Connecticut: The State of Underrated Basketball

My name is Grant Miller, and I am a proud Connecticut native. I must admit that I don’t share many of the traits that people outside of my home state expect. For example, I’ve played in a summer street ball league. Yes, Connecticut has street ball tournaments, and if you’ve played ball out there against any level of competition, you’ve played in one.

Bridgeport basketball court(ctpost.com)
Went Park is one of many outside courts in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Mine was the Rest in Peace Tournament in Bridgeport; a tournament dedicated to Bridgeport residents who died from violent crime.  The names of the victims were listed on the backs of every team’s t-shirts and each team was designated by color.  My team wore blue shirts, and we drove half an hour from Naugatuck to play against some of the best competition in the state. When we arrived, JKwon’s “Hood Hop” blared in the speakers as both courts outside of the Cardinal Shehan Center were bursting with the energy of a competitive environment.  We huddled together and rocked back and forth as my older brother and coach stood in the middle and pumped us up for the game. Unfortunately, we lost, but it was one of the best basketball experiences I’ve ever had.

RestinPeace Picture (2)

Those were the days. I even had hair back then.

Connecticut’s basketball culture is one of its most underrated traits.  With New York City right next door given the honor of being named the Mecca of basketball, Connecticut often goes ignored in the discussion of great ballplayers. From the outside looking in, who can blame people for ignoring us? We have no NBA team, and only one of our colleges has a great legacy(UConn).  To most outsiders who have failed to educate themselves, we have no basketball culture to speak of.  Well let me disabuse you of that notion.  Connecticut has a vibrant basketball culture full of black tops, pick-up games, tournaments, and the rough, physical play that I learned to love.

Growing up in this culture has taught me a few rules about the game.  If you want to be a guard, you had better be able to dribble, pass, and finish in the lane; and you had better be able to do it with contact.  If you want to play down low, you had better be able to get deep in the post, protect your space with your elbows, and finish everything within five feet of the hoop; only extreme fouls will be called. If you can’t score, you had better be able to prevent your man from scoring; Tony Allen-style defense is encouraged, but we’ll settle for Charles Oakley if necessary.  CT’s basketball culture represented the mantra that echoed throughout the suburbs where I grew up and the cities I frequented.  No punks allowed. Softness is a sin in Connecticut, and your punishment is getting pushed around on the court. As a result, almost everyone plays good defense and scorers had to be exemplary.

My experience is limited to the blacktop and rec leagues, but Connecticut more than holds its own in the organized arena.  In fact, Connecticut’s tough love basketball culture has produced results on the big stage. There are over thirty players in NBA history who were born in Connecticut, and many of them had long, successful careers. Here, I will only name a few.  Some of them may surprise you.

 

Charles Smith

LA Clippers

(bleacherreport.com)

Charles Smith was a 6’10 forward from Bridgeport, Connecticut; a city well-known in the state for producing strong basketball players. Through his career, Charles Smith displayed  a knack for scoring and rebounding.   He played for Warren Harding High School where he was a McDonald’s High School All-American.  He then averaged 17 points and 8 rebounds for during his four years at the University of Pittsburgh.  After being picked third overall in the NBA draft , he averaged over 20 points per game during his best season with the Los Angeles.  He also set the Los Angeles Clippers record for the most points in a game with 52.  Impressive.

 

Marcus Camby

Marcus  Camby

(news.genius.com)

Marcus Camby is a 6’11 center who hails from Hartford, Connecticut.  After a brilliant career at Hartford High School where he averaged 27 points, 11 rebounds, 8 blocks, and 8 assists, and earned a state title, he moved on to the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.  There, he picked up where he left off; earning a 1996 National Player of the Year Award.  He was the first UMass player to be a unanimous first team All-American, and the first to block over 100 shots in three consecutive seasons.  In the NBA, he was placed on the NBA All-Defensive First Team four times, and earned the Defensive Player of the Year Award with the Denver Nuggets in 2007.  He is a member of the New England Basketball Hall of Fame, and he is entering his 17th year in the NBA.

Calvin Murphy

Calvin Murphy

(nba.com)

Calvin Murphy was a 5’9 guard from Norwalk, Connecticut.  While playing for Norwalk High School, he earned two All-America honors and went All-State three times.  He then played for Niagara where he scored a career average of 33.1 points per game.  He scored 38 points per game during his freshman campaign; second only to Pistol Pete Maravich.  When he was drafted in the second round by the San Diego Rockets, he was the smallest player in the NBA, but that didn’t stop him.  He averaged 17.9 points per game for his career and amassed 17,949 points and 4, 402 assists (a Houston record).  In his prime, he averaged 26 points per game.  He now works for the Houston Rockets as a basketball analyst.

Michael Adams

Michael-Adams-1

(sadcityhartford.blogspot.com)

Michael Adams was a 5’10 guard from Hartford, Connecticut.  After a stellar campaign with Hartford Public High School, Adams he averaged 14 points for his career at Boston College before entering the NBA.  A prolific scorer and passer, he averaged 26.5 points per game and 10.5 assists for the Denver Nuggets during his 1990-91 season;ranking him sixth in scoring behind Patrick Ewing, and third in assists behind Magic Johnson.  In 1992, he was elected to the Eastern All-Star team as a player for the Washington Wizards.  He is second all-time in NBA history for consecutive games in a season with at least one made three-pointer in a season(79). For his career, he averaged 15 points and seven assists per game. Even after retirement, Michael Adams has kept his pulse on basketball.  In February of this year, he was named the head coach for the Washington Mystics.

 

Ryan Gomes

ryan-gomes-hoops-for-heart

(friarblog.com)

Ryan Gomes is a 6’7 forward from Waterbury, Connecticut.  Though he has been a journeyman in the NBA, his historic moments happened before he started his professional career.  As a senior forward for Wilby High School, he averaged 27 points, 16 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 blocks.  With such an impressive stat line, one might imagine that he would have colleges knocking down his door.  True to Connecticut’s basketball culture, he went underrated, and was even passed over by UConn just two hours up I-84.  Ryan Gomes responded by playing for Providence and scoring 26 points and 12 rebounds in his junior season; sparking the controversial rant by Coach Jim Calhoun .  As if that did not send a strong enough message that Calhoun truly f’ed up, Gomes returned for his senior year and torched Uconn for 37 points.  Lesson learned.

 

Vin Baker

vin-baker-2

(exnba.com)

Before Ryan Gomes, Uconn passed up on another homegrown recruit.  Vin Baker was a standout for Old Saybrook High School in Old Saybrook, Connecticut before he sprouted four inches and became a 6’11 scoring machine for the University of Hartford.  During his junior year, he averaged 28 points per game and was named the “America’s Best Kept Secret” by Sports Illustrated.  After averaging over 28 points per game for his senior season, he was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks where he scored over 21 points per game in his 1995-96 season.  Unfortunately, his later years were mired with alcoholism and financial issues.  He averaged 15 points and over 7 rebounds per game for his career.

Wesley Matthews

Wes Matthews

(sports.espn.go.com)

Wesley Matthews was a 6’1 guard from Bridgeport, Connecticut who played for Warren Harding High School.  After earning MVP honors and averaging 18 points per game for three seasons with the Wisconsin Badgers, Matthews was picked by the L.A. Lakers in the 1980 draft.  He then won two championships with the Showtime Lakers, and invented the phrase “three-peat.”  Yes, the phrase used describe NBA greats such as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O’Neal was invented by a Connecticut native. Matthews’ son, Wesley Matthews Jr., now plays for the Portland Trail Blazers.  Apparently, Connecticut’s basketball culture runs in the family because Wesley Matthews Jr is quite the ball player himself.

John Bagley

John Bagley

(onlyinbridgeport.com)

John Bagley was a six foot guard who played for Warren Harding High School with Wesley Matthews.  Considered one of the greatest players to play for Boston College, Bagley was the first Eagle to earn Big East Player of the Year honors, and he lead Boston College to the Sweet Sixteen and the Elite Eight.  After averaging a career 18 points per game for the Eagles, Bagley was drafted 12th in the first round by the Cleveland Cavaliers.  In his prime as a floor general, he averaged 13 points and 10 assists in a losing playoff effort for the Cavs, and a career high 9.4 assists the following season; fourth in the NBA. After a stint with the New Jersey Nets, and some playoff appearances with the Boston Celtics, John Bagley left the NBA after a season with the Atlanta Hawks.  He played in the NBA for 11 seasons, but he never left the game.  He coached men’s basketball at Harper College in Illinois from 2002 until 2005 and coached the Chicago Dogs; a Chicago based semi-pro basketball team.  He has since returned to Connecticut, and is now a member of the Bridgeport Board of Education.  However, staying true to his basketball roots, Bagley took a coaching position with the King Low Heywood Thomas girls basketball program in Stamford, Connecticut.  Like many Connecticut basketball legends, he continues to give back and cultivate the culture that led to his success.

Rick Mahorn

Rick Mahorn

(nba.com)

Rick Mahorn was a 6’10  forward from Hartford, Connecticut.  After standing out for Weaver High School, Rick played for Hampton Institute where he was a three-time NCAA Division II and NIAA All-American who held 18 school records .  Mahorn was drafted by the Washington Bullets in 1980 and earned a championship with the Bad Boy Pistons in 1989.  Let’s just say that he and Michael Jordan have crossed paths.  After playing with the Pistons, he earned All-NBA Second Defensive Team Honors with the Philadelphia 76ers.  He played in the NBA for 18 years and then coached the Rockford Lightning for the CBA before joining the coaching staff for the Atlanta Hawks in 2001.  He now coaches the Detroit Shock for his fifth season; staying true to his Detroit fans and his love for the game.

Tom Thibodeau

Chicago Bulls Annouce Tom Thibodeau as Head Coach

(nba.com)

No, he’s not an NBA player, but he’s a pretty amazing coach.   Tom Thibodeau grew up in New Britain, Connecticut and has coached in the NBA for over 24 years .   As the head coach for the Chicago Bulls he broke Phil Jackson’s record for first year wins as a Bulls Head Coach(Phil: 55/ Tom: 62).  Also, after the 2010-2011 season, he earned the honor of Coach of the Year with the Chicago Bulls.  Tom Thibodeau’s defensive schemes aren’t just genius.  They are a descended from Connecticut’s physical, defensive mentality, and this writer loves watching every minute of it.

Ron Christy

Ron Christy

(post.edu)

This writer grew up in Stratford, Connecticut.  Therefore, it would only be right to highlight Ron Christy; a 6 foot tall guard and possibly the best ballplayer our town has ever produced.  After scoring over a thousand points for Stratford High School, a game that I attended as a little boy, he proceeded to play for Teikyo Post University.  While at Post, he led the Division II NCAA in scoring at 27 points per game, and holds the school’s record for career scoring average.  After Post, he played for teams in Europe and Saudi Arabia. Though he never made the NBA, he played for a team with just as much national acclaim; The Harlem Globetrotters.  While  he toured with the Globetrotters all over the U.S. and Mexico, he wowed the crowds with his leaping ability and powerful dunks.  As someone who has watched him play, and even played some pick up with him, I can attest to Ron Christy’s scoring prowess.  The man doesn’t miss.   After scoring 50 points at the legendary Rucker Park in Harlem, Ron Christy earned the nickname “Quiet Assassin.”.  No name is more fitting for a ballplayer from Connecticut.

There you have it.  Connecticut basketball has its thumbprint on some of the most iconic moments in basketball history.  However, most fans fail to recognize it.  As a CT native, I can identify my fellow brethren by their excellence. It’s about time that Connecticut was recognized for producing great talent.  The NBA’s best-kept secret is a secret no more.  This writer hails from the state of underrated basketball, and I couldn’t be more proud.

 

 

No Apologies,

G.Miller

August Rule Your Nation Awards

Rule Your Nation©
It is time for the Rule Your Nation Awards!  For those of you who don’t know, the Rule Your Nation Awards is a monthly post to honor those who truly exemplify the characteristics of this blog’s motto, “Rule Your Nation”.  They not only succeed through perseverance and creativity, but they do it by being unapologetically themselves. August’s Rule Your Nation Awards will feature some young bucks who did some amazing things in the sports world.  Let’s get started.

MoneDavisCover (1)

Mo’Ne Davis

Honestly, who didn’t see this coming?  This 5’4, 111 pound eighth grader out of Philadelphia defies any doubts that a girl can keep up with boys on the diamond.   After using her 70 mile per hour(!)  fast ball to throw the first  female shutout in the Little League World Series, she made history again by making the cover of Sports Illustrated.  You know the crazy part? She says baseball is not even her favorite sport.  She wants to play basketball! For UConn! Gina Auriemma has already called her to congratulate her on her success.  I get the feeling he’ll be calling her a lot more often when she gets older.  Kudos to you, Mo’Ne Davis.  You are Ruling Your Nation by setting a standard instead of following one.
jackierobinson

Jackie Robinson West 

In more baseball related news, 13 boys from the South Side of Chicago did it up during the Little League World Series!  In fact, they made it all the way to the championship game against South Korea!  Everyone in the City of Chicago(including me) rooted for these boys until they unfortunately lost.  Still the support from Chicago South Siders, North Siders, professional  sports teams, and businesses was staggering. They were even welcomed home with a parade that these 11-13 year olds will most likely never forget. Kudos to you, Jackie Robinson West.  You are all Ruling Your Nation with success. May your achievements continue into adulthood.

Those were August’s Rule Your Nation Awards. This month’s recipients separated themselves from the pack and did the amazing.   That is the calling card of those who Rule Their  Nation in their daily lives, and you can do it too.  Do you know anyone who deserves this award? Email me at miller.grantj@gmail.com with a photograph and a description of why they deserve the Rule Your Nation Award for September. They don’t have to be famous, but they must be awesome.  See you next week!

Rule well, my friends.

No Apologies,

G. Miller

New Novel!!! Achilla The Strong!


Achilla the Strong Cover Resized Final
If you are wondering why I have not posted anything for the past couple weeks, here is why. I was adding the final touches to this novel. When I first started this blog, I wrote a few short stories with Achilla Johnson as the main character. The feedback I received was pretty remarkable.  Therefore, Achilla Johnson now has her own series called “The Nephilim Chronicles.” The first book is entitled “Achilla the Strong.” You don’t want to miss out on this amazing story of a father’s love, a daughter’s trust, and their will to fight for each other against all odds! If you like drama, you’ll like this book! If you like action, you will LOVE this book! You will not be disappointed!

Here is the link to purchase your copy.  Enjoy!

Be strong, my friends!

No Apologies,

G.Miller

 

Creepy and Crazy: Code Words for a Lack of Connection


Nothing stops the creeper; except for reality.

I’m sure that you have heard the word creepy in the dating context.  It is often used to describe a man who makes women uncomfortable in his efforts to garner their attention. However, in response to a recent use of that word to describe men, I decided to dive deeper.  What makes a man creepy? Can a woman be creepy in the same context? What behaviors can either of them exhibit in order to be labelled as creepy? Well, I asked around, and I thank those who answered honestly.  Your help is greatly appreciated.  Now that the credit has been given to those who deserve it, I’ll address the issue at hand.

What makes a Man Creepy?


The sad part is this kind of conversation isn’t all that uncommon.

When asked what makes a man creepy, most women had no problem vocalizing their experiences.  Creepy men invade a woman’s space, touch her without any indication that she wants to be touched, or make sexual innuendos before establishing a proper comfort level.  They also call or text constantly, Facebook stalk without actually being on her friends list or even sending a friend request, and generally know much more about the woman than she’s actually shared with him. Some even send pictures of their genitalia or ask for nudes.  The most extreme case involved a man sending a woman a collage of herself.

Yep. A collage. As in pictures. Of her.

The creepy man’s actions indicate that he has already claimed her without actually asking her if she wants to be claimed.  Because he has claimed her, he expects her to accept it when he disregards the boundaries that she would normally hold for a stranger.  His ignorance of social cues and lack of understanding of body language causes him to express his intentions in a way that makes her uncomfortable.  Some men are also creepy because they are dishonest about their intentions, and women can often see right through it.  As one female respondent stated, if she cannot trust him, he is creepy in her eyes.  The creepy man is most likely behaving in this manner because he’s more focused on what he wants from the woman and less focused on what she wants or is comfortable giving at the time.  He is controlling, selfish, and manipulative, and any woman with sharp enough instincts will protect herself and avoid him.

What makes a Woman Creepy?


Sadly, this is not all that uncommon either.

Men were then asked if a woman could be creepy.  A few men said yes, and they proceeded to describe a creepy woman as one who makes future plans on the first date,  competes with every woman for attention(even the man’s mother), calls and texts constantly, won’t take no for an answer, calls the man’s parents without his knowledge, or finds his address without him giving it to her. There were  a couple of cases where women professed that God had called them to be together; despite the fact that one man had no interest in her and the other was already  taken.  Men described the creepy woman as annoying, paranoid, and stalkerish.   She is also controlling, selfish, and manipulative, and she only cares about her wants and needs without any consideration for anyone else. She has claimed the man without asking him if he wants to be claimed.  Any man with sharp enough instincts will protect himself and avoid her as well.

“My dude, She was Crazy!”


Not many men would call this woman creepy.  Crazy however…..

The similarity between a creepy man and a creepy woman is striking.   Still, there is a big difference in how they are perceived.  No woman who answered the question posed had a problem describing a creepy man.  Some men did not describe women as creepy; no matter how typically “creepy” their behavior.   However, when asked if they would call a woman “crazy”, they agreed and then described the aforementioned creepy conduct.  As one of the male respondents suggested, the men who women call creepy, and the women who men call crazy, possess the same personality traits and exhibit the same behavior.  They are both so hell bent on getting what they want from you that they will disregard your boundaries to get it, and they will even get aggressive in their efforts to force you to comply with how they believe you should respond to them.  Does this sound familiar to anyone?

A lot of men are more likely to call a woman crazy than creepy.  I know I’ve been guilty of it, and I was describing women who exhibited controlling, possessive behavior such as: telling me to shut my phone off at a certain time unless she, and only she, calls me, refusing a date but getting angry when I move on or talk to another woman, or even slapping me when she didn’t get what she wanted.  Still, I never used the word creepy. The notion of applying such a word to a woman didn’t even cross my mind. I called these women crazy as if they could not control themselves; instead of accepting that they were using aggressive tactics in their attempts to control me.

Despite exhibiting the same behavior, men and women are placed in different categories.  The man is a  conniving villain who is looking to use you and drop you, but the woman is apparently mentally or emotionally ill, and thus not responsible for her behavior.  Calling someone creepy puts people on high alert.  Calling someone crazy is dismissive.  Since these traits are not gender specific, these explanations should be applied to both genders. Some men act the way they do because they are emotionally imbalanced, and so do some women.  Some men are looking to use you and leave you, and so are some women.  Meanwhile, anyone else in between who just has no clue how to strike up a conversation and get a date is stuck in the crossfire of being labelled crazy or creepy.

Connection is the Key.


Dude…..abort mission. Come on, she was nice about it.

So are these intentions and behaviors in themselves worthy of the crazy/creepy label? Yes and no. There is nothing wrong with sexual desire and finding someone sexually attractive. However, if someone doesn’t want to sleep with you, then pushing for sex is wrong. There is nothing wrong with wanting to hear someone’s voice if you have strong feelings for that person. Still, if someone isn’t comfortable with constant phone calls, then relentlessly calling that person is wrong.  Such a disrespect for boundaries is indicative of selfishness and a lack of self-control.  It’s also indicative of a lack of connection between both parties.  Ask anyone who has had a one-night stand; in that moment, they had no problem with the other party wanting sex.  Ask anyone who is in a long-term, committed relationship or married.  They seldom have a problem with touching and sexual innuendos from their partners. Some of them wish their partners would do that more often.  The truth is that if two people’s intentions and goals match, great things happen.  When they don’t, and you try to force the issue, you are a crazy creeper.

Stop Being a Crazy Creeper!

What is the solution to this problem? First, we must realize that these names are not always applied accurately.  Surely, every man who is called creepy is not an evil womanizer bent on using a woman’s body and leaving her when he’s done.  Every woman who is called crazy, is not a possessive control freak.  Sometimes people come on too strong because they are socially inept, and when they are called creepy or crazy, they are hurt and confused because their intentions were harmless.  Sometimes people are labelled creepy or crazy by rejected suitors who try to sully their reputation in an effort to get back at them.  There are also people who go around calling others crazy or creepy because bragging about “stalkers” feeds their insecure ego.  In fact, during the research for this article, there were women who called me creepy just for asking them to describe a creepy man; despite the fact that I made no attempt to hit on them.  Like most labels, these words can be used for the wrong reasons.  With that in mind, we cannot control everyone around us, but we can control ourselves by focusing our efforts on meeting people who want and desire the same relationships that we do.  That is not an easy task, but there are three questions that you must ask in an effort to find that person:

What are your Intentions?


Now here’s something you don’t see very often.

Be honest with yourself.  What do you want?  Got it? Good. Now turn around and be honest with the other person.  Playing mind games and using subversive tactics and techniques serves only to create toxicity in your everyday interactions.  Lying to yourself and those around you is obviously not healthy, and it’s the calling card of a creepy person.  If you expect to live a real life, and have real relationships, you must be real with the people around you; especially if you intend on having an intimate relationship or even just an intimate evening.

What are the Other Person’s Intentions?


Few things are sexier than someone who respects your comfort level.

If you have a good idea of what the other person wants, this also requires being honest with yourself.  Are you comfortable engaging him? Are you comfortable giving her what she wants?  Do you want to hook-up with her?  Do you want a relationship with him? Does he or she want either of these things in return?  If your answer is no, then you must cut it short as soon as feasibly possible. Leading people on for the sake of attention is childish. Ignoring someone’s evasive behavior, or outright pleas for space, is inconsiderate and selfish.  Life isn’t just about what you want.  You have to consider the other person, or else you will be avoided; and deservedly so.

Do you Respect Yourself Enough to Walk Away?

 
Watch the movie.  There was a clear disconnect here.

If your intentions don’t match, and it is obvious that the two of you have no connection, do you respect yourself enough to walk away?  Perhaps it’s a residual byproduct of the traditional “No means Yes” philosophy, or the belief that all women require a man to be persistent, but there are still a lot of men who don’t take no for an answer.  It shows a lack of respect for her boundaries, but it also shows a lack of respect for yourself.  What could possibly possess you to chase someone who has shown no interest in you?  If she’s not feeling you, leave her alone. You shouldn’t bother with someone who doesn’t reciprocate your interest.  It’s that simple, and making it more complicated than that will earn you the creepy label.

Perhaps it’s because of social pressure to have a man with certain traits, but I’ve also seen a fair share of women who will chase a man who cares nothing about her.  If he doesn’t like or respect you, turn around and leave.  You don’t need him.  Respect yourself, and stop chasing someone who ignores you. Regardless of gender, when you exhibit this behavior, all you are doing is settling for less than what you deserve; someone who appreciates you for who you are and wants the same relationship that you want.   If that’s not crazy, I don’t know what is.

Creepy. Crazy.  Both of these monikers describe the same problem.  If you’ve been called either of these names, it is possible that you are exhibiting behavior that tells the other person that you are only interested in what you want and nothing else.  It would behoove you to examine yourself and your intentions in relation to the people around you and find someone whose goals in life and relationships match your own.  Only then will you find a fulfilling connection with someone, and you cannot force it to happen.  If you think you can, then you are welcome to try.  Just don’t complain when someone calls you a crazy creeper when you do.  You have been warned.

Stay connected, my friends.

No Apologies,
G. Miller

The Sex Factor: Do you have what it takes to be Sexy?

Sexy for blog

Let’s talk about one of the hottest commodities in today’s culture.  Sexiness. It’s a trait that many people wish they possessed.  Sexiness is magnetic.  Sexiness is electrifying.  Sexiness is hot.  Nobody forgets you when you’re sexy. People tend to forget you when you’re not.  So what exactly is sexiness, and what does it take to be sexy?  Do you have what it takes? Are you sexy? In order to determine that, we must identify what makes someone sexy.  We must identify the sex factor.

Describing sexiness is not an easy task. Webster’s dictionary defines sexy as being sexually appealing, attractive or exciting; having interesting or appealing qualities. This is a bit vague. The media is no better.  Watch your average sitcom or music video, and you’ll see that they define sexiness as the perfect body, the perfect smile, the perfect image.  You have to wear the right make-up, the right dress, the right shirt, the right jeans, the right suit, and the list goes on.  As someone who has grown up in in this sexcentric culture, I still find the definition of sexiness to be a bit elusive. So to find out what makes someone sexy, I asked around.  I asked men what made a woman sexy.  I asked women what made a man sexy.  The results were not exactly what the media tells you, and they were certainly more specific than the dictionary.

What makes a man sexy?

First, I asked women what makes a man sexy.  Of course, they all had varied descriptions.  Some wanted a traditional male who takes charge, makes decisions for her, fixes the car, kills the bugs, gets dirty, and literally smells like hydraulic fluid.  Others wanted a man who had a sense of humor, acts like a complete goofball, and makes her laugh; one even stated that she wanted a man to invoke guttural laughter(now that’s a high standard!).   However, among all of these varied opinions, there was one common theme.  Every single woman who answered the question stated that she wanted a man who was himself; every last one of them.  It was like listening to a tape on repeat over and over.   To all of the women I spoke to, a man is not a real man unless he knows who he is, loves who he is, and is not afraid to show the world who he is.  He doesn’t change his beliefs based on his surroundings.  He’s not a crowd pleaser.  He’s honest with himself, and is subsequently honest with her.  I can sum this word up with one word.  Confidence.


Women swooned over Denzel Washington for years because of his supreme confidence in himself; confidence that enabled him to tackle the role of Malcolm X.

Confidence was the number one trait that made a man sexy.  None of the women mentioned money.  None of them wanted a particular career or salary.  Some of them had height requirements, but aside from that, none of them were specific about a man’s physical appearance.  There was no set requirement to wear certain clothes, have a certain pedigree, be of a certain race, or possess any of the traits that people will tell you reign supreme in dating. I’m not saying that none of these factors matter.  I’ve met women who only date men based on these criteria.  However, I’m finding that these women are in much smaller numbers than a lot of cynics would like to believe.  Also, the traits that the PUA community touts were nonexistent in their language.  There was no mention of a desire for a man of high social status.  One woman said that her boyfriend acted really silly, but everyone liked him; and that was as close to social proof as any of my conversations got.   Only one woman wanted a man to be dominant, and the rest made no mention of it.  Yet again, the Alpha Male Theory fails as a catch-all.

Confidence was the most common factor among women of different races, education levels, and socioeconomic backgrounds.  However, there were other common traits as well:  kindness, generosity, humility, and light-heartedness.  My conclusion is that most women want a man who is confident and fun to be around.  Undue aggression, anger, arrogance, and attempts to dominate those around them were actually discouraged; not praised.  In fact, those traits were huge turnoffs.


Watch the woman in the black dress. Which guy does she check out the most? 

With that being said, why do so many men try pick-up lines and PUA tactics?  Why do so many men compete with each other for a woman’s attention and try to be the Alpha male?  Why would you do these things in the face of such overwhelming evidence that it’s not attractive?  I’ll tell you why.  The men who use these approaches are not confident in themselves, despite their efforts to convince the world that they are.  They want to get the girl, or just get laid, and they’re doing whatever they’ve been taught will work.  I’ve had men tell me to do “whatever is necessary to get laid” no matter how ridiculous, degrading, or against my personal morals it might be.  I’ve had men give me step by step processes on how to take a woman home from a bar. If a technique exists, I’ve probably heard it, tried it, and failed.  When I stopped that nonsense and started being myself, my life improved; including my interactions with women.  It was then that I realized that manipulative, selfish jerks need not apply.  My budding self-confidence would no longer allow me to be such a person or tolerate the presence of one. When I tell these guys this, they don’t buy it.  They stick to the same old story, and buck the theory that being yourself is enough.  They’re not concerned about being themselves and meeting the right woman for them; even if she’s just the right woman for tonight(some women like to hook-up too).  They’re falling for the lie that a real man must attract all women, and he can only attract them by exhibiting a set number of traits.  Gentlemen, I just spoke to a group of women who say different. Smarten up and be yourselves.  Stop trying to look confident and start being confident.  Otherwise, you’ll often fail at the goal that your act was supposed to help you attain, and subsequently lose the respect of women and men alike.


A hilarious example of what happens to guys who try to be “Alpha”.

What makes a woman sexy?

Next, I asked men what made a woman sexy.  Wouldn’t you know it, a lot of the men said the same things as well:  confidence, a sense of humor, independence, uniqueness, ownership of self.  Despite what the media throws down women’s throats every day, very few men actually mentioned a physical requirement. I’m not saying that physical appearance doesn’t matter.  I would find it hard to believe that it didn’t for either sex.  However, the men I questioned never expressed actually valuing a woman based on her looks alone.  As a straight male, this doesn’t surprise me.  I’ve met numerous pretty women.  Chicago is chock full of them.  However, pretty women seldom hold my attention.  Sexy women always keep it, and the sexiest women aren’t always the prettiest.  However, they are always confident; confident enough to approach the men they like, confident enough to show clear interest or reciprocate it, confident enough to speak their mind.  Confidence in a woman doesn’t necessarily guarantee success, but I’ve found that a lack of confidence is certain to result in failure.


I bet a lot of men found this speech attractive, and it wasn’t because of her bikini body.

Yet again, what the media tells women fails them, and what some women say men want doesn’t even come close.  None of the men placed any value on being a challenge or playing hard to get.  None of them mentioned “liking the chase.”  None of them praised “The Rules”. These approaches are no different than Alpha Male Theory and every bit as destructive.  It seems that women use them for the same reason that men try their own preset tactics and techniques; lack of confidence in themselves.  When a woman plays games with an expected result, she does it because she thinks that’s what it takes to get the man; or at least get the man to chase her.  She is oblivious to what the confident women I’ve met know very well.  Most men don’t want to chase the woman of their dreams.  They want to meet and build something great with her, and that’s impossible to do when she keeps avoiding him. Most men don’t want sex more if they have to wait for it.  They want a partner who wants them in return. The only reason a man bothers to chase a woman is because he thinks he has to, and his confidence is probably as low as the woman who is playing the games in the first place.  Confident women never need games to keep a man’s attention because they know that their presence and personality is enough, and the men they meet, date, and sleep with know it too.  Ladies, be yourselves and love yourselves.  You’ll find that a lot of men will like that in you.


Exhibit A: No games here.

Confidence is the Key

So how does one become confident?  The road to self-confidence is not the same for everyone, but it always requires knowing yourself better than anyone else.  In life, people will try to tell you who you are.  They’ll try to tell you that you’re not pretty enough, skinny enough, muscular enough, rich enough.  They’ll try to tell you that your race, gender, sexual orientation, and economic background prevents you from being whatever you want to be and having what you want to have.  True confidence requires shutting these voices out no matter how much evidence they produce; even if it feels unrealistic at the time.  True confidence understands that these voices bear no reflection on you.  They are mere projections of the insecure, and people of low confidence always want someone to be as low as them.  They are also tactics of the controlling and sociopathic.  People of this nature need to sap your confidence in order to gain an advantage over you, and they won’t rest until they gain that advantage; or realize that they never will and move on to another victim.  They are also the mantra of followers who have fallen victim to these tactics and projections and who lack the confidence and fortitude to see past what they are told.  True confidence requires that you rise above all of this and know that you have what it takes to live the life you want to live.


This speech literally describes the journey  to self-confidence and the results that confidence bears. 

In the dating context, confidence requires that you approach someone you find attractive, even when someone tells you that he/she is “out of your league”; a concept with literally no factual basis other than the negative criticisms of others. True confidence requires asking out someone you like; or saying yes when that person asks you.  Games and tests may give the appearance of being in control, but it’s a farce. The truth is if you’re purposely impeding the progress of the relationship, you’re just half-stepping and holding the other person back.  Confident people never half-step in life, and if necessary, they will leave you behind if you do.  True confidence requires the willingness to walk away from someone who tries to disrespect or abuse you.  I cannot count how many women I’ve approached and dated who went out of their way to be mean-spirited, controlling, and sometimes abusive all because they thought that men were supposed to put up with it. Walking away from them always shocked them.  Finding someone else infuriated them.  Both actions made me feel victorious.  I cannot count how many women I’ve seen date men who talk down to them, leave them behind when they walk down the street(my pet peeve!), and flirt with other women in front of them all because they thought women were supposed to put up with it.  They were always surprised when their women left them; angered when they found someone else. Meanwhile, my respect for those women skyrocketed.  Confidence requires creating and knowing your own self-worth, getting what you deserve, and rejecting anything less.  Such self-assuredness is the epitome of sexiness.  I have yet to meet anyone who says otherwise.

Project Yourself, Not an Image

I need no further evidence that the most attractive traits in a person are confidence and being yourself, but I can guess what the cynics will say.  They’ll say that they went out and dominated and got the girl.  They’ll say that they played games and got the guy.  I preempt this response by saying that we have a problem in our dating culture that tells us to focus on the goal instead of focusing on the person; regardless of whether the experience you have with that person is a positive one.   The truth is when you play games, or use tactics and techniques, you’re portraying an image that is not you.  Therefore, you never got anything.  Your image did, and when that image fades, what’s next? All of my respondents have told me that they don’t want an image.  They want the confident you, and when you’re being yourself, you’ll get more than the guy/girl.  You’ll get a positive relationship that improves your life instead of a string of empty ones. At this point, it’s all about whether you’re willing to strive for the best or settle for less, and cynicism is the mating call of a settler. In case you haven’t noticed yet, confident people are never cynical.  They maintain their positivity, live a positive life, and have positive relationships.

So ladies and gentlemen, do you have what it takes to be sexy? Are you confident enough to be yourself and live your life the way you want to live it?  Are you confident enough to share that life with someone else?   Do you possess the uniqueness, kindness, generosity, and sense of humor to be sexy, or will you always play the same games and fall for the same lines for the rest of your life?  Are you confident enough to stop selling yourself short and start loving who you are? If so, I congratulate you.  You have the sex factor.  You are sexy. You exude sex, and I get the feeling that you’ll be having a lot of it with someone just as sexy as you very soon; if you aren’t already. If not, well, at least you now know what to work on.  Just know that everyone has what it takes to be sexy.  Everything that you will ever need is looking back at you in the mirror.  The first step to being sexy is to never let anyone tell you anything different.

Stay sexy, my friends.

No Apologies,

G.Miller

p.s. What do you find sexy? Share your thoughts on this post. Otherwise, stay tuned for next week when I discuss creepiness!

July’s Rule Your Nation Awards

So I’m back, and I survived the bar exam.  Did you miss me? Of course you did. Though I am a day late, I promise to not disappoint.  With that being said, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of  July’s Rule Your Nation Awards.

Jada Green independent.co.uk

Jada Green

Jada Green is a 16-year-old high school student from Texas.  She is also a rape victim.  She went to a party, drank some punch, and suddenly she was unconscious; the recipient of a spiked drink.  If that were not tragic enough, her attackers decided to mock her on social media by posting pictures of her while she was unconscious.   Did she cower in the face of this abuse? No.  She went to the media instead and even requested that her name be shared(unusual for a minor) in her effort to find her attackers.  Such bravery in the face of trauma is rare and worthy of note.  Kudos to you, Jada.  You are Ruling Your Nation with courage, and this writer salutes you.  Continue to fight for justice.

Tim Howard

Tim Howard

Tim Howard was a goalie for the United States Soccer Team during this summer’s World Cup.  In a losing effort against Belgium, Howard recorded 16 saves; a World Cup record.  Some people are good at their craft.  Some people are great at their craft.  Then you have people whose passion for what they do shows in their performance in a way that inspires awe and amazement.  In order to have the energy, speed, reaction time, and hand-eye coordination to block that many goals from some of the best soccer players in the world, one could assume that Tim Howard puts in more work than anybody else standing between those poles.  Kudos to you, Tim Howard.  You were the last defense, and you held it down the best anybody possibly could.  You are Ruling Your Nation with dedication.  Keep representing our country.

Lebron James NY Daily News

Lebron James

Lebron James is a small forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers.  No, you read that correctly.  After losing in the NBA Finals to the San Antonio Spurs, Lebron decided to return to his first team and his home state.  I’ll be honest, I was not a fan of the move at first.  I remember The Decision.  I remember watching Cleveland fans burn his jersey in the street.  I defended Lebron’s move to Miami, and just knew that if I were him, I would never come back.  Fortunately for Lebron, I’m not him.  After reading his essay explaining his decision to go back to Cleveland, Lebron mentioned doing what was best for his family and bringing a championship back to his home state.  Well, you can’t argue with that. Bring a championship to Cleveland, Lebron.  Your are Ruling Your Nation by following your heart, and this writer is rooting for you. Go make your dreams happen.


Jason Aaron npr.org

Jason Aaron

As a DC Comics fan, I’ll admit that I had no clue who Jason Aaron was until this month.  However, when I found out that Marvel was releasing a female Thor, I had to look him up.  Coming this October, Thor will be drawn and written as a woman.  If anybody reading this knows anything about comics and cartoons, we all know that though there are plenty of female heroes, their roles tend to be minor or short-lived.  The female characters who do have more prominent roles are seldom as powerful as the main characters.  In the movie theaters, the male characters lead in the box office(Batman, Superman, Spiderman, etc.).  Even Wonder Woman, a character who can go toe-to-toe with Superman, has yet to have her own full-length, live action film.  This is often a grave injustice because the writers of these female heroes have created some powerful characters who deserve some shine.  Thor is as powerful as they come, and turning Thor into a woman bucks the trend.  Congrats, Jason Aaron.  You are Ruling Your Nation by making a change for the better. Keep the diversity coming.
Thor
Well, that’s this month’s Rule Your Nation Awards.  These people exemplify Ruling Your Nation by standing up for themselves, achieving great feats, following their hearts, and going against the grain.  I hope in your every day life you get the opportunity to do the same.  Is there anyone you know who  deserves a Rule Your Nation Award?  Email me at miller.grantj@gmail.com.  Submissions don’t have to be famous, but they do have to be awesome.  Catch you guys next week when I talk about sexiness!

Rule well, my friends.

No Apologies,

G. Miller

 

Sources:

Thor: http://www.stripes.com

Jason Aaron: http://www.npr.org

Jada Green:  www.independent.co.uk

Lebron James: http://www.nydailynews.com

Tim Howard: http://www.ksoul945.com