Category: AskMen

Update on Advice-Giving Activities at AskMen and HeTexted

So, I’ve been busy lately, in a good way. “Man to Man” over at AskMen is doing pretty well. The questions have gotten more interesting, both for me and for the readers. I’m bummed that they don’t yet have comments up and running, because it would be great to get feedback and be able to interact with readers. I guess if you want to join in the discussion, for now you can like me on Facebook and follow me on twitter. If you missed the previous three installments, Links are below:

Why do people change?

Ian, I like your commentary. Riddle me this:

Why do people change? It seems that when I get involved with a woman and it turns into a long-term relationship (1+ year), they change! Either they get comfortable, gain weight, become tired all the time (leading to less sex), become more curt,or sensitive to things that I do or say, etc. I feel like I stay pretty stable in body/mind in the long term, but many women I have been involved with long term change on me. Is it my perception? Do you notice this in yourself or others? Is it a natural human evolution over a period of years or lifetime?

Thanks!

Yeah, that guy had an air of douche about him, but I go over it in pretty good detail.

Being the last Man on Earth

Ian,

My buddy and I were talking about what would happen if you were the last man on earth. Like, one day you wake up and you’re the only one. He thinks it would be tedious and exhausting because you’d be the biggest celebrity in the world. I think having the “responsibility” of repopulating the world would make it worth it. What do you think?

Matt

This was a fun one. I liked working through a hypothetical like that. I wish I got more of those questions.

Why can’t I produce restaurant-quality food at home?

Hey Ian,

So I’ve recently been living on my own and trying to save some cash by taking your advice and cooking more of my own food. The problem is, I can’t seem to touch the flavor of anything I get in a restaurant. I follow recipes to the letter, I have some decent gear, and I’ve even looked up “copycat” recipes for dishes I love. Still, I’m falling short. Any ideas? Am I just not good enough of a cook yet? I don’t know anyone in the restaurant business to ask. There’s no reason why I can’t produce something equally as delicious, right?

-Ryan

This was another fun one, and something I think a lot of people wonder themselves (I know I used to). Anyway, keep ’em coming. Send all questions to me at theianlang@gmail.com

In other fun news, there have been some changes over at HeTexted. The site got a huge facelift, for one, and they’ve also added some new features. Now, when you ask me or another bro a question, you have the option to make it public. I tentatively discourage this, as my experience so far has been that the peanut gallery gives pretty horrible advice. They’s also started a blog, where I’m featured every Wednesday. My latest post is here, where I talk about having friends of the opposite sex. If you want to get in on the conversation, you can comment in there using facebook. I think that’s a great feature.

That’s all for now. I’ll probably try to get back into regular blogging later this week.

Introducing “Man to Man,” an Ok Advice Column at AskMen

Started doing the advice column thing this week, and the first one is up at AskMen. They’re calling it “Man to Man,” which keeps with AskMen’s heavy-handed “better man” theme, but isn’t bad as far as advice column names go, I guess. The formula for any good advice column is a balance of seriousness and silliness, which is what I went for here. A sample:

Hi Ian Lang,

Here’s my question: How can I let a woman know that I’m only interested in having a sexual relationship with her without coming across as cold and insensitive?

Thanks,
Michael

As you can probably tell, this is the “silly” part. A snippet of my response:

If she were interested in this arrangement, that would probably be clear, so you must be talking about a scenario in which she wants a real relationship and you do not. If that’s the case, why do you think this is an OK thing to vocalize? No matter how you word it, you’re essentially telling this person that while you think her sex parts are dynamite, you’re less enthusiastic about her personality.  That’s a pretty sh*tty thing to say to someone’s face. Imagine if the shoe were on the other foot, and a woman told you that she appreciates your personality but doesn’t find you attractive enough to screw. Chances are you’d deny her invitation altogether, and maybe buy a fedora and grow a neck beard and start yelling about “the friend zone.”

So yea, that’s fun. Read the rest over at AskMen. Hopefully it takes off and I get more and more interesting questions to answer every week. It will be good for the readers, and good for the people who write in. So share, share, share and get me some more submissions, people.

How To: Never Get Laid

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Generally, I love and encourage commenters, both good and bad. As a writer, it keeps you honest. Sometimes they offer valuable, critical input. Other times, they don’t. For example, a comment from my latest article about advice:

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He caught me red-handed. Here I was, thinking I was positing helpful advice acquired through years of experience, when all I was really doing was tossing another log onto feminism’s testicle consuming fire.

Before I even start the advice column thing, here’s some to get you started: talking shit about feminism will never, EVER get you laid. Not once, not ever. A woman doesn’t have to be a bra-burning, armpit combing feminazi for her to be turned off by your disdain for the movement that affords her just about all of the political and social freedoms she enjoys today. Yes, there are likely some “feminists” out there who would like to see men subjugated the way women once were, but those aren’t most feminists, and not even “real” feminists. Modern feminism is, above all, about equality. Things like not being talked down to in the workplace, or not having politicians tell them what to do with their bodies. Equality is not a zero-sum game. Men do not have to give up anything to afford the kind equality most women seek.

I don’t even consider myself a feminist, but most of the things they ask for just seem like common sense to me. If you, as a man, can’t see how AT THE VERY LEAST not taking offense to that benefits you as someone who wants to meet women and maybe touch their lady parts, then you’re blind.

No one’s saying you have to agree with my (or anyone else’s advice). Just don’t be a jerk about it.

AskMen is Making me an Advice Columnist. Please Solicit my Advice.

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So, AskMen decided they’re going to have a go of making my regular weekly column into an advice column, and I’m stoked. I’ve been providing advice in various corners of the internet for a couple of years now, so it will be nice to do it on a larger platform like AskMen. In order to introduce the idea, this week I shared a few things I’ve learned from giving dating advice (mostly women). Namely, behaviors that guys think give them an advantage, but actually turn girls off. Via AskMen:

The Behavior: Reluctance/refusal to DTR (define the relationship)

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, amirite? You’re spending a lot of time together, you’re obviously exclusive, so what’s the problem? Even without the label, it should be obvious to her that she’s your girlfriend. I mean, why else would this still be going on if she wasn’t?

Why it drives girls nuts:
For all the progression we’ve seen in modern society, you’re still expected to be the one to make this overture. Sorry. In your mind, you’re thinking something similar to the above paragraph. In her’s, she’s thinking something more like, “OK if we’re so invested in one another, why wouldn’t he call me his girlfriend? If he’s comfortable enough to leave the bathroom door open while he poops, why is that so hard?” And, face it, fellas, she’s got a point. The funny part is that she essentially agrees with you that the label itself isn’t necessarily important. But, if you’re unwilling to do something simple and apply a meaningless label, she’s going to question whether or not you intend to apply further, more meaningful labels down the road. Would you want to live with that kind of uncertainty?

How to fix it:
There’s no denying that having a DTR conversation is up there with talking to your parents about sex in terms of discomfort. In fact, proposing marriage was the easiest DTR talk I’ve ever had, because at least the script is simple. That’s why it doesn’t have to be a drawn-out affair. When my wife and I were dating, I defined the relationship simply by referring to myself as her boyfriend in passing. I didn’t even really think about it, but it stuck. NInety-nine percent of the time, actions speak louder than words in relationships, but this is one case in which they matter, no matter how trivial they may seem. Have a drink or two and lay it out there for her. If by this point she hasn’t rejected you as a human being, she’s unlikely to reject the label.

So yeah, that’s what I’m doing now. Hopefully, it will be in the standard “Dear Abby” question and response format. I think it’ll be good for both the site and the readers, because one thing that AskMen lacks is any level of engagement and interaction with their consumers. Instead of reading fake questions answered by “Doc Love,” now you can send them in and see your real question answered by a real person (me).

Of course, that can’t happen if we don’t get a steady stream of questions. Send your questions to editorial@askmen.com, and I’ll do my best to answer them. Also, by no means does the question have to be about dating or sex. In fact, I’d prefer if at least some of them weren’t. Ask me about etiquette. Ask me about what to wear to the office. Ask me something hypothetical. Ask me a “would you rather…” type question that makes me cringe. Literally, ask me anything.

Last Week’s Article on AskMen: Hitting Your Late 20’s

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I wrote this last week, but it’s still super popular so I figured I’d share it here with the subset of people who follow my blog but don’t read AskMen, which I assume is around 2 people. I think people enjoy reading things they can relate to, and most of AskMen’s readers are either approaching their late 20’s themselves, or passed them by not so long ago. A snippet:

It’s great if your first real, adult relationship results in a lasting marriage, but if not? Welcome to your first real, adult breakup and everything that comes with that. Those pitfalls are also, I think, what makes the 20s so significant. You’ve gone from an age in which you had a lot of support to an age in which not only does life get harder, but you’re expected to handle it much more on your own. If you can limp across the finish line into your 30s, chances are you’re much better off than when you started. Your teens might be when you’re ushered into adulthood, but your 20s are when you lay the groundwork for the man you’ll eventually become.

Read the rest at AskMen.

New Article at AskMen: Launching a Startup

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If you follow me on twitter, facebook, or this blog, you’re aware that I’ve been peppering the interwebs with news of my new startup, datesocial. This week at AskMen, I talked about some of the perceived roadblocks to starting a business, and hopefully motivated some people with ideas to get up off their asses and actually execute them. A snippet:

You don’t need (much) money

The biggest barrier to entry in the startup world is the perception of cost, and at one time that was a very real barrier. If you wanted to open a store, you needed retail space and product to sell. If you wanted to manufacture something, you needed materials and equipment. Thanks to the internet, that cost barrier has morphed into more of a cost speed bump, especially if you’re looking to provide a service rather than a good of some kind. Datesocial’s landing page is hosted by launchrock, a free service for startups. Customers will register and pay for events through eventbrite, which is free to use and allows you to pass on its (incredibly modest) service fees to your customers. Facebook and Twitter are where we’ve done most of our marketing, and those are, of course, free. I’ve paid for a domain name, a logo design, some business cards and a few traffic pushes on fiverr. Our gross investment at this point is right around $100. That’s a weekend’s worth of dinner and drinks. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you read about tech startups raising millions of dollars in funding, but if you’re willing to hack it at the start, you simply don’t need that.

I ended the article by saying I could go on for another 2,000 words, and that wasn’t an exaggeration. One thought that I did want to share, however, is the notion of technology and the role it plays in the startup world. Everyone, so it seems, wants to create a “tech startup”, a new app, a new website, etc. It’s all you read about at Valleywag, TechCrunch and whatnot, and it’s very easy to get caught up in the idea that a new business has to be cutting edge or rely on some kind of new technology. It doesn’t. The core concept of a business is finding a void with your consumers and then filling that void. You can do that by offering something that no one’s ever seen before, or you can take an existing model that’s broken and perfect it. It’s very rarely a tech problem.

When my wife and I were conceiving datesocial, our first thought was “Oh shit, we need a website and neither of us know how to design or build one.” We built a landing page at launchrock, but we were still focused on tech, tech, tech. We were building a startup, so we assumed it had to be a “tech startup.” It didn’t, and it isn’t. I had an epiphany when I was talking with my friend Ryan Melogy, co-founder of faithstreet. He said something to the effect of “Dude, you’re essentially trying to throw a party. Your first step is throwing that party and getting the word out.” That’s when it kind of clicked. Datesocial isn’t a tech company. In fact, it’s the opposite of a tech company. It’s real life, it’s on the ground, and it’s about interacting with real people and helping them interact with each other. Sure, we rely on tech to facilitate things, but it’s a vehicle, not the core concept. That’s why I don’t understand sites like Grouper, who purports to match people based on some kind of algorithm that examines their facebook data. It sounds like a cool science project, but I believe in people’s ability to do their own matchmaking. When you start a company that claims to connect people using something as detached as a computer program, you’re either way too deep in the weeds or unwilling to get out there and mix with your customers.

If you have an idea for a business, provided it’s not an actual tech product, tech should not be your first concern. Your first priority should be creating a prototype and testing it. There are so, so many free or cheap tech products out there that will get you where you need to be, or at least get you to where you can launch a beta product. You can (and should) hack it at the start. Why sink thousands of dollars into a web designer and developer when there are sites like facebook, twitter, and eventbrite that can serve essentially the same purpose (and make it easier to tap into social media to boot)? Unless you’re running a true “tech startup”, it’s not a tech problem. It’s an execution problem, or a motivation problem.

Read the full article at AskMen

New Article at AskMen: Be a Grownup and Enjoy Wine

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Wine is a beautiful thing. My wife and I started using wine as our go-to because it’s relatively cheap, and now we’re members at two (2) local wineries. For three seasons out of the year, I can’t think of a better weekend activity. It’s not nearly as yuppie and pretentious as you might imagine, though you can pretend it is if that’s your prerogative. It’s cheap. It’s social. It’s informative. Depending on where you are, it can even be a little historic. Virginia, for instance, has been producing wine for about as long as Virginia’s been a thing. Anyway, even though there’s no reason wine can’t be enjoyed by drinkers of all ages, it’s a little daunting for younger adults. That’s why I wrote this weeks column at AskMen.com with those readers in mind. A snippet:

Provided you have a handful of wineries within, say, an hour or two of your residence, there are a couple of ways you could go about visiting them. You can absolutely load your Forerunner beyond capacity with your bros, cue up a sick playlist on your iPod and let your freak flag fly. Jam out to the Black Keys. Pretend not to like it when “Call Me Maybe” plays. Laugh when Deanna Carter’s “Strawberry Wine” comes on, because LOL, guys, we’re going wine tasting! Then cry a little, because if you listen to the words, that song is actually pretty sad.

You could certainly do all that, or you could stop being a moron and go wine tasting with a single female, the way God and condom manufacturers intended. Women love wine tasting, probably more than they love wine itself. True fact, going wine tasting ignited the romance between me and the wife with whom I am now blessed (or saddled, it’s too soon to tell). It’s also a fine date alternative to coed bocce or kickball or whatever other contrivance young adults use as an excuse to cling to their youth and drink inhuman quantities of cheap beer.

Read the rest at AskMen here. Give it some facebook love, because right now it’s getting beat out by an article called “How to Lose Man Boobs.” If you are someone who enjoys reading things that are good, you simply cannot abide that.

Newest Article On AskMen: Being a Young Conservative

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Heidi Montag, the consummate young conservative

If you’ve read my last two politically-minded posts, you’ve more or less read this one. I’m sorry. Thankfully for all of us, the election being over means I actually have to think of things to write about. Read the full article (and give it a “like”, it’s trucking along so far) here on AskMen

My Interview with an Online Dating Blog, Otherwise Known as “The Most Depressing Job in the World”, for AskMen

Are you a guy who uses the services of an online dating site to land chicks? Are you a cheap bastard who uses the free ones, like OKCupid? Are you an idiot who approaches women with the subtlety of a muscle car that’s missing its catalytic converter? If so, you may soon be featured on my latest interview subject’s website, A(n)nals of Online Dating. Whenever someone sends a message that’s creepy, of the canned “PUA” variety, or both, not only does Satan touch himself a little and start clearing space, but there’s a good chance it’ll end up here. I spoke with the proprietor about why guys can’t get through their heads the idea that talking about their genitals is not an effective romantic strategy.

Via AskMen:

IL: Any theories as to why that is? I mean, in my experience, it’s the men who have to do most of the blind initial messaging, so maybe it’s a law-of-averages thing — with so many messages, some are bound to be creepy.
OB: I think it probably is part a law-of-averages thing and part a cultural thing. Despite increased gender equality, it’s still expected that men do the asking out and the leading when it comes to dating. So men pick who they want to date, and women either accept or reject. And online that’s magnified because you have so many people to choose from and none of the visual cues that help you to differentiate between creeps and not-creeps in the real world.

So you have a lot of guys who are trying really hard to set themselves apart and end up coming off as really weird or creepy, like guys who use pickup-artist techniques online. And then you have guys who say or do things online that they would never do face-to-face, because it would be too awkward— like initiating a conversation with “I would love to put my tongue in your ass.”

I’ll say this much, you have to appreciate the guy who casually tosses out an offer to put his tongue in a girl’s ass as his official online handshake. Is it efficient? Not at all, but he’s casting a wide net. Next time you’re talking to a friend or coworker who’s a little too pleased with himself and whose breath smells a little “off”, congratulations, because you’re looking at proof of concept personified.