Category Archives: Dumb Men

Why Health Care Reform Represents our Downfall

We aren’t bad are we? We don’t have a core wrought with evil or vengeance…do we? You and I have been listening to stories of infidelity (Jesse James/Tiger Woods), audacities of the Highest order (Catholic Church), and vitriol spewed from men and women who are supposed to represent us and our interests (Health Care Debate). I watched in disgust as a man with Parkinsons Disease was belittled for all to see because he supports President Obama and the health care bill. 

Are we all strung out on life? Have we been beaten down by so many that we have lost our way? What are our real or true complaints? Do we have any? Sure we do. But…no matter how upset we are, should we really be tearing down others for our own gain?

Common sense says we should not. But common we are not…and sense is running low these days. It baffles the mind how we are, collectively, getting by. All of our costs are escalating…services and products are declining in quality…the nuclear family has gone up in smoke like its’ name…

Normal? Abnormal? That is for you to decide. That is for you to evaluate…and you alone. Personally, I am sad that we are becoming a wishy-washy people and country. When our party is in power we know it all…when we are not, we do all in our power to extinguish the other. We rejoice the downfall of our celebrities and casual hero. We say, “better him than me” when a colleague loses their job.

Are You Living a "Life" You Can Be Proud Of?

Either patriotism has given way to narcissism or something even graver has settled in our living rooms.

Apathy…

Apathy for all that is good, that matters, and that rejuvenates our souls on a daily basis. The Discovery Channel‘s new documentary entitled “Life” shows in great splendor the core drive for survival. Sometimes I wish we could all watch our actions in slow-motion. Maybe we, too, would see the ills of our ways and treat one another with kindness and concern.

Do You Care?

Living a Normal life and being the Normal You requires a rich participation in the wonders of the world. Making a difference for others and thinking before we tear down. Something tells me that the very men who despicably undercut one mans’ spirit have experienced the kindness of others when it wasn’t asked for themselves. Do we really want to be known as the home of the free when we can’t even call ourselves brave?

Expect more from those around you….Demand more of yourself.

All the Best!

Dr. Rod
Rod Berger, PsyD The Normal Male

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Jesse James Tattooed!

Has Your Marriage Been Tattooed?

Another day…another foolish man! Jesse James didn’t get away this time. He was tattooed by a woman nicknamed “Bombshell.” James’ wife Sandra Bullock has moved out just two weeks after accepting the Oscar and praising her husband publicly.

And, what wouldn’t be a Hollywood scandal without a little reflection from the media outlets. Now we are looking at the curse of the Oscar for winning actresses from Witherspoon, Winslet, to Halle Berry and Hillary Swank, Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts and the list goes on and on…

Some were mere breakups and others divorces. Some were for sex addiction and others sexual perusing. You almost get the sense that these poor poor men were left home alone while their significant other worked. I can see it now… “I am only a star on T.V. (insert Jesse James voice)…I’ll never make it big like Sandra…why don’t I go window shopping to get my fix? Yeah…and then I’ll chase my dog CinnaBun around the Monster Garage compound.” By the way for those keeping score…yes CinnaBun was found after James reported the little one lost.

Truly pathetic. Sad. And yet none of us should be surprised. Men who cannot handle the success of their female partner has been around for centuries. Maybe this riddle goes back to the cave days. Maybe Fred Flinstone started this whole charade. I am not sure where it began, but its roots seem deep and unweildy.

I would like to think we are getting better as men. I would like to think that we understand the big picture…that if she is successful… “I am successful.” Men need to be more realistic about the *&**^$# match they are in with the other gender. If winning is the ultimate goal then pray pray on ole’ brotha cause you’re going down in flames. If you haven’t noticed guys…corporate America has become a female dominated arena…in the manner or approach business is taking. The current work environment utilizes all the skills that are innate to women…not men.

"Now Wilma, You Stay Home...I Wouldn't Want YOU To Out Shine Me"

I agree with the switch and think that ones’ ability to communicate, to work in groups, and synthesize information is far better then the stuck-in-the-mud, cowboy individualism we have been gifted by previous generations. Out with the old and in with the New (Trumpets trumpeting in the background)!!

Gentlemen, do you really want your female partner to fail? Because that is the message so many are sending when they fail to support their partners. Men are saying that our egos are far too fragile for someone else to demonstrate competence let alone success. We are living in lean times and I don’t know about you, but when I hear that my partner had a great day and is movin up the ole’ ladder…I applaud, make dinner, and encourage her.

Support the one you love and enjoy the spoils of two happy people…life is short enough!

All the Best!

Dr. Rod
Rod Berger, PsyD The Normal Male

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Filed under Divorce, Dumb Men, Marriage, Relationships, sex

Ben Roethlisberger: Just Another Famous Athlete or Abuser?

Needing MORE Attention?

Patience is a virtue or so I have been told. This however has finally bubbled over for me and in the name of Normalcy I must forge ahead. Here at Normal Headquarters a decision has been made to finally discuss the out-of-sorts mole that continues to grow just beyond our reach. It is hideous from what we can tell…out of place…and needs to be addressed. We are not sure whether the mole is of any great consequence, but enough is enough!!

Ben Roethlisberger, of the famed Pittsburgh Steelers, has been accused of sexual misconduct for the second time in the last 12 months. The first woman accused Roethlisberger of raping her at a casino near Lake Tahoe. The most recent accusation states that Big Ben, as he is known to millions of fans, sexually assaulted a college-aged female in a local bar. To be fair it should be noted that Roethlisberger has not been charged or convicted of either accusation.

It is, however, fair at this point to question the motives of all involved parties. Why is a filthy rich athlete hanging out with college girls and at college bars? He just recently signed a contract in excess of $100 million dollars. Has Roethlisberger not heard of Michael Vick or Gilbert Arenas? Vick has already lost millions and Arenas is poised to do the same because of his love of comedy and guns. There is a significant issue here with Roethlisberger that stinks of disrespect for women, his family, and his employer.

Can't You ACT Like a Champion?

Can't You ACT like a Champion?

Which brings me to another curve in the road…the media and their handling of this story. I will be the first to call a timeout when I think erroneous claims are disseminated by the media…with that said, though, I have to wonder if Big Ben is receiving preferential treatment.

I know some of you have thought about it. I didn’t want to in the beginning, but I am finding I can’t shake my wonderment. Is Ben Roethlisberger given the benefit of the doubt because he is White?

Dear NFL...Don't Be STUPID!

I cannot imagine an African-American athlete dealing with a second sexual assault charge in less then a year being treated with such kid gloves. Maybe we have matured and it really isn’t about race. As a White male I hope that we have evolved and that we treat Roethlisberger the same as we would anyone else accused of similar acts. I would like to think that I live outside the city limits of Delusion-ville, but the lack of national conversation tells me that we haven’t changed for the better.

It will be might interesting to see how the NFL responds to the latest detour Ben has taken us all on. I am not one to support making an example out of someone for the sake future dividends, but I am leaning that way right now. Maybe that is because Roethlisberger has failed to grant an interview to the police or maybe I am just burned out from repeated stories of fame and the misuse of power.

Aside from an outsiders perspective…the NFL and the Steelers need to evaluate what is important to them…the almighty dollar and championships or their image and fan base. I would imagine the spinsters at the league offices are working overtime to figure out their next steps. Yes men represent the majority fan base, but there are millions of female fans that are truly rabid for their teams as well. Sending a message of deference to sexual misconduct won’t enhance gate numbers on Sundays.

Men, not just athletes, should be role models. For those of you not incensed by Roethlisberger’s lapse in judgment–raise your standards and support responsible behavior.

Dr. Rod
Rod Berger, PsyD The Normal Male

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Man-Up or Stand Up? The American Boy is in Trouble

Who Needs Lifting? Men or Boys?

I am a staunch supporter of males and the females in their lives. I believe that we can do better, as a gender, but must step up and be accounted for. Some of you who read this might wonder if I woke up on the wrong side of the bed or took my politically correct vitamins in excess. Some passerby’s might wonder if I live in the basement of my mother’s home and spew comments in a an environment where anonymity is a given and gravatars act as i.d. badges.

Though this image might bring you joy it just isn’t true. I am a Normal, insecure, bold when I need to be, confident in waves, man who loves ESPN, the arts and yard work on any-ole-day U.S.A. And, yes sometimes I find it necessary to shed light on a social practice that isn’t helping males in their pursuit to be Normal…in an effort to reach personal greatness…and life satisfaction.

As a part of an online community, The Art of Manliness, I am often challenged to think, laugh, and cry at the experience of being male. The members are thoughtful and thought provoking which I applaud with all sincerity. Yesterday was a perfect example wrapped into a single thread. A member asked a question…he wanted to know how to Man-Up a 13 year old that he knew. He described this young boy as soft, squishy, an unmotivated sissy, and lazy. I, of course, commented and to his credit the author said he didn’t know of any other word to use other than Man-Up.

The Art of Manliness

I was also given a review on the term and its usage on the site which said:

“Within the context of this site (AoM), “manning up” simply refers to “growing up” and coming to grips with yourself as a man. It’s not so much about toughening up as it is about maturing beyond boyhood.” -Jamie

To Man Up? The Urban Dictionary actually has 25 definitions and there is an organization, by the same name, that strives to end violence against women. Many of us have seen the phrase in reference to sexual enhancement and performance. We have seen it used at Little League games to dissuade emotions associated with females from being aired. Many of us have heard the phrase as a call to action; a rising up from self-induced-pity to a place of formidable stature and strength.

The American Way?

And, we have to wonder what is the impact on a generation of young boys without fathers, without male role models in schools, without heroes on the athletic field, governed by a society and educational system determined to squeeze the boy out of them, reprimanded when they become addicted to video games as a result, and told that success only comes to those who can effectively repress feelings and push on in the name of the American spirit.

I say with great confidence and sadness that our young boys are at a crossroads. Our boys are flailing in the wind with no direction, purpose, or sense of self.

Late yesterday afternoon as I was in the backyard I heard three young men talking and making a bit of noise. When I looked over to my neighbors house I noticed these three young men (approximately 18-21) crawling through an upstairs window. The house, you see, is in the midst of renovations and the owners are looking to rent the top unit out. I stopped them, at least the one young man who looked nervous, and asked them if they were with the work crew and found out they wanted a “peek inside.” Let’s just say they got my drift and headed out of my urban neighborhood.

You might say to yourself that this was a harmless act, but I am concerned at the lack of judgment. It concerns me that these young men were so apathetic to getting caught. I very easily could have called the cops and I would imagine a charge of breaking and entering could have been established. To them…nothing. They drove away quietly without verbal exchange.

Before we can ask young boys to Man-Up, we first need to establish what they are actually Manning-Up too. We need to provide a playground and environment that let’s them explore with guidance, tussle safely in the name of bonding, and believe what they feel inside. Just because we have generations of men, mine included, that were cast aside from the rational side of life doesn’t mean that we have to send them down the river as well.

If we, adult men, want a seat at the proverbial table of life then we have to set the example…together. We have to communicate our disgust for the medical system that limits access and respect during pregnancy. We have to communicate our needs with our medical and psychological doctors. We need to role model the great dualities of manhood…that we can grunt to our friends one minute, compose poetic stories the next, protect our children, cry with our children, love our spouse and most importantly ourselves all at a moments notice.

Apathy for ourselves is one thing…apathy for the next generation—shameful. Think about the language you use and the story it supports or erodes…young boys are waiting for us to Step Up…in the process we might just figure out what it actually means to Man-Up.

All the Best!

Dr. Rod
Rod Berger, PsyD The Normal Male

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Filed under Boys, Dumb Men, Family, Fathers, Girls, Good Men, head of household, Males, men, Mothers, sex, Sports, women

The Teenage Rulebook For Cool-ness

Boy Are We Cool!

Ah…to be a teenager. To stroll the hallways of “anywhere” high school U.S.A. is a right of passage for so many youth dying to fit in with their peers. This weekend I was out doing what adults do….running errands of course…when I noticed something that took me back to my high school days.

Let’s set the stage…a lovely Saturday afternoon, the temperature around 40 degrees and sharing the highway with me were two teenage boys, aviator glasses in-toe, and not a care in the world. What caught my attention was that these young men were driving with the top down in daddy’s car. You or I would think this behavior weird or idiotic, but I would argue that these boys were out for a bit of adventure…

To see these young men and wonder how cold they must have been on the outside made me wonder about what was going on inside. What was it that possessed these, Normal looking, teenage boys to drive around in a manner more suited for chili and a sweater? Were they trying to connect with their inner Tom Cruise? Maybe they were on a mission or maybe 40 degrees was the perfect temperature to market themselves to other teenagers…namely—GIRLS!

Hi Ladies

What would teenage girls be thinking? Dumb boys? Cool? All I know is this…young men will do just about anything to woo the girl(s) in their path. Teenage boys of today will even change their scent in ways previously thought of as feminine.

CBS Sunday Morning demonstrated this point with a story about the obsession boys have with body spray products. You know the ones…Axe Body Spray and its claim that by using it girls will fall at the feet of the user. There was a day and a time in this country when all young men smelled like were dirty socks and “cool.” Musty was the odor of choice because it communicated a rugged individualism…now we have young men spraying themselves down in a car-wash of fermones and watching “High School Musical 12”.

The goal of course is to win over the young women and to “beat out” the competition. Now…it is fair to say that Maverick and Goose on I-65 this weekend were of the mindset that cool comes in pairs…and they might be right…but the decision ultimately lies in the hands of the young women who are grading and judging every move. I mean teenage boys aren’t concerned with a young ladies father…are they?

I mean…are young men even worried these days about impressing someone, anyone other than the young lady herself? And…what would a father and young man even talk about? Cologne? The merits of High School Musical versus Grease? Or what about the latest and greatest video games or tech gadget?

Let’s face it—there may be some teenage wooing rituals and traditions that are facing extinction! At least in the ole days a father and young suitor could talk about plans for college or work or how his father was doing. They could talk about Ford or GM or spring training. But, how many fathers want to hear about a young mans desire to build a personal brand utilizing the most appropriate SEO/CRM/Social Media outlet or embedded videos?

The answer…not many! And because of the ever-growing distance between men of yesterday and boys of today the only common denominator…sad to say…is sex. There—I said it. That is right. Even our fathers thought of sex and maybe even some of them experienced sex. Now, it is important to note that this is not a commentary on teenage sex and the stance we should take. This is just an honest thought about what everyone thinks about.

Sex during high school, to the young people themselves, is often a measure of “cool.” It is the culmination of 40 degree jaunts down the highway in a convertible, the hours spent dousing fermones out of a can, and the countless time spent trying to find a bicep or two in the high school locker room. Young boys are just like those distant relatives in the jungles of our planet—always posturing for stature in the eyes of the females and to instill fear in the eyes of the competition.

Can You Smell Me Yet?

The challenge for all teenagers becomes their ability to be and play smart. To make decisions that won’t shape the rest of their lives negatively and ones that they can be proud of when they are older are all a part of the teenage experience.

Sadly, so too is teenage pregnancy. So too is the song and dance between hormones and common sense—between conversation and sexual intimacy and the real-world consequences of teenage rituals and traditions.

Which brings us back to the rulebook for teenagers and courting or wooing behavior. It brings us full circle to understanding all that our children are doing and the actual motivation behind the behavior. Are you aware of it as a parent? Do you sweep it away because you did the very same things or do you overcompensate in an effort to prevent ill-fated mistakes from YOUR past?

The rulebook is pretty simple. It has a front cover, one page of text, and a back cover. The front of the book titles your intentions for your child; the body of text outlines your honest expectations and support measures you will provide; the back cover a friendly reminder that you suffered through the same issues as they and that you are not above them…but beside them as they traverse the sometimes beautiful and often sketchy landscape that is being a teenager.

All the Best!

Dr. Rod
Rod Berger, PsyD The Normal Male

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Are YOU Normal?

Just Wait for the Next Generation!

It becomes increasingly obvious that a segment of the population fears the word NORMAL. Maybe some folks think that it implies less than, adequate, or maybe even average when in fact it has NOTHING to do with performance!

Our country has sent us all down the river. Yes, this is a great country in so many ways but the messages we have sent down the stream to males and females can be devastating. Even I get sent down the river, as they say, by readers who send me angry notes of bewilderment. I sporadically receive some of these back-channel emails from individuals who are new to my blog and they ask what my definition of Normal really is. I am thankful for the reminder for both our sakes.

Re-establishing a marketing campaign for an entire generation can be daunting…but I am up for the challenge! I am showered, dressed, hair quaffed, new stylish glasses resting on the bridge of my nose…and oh yeah did some curls to exercise the ole biceps…mighty beneficial for a blogger these days. And, now that I am prepared for this challenge I want to reintroduce thoughts that I was recently asked to provide given the tenuous position our gender is in these days…

As I sit and ponder my place in the world I am reminded of the men who have gone before me, those around me, and those thrown at me. It has become increasingly hard to define what normal males look, sound and, maybe more importantly, act like.

On television and other media outlets, normal and male aren’t represented accurately or collectively, for that matter. We are inundated with reality TV shows about swapping wives and nannies who know better than parents. And on CBS we have men fighting in cages.

It is True...We are Humans During the Day...Superheros in our Dreams

I don’t see normal conversations about the experience of manhood or the shared activities and thoughts between a father and his children. I don’t see family shows depicting stable family life or marriages that one could be relatively proud of. What I see are dumb men who are presented as normal: men who don’t know how to respond to their spouses dreams, take care of the kids, or do anything requiring thought for others.

Can this be normal? I hope not, but I am gravely concerned that this is what our young children believe to be true. The bar for men has been set so low that the only direction to go, I hope, is up.

As our boys continue to struggle in academic settings and our adult men struggle to find their places at work and in the home, we need a change. We need to redefine what it means to be a part of this group called manhood not at the expense of women or children, not at the expense of common sense or traditional grunting during a playoff game, and not at the expense of our communities.

Redefining our gender requires adult men to think about it from a boyish stance. What do we want our boys thinking about when they think of themselves and this group they belong to? Do we want them to have a sense of pride for the good we contribute and the leadership taken through thoughtful discussion? Or do we want them to think of boys behaving badly at school, home, and work?

We Can't ALWAYS Be Perfect or Feel Invincible

In the 1980s we saw a redefinition take place for the youth of the African-American community. Prior to the Cosby Show, critics wondered how young African-Americans viewed themselves and what they could or could not accomplish when they grew up. Our media, to that point, had given limited opportunity for a child to see successful African-American children and their families. We are at a similar point in our history as men.

We have an opportunity to reshape the motivations of young men, and it will come at the cost of our own experiences. A certain level of grief can be expected when we begin exploring our lives and the motivations behind our good and bad decisions in the context of those who provided such lessons. It takes courage, community, and commitment from normal males to shepherd the next generation from I.S.S. (in school suspension) to college campuses where men are in danger of extinction to careers and families they can be proud of.

To be Normal ultimately means that one is fallible, successful, strong, weak, proud, humble—we are everything that encompasses a human being. Please do not support the notion that males only value comes through performance, but rather in the discretionary spaces of life where we can demonstrate both wisdom and compassion, emotion and direction, love and disappointment. We are many things…what we are not should NOT shape our direction now or ever as we steamroll into the future. The next generation of young men and boys need us and the next generation of young women and girls need us too. Let’s provide an accurate landscape that does not misrepresent the challenges and celebrations of life.

Best Wishes!

Dr. Rod
Rod Berger, PsyD The Normal Male

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Filed under Boys, Dumb Men, Education, Fathers, Girls, Good Men, head of household, Males, men, Sports, women, Work

How Much is That Negligee in the Window?

Can I Help You?

We have all heard the tune from back yonder, “How Much is that Doggie in the Window” and been transposed to the days of our youth. Back when innocence prevailed or at least it did on T.V. and we lived a life of “purity.” That has come to a screeching halt…that of no surprise…to those of you reading today. We continue to be fascinated with those around us, the scandals they embroil themselves with, and the filthy gossip we bat around like a good ole fashion spat between Robin Givens and Mike Tyson. The dirtier, scarier, filthier it is…the better! Right?

Seeing others flail about is fun…right? Taking me away from my own reality feels like a gift from the Gods…right? Giving me pause, for entertainment purposes, is a way of giving back for the hard work and pain I have endured…right? Which brings me to a classic example of gawking that I just have to share…

The other night I was driving downtown Nashville with my fiance when we past the Hustler store (on of all streets, “Church Street”) when we noticed a gentlemen staring or should I say gawking through the plate-glass windows. As we sat at the red light, we both took notice at the level of commitment or should I say intensity with which this gentlemen peered into the candy store for adults. We both looked at each other and almost simultaneously said, “He looks Normal” as if to say he didn’t look like a stereotypical weirdo. Shocking no…surprising yes….

…and it got me thinking about this fascination with what is just beyond our reach. It also had me thinking about whether or not it was gender specific or driven by idiots. Was it something that only degenerates do or was this display of sultry desire a mere expression of hormones going askew? And, if gawking at negligees is Normal or accepted, what other ways do we ALL gawk at life and what assumptions do we lather onto the object of affection and/or disgust?

If men gawk does it turn women off? If women gawk do men feel mighty? Does it lessen one and uplift the other? Is it different if you are single and are “gawked” at? Does it sometimes feel good to stop others in their tracks with what you have done or what you look like? And, are there different forms of gawking that are unacceptable, equal, and/or just different? Would we consider tabloid journalism gawking? If so, then are we all guilty of the sinful pleasure of gawking through a news rack?

Let's Talk About Wants Instead...Whadda Ya Say?

Which brings us to the most appropriate and timely example….that of Mr. Tiger Woods. Millions probably watched Tiger’s apology today and formed immediate opinions. Many have been fascinated to gawk, I mean watch, the unraveling of an American icon. Now for many of you, this is an example of entertainment—not gawking. For some of you, like writers in the Golf world, boycotting is the approach of the day and for others it is mere water cooler talk.

Watcher or Gawker of Tiger's Press Conference?

Either way it presents as a perfect example for us to consider. Why is it that others successes and failures are far more entertaining and interesting than our own lives? Why do we get significant pleasure in the unattainable? Why do we want to bear witness (my apologizes to Lebron James) to salacious, scandalous, and murderous activities?

I must admit that I am the first to gawk at death on a Saturday night or two when I watch 48 Hours Mystery. I will say out loud that I am ready to, “…see dead people.” I say it with pleasure for entertainment and for my (I know I am not alone in this) desire to test out my detective skills.

Witness the NEXT Michael Jordan

I am not proud of my “gawking” and I want to continue to understand it. I think we would all do ourselves a favor by asking what it is that we gawk at and what are we truly going after. What lessons are we teaching our kids? How will they know when to intervene or will they just practice group-think and gawk with others when someone is in need?

Just recently a young girl was beaten in front of security personnel in Seattle and received no assistance or protection. Why did gawkers not turn into helpers?

Gawking can begin innocently. Gawking can merely be wishful thinking. The problem is that it sets the stage for an overall approach to life…One that places us on the sidelines of life assuming and placing judgment on people and circumstances outside of our purview and probably pay grade. Think about what you are gawking at and think even harder about the respect you are displaying to yourself and the younger generation looking for acceptable role models.

Dr. Rod
Rod Berger, PsyD The Normal Male

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Filed under Dumb Men, Fathers, Girls, Good Men, Males, men, Plastic Surgery, Relationships, sex, women