dad from day one: Insert Foot in Mouth

Week 25 (5 months).

If you are a regular reader of my “daddy blog”, then you know my writing style well enough to expect this to be a post about Jack being able to literally put his foot in his mouth- and by the end I will make mention that as he gets older he will metaphorically put his foot in his mouth by not knowing when to stop talking- as often is the case with guys.  So surely I will need to throw in a reference to John Mayer’s song, “My Stupid Mouth.”  But that would be too predictable.  So no metaphors this time around- this entry is simply about my son discovering his toes and sucking on them.  No “big picture” ideas today.

Jack has discovered his feet.  I don’t know if he realizes they are his feet, though. Like the way a dog chases its tail, providing hilarious entertainment for spectators, so is Jack’s love/hate relationship with his feet.  I’m assuming that he thinks his toes are little grub worms, and forgetting that the only “solid food” he is eating right now is crushed up oatmeal and bananas, not grub worms, he decides to attack his toes when they are not looking.  And might I add, he gets ’em every time!

His slobber is noticeably thick this days, so each time he bites his toes with his toothless gums, the end result somehow reminds me of every alien sci-fi movie I’ve never seen, yet still recognize the image for.  But aside from the humor of watching Jack sneak up and attack his toes, and aside from the grossness of it, is the surprising element of it: A baby, with the body proportions of the Michelin Man, is limber enough to easily stick  his foot to his mouth anytime he wants.

I completely admit that in the middle of typing that last sentence, I had to stick my foot to my mouth to see if I could do it too.  I can.  But not as effortless as Jack.

Bonus: Last week I was interviewed and quoted in a Mother’s Day article by Megan Mattes, on Parents.com.  Click here to see it.

John Mayer’s Stupid Mouth

Will his recent humiliation humble him for good?  We keep on waiting.  (Waiting.)  Waiting for John Mayer to change.

In November 2009 when his new album Battle Studies was released, I wrote a review that in essence said the music itself was solid as always, but the man John Mayer himself was becoming increasingly annoying and obnoxious (read it here http://wp.me/pxqBU-fj).  But I have the ability to separate the art from the artist.  I believe John Mayer will always make music that I love, but can he ever get over himself?

I remember a simpler time, in college, circa 2002, when I ironically thought to myself as I was in the check out aisle, “How weird would it be if John Mayer was ever on the cover of these tabloid magazines?  What if he dated famous stars like Jennifer Aniston?”  It was such a foreign thought regarding the fresh-on-the-scene musical Wonderboy.

So it obviously was a huge case of déjà vu when this random thought from just a few short years earlier became a reality.  And with his rock star status came a major case of “I’m too sexy for my cat”.  That brings us to the year 2010.

The once funny and personable musician began to realize that the general consensus of him is that he is the current textbook definition of a douchebag, even more so than Spencer Pratt, who held that title for 2008.  Realizing this, and trying to shrug off his undesirable reputation, he acknowledged the public’s perception of himself in the December 2009 issue of Details magazine, yet still ended up saying this:

“I’m in the place of greatest freedom right now- not giving a f—…  I don’t have f— you money… I have ‘that’s my seat’ money’ “

Ultimately, his attitude has seemed to be: “I’m John Mayer.  I’ve got the talent, money, fame, and women that everyone else wants.  Oh yeah, and I’m clever and witty too.  See?”

Here’s the complete article: http://www.details.com/celebrities-entertainment/cover-stars/200912/singer-musician-cover-star-half-of-my-heart-john-mayer

It didn’t seem like he really cared or wanted to change.  He just wanted people to stop desecrating his name.

Then came the interview with Playboy magazine.  To sum it up, he’s gives his biggest “kiss and tell” list ever as he sexually degrades the women he’s been romantically involved with, makes a remark about his romantic disinterest in African-American women, and uses the “N-word” in the process.  That’s the PG summary.  Here’s a more detailed recap, not the actual interview: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35334100/ns/entertainment-celebrities/

Not quite the same mindset as his hit song, “Daughters”.

Soon after, he apologized on Twitter.  And last night here in Nashville he broke down on stage in the middle of “Gravity” (appropriate song choice) with the most sincere apology and acknowledgement of his self-centeredness:  http://wonderwall.msn.com/music/singer-john-mayer-breaks-down-on-stage-1537819.story?GT1=28135

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYS_qdWy_wM

It’s one thing to be a rich and famous womanizer, but even worse to acknowledge it, then brag about it while trying to appear sophisticated, in the public eye.

Now only time will tell whether the musical prodigy/media addict will return to the 2002 version of himself.  The guy that knew how to keep his stupid mouth shut.  The guy that seemed to narrate my life the way the TV show The Wonder Years did when I was a kid.  The only other guy I knew who was equally obsessed with the year 1983.

No need for us to collect all of our John Mayer recordings and burn them in the city square like disgruntled fans did with The Beatles when John Lennon said they were bigger than Jesus, or when Natalie Maines of The Dixie Chicks said they were ashamed of President Bush.  I still believe in the guy, as a person, that he can get through this by getting over himself.

Back on his first album, Room for Squares, John asked the question:  “Will you love me when I’m not myself?”

Yes.  Yes, John, I will.  But I hope the real you is the 2002 version, not 2010.

Related posts by this author:

Manspeak, Volume 1: Humor  http://wp.me/pxqBU-1i

Boyspeak  http://wp.me/sxqBU-boyspeak

Manspeak, Volume 3: Filtration

There is a widely accepted stigma that women talk more than men on a daily average basis: The urban legend says that women speak 20,000 words per day, while men only speak 7,000. It’s fun and easy to believe, yet almost all documented research shows that both genders speak around the same amount of words on a daily basis. What actually has been proven is that each gender tends to focus their speech on certain aspects- Men’s conversations are more information and task based, being more direct; women’s are more social based, encompassing more topics all at once.

Since men aren’t quite as in touch with their feelings and able to express themselves as easily and clearly (not to mention the fear of coming across as weak or too sensitive), men often are silent on issues that truly matter. The lack of a man’s words at times when they are most needed creates a canyon of unfinished business, causing some things to never begin and some to never end. While if he uses the wrong words, he may find himself at the bottom of that canyon.

Boy meets girl, man meets woman. Either way. Whether on the playground or randomly in line at a concert, a guy has to find a way to entice a girl with his words. From a cheesy pick-up line to a clever ice breaker. In almost every interview I’ve ever watched where a girl is asked what top 3 qualities she is looking for in a guy, more than looks, money, height, even religious beliefs, “he has to be able to make me laugh” seems to be the most reoccurring. And later down the road it’s the man that is expected to say those famous words, “Will you marry me?” A lot revolves around a man’s willingness to speak.

I find it interesting that God “spoke” the world into existence. Then one of the main jobs He gave Adam was to name to the animals. John the Baptist’s father lost the ability to speak until he named his son John. And it was Joseph that fulfilled predictions of the Old Testament when he named Jesus. When Jesus began healing people at age 30, he often simply spoke, and the sick were healed. He also caused the storm to stop by simply saying, “Peace, be still.” But what happens when a man doesn’t speak, or instead uses his words negatively?

A familiar concept is a grown man with no ambition, or a man who goes on to live a life of crime, because his father told him as a child, “You’ll never amount to anything. I wish you were never born.” Sounds like something from a melodramatic movie, but it happens everyday. And how many grown women look for love in all the wrong places, having a pattern of attracting men who don’t respect them, as they try to find a man to answer the question “do you love me?” because she never heard her father say the words “I love you”? A man’s words alone have the power to curse or bless his children. That’s powerful.

Last week I saw a Friends rerun where Joey starting acting more feminine because he got a female roommate. At one point in the episode Chandler senses Joey is upset and asks him what he did wrong. Joey responds with, “If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you.” I laughed along with the pre-recorded audience because I recognized from watching a lifetime’s worth of sitcoms that it’s the man that has to constantly apologize for the stupid thing he said. And of course, he usually doesn’t know which specific stupid thing it was.

Joey’s next phrase: “It’s not what you said, it’s the way you said it.” Again, a token situation that is not at all foreign. A man’s words can get him in a lot of trouble. When a man speaks it tends to be more direct, specific, and matter-of-fact; it’s understandable that a man is more likely to hurt a woman by what he says, rather than the other way around. A woman tends to have a gentler, more discrete way of saying things.

As the half-Jewish actor Harry Connick, Jr. puts it in the movie P.S. I Love You, guys don’t really have a filter on what comes out of their mouths. They do, but it’s not too good. And I think this accounts for the term “dirty old man”. As men get older, the filter often works even less.

When I plow through another person unintentionally with my words, when there were words someone needed to hear me say that I didn’t say, and when I say something that is flat out wrong or invalid, I will use my words to sincerely apologize for my mistake. Better my apology when I mess up, than my silence, denial, or apathy.

“No filter in my head, what’s a boy to do? I guess he better find one soon.”
-John Mayer (“My Stupid Mouth”)

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:

Blog- www.photojoeblog.com

Website- www.joehendricks.com

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Manspeak, Volume 1: Humor

It was April 2002 when I first learned/realized that humor is an expected male trait. My sister and I went to this $5 concert some new young musician guy was doing in Birmingham, AL. Supposedly he was about to make it huge and this show was to thank the local radio station for being the first to play his songs. It was none other than the pre-Jessica Simpson, pre-Jennifer Anniston, pre-tattoo sleeved John Mayer.

For months following the concert, I was unable and unwilling to remove his No Room for Squares album from my CD player. I picked up on the fact this 24 year-old kid swam in something I could relate to, and it wasn’t just our shared love of the year 1983. He spoke my language. The third track, “My Stupid Mouth”, had a line that said, “I just want to be liked, just want to be funny, looks like the joke’s on me”. That’s when I realized that I was not alone in that I felt responsible for having to be funny, because I am a guy.

While no doubt there are countless social expectations from the female gender, one that is not important and vital is humor. That’s a guy thing. Compared to the overwhelming number of male comedians, it’s more difficult to find successful female comedians. The ones I can think of right off, are not the norm for what is considered feminine: Ellen DeGeneres, Rosie O’Donnell, Wanda Sykes, and Roseanne Barr.

I’m a personal fan of Ellen. I watched her talk show every day my senior year of college. She’s like one of the guys. And I think that’s why I relate to her so much.

The big exception to this “guys have to be the funny one” rule of comedy is Friends. Three men, three women, and they’re all funny. The show was co-written by a man and a woman. That 50/50 designation of both the actors and writers was part of the massive success of the show. Both men and women could relate to the humor and the characters. Even Seinfeld had a 3 to 1 ratio of male to female actors. Friends broke the mold.

Yes, attractive and feminine women can definitely be funny: Anna Faris, Tina Fey, Cameron Diaz, and Chelsea Handler. But I still see a tom-boyish quality about them. Where it at least seems like they grew up with all brothers. And for every one exception, there are five Seth Rogen’s, three Jon Stewart’s, and four Adam Sandler’s.

Men are expected to be funny, at least in some degree. Even Ben Stein, as dry and drab as he is, is still hilarious. (“Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? Anyone?”) And the Terminator in his violent mission of destruction, right before he returns to the police station by running a squad car through the glass doors and blows away all those in his path, declares, “I’ll be back”. That, is funny.

While this may put extra pressure on a guy, there is a trade-off. Guys don’t have to find the perfect pair of shoes to match every “cute outfit” they own. Or give birth.

“If you can make a girl laugh, you can make her do anything.” –Marilyn Monroe

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:

Blog- www.photojoeblog.com

Website- www.joehendricks.com

 

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