Mankind Project on marriage: Is this good or bad advice?

Jim Belushi is a funny guy. He apparently is also into “the men’s movement.” He gave an interview to the Mankind Project’s journal (which normally is password protected) you can read via a link on the MKP website. The interview was conducted by MKPer Reid Baer and contains what is portrayed as wit and wisdom about true masculinity in the context of relationship with a woman. The title of Belushi’s book is “Real Men Don’t Apologize” and there are some rules he recommends:
Here are Belushi’s 5 Commandments for his wife:

Thou Shalt Not Shush Me
Thou Shalt Not Steal
Thou Shalt Never Banish Me to the Couch
Thou Shalt Not compete With me
Thou Shalt Not Expect an Apology for Something I am Not sorrieth For

There are many more tributes to the frat guy approach to masculinity. Here is another:

“Women say they want a man who is kind, gentle, compassionate, polite, considerate and nurturing,” Belushi intoned. “Bullshit! They just described a chick! Women really need a man who is mysterious, powerful, passionate, confident, unpredictable and a little dangerous. That’s the guy they will sleep with … the most interesting person in the world to a woman is someone they know nothing about. The stuff they come up with in their own head is a lot more interesting than you. That’s why so many women out there have a crush on Tony Soprano. He cheats on his wife, works in an illegal business and kills people.”

And then more specific to the masculinity work of MKP, Belushi advises:

“I’ve been doing men’s work for a long time because I’ve had to … to survive,” he said. “There’s a lot of healing that we men need because we’ve got some wounds to deal with. Women may want to fix them, but they can’t. We have to use the tribal approach and let the men work with the men.”

So women cannot help men be men. This is a common theme in the MKP stuff I have read. Women are of some other tribe and the coming together is apparently not for companionship or for mutual completion. In fact, I am not sure what (other) role women play for men when I read

“Love without sex is friendship, sex without love is spring break, and if you want companionship, get a dog.”

Ok, let me open it up. Does this look like a respectful, winning approach to heterosexual relationships? This is one of two featured interviews on the MKP page, so they must think this is good stuff. I am wondering what wives think reading this interview — (“Is that what my husband will come home expecting?”). Readers, chime in here…
PS – This is the thought for the day (7/23/08) on the MKP website:

Thought for the Day:
When a man finds his own heart, he outgrows his unreal romanticism about women, as well as the neurotic need to please them.

Call me neurotic but I like to make my wife happy. And besides, I do not know what that even means. To me, it sounds like, when a man gets self-centered, he puts himself first. Is the MKP vision of manhood a guy who finds some great thing to conquer and then puts that mission in first place?

39 thoughts on “Mankind Project on marriage: Is this good or bad advice?”

  1. This is a pile of crap. It pretends all men and women are the same. I am in Meyers Briggs terms an Introverted Intuitive Feeling Perceiver INFP. And if listened to this crap and used it as a guide I would be out of integrity with my authenticity. I loving compassionate caring kind intelligent creative supportive etc. I have no problem getting dates. I have had one 5 year relationship and many other shorter term relationships. The five year one was with a compliment ISTP woman. We hit a communication wall – but Neither of us were “whimps” in the relationship.
    MKP is full of this sort of shit!!! And they discredit themselves. Carl Jung is rolling in his grave. Not to mention the Wheelwrights.
    I wish there were men’s groups that did not popularize the sexist crap!

  2. In high school, more than half of the girls I knew well ‘pursued’ the bad boys. Belushi nailed that part on the head. But, in a diverse world, it’s just wrong to presume that ALL girls feel that way. Many don’t. And many don’t even know WHAT to feel.
    But as I reflect, the majority of them had more unhappiness and instability than those who were drawn to another type of man. Some drawn to shyness, some to quietness, some to awkwardness or goofiness, some to seriousness, bookishness,
    I like Belushi but if I were looking for the real image of a man, I’d go for Randy and his Tigger mentality. (Forgive me…I think it’s Paullk…”The Last Lecture”.)

  3. Drowssap et al,
    You can’t lump ALL WOMEN or ALL MEN into a category – you can’t make sweeping generalizations about any group of people. Your personal experiences should be respected, as I believe mine should, but they don’t speak for all or even most of the rest of the world. I think its important to keep that in mind sometimes. Do SOME women like what Belushi is professing, I’m sure they do, but what I hear most from my female friends is that they don’t like a guy to be too much either way. The problem often seems that for groups like this its black or white, when really we’re always dealing with shades of grey 🙂
    I often wonder if the problem is not that women don’t know what they want, its that others aren’t doing a good enough job at listening to what they are actually saying they want.

  4. Ann

    While I knew I respected him and enjoyed his company, I didn’t fall in love with him until I saw him put milk in a measuring cup and dunk graham crackers in it and then eat them slowly with a spoon. Funny about chemistry – I had to see this side of him to fall in love.

    Ya know it’s funny, you sound like my wife. A couple of weeks ago my wife and I were at a restaraunt and I did something dorky. I didn’t immediately catch what I had done, but my wife looks at me and says in a pleasant voice, “that’s why I love you.” And then I realized that I had just looked silly but she actually found it pleasing. So… I just shrugged my shoulders sheepishly and smiled.

  5. Ann

    A man that is busy with other things and people they consider important will perk a woman’s interest.

    You are so right and this is exactly what I learned over time. When I was really young I probably showed too much immediate interest. About the time I hit 18 or 19 I realized that at least initially I was much better off being friendly but aloof. The girls I met were friends of people in my college friend group. So we’d all hang out and sometimes a new girl would be around. If I acted like she was just another person I did so much better than zeroing in on her. I’d just yuck it up with my friends and if we were genuinely having a good time that would draw her to me/us.

  6. nice guy can appear egoless and dependent…not very attractive.
    bad guy can appear strong and independent, resilient under pressure…attractive.

    Yes, this is true for some and usually it is fleeting – the word “appearance” is very important as it is unsustainable in real life and real relationships. Remember, perception is everything and this is why men should be mindful that women will be attracted to a nice guy if their transparency is tempered with dignity. A man that is busy with other things and people they consider important will perk a woman’s interest. Men tend to take more responsibility than necessary for whether girls appreciate them or not – it is really more of where a woman is in her own evolvement and whether or not she is able to appreciate a nice guy. If a woman has depth and emotionally maturity, she will appreciate a nice guy.

  7. And there are studies which indicate that women prefer bad boys during certain times of the month and nice boys during others.

  8. nice guy can appear egoless and dependent…not very attractive.
    bad guy can appear strong and independent, resilient under pressure…attractive.

  9. Drowssap,
    I went to see both of those movies on days when I was having a difficult day – I immediately felt better when I started laughing. Yes, there was much that was unsavory and it probably wouldn’t have had the same affect on me on any other given day. Both of them did depict the nice guy vs. bad guy image.

  10. Ann
    I saw “Forgetting Sara Marshall.” That movie was completely filthy, but super, super funny. 😎 I can’t believe how many jokes they packed into that movie. Superbad is by the same guys and it was also really funny (and filthy).
    I read parts of an interview by the Producer of those movies, Judd Apetow. He is a huge anti-drug guy. He said that in all of his movies he makes people who use drugs either bad or stupid or both. He seemed disheartened that people rarely notice his anti-drug theme.

  11. Let’s forget what Jim Belushi says about marriage. Let’s hear what Rich Tosi, cofounder of MKP, says about marriage.
    “The skills taught at New Warrior Trainings primarily focus on your personal empowerment. However, using “warrior” skills with your female partner may not always work. The relationship skills taught at the Couples Weekend focus on clarifying and strengthening the connection between you and the woman in your life.”
    That is why Tosi recommends that warrior men and their wives attend the couples’ weekend that he and his wife Char, the founder of Women Within, the sister organization of MKP, both lead. At this weekend the wives are recruited to join Women Within
    I was told before I joined MKP that I would become a better husband and father and that my family would be strengthened. I wasn’t told that what I would became at the warrior weekend WOULD NOT help my marriage and that my wife and myself would have to attend a couples’ weekend because of this.
    So much for the honesty that MKP has with its perspective members.

  12. p.s. – there is an hilarious movie that is probably out in video now called ‘Forgetting Sara Marshall” that talks about the good guy vs bad guy images.

  13. Regarding transparency…I have wondered over the years whether a man’s ability to demonstrate this skill early in the relationship is more a function of feminine training (by his mother).

    I can see a mother’s training in this, however, I also see it as a character trait that might or might not be learned. For me, transparency must be tempered with dignity when presenting it as a quality to another individual. I have always thought that a man who is transparent is a man who is genuine and real and trustworthy. It is about character. Also, when a man is transparent, usually a good sense of humor comes naturally to them. They are not purposefully hiding themselves or pretending to be other than they are. They can laugh at themselves instead of being defensive. Women feel safe with this kind of man.
    There is a phrase some women still pay attention to and that is – watch how a man treats and interacts with other women in his family and it can be a good indicator how he will interact with you.

  14. Drowssap,
    Remember – so much of who women find attractive and want to have a relationship with depends on how they feel about themselves at any given time throughout a lifetime. Women who gravitate to jerks usually don’t have good self esteem and need to feel excited by the unpredictable to feel alive and purposeful.
    Speaking of nice guys – I had a wonderful love relationship with an attorney and was initially attracted to him based on his intelligence and demeanor. He was busy and productive and I admired that. Although he was assertive in his interest toward me, I knew he had other things in his life that were important to him as well. It allowed me time to observe and want to know more about him. While I knew I respected him and enjoyed his company, I didn’t fall in love with him until I saw him put milk in a measuring cup and dunk graham crackers in it and then eat them slowly with a spoon. Funny about chemistry – I had to see this side of him to fall in love.

  15. Ann

    Memo to nice guys – please, please don’t ever change! Modify your transparency initially but never change your character – it is VERY sexy and appealing and definitely a “Sunday kind of Love”.

    Well the good news in this case is that changing your personal character is nearly as hard as changing sexual orientation. 😎
    I started out a softy, and I’m still a softy. But for me I definately had to make some changes on the outside to be succesful with women. Until then it seemed like I was getting a sharp stick poked in my eye every day of my life. 😎
    Back to “Bad Boys”
    For some weird reason these guys have the ability to cast some sort of evil spell over many women. About a year ago there was a national news story about a corrupt cop who killed his girlfriend in front of their 2 year old. The side story is that he had a STRING of girlfriends across town and he abused every one of them. I remember when I couldn’t get one girlfriend and this guy has 20 and he abuses all of them.

  16. Ann,
    Regarding transparency…I have wondered over the years whether a man’s ability to demonstrate this skill early in the relationship is more a function of feminine training (by his mother).
    The whole “nice guy” passive condemnation of these men is confusing, because it appears that being what their mother trained them to be, turns out to be uninteresting to some women.
    I wonder if the “nice guy” phenomenon is a form of overidentification with feminine values in the relationship, which a mother might prize, but which leads to a kind of feminine redundancy in a heterosexual relationship.
    Ok….who knows?!?!?!?
    An old friend of mine wrote a song called “Nice Guys, Make Good Memories”
    Nice Guys
    Make Good Memories.
    Although I try
    Girls never fall in love with me.
    All the girls
    They Always Seem to see
    A nice guy is all I’ll ever be
    O pity me now!
    A nice guy is all I’ll ever be.

  17. Yes how awful that they are gay supportive 🙂
    I guess if you want an organization that is antigay there is always PK.

  18. Look at the two recent additions to the MKP home page. The first being this link to the Belushi interview and the second being the gay rainbow flag link. All of these additions have happened in the past week. This revealing about the true nature of MKP. MKP is starting to show their true colors.

  19. But it’s true that most girls/women like daring self-assured guys

    Yes, most girls/woman like this kind of guy initially but when it comes to sustainable love, we want someone we can trust and find that kind of confidence very appealing vs. daring.
    I think most men who are attraced to women find it in their appearance first – most women who are attracted to men find the attraction in their movement and demeanor first.

  20. Carter,
    It is really sad that Warriors would allow this on their site. Warriors is not a comey club or a spinoff of SNL. Belushi’s article begs the question does Warriors have professional direction or not? It certainly doesn’t look that way, does it? Warriors brings this kind of severe criticism because they have chosen to allow this kind of stuff on their site. Allowing this kind of sexist garbage on your site only damages their credibility and it is already in the tank with going overboard trying to be everything to everyone.

  21. Different stuff works for different people. I was going out with a girl once who got really amused on hearing another girl saying that if she doesn’t hear her boyfriend calling her in a certain derogatory way (it can’t be translated into English, because it’s a sort of vulgar interjection used to address women) she feels something is wrong that she doesn’t get enough attention. I don’t think my date would have liked it if I used it, but the other girl liked it. It depends on who’s saying what to whom. 🙂 But it’s true that most girls/women like daring self-assured guys – it depends on the type of person how much is too much. Some girls are so shy that they are put off by too assertive guys. I guess nature provided enough diversity so that shy guys can find their match too.
    What Belushi is saying, IMO, is that most women don’t want a guy for a doormat, whatever they say. But he can’t say it in a serious way, because he is a comedian.

  22. Regarding “nice guys” – I can only speak for myself but have observed and have knowledge that many other women feel the same.
    Women tend to be initially attracted to men that they can think about and wonder about and hypothize about. Nice guys (guys who are nice) get confused – all too often – as an intrusion on the feelings women want to have as a natural part of the their process. Nice guys are transparent with their feelings up front, which should be admired and appreciated, however, this information takes away from and interferes with those initial feelings women want to experience in order to have and develop more interest. We look at it as a component in what makes the world go around. Now, after (and it is usually a short time) we have been given the privilege of our process, most women long for and are very desireous of a “nice guy”. It depends a lot on self esteem too. If a woman is familiar with contempt from men, she becomes somewhat comfortable with it and does not know how to interact with a nice guy. Also remember, nice guys come with a responsibility for women – there are few things to get mad (frustrated, yes – mad, no) about. Some women use anger and guilt to control men (ugh) and until that is resolved within them as an outdated method of controlling, they cannot appreciate a nice guy and all the privileges that come with him. In other words women have to be introspective and change those things about themselves that are not conducive to a good relationship with a nice guy – those that do can probably be happy with this nice guy for their entire life.
    Memo to nice guys – please, please don’t ever change! Modify your transparency initially but never change your character – it is VERY sexy and appealing and definitely a “Sunday kind of Love”.

  23. Marque – Belushi might be offering this in jest but I do not detect Reid Baer sees it as off the mark. He takes it very seriously and in fact that is why he interviewed him.
    Perhaps, MKP just wanted a celebrity on the site to attract attention. However, I cannot find where Reid Baer disagrees with much of this approach, can you?
    It actually is funny, unless he means it, IMO.

  24. I think women believe wrongly they are better at relationships than men.
    We’re not? = – 0

  25. Does this look like a respectful, winning approach to heterosexual relationships?

    It seems this would depend on the people involved. There is a phrase that goes something like – “tell me who you love and that will tell me who you are”. I like that a lot because it really does describe how we choose people to have relationships with throughout the span of a lifetime. Some are very blessed and find that early in life.
    For me, what Jim Belushi said is not a winning approach to a relationship. Full disclosure – I love men. They are an endless source of fascination for me. I love them when they are babies and at all ages thereafter. I can be completely mesmerized by a little boy of 5, feel my heart skip a beat watching Anderson Cooper interview David Beckman (two very sexy men), or find myself completely intrigued by listening to Alan Greenspan and finding his level of intelligence very appealing. I value and hold men in the highest esteem, with some exceptions, Jim Belushi now being one of those exceptions. While I tend to defer to men I respect, his approach and attitude would be a complete turn off to me.

  26. Jim Belushi is a comedian/comic actor. His book and his responses in this article are perfectly consistent with that particular occupation and most of the characters I’ve seen him portray.
    I submit that perhaps this is being taken a touch too seriously. Averagely inteligent folk know that real male/female relationships don’t thrive in that dynamic (although in the movies, it’s a different case). The MKP boogeyman doesn’t live under every rock or behind every sexist comment.
    Isn’t it possible – even a little bit – that some of what he’s saying is tongue in cheek?

  27. @Carter:
    Belushi may not even be a New Warrior but that is not the point. There are two interviews on their site and this is one of them. If you do not want people to think this is approved or endorsed by the group, then do not have this on the site.
    If there is any disagreement with Belushi’s views about marriage relationships from MKP, I cannot find it in this article.

  28. Let’s be clear that Belushi is not acting as the official spokesman for the Mankind Project. You seem inclined to encourage your readers to ignore this obvious point, and some of the above comments have certainly taken this as an opportunity to bash MKP. Any arguments against Belushi’s views should be addressed at him, not to the publisher of the interview.
    That said, I appreciate your observation that there is a vast difference between attracting an exciting women and knowing how to make a relationship last. As a nice guy myself, I found it almost impossible to attract the strong-willed women I tended to fall for – unless I started pretending to be aloof. And I don’t think it’s limited to men either. Nice, honest, stable people have it harder in the dating game. However, that game itself tends to be pretty immature, so what can you expect. For myself, I’ve settled in with a nurturing woman who appreciates my nurturing manliness.

  29. Not being a heterosexual – I don’t know if I can comment on what heterosexual relationships should be like – but it seems to me that the ‘Belushi’ model is a throwback to the old machismo attitude of masculinity – which I thought the Mankind project rejects. I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to treat me the way Belushi suggests.
    I thought it was kinda sad too the way they referred to his first wive as a ‘feminist’ -as though that is some sort of evil thing.

  30. So Warriors thinks that the John Belushi approach is ok? They have watered down their purpose so much and especially recently, that they are trying to be everything to everyone and end up being nothing to anyone. This immaturity is just another example of their pathetic downward spiral.

  31. Why do I feel like I am re-reading the Genesis curse on relationships?
    I guess control is sexually exciting :).
    That being the case, I have long heard men whine about nice guys finishing last. Being a nice guy, I really don’t think that is close to true. I feel in every way, being a nice guy works, I sleep with a clear conscience. That is priceless.
    Regarding having the courage to be masculine and nice…I think that is extraordinarily valuable in a relationship…and likely undervalued and misunderstood by some women.
    I don’t think that in my brief exposure to MKP that they understood valuing compassionate masculinity in the context of a loving relationship. I think they were reaching for it, but they didn’t understand it.
    I agree that no woman can heal you…that is not their purpose and the idea of it is narcissistic and exploitive. Our injuries are ours to own and to share, but healing lies elsewhere.
    Women are not the cure or the answer or anything like that. They are women…mysterious at times, extraordinarily exciting, capable of cruelty and tenderness.
    If we have the courage to accept them as they are, rather than worship them or try to control them, then the relationship has a chance to work. Of course, they must have the same amount of courage.
    Bias: I think women believe wrongly they are better at relationships than men.

  32. Warren

    I cannot imagine this being good advice for a marriage.

    Maybe I’m confusing, “meeting women” and “marrying women.”
    If I ignored my wife today she’d give me a smackdown. We’ve been together for our entire adult lives and mind games would be 0% effective. We know each other too well. In all these years we have never yelled at each other or called names, not even once. I tell her I love her every day, most days many times. I would never suggest a Belushi attitude for a married guy like myself.
    But if I HADN’T ignored my wife when we met she might not have found me attractive in the first place. I had to give her superficial signals to let her know that I was worth dating. Believe me my outward appearance in 1990 did not suggest “top feeder.” 😎 If anything it suggested the exact opposite. By comparison my future wife was an 18 year old dancer who looked (and continues to look) like a cross between Jennifer Connelly and Sherilyn Fenn. I needed all the help I could get plus incredible luck and timing to win her over. She could have dated and married anyone. Me… ehhh… not so much. My mom always told me I was handsome growing up. Today I know that she was either lying or delusional. 😎
    I guess what I’m saying is that when I was nice I got stomped on or looked at as a friend. I needed an “attitude” to get women’s attention to let them know I was a somebody. Once I was in the relationship that would be totally destructive and counterproductive. As a married guy I show my wife complete deference.

  33. I never had a girl give me back a rose. Maybe you should have had more than one 🙂
    In any event, I disagree with you Drowssap on this one. I cannot imagine this being good advice for a marriage.
    Belushi may have been over the top for effect but Baer in his fawning seemed to be drinking it all in.

  34. Jay

    This is nothing but arrogance, and worse, it’s trying to defend that arrogance.

    Belushi is trying to be funny by going over the top, but I think his substance is largely correct. Nice guys finish last, I’ve seen it all my life. I mean, it doesn’t matter if what he says sounds bad. If it works, and if the opposite fails what are guys supposed to do?
    I happen to be a naturally sensitive guy. I’m nice, I listen, I’m a giver. I swerve to miss lizards in the road and I save drowning bugs from swimming pools. I’ll always be a softy, that’s just me. But I had to “toughen up” before I could attract a good woman and have a succesful relationship. Until that point I was a doormat.
    I remember giving a girl a rose and she gave it BACK TO ME! How humiliating. So I flipped my outlook and behavior 180 degrees and started ignoring women and I NEVER, EVER, EVER put them up on a pedestal. Long story short, I achieved complete success. I’ve been with the same woman for 18 years now, 13 of those happily married.

  35. The name of his book is “Real Men Don’t Apologize”?
    Here’s a better title. “Immature Jerks Don’t Apologize.”
    This is nothing but arrogance, and worse, it’s trying to defend that arrogance.

  36. Not exactly what MKP told me before I joined. They told me that MKP would make me a better husband and father and that they help build families and marriages.
    Atleast MKP is starting to show their true colors. They really are women haters and often have men call the women in their lives ____ing b____es and “ball stealers!

  37. Where is that link on the MKP website.
    I’ve looked everywhere for it.
    Did MKP change it already?

  38. Men need to be thoughtful and sensitive to have a succesful marriage. But as far as attracting and dating women I think Belushi is exactly right. Women say they want “A” but they really want “B”.
    When I grew up I knew nothing but constant rejection from women. Insensitive jerks always got the girl, and I as a nice guy got nothing. In fact nothing is accurate because I never had a girlfriend all through highschool.
    That all changed in college because I figured out a system that worked. Here it is, free of charge.
    If you like a particular woman…
    Step 1) Be around her on a semi-regular basis
    Step 2) Be friendly, but generally ignore her (this distance lets her know you aren’t desperate and are perhaps a top feeder)
    Step 3) Follow steps 1 and 2 for a few weeks, maybe a month.
    Step 4) When you feel the time is right give her some attention. Let this go on for a couple of weeks, she’ll love it.
    Step 5) Ask her out before she becomes too comfortable with you.
    It doesn’t matter how dorky you are, or how attractive the woman is, it works. If you have ANYTHING going for you at all I guarantee your success. 😎

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