prompt for me to ask it in the first place.

I was 13 when I realized I wouldn’t be able to be a pro basketball player. I was 16 when I verbally admitted it to another person. I had been a good ball-player as a child and figured with a lot of practice and a few breaks, I could play in the NBA. I was mostly just naïve. The moment came all at once, and I knew I was born for sales instead of sports (My dream actually withered from athlete to commentator to writer to sales, but who’s nitpicking?). I had about 12 points in the first 15 minutes of an AAU game. I was a 6’2” 13-yr-old being guarded by a stocky kid who would simply never be able to block my shot. The other team’s coach decided to make a change. He placed a gangly black kid with grace and wings to cover me. The kid was beautiful. He glided along the floor like a bird in flight, and he immediately enjoyed calling me “Cake”, a diss that still stings even though I still don’t understand it. He shut me down. Completely. My first real dream was murdered by some nameless kid from Oklahoma with no offensive skill set. I wonder what he does now? Maybe he’s in the management program at Enterprise (great corporate structure). Maybe he’s dead.

It took me a few humbling years to admit I wasn’t as good as I wished I was. Those birds showed up in more and more games, and they simply had athletic gifts that I did not. Basic white-guy problems, really (right up there with having too much sway in marketing demographics). I get it now. I was a fairly coordinated kid with inflated hopes because I grew too much on the front-end of life (there’s enough evidence to prove it’s better to hit your growth spurt later. See Michael Jordan, and more recently, see Anthony Davis). But that failure, that disappointment, was probably the beginning of the best thing I’ve ever learned.

You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need 

That naïve kid had the right drive and the wrong directions. Turns out that desire to play basketball wasn’t meant to put me in the NBA, but the game still took me somewhere. I played basketball through college and met three of my closest friends on that basketball team. One of those guys referred me to a job in North Carolina after school. I still work for that company, and I’m betting a lot of you reading this right now wouldn’t be reading this if I hadn’t taken that job. Hell, I wouldn’t be writing it.

How old was I when my first dream died? Old enough to get what I needed. God bless providence.

dr

A Single Man’s Case for Cats

Which girl would you rather date?

Girl A – She loves you unconditionally. Seriously, unless you’re the kind of evil that persistently hits loved ones, nothing will stop her from loving you. In fact, your biggest problem is that she wants you around ALL THE TIME, and if she doesn’t see you at least twice a day, she is literally going to shit (and leave you to clean it up). You can’t go out with your buddies at night unless you stop in and see her after work first. And if you crash at a buddy’s place, then you can’t go to work the next morning (or lunch on a Saturday) unless you go see her first.  There’s upside though. She’s completely enthusiastic about doing whatever you want to do, and if you’re patient with her learning curve, she’ll eventually do things exactly how you want them done. Laundry, cooking and cleaning will be done and done right. There’s just that incessant need to have you around that will never go away (in fact, you can only go on a business trip if you’ve arranged for her sister to come stay with her while you’re gone).

Girl B – She does not love you unconditionally. In fact, if you’re violent to her even once, she’s probably never going to sleep with you again. She needs very little attention. And while praises and compliments seem like pointless gestures to her, she does depend on you. As long as you treat her to a few meals a week, she is loyal. She will sleep with you every night, but isn’t much of a snuggler. She’s incredibly clean, but rarely cares about what you want to do. You want to watch the ballgame? She’s not going to bother you in the middle of the 4th quarter. You want to spend time with her? Maybe she will and maybe she won’t (just depends if the beat of her own drummer falls in line with your step). If you need compliments rained down on your ego, you’re probably not going to get them from her. But she does love you.

Girl A is a dog.
Girl B is a cat.

I believe that blind, needy love is stupid, even though it also seems idyllic (if everyone lived this way, wouldn’t it work?) And for the record, I’m completely guilty of saying, “The worst thing about cats is that they’re not dogs.” What can I say? I was young and had never been completely responsible for a pet. In January of 2010, I bought a cat for my then girlfriend. We broke up a few months later and she moved to London. And that’s how I came to own a cat named Feginn (it’s Icelandic for “happy”, and less importantly, it’s easily mutated into “Faginn” by my most meat-headed (and hilarious) friends). Truth be told, I’d like everyone to love Feginn (aka: Lion of Raleigh) the way that I love him, but it simply isn’t possible. Loving your pets is like loving your children; it’s too personal to share.

The real reason I’ve thought about this is because it sucks (though mildly entertaining) to have other people instantly judge you for being a man who  is both single and owns a cat. I really don’t know why the ideal American male’s pet is a dog. Both pets serve to improve the quality of human life. Both have rich histories with  human race and religion. My guess is that the dog, for centuries, served a more utilitarian purpose by hunting, guarding, working and competing. These were masculine, day-to-day duties that the dog not only assisted in, but loved. The cat? C’mon, all it did was sit on the lap of rich dudes who paid for human guards, workers, chefs and sport.

Dogs will always be ostensibly cool. But logically, the cat makes a better, modern pet...unless you live in Alaska.

News flash to every friend I have. American life in the 21st century has made nearly all of us rich dudes who pay for human protection, work, food preparation (eat pizza much?) and sport. The amount of work an indoor dog requires (feeding, walking, training, etc) used to be completely worth it for the benefits of companionship. Now, you get the same upside with a cat without any of the work.Maybe you like the  begging and whimpering every time you try to enjoy chicken wings on NFL Sunday. Maybe you like giving baths and taking mandatory walks (cats don’t need a euphemism for no defecating in improper places). Maybe you just want to have an animal that always needs you around. If so, excellent choice on the dog. I suspect that my opinions will change if I am married and have a family. Unconditional love of a being who wants me around seems to fit the flow of marital devotion. But now?

Jerry Seinfeld used to make a joke about women where he’d say, “Men want the same thing from their underwear that they want from women: a little bit of support, and a little bit of freedom.” The dog is pure support, a pet for the brief-wearing man of yestyear. And there’s really nothing wrong with that. But I’ll take girl B.

Striking a balance,
Dustin “Boxer-Briefs” Riedesel

Erring On The Side Of Caution

 

 

 

 

A few things I’ve learned in my first quarter life:

Never insult a white man’s W2.
Never insult a black man’s mamma.
Never insult a black woman. Period.

Never call a fat girl fat.
Never call a small man weak.
Never say you know when you don’t.

Never stay up past 2am.
Never eat after 8pm if you can avoid it.
Never try to justify smoking a cigarette.

Never act better than others, even if you are.
Never take what’s not yours, even if you can.
Never suffer any fools, even though they’re there.

Never pick a girl over a friend.
Never pick a girl that isn’t a friend.
Never pick a girlfriend that isn’t a girl.

Never drink from the wrong side of the glass.
Never smell a friend’s fingers.
Never ask what “updog” or “dickfor” are.

Never take any of this too seriously.