Those of us blogging in this corner of the interwebs all have a fair amount of respect for each other. We may not agree on everything, but we’re all playing the same sport here and generally support each other. I don’t know Matt Forney from Matt Schaub or Judgy Bitch from Judge Judy, but if either of them contacted me about something, I’d do what I could to help them out, just like (I’d think) them me (though I am small potatoes compared to those two, and most others here). Many interact regularly with readers, both on- and off-line. But many readers may not also realize there’s sometimes behind the scenes interactions among us who write. We share blogging ideas, various nuts and bolts on WordPress, other ideas on book development or format or publishing, and even share the various ways that work or don’t on making a few extra bucks for all the time we put in. Besides Ian Ironwood (who provided the foreword for my book), I’ve corresponded with Athol, Jaime Lewis (at NSFW Chaos and Pain), Captain Power, briefly with Roosh for this RoK article I guest blogged, and Captain Capitalism (Aaron Clarey).
We give freely of our time, and while there are some disagreements on various items, overall we, like you the reader, are all for bringing up the collective wisdom of men (and women) and changing some of the social dynamics we disagree with. It’s amazing to live in this time in the history of man, where the flow of information is both up and down, and side to side, and all men are equals. If you want to learn more about something, to be a member in a community that shares your same values, all you have to do is jump in. It often results in a lot of stuff to sift through, and getting through the BS from the wisdom can take time, but it’s there for the taking if you want it.
This weekend, I had the opportunity to meet up with Aaron Clarey as I was passing through the Twin Cities. I’ve done a number of meetups over the years with people I’ve had some sort of correspondence with on the internet. From probably 2002 to today, I’ve participated in various forums (guitar, triathlon, fantasy football to name a few) and often there’s opportunity to meet for various reasons. Sometimes it can be a little awkward as some people are simply odd, but for the most part these meetups are pretty fun. I’ve actually made some lifelong friendships that started out as a random internet meetup.
Anyways, Aaron and I had prepped some framework of a meetup for a few months, and it finally worked out. I was heading up to his neck of the woods for work and he was available, so we agreed to meet up at a place called Mancini’s in St. Paul. It had character, just like Mr. Clarey.
This photos don’t really do it justice, it was straight out of the movie Swingers (highly recommended for those who haven’t yet seen it), straight with the lounge band and great character.
When I finally found Aaron, he was waiting for me and exclaimed “Thank God you’re normal, and aren’t wearing a neck beard or anything!” He was loud, obnoxious, extroverted, and honest, and right up my alley. He led me to a large lounge seat, where I met his very pretty Special Lady Friend, and a couple of other friends who I got to know some over the course of the evening. I forgot that he used to teach dancing, and watching him work reminded me there is still other areas to improve upon in my own life (though Holly, my wife, doesn’t like to dance, while I do. We have even taken dance classes together, but I have a passion for movement while she has a disdain, what a shame). Cappy brought to light a little desire I still have apparently, as he looked roughly like the following video, dancing with several ladies, and even enticing strangers to compliment our table (AKA him and the ladies) on their dancing ability:
So we hung out, I had a couple of beers, watched an interesting lounge band, and got to know one of the harder working bloggers this side of the Mississippi a little better. He grew up about 60 miles from me, nearly in the poorhouse. It doesn’t surprise me he values frugality so much. Aaron was very much the life of the party, constantly engaging all of the table (which numbered seven at its largest), and you could tell in times of conversational lulls, even his friends looked at him to keep things going. Such is the life of the Alpha, or at least the extrovert, in such a situation.
It was a really good time, and if you judge a man by his friends, you’d still find Cappy a solid individual by the company he keeps. He was always himself, able to go off on a rant at any time, while showing compassion and insight at other times.
We live very different lives – he’s a bachelor making his living out here in the wild wild west of the internet and pinching every penny to live off this business, and I’m a married dude with kids, working the full 8-5 right now for Corporate America, living in suburbia. But at the core, we’re the same. I could have written parts of his book and he mine. Though our voices and style are different, how we perceive the world is very similar. As we departed ways, we again discussed the randomness of meeting iFriends off the internet. His Special Lady Friend mentioned a few other meetups that perhaps didn’t go as well. One guy they met talked about how good he’d be at hiding dead bodies because he watched Columbo. I hope I impressed better than him.
Anyways, always cool to meet up with a peer, and as I continue on this journey, continue to feel a calling to walk each day to expand my knowledge, seek out those of similar ilk, and expand my (and our) message to help men. Aaron Clarey is one of those bretheren, and one who upon meeting, hope to one day grow from acquaintance to friend. One step at a time…