My Biggest Pet Peeve: The Freeze Out

Published: The Good Men Project (March 1, 2016)

I know I’ve tackled this subject before, and that article proved to be one of my least successful for this site. Nevertheless, every so often a writer needs to discuss what’s on his mind even if his audience doesn’t much care to hear it, so hear I go:

I am sick and tired of the freeze out.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a “freeze out” is when someone simply refuses to respond to your phone calls/emails/other attempts at correspondence instead of directly telling you why they have animosity. It is, by far, my biggest pet peeve when it comes to social interactions. This may be partially related to the fact that I’m autistic, since people with my condition flounder in situations that lack candor (as I discuss here), but whenever I float my frustration among my informal brains trust, I find that the majority share my view. Sure, there are a few who make excuses for the practice (perhaps because they do it themselves?), but most seem to agree that it’s selfish, insulting, and annoying. At the same time, most seem to have resigned themselves to the fact that it isn’t going to stop. read more

When did incompetence become okay?

Published: The Good Men Project (January 26, 2016)

Have we decided, as a society, that professional incompetence is something we must tolerate? Indeed, dare I say, that it is even acceptable?

This isn’t an entirely rhetorical question. Most people are happy to pay lip service to the importance of reliability and efficiency, and there is little question that Americans are second-to-none when it comes to our collective work ethic. Quantity of labor is not the same as quality of labor, though, and claiming to despise incompetence is quite different from taking an active stand against it. Unfortunately, if my own recent experiences are any indication, our culture has moved away from demanding competence of those around us. read more

Living with an Invisible Disability

Published: The Good Men Project (December 31, 2015)

This is an article about invisible disabilities… metaphorical as well as literal.

As many of my readers already know, I was born with a hand-eye coordination disability that mystifies my neurologists to this day. Thanks to my parents’ diligence and the help of wonderful childhood physical therapists, I have sufficiently overcome it so that most people who meet me never even guess I have this problem. This was and remains a blessing – one that many others in my situation may not have been lucky enough to receive – and I am enormously grateful for it. read more

The Work I Dread

Published: The Good Men Project (October 6, 2015)

Despite my fear of sounding self-pitying, I want to tell you about my strange relationship with work. It will make me feel better and might help a few of my readers.

I’m a chronic workaholic. As I write this, I am a freelance columnist for several online publications, an elected official for my local Democratic Party, and a full-time PhD student preparing for his comprehensive exams (more on that in a moment). Even when I have “free time, ” I rarely spend it just lounging about and relaxing. If I can’t find something productive to do, my restlessness usually sucks the fun out of whatever leisure activity I’m trying to enjoy. read more

When Do You Go Full Bald?

Published: The Good Men Project (September 22, 2015)

Although my hairline started receding during my mid-20s, it didn’t become especially noticeable until about a year ago. Before then, people still felt comfortable joking that my increasingly prominent widow’s peak would someday turn me into a proverbial chrome dome. It wasn’t until the humor stopped and the sympathy commenced that I realized I had an actual problem on my hands.

Before I made the decision to go full bald, however, I went through a step-by-step reasoning process that I feel deserves to be shared here. It included the following: read more

Why Everyone Needs A Brains Trust

Published: The Good Men Project (September 17, 2015)

It recently occurred to me that there is a special type of friend in my life who I’ve never really honored. For that matter, I’ve noticed that although a lot of people have forged these unique relationships, they aren’t widely discussed in the media. While I could spend an entire article speculating as to why that’s the case, I think our time would be better used simply paying tribute to the special circle so many of us have created in our lives: read more

Why We Need To Bring Back Crushes

Published: The Good Men Project (August 20, 2015)

Let’s talk about crushes.

I recently noticed that when adults discuss their romantic feelings, the term “crush” is almost never used. When it does appear, there is almost always an apologetic undertone to it – people will qualify their crushes with adjectives like “schoolboy” or “schoolgirl” (as in, “I have a bit of a schoolboy crush on you”), or will in some other way indicate that they feel the emotion they’re displaying is childish. read more