As fathers, why are we afraid to hug or kiss our sons?

Everyday as a family, my wife, myself and two sons enjoy an hours worth of tv after dinner before reading time and putting the boys down to bed. It’s a fun nightly ritual where we get the chance to indoctrinate our children on all things nerdtastic and awesome so that they too can know the beauty of nerdvana. The past several months it has been a time for us to watch Star Trek. I mean.. ALL of Star Trek. We started out with the original series and are now into season 5 of what I consider the BEST Star Trek series of them all: Deep Space 9.


On DS9, it features Avery Brooks in the role of Benjamin Sisko as the Captain of the station and ship; the USS Defiant. Sisko is a very strong and commanding character who leads his teams into epic battles and has stood toe to toe with some of the worst villains ever to be seen throughout the galaxy. But more than that, he is also a caring and devoted father the likes of which I personally am not sure we ever get to see on Television. Sisko_hugs_Jake-590x451Above Ward Cleaver, Cliff Huxtable, Tim Taylor or Dr Seaver, I would consider Benjamin Sisko THE strongest as well as most loving father figure ever on television.

One thing that truly stands out to me in the relationship he has with his son IS how caring and nurturing he is with the boy, later a man who stands taller than his father by season 5. He keeps a stern hand when a stern hand is needed but in more scenes than not you see the tow of them in loving embraces as well as Benjamin Sisko grabbing his son by the face and lovingly kissing him on his forehead and letting the boy know IN words that he loves him.


Now i don’t know about you, but I don’t remember seeing that very often on television OR growing up, and even now when I lsiten to men talk about raising their sons I constantly hear about the things they do to make them tough and to not make them soft. That “all that hugging” can make the boy weak and how “kissing your son” is out of the question because “you don’t ever want him too affectionate towards another man like that”.

W-why do people do this? I sincerely don’t understand?  Whenever I have asked other men this question, I’m usually given the same:” Because that’s how we are as men!” ” because being a man isn’t about showing all those emotions.” “Emotions are weakness and you don’t want to raise a boy with all that emotional shyt”. And the other and most toxic reason i’ve been told: “My father didn’t do that shyt with me and i’m not doing it with my son either. All that emotional shyt is for women.”

Joseph_ben_jake_goodbyes_paradise_lostPersonally I remember my own father being that way and honestly when I became a father I then noticed how much our lack of emotional relationship growing up bothered me. Hell I was 30 before I remember my own father hugging me and telling me He loved me even though I grew up always knowing he did. The only kiss I ever shared with my dad was on his death bed and the last time I saw him and for the life of me I can’t understand why we wasted so many years on some macho foolishness. I can’t see why anyone would.

So what is it about expressing love to sons that worries us? “turning them soft?” ” making them gay?” What is it?

All I know is that it seems very unfortunate…..

But that’s just my opinion. What say you?

The 12 Shades of Christmas: The Gift Card

For a lot of us, the Holiday season provides a time of reflection. A chance to look back over the experiences and moments of the year prior as we comb through our thoughts searching for the best way to represent that in a gift for friends and family. Children will make lists (or simply tell you what they want EVERY WAKING MOMENT OF YOUR EXISTENCE), but when it comes to those people close to us — so often it’s more about the thought put into the present than it is the gift itself.

23717852_SAThat’s why despite their convenience and ultimate usefulness — Gift Cards almost always feel like a cheat. Almost as if you can see the moment the person giving it to you gave up wandering around the store and just grabbed this instead.

It’s the part of the season that I think gets the most lost with all the escalating commercialization. That this tradition of buying and exchanging gifts is some sort of unavoidable obligation, or a chore to be completed. It’s easy I suppose to feel that way when you’re shuffling through crowds of shoppers for parking spaces so that you can have the opportunity to find items in the stores (or even just trying to manage delivery dates and wrapping paper from online retailers) — but really when you get down to it what you’re supposed to be doing is spending time thinking about the person you’re buying for. Reflecting on their value to you as a friend, relative, or partner. Thinking back on the times you’ve spent, the things you’ve enjoyed together.

As a true fan of the Christmas tradition, I can tell you there’s nothing better than coming up with the perfect gift. Of hitting on that image in your mind or happening across it in the store. That light bulb moment where you just know that the person you have in mind will find the perfect use for this — Or perhaps a flash of memory of a moment in time spent together where they mentioned without maybe even realizing it that they really wished they could have this or have the tools that would help them accomplish something they enjoy.

But I also know the rage-inducing frustration that comes when you have someone on your list that you can’t for the life of you think of ANYTHING they might possibly enjoy or use.

For more than 40 years now, my father has been a constant source of inspiration, support, love and stability in my life. Whenever I fall, whenever I doubt, whenever I worry or fear — he has been there. When tallied up in the cosmic scheme of things, there is probably no way at all I could repay the things he’s done for me in my lifetime.


If only this were real, it would be PERFECT for Dad!

But still every Christmas I do my best to try to encapsulate all of that appreciation and affection for him into some sort of gift — at which point I get to remember that MY FATHER IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPOSSIBLE PERSON TO BUY FOR IN THE GODDAMN world.

The hours I’ve burned wandering through stores looking for something, anything that might bring a smile to this man’s face on Christmas morning.

I’m sure you all have that somebody in your family or group of friends — the person who means the world to you, who is special and unique, the one person that you desperately want to show your appreciation for during the holiday season who’s suddenly becomes a ninja when it comes to his hobbies and casual interests every December.

Well actually that’s not entirely true. I know his favorite sports teams. I know his favorite TV shows. I know what things he likes to do during the day.

There are a million coffee mugs, calendars, t-shirts, and assorted pieces of swag I could get him that would effectively say, “Yes, I have seen you watching endless reruns of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, so it seemed like getting you the Season 5 DVD would enable you to more of it, whenever you wanted to.. again, when you’re not, you know — watching it on TNT.”

So perhaps it’s not so much that I don’t know what to get for my dad for Christmas, it’s that I desperately want to get him a gift that doesn’t suck.

Anyone who has the distinct honor in this world of becoming a father and having the chance to shape a young mind and share in their experiences as they grow up also knows the feeling that comes when you also realize that you’re suddenly and completely hosed when it comes to the possibility of ever getting a cool Christmas gift again.

So when this started to happen to me in my own life, it suddenly became clear to me just how much all of the Denver Broncos calendars and Law and Order Special Victims Unit: The Board Game, and hey here’s a brick of coffee from Starbucks that I had gotten my dad over the years had actually been terrible gifts that he just smiled and then stacked on some bookshelf in the back room.

landobgThus, in the past couple of years it’s become my mission to actually try to find a kick-ass present for my old man.

But this has led to a new problem. See, I thought the issue was that I wasn’t putting enough thought into his gifts over the years. I thought I was just in the habit of getting him throwaway gifts because somehow that’s how everybody shops for dads. Dads drink coffee and go to work and watch football, so here’s a sports almanac and a necktie and a mug that says “Dad” on it. Merry Christmas!!!

But the truth, as it turns out is that apparently my dad doesn’t actually like anything, like at all.

Oh he wants to like stuff. He seemed really excited when I got him that GPS thing for his car a few years back. But he’s also from a different generation, so he keeps it (mint in the box) next to all the maps he stores in the glove box in his car.

Technology in general seems to be the wrong direction to go when it comes to buying gifts for this supremely special person in my life. Last years purchase of a Kindle fire I admit was sort of a risk, especially since he seems uninterested in the internet — but I had loaded the thing up with Crossword puzzle apps and copies of his favorite WWII movies that didn’t require online access to work, so that he could enjoy them whenever he wanted.

Yeah, that’s still in the box in his dining room. he tried it for a few days, but it “didn’t take.”

coupon295x243Even better, now that I’m all laser focused on finding that extra special “thing that he really needs and would probably use all the time” — I’ve become hyper-aware of my Dad’s habit of mentioning that he would really like one of those never needs reloading Weed trimmer attachment blades — but then he goes and buys one the next day, and I have to return the one I had just bought for him to Amazon.

I’m trying dad, I really am. But you make it difficult as hell, and as much as I don’t want to — you’re about to get gift carded.


I have a feeling we all have a relative or a friend like this. One who just seems to be immune to the joys of gift receiving?

Who’s the hardest person to shop for on your list this year, and why?


The Men’s Roundtable: The Ex Factor

Like it or not, every relationship you’re in has an effect on you. From your first school crush deciding he liked sitting next to the cheerleaders at lunch instead of you to that one guy in college who did that trick with his hands, we learn a lot of the things we like (and too many of the things we don’t) through experience.

MV5BMjI1NzMzMzg5Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTA3MjIwNQ@@._V1._SX640_SY418_But more than that — our significant others become our partners while we’re together. Experiencing the triumphs and the defeats in our lives while we’re with them. That’s why we look for quality people to share our lives and our beds with, because it’s a tough world out there, and sometimes it’s nice to have someone who’s gonna be there by your side to help see you through the good times and the bad.

But when you’ve been through all those things with someone and then the relationship doesn’t work out — things can get messy.

It’s one thing to be there for someone when there’s a direct connection between you, but where does that line end? After all, when someone’s an “ex” — doesn’t that mean things should be all the way over?

phone-dateWhat’s the difference between being a stand up guy and not letting things go?

You’d think the math would be simple, but so often when your partners previous relationship involves shared property, or connections with family members, or even children the lines can start to get blurry.

But does that mean that people should just look the other way when situations arise?

Hey Guys, greetings from the not so summery Netherlands.

I need your opinion on this. I  ran it past some guys I know but I think they wanna smang me and are just agreeing with me just to increase their chances. But I know you’ll be honest with me, so here it is: 

I have been seeing this guy for short while now. We’re in the beginning stages of a relationship and everything was going fine and dandy until his ex showed up. One of her relatives died (my current knew that relative too), so he decided to go to the funeral with her for support and to pay his respects. Nothing wrong with that. No drama’s, everything cool.

A week later he told me his ex booked tickets behind his back for them to go to the Dutch Antilles because her grandmother his gravely ill and would not have long. She decided to not tell him until after she booked so he could not refuse. She wanted him to come along because she needed his support. He ran this by me and I told him that I could not make the decision for him, I will not forbid him to go because I’m not that kind of person and that he is a grown man and that I hope he will make the right decision.

I also said that if I had been in a break-up like theirs and if was really over him I would have never done what she had done to make him go. And in a situation like this the support of my family would probably have been enough. I asked him to think about what I said and to think about his ex’s intentions in this situation.

After all this he decided to go anyway.

I voiced my concerns and told him I was not happy about his decisions and that I was feeling very hurt and disrespected, and that I would have never even considered going had I been in his shoes, out of respect for him and our relationship. While he was over there with his ex my feelings for him have changed and I just don’t feel the same. I feel like I can’t trust him and that there’s something fishy going on. He says I’m over-reacting, nothing happened and I should get over it. What do you guys make of it? Am I overreacting?

– I deserve better

We put this question to the OHN men’s roundtable and opened the floor to discussion. Guys from all over the country weighed in with their opinions, and some even offered advice from similar experiences.

Here are some of the highlights:


Smell his dack when he gets home.






She’s not overreacting, he violated her trust in a big way, and if nothing else, the way he allowed himself to be manipulated by his ex says more about him than it says about her. He most DEFINITELY still has feelings for her.






 Be glad you found all this out now before something really does happen. He’s either easily manipulated, still stuck on her, or his ego is fragile & this blatant attempt to get back with him turns him on. At the very least he’s unable to stand up for himself when disrespected, because his ex dissed both of you. Wish them the best & chuck the deuces.




 Sorry to disagree but from where I sit the term limits on your newly minted relationship have not ended yet. You state you guys have only been together a short while. So unless y’all are living together or putting money in his pocket you are kind of out of lane.




 Out of lane how? I don’t see that she said or did anything wrong, so I’m curious as to why you see it as a violation?





 Whoa, flag on the play — he seriously violated the code on that one. A funeral is one thing, I guess I can see that. But going away on a trip with the ex? No wonder she feels different. Most people male or female probably would after something like that.





Homeboy is either a sucker or he’s trying to play her for one. Flat out. 

Pulling shit like this early in the relationship is a big-ass warning sign that there’s gonna be nothing but drama in the future. Because that ex damn sure ain’t going away any time soon. 

Throw the deuces, lady.



 You are not overreacting. He’s smashing. Move on.






 Yeah.. somethin fishy is goin on. I can kinda see if it was local, but travel is involved? Nah, get out now while you can still make a clean break.





 Is the author of this letter cute? If not, he’s smashing his ex.






Even if the letter writer is cute, he’s still smanging the ex, or will be eventually. I mean, maybe the funeral was one thing — I could see the ex being distraught and wanting someone there for comfort and strength – figuring that he’s the only one she could trust to help her through this troubling time, but then all that backdoor dealing with that second trip, and so close to the first time?

No way, something’s something’s rotten in the state of Denmark



It doesn’t even matter how fine she is. Sideslit is still sideslit. Think of it this way — If I get myself a Cadillac, I’m gonna love driving that bytch —  but it’s not like I am not gonna love driving the mustang for old time sake, just sayin.





Oh it’s like that? Here I was trying to make her have a solid reason to think about, but y’all straight up crushing her dreams.






 Why in all of Fugg-dom should he give a tin shyt in a top hat for some other bytch’s Big Momma? This is some ol’ passive/aggressive boolshyt right here, because he’s tryna make YOU out to be the azzhole if you object. Nope, this current fool can stay all the way up in some Antilles. Meanwhile, you can sort you out the next dude from amongst them as are agreeing with you, cuz free agency in a seller’s market is a WONDERFUL thang…




 Yeah, dude is trippin’. I won’t go so far as to say he’s banging his ex, but he still has feelings for her — or at least is open to take a trip down memory lane. And I’d say our letter writer handled the situation exactly as she should have by not forbidding that he go and just handing him a length of rope, with which he promptly used to hang himself.





 We’ve all seen the pornos — comforting a distraught, crying woman always end up with a penis in the pussy.






 Is the letter writer hot? Because the Netherlands is just a couple hours drive for me. If she’s fine, I might be available to provide post-break up counseling and support.

Shit, even if she ain’t all that fine, I could smash and then pick up a few grams of that good while I’m there.










 I’m. Just. Sayin.






Dear Letter-Writer,

When you break up with someone, that means shyt is BROKEN. Ain’t no “Oh, her uncle was cool with me and I gotta go blah-blah.” NONE of that. Broke up means No. Diplomatic. Relations. It means I broke up with you, ya parents, ya sisters, ya friends, ya co-workers, err’body that has ANYthing to do with you. This fool sounds like someone tryna quit smoking and still has ashtrays in all the rooms.


 If he can look you in the face and tell you that he HAS to go to whatever because some silly bytch already bought plane tickets (like refunds ain’t a thing apparently), then he can look you in the face and lie to you about fuggin’ another bytch. B’leee dat.





But that’s just our opinion. What do you think?

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NOTE: The Men’s Roundtable is intended to be a discussion of a topic, not a forum for personal attacks or backbiting. Please try to be respectful and open-minded in your comments. As such, this discussion will be monitored by the OHN editorial staff and shut down if things start to get out of hand. Comments that attempt to take this discussion to a overly personal or offensive realm will be subject to users being banned.


The Boston Bombing Suspects Have Been Caught — Now What?

Thankfully, finally — tsarnev-brothersthe two suspects in the recent Boston Marathon Bombing have either been killed or caught.

Following the terror and sadness we all felt seeing the pictures and footage and realizing the innocent victims of this senseless attack, seeing action being taken and completed by law enforcement was at the very least a comforting footnote on what was pretty much just an awful week of news.

But now that the action has cleared, the politics are going to start — and that’s usually when everything starts to suck.

Everyone’s angry at this senseless act, and wants justice to be dealt. That’s to be expected considering the victims were innocent women and children, but what’s perhaps not-so surprising is the all too familiar lashing out at the only apparent thing we know so far about brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev — which is that they are foreign, ethnic, ..other.

Media outlets are currently in a tither to try and suggest possible motivations for the bombings — and because it’s essentially all they have to work with so far — Race, background, religion, and culture have become easy targets for many reporters and pundits to use as the basis of their speculations.


Chechnya — the largely Muslim-populated country of the brother’s birth, has been linked to several terrorist acts in recent years, specifically against Russian Rule over their people. But as of yet the link between the extremism of nationalist groups and in this country and these two brothers who had lived in America for so many years hasn’t been solidified.

So are these international terrorists making some sort of politically charged statement? Or are they just garden variety nutjobs who forgot to wear their tinfoil hats  that day?

Fear, anger, and misunderstanding are a sure path to the uglier sides of American culture showing it’s a** when it comes to stories like these (9/11, Trayvon Martin, etc.) — so it’s little surprise that the racial component of this story has already begun to spin outwards on the social networks and talk radio — but is that really what matters here?

As much as we want swift and clear justice for anyone who kills indiscriminately — do we really need this to be a time of judging people based on the country of their birth, the name of their god, or the color of their skin before we know the actual facts?


My worst fear is that we’ll never really find the true motivations. That trials and legal actions will stretch out to the point that even the answers we get won’t be easy to understand. And in the space that void of facts creates — an unending pile of assumptions, prejudices, and fear-based-hate will find ground to root in. And whether it’s the government, the media (liberal, conservative, or otherwise..), the internet, or just that one guy at work who seems to exist only to repeat crap he heard on talk radio during his lunchbreak, this cycle of seeking to judge before understanding will continue.


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The bombers have been caught — what do you think will happen next?


Inspiring New Marketing Campaign Helps People Conquer Their Own Negative Self-Image

Woman Checking Hair in MirrorIt’s often said that women are their own worst beauty critics.

Actually I think when you get right down to it most people are acutely aware of their own perceived flaws and shortcomings than other people that we might  meet during the course of our days or lives.

But in a society like ours where appearances seem to matter so much — and almost every kind of media image and product marketing seems so laser-focused towards the idea of  “beauty” being a standard to be lived up to instead of an expression of who you are inside — it can cause lasting effects to a person’s self-esteem.

It’s an issue that’s been around for ages, but recently one companies marketing department thought to do something about it. Over the past few years the Dove soap company has been working through their advertisements to highlight issues that are frequently extended by the way beauty products like soaps and moisturizers are sold. Using models with differing ages and body types, focusing on the idea of a daily beauty regimen as an empowering experience rather than an attempt to keep up with others.. it’s been something that you’ve probably seen and noticed in commercials on TV and ads in magazines.

But their most recent campaign takes this approach even further. Perhaps realizing that the issue isn’t really how women approach the technical process of achieving and maintaining beauty as much as it might be the way women in particular view themselves, they decided to try an experiment.

The results are pretty powerful. See for yourself.

The ads, directed by John X. Carey, feature a forensic artist sketching regular men and women in two different ways (the longer cut is here). First they had the person describe themselves, telling about their various features — knowing that for many of us describing our faults is sometimes more of a reflex than anything.

Then for the second sketch, the artist talks with strangers who had a chance to meet those same people from the previous drawing, and have them offer a description that becomes a drawing. The differences in the sketches, as you can imagine, are striking.


Whoever you are, reading this now — take a second sometime today and look in the mirror.

Are you seeing who you are, or are you seeing what you don’t like about yourself?

If you’re falling into that trap — it’s time to stop. Of course it’s not an easy thing to reverse, especially if some of your images have come from the negative statements of others or perhaps experiences that you think reinforce that negative self-image in some way.

But I’m telling you, OHN fam — you’re all beautiful. Even if you can’t always see it, it’s there.

So start looking for real next time. Start seeing the good things.



And to help you let go of the bad, here’s what I suggest. In the comments below, take a second to list those things that first come to mind when you think of flaws. Those things that you see in your mind that maybe aren’t flattering. If you feel comfortable enough to do so — list them in the comments.

hexpurpI’ll even go first.

  • Bald spot.
  • Spots/Scars on my left arm.
  • Weird long eyelash that I never remember to trim.
  • Spare tire around my belly that I’m still struggling to get rid of.

These are the things that I see in myself that I would love to change. They’re the things that I almost always see in the mirror.

What are yours?

I bet what you’ll find in the replies will show you that the things you’re seeing aren’t what other are noticing at all.