That classic line from ‘The Godfather’, circa 1972, seems like a far cry to our modern times; which are a surely changing. Think about it – global warming, eco-vigilance, stock market rollercoaster rides, terrorism and the growing threat of fullscale WW3 in the Middle East, China’s growing domination and the waning of Western democratization. Yes indeed, the world is dealing with menopause or shall we say, for the sake of this site, a major mid-eternity crisis, if there’s anything like it.
However, instead of quivering in our shoes and hiding out in bunkers, these unprecedented days call for leadership and justice. It exactly times like these, gentlemen, that we need to listen to Don Corleone’s words and seriously act and lead like men.
But what does it mean to act like a real man? One fella has the answer, or so he says.
“We’re not talking about the touchy–feely, ultra–sensitive, emotion–sharing, version of manhood that talk show hosts have been spouting for years. We’re talking about the tough, smart, confident, charming, classy, all–around good fella that upholds the true ideal of what is known as ‘a man’s man’.”
These wise words are Frank Vincent’s, the Wise Guy’s Wise Guy who’s played more wise guys in more mob movies than you can shake a loaded gun at – Billy Batts in Martin Scorsese’s mob classic Goodfellas and Johnny Sack’s captain Phil Leotardo on HBO’s The Sopranos. Vincent could be perceived as old fashioned, but dudes ‘what goes around comes around’ and now more than ever, men need to stand up and be men, especially as the world alarmingly becomes a stage for namby pamby men who can’t or won’t be faithful to their other halves, chase celebrity and status for its own sake (whatever happened to discretion??), throw away life long sports or business careers for a quick bribe, lie and hide behind alcohol and drugs, and can’t be held to their promises.
In his first published book – ‘A Guy’s Guide to being a Man’s Man’ – Vincent gives us his version of how any man can be all that he can be in love, work, play, and life. He advocates the “bad boy with a good heart” i.e. an exciting, self assured, mysterious, confident even flamboyant man who lives dangerously, yet loves passionately and 100% monogamously, treats everyone with respect, dresses like a champ, knows how to eat and cook like a man, etc.
Funny, straightforward and honest, the book is peppered with anecdotes and great one liners like, “Being a man’s man is all about how you handle all the situations that come your way in life”, “A man’s man can be wearing the best clothes, sitting in the most expensive restaurant, drinking fine wine with the most beautiful woman, but if a man’s man does not treat everyone around him with respect, then he’s not a real man’s man. He’s a jerkoff in a good suit” and “A man’s man always leaves a good impression”.
Simply written (wise guys do not laureates make), Vincent covers topics like the right movies for a “man’s man” to watch, including lists on the best westerns, war, sports, and of course, gangster flicks. There’s even a section on “chick flicks.” It simply reads, “I don’t think so.”
On music, Vincent rates a top 15 “man’s man” musicians which include the usual suspects like Sinatra and Tony Bennett, as well as such unlikely inclusions as Bruce Springsteen and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler. (“His lips have been a helipad for some of the most beautiful women in the world” – another brilliant one liner.)
Vincent also rates the best driving songs, and — of course — the best (Chris Issak’s “Wicked Game”) and worst (Jimmy Buffet’s “Why Don’t We Get Drunk and …”) songs to make love by.
Vincent keeps dishing it out, from what a “man’s man” eats, and drinks (real men prefer martinis and only imported beer) to the way he dresses, accessorizes, and grooms himself – be sure to get those nails clipped and manicured, keep yourself clean and brush those teeth fellas, to what he drives ( he recommends a Monday-to-Friday utility vehicle and a weekend car, preferably a low slung sports car).
He covers all the bases in A Guy’s Guide To Being A Man’s Man. And speaking of bases, you’ll never make it past the first one without reading the essential advice here on how to get her digits, and better still how to choose the right woman for life.
This wise guy doesn’t just “talk the talk,” he “walks the walk” – both on and off screen, and it’s clear he never forgets those who believed in and supported him. Tony Soprano himself, James Gandolfini, wrote the introduction to Vincent’s book, and there are also some great interviews here with Vincent’s “man’s man” pals like Steven Van Zandt, James Caan, and Vincent “Big Pussy” Pastore.
Being a man’s man will definitely take you places. Just as long as you remember Vincent’s very en-pointe advice: A man’s man never loses his head, no matter how ‘big’ he gets.