Update – A Happy 34th to My Dear Tasha

February 5, 2015

On this all important birthday, I thought I’d take a moment to list out 30 reasons why I adore the crap out of you. Also, you made me go to Napa and now I don’t have money for a present, so this heartfelt blog will have to do. Enjoy!

And now, in no particular order, 30 32 33 34 reasons why I adore the crap out of you.

(To keep up the suspense, and make you re-read all of this, number 34 is at the bottom.)

30. Your Butt
Look, we both knew this was coming so might as well get it out of the way now. As the immortal Sir-Mix-A-Lot once sang, “You can do side bends or sit ups, but please don’t lose that butt.” Make this your motto and I’ll be a very happy boy. Also, I love that you answer to me calling you Butt. Fantastic.

29. Your Optimistic Irrationality
Though sometimes I joke, I love how you almost never see something as a bad idea, even if it includes adopting 16 puppies at the same time. As a conservative, “logical” soul, your undying enthusiasm for the unorthodox is a welcome addition to my life.

28. Unconditional Support
You don’t have to root for me, and you don’t have to believe in me, but you do. And it’s not because you’re my girlfriend, it’s because you truly believe in me. I don’t take this for granted, and I can’t possibly thank you enough for it.

27. The Dance You Do When Putting On Tight Jeans
Oompa-loompa-doopity-do. Adorable.

26. Your Sense of Adventure
You’ll go to the casino at the drop of a hat, try new foods, do things like… you know. It’s fun to know that if I wanted to go learn trapeze artistry, you’ll be swinging right next to me.

25. You Know I Watch NASCAR and Wrestling
And still choose to date me. Now I must wonder, what’s wrong with you?

24. You Love Nights In
I’m a homebody, but am willing to do date nights and nights out if that’s what you’d like. Instead, you more often than not choose Law & Order marathons to the point where if we get married, I feel like Benson and Stabler should be invited. I’m good with that.

23. You’re Affectionate Beyond Belief
Sometimes I wonder if you know that I have an entire part of the couch that I’m not sitting in, considering you’re always infiltrating the third of the couch I am occupying at whatever time. But I’m not complaining. After all this time, it’s still special to hold your hand, even more so when you grab mine. Don’t change.

22. You’re So Driven
I laugh at your obsession with lashes and waxing, but I love that you want to be great at what you do. I admire how much research you do, and how even though you may have your head in the stars (see #29), your head is firmly on your shoulders. I know you’ll be great at what you do, mostly because…

21. You Truly Believe You Can Will Things to Happen
Yes, there are times when I laugh at you for just thinking things will happen because you want them to, and then I stop laughing the second they do. For a tiny little person, you have an amazing ability to conform the universe to your wants. I’m starting to believe I never had a choice in us being together. Sly devil.

20. You Like Salmon
This is pretty self explanatory, but if you were one of those “don’t like fish” people, you’d definitely be one of those “not dating Cosmo” people.

19. Your Laugh
That rolling giggle of yours cracks me up. I also enjoy that high-pitched little “huh-HA” you do. Plus, I’m really happy you don’t have a horrible laugh. Really, really happy. Speaking of…

18. You Laugh at My Jokes
As you should, because they’re all hilarious. But sometimes you appreciate my jokes on a different level. You appreciate wit and sarcasm. I appreciate that you appreciate. This blog is going well!

17. You Love Champagne
Preseccoulmates!

16. You’re Not a Crazy Girl
Long distance isn’t easy, but you make it a lot easier by never blowing anything out of proportion (when sober). If I don’t feel like talking on the phone (always), you don’t take it as a sign we’re breaking up. If I have to delay seeing you for the first time in 10 days because I have tickets to a wrestling show, you don’t throw a fit. This is a gift far too few men get to enjoy, and I enjoy it immensely.

15. You Share
You always offer me a bite of your food, or a sip of that putrid sweetness you call coffee. I take note of the fact that what’s yours is mine, and that is why I bought you a house.

14. You’re Easily Amused
We don’t always have to do something big to be doing something. Whatever we’re doing, whether it be picking up paint at Home Depot, or texting all day long, we’re always laughing about some dumb thing. Hey, maybe we’re dumb. At least we can be dumb together.

13. You Love My Writing
I’ve never published a book, sold a screenplay, or had a blog go viral, and yet, you make me believe I’m Shakespeare, Hemingway, King, and someone hilarious rolled into one. For someone as hard on myself as I can be, it’s your belief in my abilities that give me the confidence to do good things. Or at the very least, attempt them.

12. You Embrace Your Love of Bad Music
Most people would hide the fact that they own multiple Nickleback CDs, but not you. You own it. That takes huge fucking balls. I admire this, even if I’ll never let you near my radio ever again.

11. You Accept Me
Though close to perfection, I’m not completely there yet. But instead of changing the one or two things that keep me from obtaining god-like status, you just accept the fact that for better or worse, this is me, and you’re cool with that.

10. You’re Excellent with Kids
Kam, Clare, and Bub love you, especially Bub. And you’re great with them. You’re going to make a hell of a mom someday, and I’m already happy for your children. They’re getting a good one.

9. You’re Trustworthy
I never question anything with you. You make me believe I’m all you could ever want, which makes me wonder why you wouldn’t aim higher, but hey, that’s neither here nor there. I know you’re mine, and not for a second have I ever had reason to question that.

8. You Don’t Take Shit
Sure, it’s an amazing coincidence that almost every customer service person alive has given you attitude out of nowhere, but at the same time, you don’t take shit off of anyone. Maybe it’s a Napoleon complex or just a short fuse (pun intended), but I dig your feistiness (when aimed at others).

7. You Strive to be Better
You could do very well for yourself by just doing what you do, but that’s not good enough. You want to learn more, to improve your skills, and expand your abilities. And this doesn’t just go for work (wink, wink). I respect the hell out of your attitude towards self-improvement.

6. You Work Your Cute Butt Off
Two jobs, six days a week, and you never really complained or took it out on me or those around you. I would’ve been a walking ball of shit, but not you. Very impressive.

5. :&
Tee hee.

4. :&
Seriously.

3. My Family Loves You
And I knew they would. My friends love you, too. This is beyond important to me, and it was the one thing about us I worried about the least. In fact, I think if there ever is a split, my family may sue for joint custody of you.

2. You Push Me to be a Better Man
For years, it was easy for me to accept things as they came, and only aspire to greater things in my mind. Since we started dating, I’ve gotten serious about my career aspirations, I’ve bought a home, I’ve come to realize what I want in terms of family, I’ve tried to learn about finances and financial planning. I’ve done all of this because I want to provide you with the life you deserve, and if you weren’t around, I’d still be renting an apartment and stuffing every check in the bank where it can earn a sweet .0025% in interest. But now, I actually have a 5-, 10-, 20-year plan, and it doesn’t involve selling parts of me to science. Thank you!

1. You Wear Yoga Pants
OK, that’s not really my number 1, but I thought I would take a second to mention how much I love your yoga pants.

1. You Love Me
And you show it every second of every day. This is the greatest gift I could ever hope to receive, and I can only hope I make you feel the same. You’re such a tiny little human, but you mean the world to me. I love laughing with you, joking with you, planning with you, dreaming with you, and everything that comes with being your boyfriend. You’re an amazing person, and I hope that I can be the reason you will always look at your 30s as when your life became too good to be true.

Also, I really, really, really love your butt.

Update:

31. You Are My Rock
2016 was an incredible year…right up until it wasn’t. 2017 hasn’t started off much better, but it has brought us closer together. It took all of a half second to realize that if it’s you and me against the world, the world will lose by six (Us against the casino on the other hand…). I couldn’t have asked for a better friend, but I really couldn’t have asked for a better partner.

32. You Said “I Do”
8. 8. 16. The best day of my life. I’m glad we have photographic evidence surrounding us in practically every inch of our home so I can be sure that it actually happened. Though we had perfect weather, and were joined by our favorite people, you and I together guaranteed that it would’ve been a magical day had we eloped in a pile of mud (you may have had trouble selling the dress, however). I still can’t believe I get to call you my wife. I don’t know what I did to deserve you, but I’m going to make sure I keep earning you every day of my life.

33. You Are the Greatest Mom Ever
On November 16, you gave me the greatest thing ever: a beautiful, healthy baby girl. And the levels to which you went to ensure that she would be a healthy baby left me in admiration for you (though you risked the beautiful part by procreating with me, but that’s a different story). I mean, you gave up wine for our child. Need I say more? But when I see you with Lillian James Kapowski Esquire, your patience (whaaaaa?), your vigilance and mostly, your ability to soothe her when my half-assed attempts fall woefully short, I realize just how lucky Lilly and I both are. I continue to fall in love with you on a daily basis, and that has so much to do with what a naturally wonderful mother you are. Plus, you rarely wear a shirt these days, so that’s pretty fun, too.

34. You Crack Me Up
I don’t know if you know this but you’re very funny. Mostly, you have two levels of funny. There’s the level where you call everyone under the Sun “bitch” like you’re Jesse freaking Pinkman, and then there’s the level where you cut your food like a caveman, leave coffee mugs in different zip codes of the house and proclaim Chris Hogan dead to you because he ruined your fantasy football season. There was also the time you said, and I quote, “I fucking love you, man,” which still cracks me up when I think about it. They say you should be with someone who makes you laugh. I say that you should be with someone who won’t let you stop laughing. Just know that when you complain to me in a few years about the lines around my mouth, those are your fault (and no, I will not be getting botox no matter how much you beg).

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I LOVE YOU!

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The Boyfriend Manual – Chapter 5

October 28, 2014

Breaking the Seal

You know I’m talking about. One of the most important barriers you can break down in a new relationship is the farting/shitting combo. And nothing says new relationship quite like a couple both acting like their assholes aren’t under siege like it’s D-day.

“Hey, this bread is good, huh?” *nervous laugh
“Yeah, real good.” *shifts in seat
“What should we do after this?” *Deep breath, prays she says she’s tired and wants to be alone.
“Whatever you want to do.” *Deep breath, hopes he says he’s tired and wants to be alone.
“Let’s get ice cream.” *Please say no. I can’t take this much longer, but I can’t give in or she’ll think something is up.
“Sure.” *Fuck! I can’t say no, he’ll think something is up.

This is a situation comfortable couples don’t have. It’s more or less like this:

“What should we do after this?”
“Don’t care, as long as I get a chance to shit.”
“Cool, was going to ask if we could stop home so I could do that, too. Ice cream after?”
“Sure.”

The problem (in this instance) is that relationships are built upon spending copious amounts of time together, and the body does not rest simply because you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of some taters. In fact, it would seem that during these times, the digestive processes act like people trying to stifle laughter in church. The harder you try to be good, the louder you get.

And that first sleepover? Enjoy that internal 6 AM debate wherein you must decide whether it’s worth it to let loose the hounds of hell before she wakes up, praying she stays asleep, or whether you think you can hold it until it’s time to leave.

I usually aim for the 6 AM plan, as that gives us both plausible deniability that it ever happened.

Unfortunately, there is no exact time table for when you should break this seal. You just kind of have to feel it, or have no other options. For most couples, this decision will be taken out of their hands. That little mouse squeak that you are pretty sure heard from your lady is most likely the result of an overworked orifice finally caving after hours of pressure. This is the greatest thing to ever happen to your relationship. She’s just broken the seal for you, show your appreciation by only laughing at her for a little bit.

If she’s one of those girls who “doesn’t do that”, then it’s up to you to man up. I suggest doing this in the most humorous way possible. If you simply let one slip and apologize for it, you look weak and almost need to start the process all over again. It needs to look intentional. Remember, you’re declaring a milestone in your relationship here, don’t pussy out on it. You wouldn’t just offhand whisper a proposal would you? Hell no. You’d announce that shit with authority, which is what you should do here. Literally.

My first suggestion is to dutch oven her so she can be as large a part of the milestone as possible. Be sure to explain to her that you’re doing this for “us”. Those tears of distress may end up being tears of joy.

Another option is to crush one in the car. She’ll have nowhere to go, thus ensuring the maximum impact of this romantic gesture.

Lastly, no matter how you choose to break… this barrier, do it with a boom. You can tell when you’re sitting on a nuclear bomb. Let that bad boy gather strength like a freaking hurricane, then break the silence with some window rattling excellence. If it echoes, and she sticks around, it was meant to be. And your asses will thank you for the entirety of this relationship.

The Boyfriend Manual – Chapter 4

October 8, 2014

There are many adjustments one must make when transitioning from bachelor to boyfriend, and this includes adjustments as it relates to your health and well being. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find that your girlfriend seeks to simultaneously keep you alive forever, while remaining convinced that everything about you indicates you’re about to knock off any minute now. Simply put, having a girlfriend may cause you to become a raging hypochondriac. Have fun.

First, they may inspire you to start eating well and taking care of yourself far better than you ever would’ve on your own. Owing to the fact that they legitimately care about you as a person, your girlfriend will want to see you happy and healthy. This could culminate in eating better, working out (wink wink… wait, no, she means actual working out), hiking or biking, and any number of physical activities that gets your stupid ass off the couch.

It is for this fact that I must recommend you date someone who at the very least has a similar eating style as yours. You absolutely do not want to spend meal times with a person who condescendingly asks, “Are you seriously going to eat that?” “What? You mean this food I just spent money on? Nah, I was going to hold it next to my mouth for 45 minutes, waiting for you to slip a piece of celery in there instead.” If you enjoy red meat, salt, anything made of animals, and your girlfriend doesn’t, prepare to hear about how unhealthy any of those things are, facts be damned. She doesn’t eat it, and she’s going to live forever!

But health and well being go beyond the dinner table. Every year, millions of single guys forego visits to the doctor and every year they somehow survive. Enter your girlfriend, who is convinced that every single thing on your body is an indication that you have super cancer. I’m convinced that girlfriends and doctors have made an unholy pact wherein doctors use girlfriends to get this hard to reach male demographic through the doors. Doctors know that single men won’t visit a doctor without female pestering, so they’ve enlisted some help. It just so happens that girlfriends have the perfect temperament for such a task. They’re a little ridiculous about your health, not at all afraid of pestering you until they get what they want, and can withhold that one thing that nobody else can… your PS4.

If you have a girlfriend, you understand exactly what I’m talking about.

That red freckle you’ve had since birth? That’s now magically skin cancer.

That headache you had the other day? Brain tumor.

That sneeze? A cold that’ll surely weaken your immune system and cause you to contract the black plague.

All that gas you had after chili? A sure sign of ebola.

All that gas you didn’t have after chili? Your colon is shutting down.

You know how you get up in the morning and are kind of tired? That means you’re not eating healthy enough and suffering from an iron deficiency that is weakening your heart and will lead to rabies somehow.

Basically, your girlfriend is that part of every medical commercial that lists the side effects. Every single thing about you requires a trip to the doctor. I bet your single self didn’t realize just how sick you were.

Of course, this is all coming from a place of caring, and in the end, it is kind of sweet. Unfortunately, that warm feeling in your chest that you’d normally associate with love is probably your aorta eating itself, right hun? Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to make an appointment.

The Boyfriend Manual – Chapter 3

October 1, 2014

In the first two chapters, we had a little fun at the ladies expense, but this chapter is all about one thing:

Appreciating the beautiful woman you call a girlfriend.

Mawwwwwww.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I’m only writing this to win points with my lady. Well, duh. OK, but that’s not the only reason, I’ve also gone soft. But, there’s yet another reason to be writing this, and that is the fact that a great girlfriend will be one of the best gifts you will ever receive. And yes, I do mean gift, as most of you are complete neanderthals who are lucky to be allowed in the same room as a woman, let alone dating one.

My point here is that your appreciation for your girl should go welllllll beyond the whole, “She lets me put my _______ in her _______ and then _______ with my ________ using her __________ and __________ Trebek.” If this is the extent to which you appreciate your gf, dump her and put a hooker on retainer. It’s probably cheaper in the long run.

But if you truly care about your girl, take stock in the things she does for no reason other than she enjoys doing them for you. That cup of coffee that awaits you in the morning. Thanks, dear. The pride she takes in telling her friends about something you accomplished. Thanks, dear. Quietly getting out of bed in the morning just so you can sleep a little longer. Thanks, dear. Letting you put your… hey, wait a minute! But still, thanks, dear!

Fellas, if you’re not dating a selfish little mongrel, you’ll recognize some of these behaviors, and you are lucky beyond words. These are the actions of someone who is not doing something nice because it’s expected or some societal norm, they’re doing this stuff because they care about you as a person. Even after you’ve farted in their faces, or spent the day groping them as they tried to do household tasks, or goosed them as they walked up the stairs in front of you. You will get this treatment from no one else, and taking it for granted is one of the great relationship crimes you can ever commit. As Tom Hanks once said to Matt Damon in a movie where a bunch of dudes died to save Damon who the Nazis somehow couldn’t shoot in spite of his giant dome, “Earn this.”

How do you earn this? By doing those little things that you know will show how much you care. Yup, it’s the old show me you love me, don’t just tell me you do. Watch her show without grumbling, cook dinner and do the dishes, hell, open a door for her. Appreciate her in your own way, just make sure to give as good as you get. You should expect your sig other to treat you well, but you shouldn’t treat her well because it’s expected. You have to want to want to treat her well. (Wow, pulled that line straight out of my vagina.)

And if you show her how much you love her, and let her know how much you enjoy all the little things she does, I guarantee she’ll let you _______ her ________ with a __________. Ohhhhhhh, baby!

The Boyfriend Manual – Chapter 2

September 24, 2014

“I just have to get ready.” – The last words of your girlfriend before she disappears for 2 hours.

We’ve all been there. You have an hour before you’re supposed to be at whatever it is you’re doing, and you know for a fact that if you hit no traffic, you’re still going to be late by a few minutes. Why? Because your girlfriend is “getting ready”.

This ritual entails a number of things involving the head and face, and will also involve a host of tools and instruments. Most of these tools have either sharp edges (makeup pencils), or will burn you horribly (hair straighteners, curling irons), which I believe were designed that way as the girl’s defense against the impatient boyfriend. You yell at her to hurry, she prays you come just a little closer so she can blow the hair dryer in your eyes.

Once that is complete, out comes the wardrobe. Sure, you’ve planned to go out to dinner all week, but only now does it occur to your precious that she must wear something to said dinner. It is at this exact moment wherein your girlfriend does remember one thing: SHE HATES ALL HER CLOTHES!

Most boyfriends would try to compliment all of the clothing choices being presented, but this is ultimately a fruitless endeavor because…

Getting ready isn’t about you. It’s about her. And the other “hers” who will be out that night. You know, the other girls who spent an hour and a half gouging at their faces, pulling at their hair, and weeping into their closets. It’s cute that you think she’s looking pretty for you, but she knows you think she’s good looking, hell, you just spent the last hour trying to get her to stop getting ready by telling her how good she looks. She knows. She just wants other people to know. (Not you.)

Who pays for this? Punctuality, for punctuality is a sacrifice you make at the altar of beauty, and she will not give a shit about making this sacrifice. “Yeah, I know we’re going to be late to Aunt Maude’s funeral, but you’re out of your ever-loving mind if you think I’m going to let my grieving family see me without eye shadow. That cold bitch can wait.”

What’s a boyfriend to do? Enjoy your damn time alone. I like to take a nap, personally, but there are many things you can do during this time. You can check your fantasy sports lineups, bang out a couple of chapters of that Where’s Waldo you’ve been meaning to finish up, or watch hockey fight compilations on YouTube. The possibilities truly are endless, as long as you’re willing to embrace them.

Remember, during this time period, your opinion will be more useless than it usually is, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Just embrace this as a chance to finish a bunch of missions on Grand Theft Auto, then sit back and relax, basking in the glory that is “getting ready” time. Plus, if you’re late, you always have someone to blame, and no one will ever call you on it.

The Boyfriend Manual – Chapter 1

September 16, 2014

In business the old saying goes that the customer is always right. Bet you can’t guess what your girlfriend and a proverbially customer have in common…

Hey, you got it!

The crux of this situation is the simple fact that guys and girls see the world differently. Sorry to my liberal friends who think men and women are identical, but it’s simply not true. Guys have an ability to look a situation critically and address it from a logical, reasoned point of view. Girls have an ability to look at a situation and fly off the handle. Is this an oversimplification? Hell no. All of you ladies reading this (hello to the four of you) just flew off the handle at that insinuation. Gotcha!

The fact is, girls are more willing to blow up the ship to prove a point. Usually, it’s the person who’s willing to go the furthest who will win any type of confrontation. Most guys will just get mad, blow up a bit, then forget anything happened the second an ounce of blood flows into their penis. Most girls will get mad, blow up a bit, then threaten to cut off said penis.

What is a good boyfriend to do? First, don’t pick stupid fights. And yes, the vast majority of fights are stupid. In a given year, you’re going to win two battles, three tops. Make sure they’re legit wins. She’s keeping track of who won the ice cream scoop placement fight so she can win the “you must defriend your ex on Facebook” fight. Technically you’ve each won a fight, but in reality, you’re trailing by a mile.

Second, recognize when she’s picking a stupid fight, but then don’t ever, EVER make the mistake of calling it a stupid fight. If she’s willing to fight with you about it, it matters (to her, and that’s all that matters). There are many phrases to avoid in this scenario, including, “Wow, this is a really dumb fight,” and, “I cannot believe you’re getting mad at me about that.” These phrases, however true, show a complete lack of understanding on your part (which is very probable given the aforementioned irrationality). In lieu of those phrases brought on by male instinct, we would suggest substituting them with things like, “That’s a really good point. I never thought about it like that,” or, “I can understand your anger and am working every day to be the man you deserve.”

Third, if your girlfriend is battling with a 3rd party, that party is wrong. Period. End of story. Many souls have been lost by siding with the enemy of a girlfriend, and don’t think for a second she’ll ever forget the time you said Denise was right to be upset at the fact that your girlfriend stole Denise’s yogurt from the work fridge and ate it. Denise is a fat, stupid bitch who wears too much makeup and has a mustache Tom Selleck would kill for. She should be honored that your precious darling bestowed upon her the honor of providing such a tasty snack. Fuck you, Denise.

Anything less than the above response and five years down the road when she leaves a tip you feel is a bit too small, you’ll hear the whole car ride home about how this is the Denise situation all over again.

Lastly, though this may seem to contradict the above, don’t be a pushover. Arguing back a little shows you care. It also shows you’re listening. Your girlfriend doesn’t want you to just give in to her demands, she wants you to battle against them and show you’re a man. Sure, she’s going to whittle that right out of you in time, and you’re still going to end up doing what she wants, but if you put up a fight she’ll be able to tell her friends how she fixed you, and that is the greatest gift you can give to your GF.

Death by a Thousand Cuts, or 10

July 11, 2014

So Cosmo, let’s talk about… 10 everyday things that you’ll learn to detest in your career.

For those unfamiliar with the phrase, “death by a thousand cuts” simply means that something is broken down or destroyed slowly over time. There’s no big blow, but a series of small things that combined, end up as the death knell of something.

With this in mind, I’m here to tell you about the things I hate most in advertising that may seem small, but will eventually make you want to punch babies. And not even ugly babies, you’ll want to punch regular, decent looking babies.

I’m just joking, there’s no such thing as a not ugly baby.

Let’s do this!

1. Being called a Rockstar
OK, I’d rather be a father to an ugly baby than be called a rockstar ever again. What a dumb freaking compliment. No, I’m not a rockstar. I don’t light up stages, women don’t flash their taters (for free, at least) when I’m working, and I certainly don’t have a legion of fans (and if I do, them fuckers are quiet). Stick your patronizing BS up your arse. Also, don’t try to call me a ninja in place of rockstar, or I’ll chop you in the neck so hard…

2. The False Choice
I absolutely loath when an AM walks over and asks if I can do something, knowing full well that the thing needs to be done and I really have no choice in doing it. I work here, if something needs to be done just tell me it needs to be done. Why act like I have a choice, especially when those same people will tell you to change your creative? Cosmo, this needs to be done. Cosmo, do you think we should change this headline? See that, tell me when something needs be done, ask me when it relates to something subjective. Learn it, live it, love it.

3. I Don’t Know
No matter who says it, this phrase should never be uttered ever. You heard me, never. “I’ll find out” is acceptable. “I can check” also good. “I have scabies” not good. “I don’t know,” comes right after scabies.

4. The Meeting to Nowhere
Whether it’s a brainstorm, process meeting, client pitch, whatever, every meeting should go forward with a little thing I like to call, “next steps.” Far too often you’ll be in a room, people will be talked out, and the meeting will just sort of end. You know what that leads to? ANOTHER MEETING! Wrap up your damn meetings with a plan to move forward. Please.

5. Yay! You did your job!
Everyone likes a little pat on the back every once in awhile, but watching some idiot giggle and seal clap and get excited over an everyday headline or idea is beyond annoying. Praising everything I do is patronizing, and makes you look like a moron. I don’t congratulate you for being able to open and close your car door (though maybe I should), don’t act like I exhausted my skills writing a simple brochure.

6. That’s Just How We Do It
I’m going to write a blog in the near future about good abrasive/bad abrasive, but when an idea for an improvement is met with resistance simply for the fact that we’ve never done this before, I just want to spit nails. But since I bite my nails, it’s probably not the nails you’re thinking, but still, fingernails can be sharp, too. Anyway… people who don’t care about improving things on a daily basis are the problem, not the person willing to bring it up. If your only excuse for not trying something new is the fact that it’s new, you’re about as worthless as a great idea to improve things that nobody will acknowledge. (See what I did there?)

7. Don’t Spend Much Time On This
It’s as simple as this, I’ll agree to spend almost no time on this if you’ll agree not to hassle me when it sucks, k?

8. The Breakroom
OK, this isn’t advertising specific, but seriously, don’t eat food that’s not yours, replace the damn towels when they’re empty, and for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT MICROWAVE FISH!

9. The Softest Sell
Unfortunately, you’ll do this too, but man alive is it annoying when people pitch an idea that starts with, “This isn’t completely formulated, and it’s just a thought, and don’t hold me to this, and it’s probably dumb, and you may hate it, but this is just a first go at it…” Wow, pump those brakes, Billy Mays, don’t oversell it or anything. Creatives are so afraid to put themselves out there, and it comes across as disturbingly insecure. Own your shit, for better or worse.

10. Ugly Babies
OK, so I didn’t really have a #10, at least not one that I could think of at the moment, so I figured I’d just take this full circle. But then I realized that sometimes, the people you work with, both co-workers and clients act just like ugly babies. If you picture them as either full grown adults with baby heads, or babies with adult heads, they become less annoying and much funnier. Do your worst, stupid baby!

Anything I left out? Let me know.

Welcome to advertising.

Hey look, a win!

July 2, 2014

So Cosmo, let’s talk about… recognizing a win.

A few weeks ago an account manager came into the creative room and said that a client had chosen to move forward with a concept I had created. I nodded and smiled and said, “When I first started in advertising, I was happy when a client picked my idea because it meant I had come up with a good idea. Now I’m happy because it means I won’t have to do any extra work coming up with new ideas.”

Having a client like an idea so that you don’t have to come up with a bunch more. That’s a win.

 

One of the first things I learned from my first creative director was to ask a lot of good questions. It was something she did in every meeting, and a habit I picked up on and have continued to this day. If you’re able to ask the right questions, you can then develop better, more informed work. You can also figure out exactly what the client means when they say something like, “We would like a better headline.” OK, what is better? “Better is a headline that says this ketchup is so fresh it’ll taste just like you plucked it from the garden.” Who knew ketchup grew in a garden? Anyway, this one little question will prevent you from getting a job order asking you to come up with a better headline, thus causing you to flip out on the client and AM, who conspired to let this happen, and allow you to move forward without another phone call or meeting.

Getting a client to speak specifically to what they’re asking for. That’s a win.

 

Sometimes a client or AM will come to you and say, “Hey, we want you to take this sentence and just make it different.” Now, they won’t say those words specifically, but the changes they suggest will ultimately result in a sentence that’s not better, it’ll just be different from what you had. This is where you can then point out that changing one sentence can then impact the four that follow it, ruining the entire flow of a paragraph for no other reason than to seemingly annoy the shit out of you. When combating this with reason and logic, you may just get them to back down.

Getting a client or AM to back off of unnecessary changes. That’s a win.

 

It is often said that in advertising, if you don’t want a client to pick an idea, don’t present it to them. The thought behind this is a Murphy’s Law of sorts, wherein, much like a cat that attaches itself to the one person who hates cats, a client will always choose the one creative concept that the team hates the most. Unlike a cat, you cannot get a client to change their behavior by spraying them with water, though it would be great fun to try. In every creative presentation, there will be one idea the team wants picked (which means it’s the most fun/scary and least likely to get picked), and there’s one idea that the team doesn’t want picked (which means it’s the most boring/straightforward and most likely to get picked). Every once in awhile you are able to sense a client heading towards the shit concept, and are able to at least steer them towards the only kind of shit option.

Avoiding weeks of working on a concept you detest. That’s a win.

 

Deadlines in advertising are often tighter than a something or other on prom night. This can lead to work that is rushed, because, duh, it is rushed. And yet, so many of these tight deadlines are self-imposed because we want to look great to the client by getting work done super fast, or the client wants to get something in front of their boss super fast to look nice and efficient. It is always a good idea to go to the AM and ask why, exactly, we’re being given all of 4 hours to create an entire banner campaign. If the AM doesn’t have a satisfactory answer, you then follow up by asking if we can get more time. Usually, you can.

Pushing back on self-imposed tight deadlines and getting any extra time. That’s a win.

 

Advertising is full of relaxed conditions. When there’s no line, there’s no line to cross. This means off color jokes for days.

Not getting fired for being wildly inappropriate. That’s a win.

 

Every now and again you’ll get free pizza. Free pizza is always a win.

 

I hope by now you’ve noticed that in advertising, a win isn’t always getting a client to choose your multimillion dollar idea and fully fund it. It’s winning small things. Mostly it’s about not having to endure extra work. Let’s face it, when you’re at the mercy of clients 90% of the time, you lose more often than not. But every once in awhile you get a chance to win. And that my friends is a feeling that can only be replicated by eating a decent sandwich that doesn’t last very long.

Welcome to advertising.

On Being Territorial

June 25, 2014

So Cosmo, let’s talk about… being territorial.

Advertising is one of those industries where your job title doesn’t properly indicate the beginning and ending to your responsibilities. Whereas, oh I don’t know, the job title of “fluffer” means you’ll be strictly dealing with fluffing responsibilities, the job title of designer or copywriter means you’ll be forced to wear many hats (and in an industry often far sleazier than the fluffer’s).

But despite the idea that we’re all working together to create something we all hope will be good, there is a certain sensitivity that comes with making suggestions to a department that is outside of your responsibilities. Though the various responsibilities within an agency involve positions like account manager, designer, copywriter, strategist, etc., the fact is that these titles are not hard and fast (get the fluffer!). There is a lot of crossover when it comes to creating an ad, and not all of it is welcome.

A copywriter who goes to a designer with layout revisions may often be met with a, “Yeah, cool idea, Fakespeare. I’ll get right on that.” Followed by them promptly turning around to add more stuff to their “cute sloths” pin board.

This will make you angry, but not as angry as when those damn account managers decide to weigh in on YOUR copy. “Oh, Mr. Account Guy doesn’t think my headline is all that funny. I must’ve missed the day where he went to school for 4 years to become a writer.”

And this is basically how it goes in this crazy world of advertising. The simple fact is, most people are open to constructive criticism from the right sources. If you’re well thought out, and your critiques often make sense, they’ll be considered by those not in your department. If they’re often silly or hard to understand from a logic standpoint, you’ll be dismissed or bitched about when you leave the room or get off of the conference call.

The key to overcoming territorial people is to not impose your will upon them. Your critiques should be considered suggestions, not directives. Nobody likes to be told what to do, especially from a jerkass like you. You need to also respect the fact that these people are in their positions because they have this skill set that you do not. If you just look at the work without realizing that someone else put thought and effort into it, you become the worst thing in the world: a client.

In short, there will be those who love the feedback, those who don’t, and those who will give you feedback whether you want it or not. Remember that the object of every project we do is to produce the best piece of work possible, not to soothe your ego. Respecting people’s work and opinions doesn’t mean hiding your thoughts, or accepting all of theirs, but it does mean being tactful and intelligent. Luckily, these two qualities absolutely define you 😉

Welcome to advertising.

 

 

 

 

 

The Inevitability of Becoming Jaded

June 18, 2014

So Cosmo, let’s talk about… the inevitability of becoming jaded (and no, I’m not talking about the smash single by American mega-band Aerosmith).

Work in advertising for more than five minutes and you’ll notice that there’s a certain attitudinal affliction that seems to run rampant within anyone else who has worked in advertising for more than five minutes. It’s a little something I (and apparently the English dictionary) like to call, being jaded.

How people become jaded can be summed up in this manner:

Have you ever had a friend within your group, let’s call him, oh I don’t know, Cosmo. And every time you invite this Cosmo to hang out, he says no. Every time. So eventually you just say, F that douche, I’m not going to invite him to do anything anymore. Guess what, you now know what it’s like to be a creative in advertising.

Cosmo is the client. Fucker.

Your invites are the ideas.

Your eventual decision to stop inviting him is your spirit dying.

Guess what? There’s really no way around this. When every one idea that gets through, six million die a slow, painful death, you’re going to at some point give in and just go through the motions. I mean, why not? No matter what you propose, it’s going to get rejected, changed, or mangled to the point where it barely reflects your original idea. And if the client does love it, they won’t have the budget or stomach for it.

So you say, OK, I’ll just do what I have to do to get by. Project after project of the client whittling your creative ideas down to the totally boring and expected has left you delivering just that. That’s when the client goes, “Hey, goober, what’s the deal here? This stuff is boring and expected. I want fun. I want exciting. I want so far out of the box that this idea will rise up, slap me in the face, and then kick me in the taint!” That’s when the tittering begins (mostly because I wanted to use the word tittering).

You get excited. You go to work, busting your hump to come up with that one taint-slapping idea that’ll really rock their socks. Their socks! The very socks they’re wearing! Your spirit is invigorated. You start to believe that something truly amazing could happen here. And this lasts right up until you present the idea, whereupon the client loves it… and promptly gets to work whittling it down to something totally boring and expected. But hey, they really appreciate the work and all the great thinking.

Cosmo (you, not the douche who doesn’t want to go anywhere), nobody will fault you for becoming jaded. Everyone expects it, in fact. But that doesn’t mean you need to let it own you. The most important thing is that first round of creative, because that’s the round where you get to be you. If that round is great, you’ve done your job. You have almost no control about where it goes from there, but if you can be satisfied with what you’ve presented to the client, you’ve done your job for the day. Don’t mail it in, and don’t let clients stop you from trying to do great things.

Or you could just jump over to the client side and break spirits the way Steven Seagal breaks arms. In fact, do that.