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Smart Man Online: Zachary Harris

Dear readers, today is Smart Man Online day. We have a very different kind of interview today. Zachary Harris, author of The Men's Dump Survival Guide and Field Manual, a book that focuses on a gender we don't talk much about here: men, will open some eyes, and may cause some others to blink a whole lot. Zach has written this unique book, something many of you will relate to...and others may find -- provocative, to help men survive being 'dumped.' Clearly, it's an issue Zach feels strongly about.

But, we do not want to give anything away. We met Zachary at the Book Expo in NY and asked him to talk to our readers about his book-- since it's not focused on marketing to women online at all. But, it contains valuable insight into...men. And, remember, we LIKE men. So much so, we thought we'd have Zachary share his male insight into...well, do read the interview and see what we mean:

Lip-sticking: What gave you the inspiration for writing this book?  Where did the idea come from?

Zachary: The initial idea for this book came from an interesting trip to Borders. I always tend to look through the discount books and see if I can catch something interesting for a bargain, and I happened to see something that caught my eye; it was a book titled “How to Dump A Guy: A Coward’s Manual.” As I always marvel at the covers, and lack of corresponding content within, of women’s magazines, coupled with the fact that half the books that they read tend to demonize men for everything we do between waking up and going to bed, and sometimes even while we are sleeping, I had to pick it up.

Upon reading it, I got several good chuckles and liked some of the points that the authors brought up.  However, I felt that there were several things lacking and I figured that instead of writing a complimentary book, I would write a supplementary book; I am using trigonometry jargon here (supplementary angles are those that when combined equal 180 degrees, which is what is needed for a mental turnaround; complementary angles add up to 90 degrees, you’re not even looking over your shoulder in that case).

Reading this book, combined with the fact that I have been dumped, and having paged through numerous articles and books written for women on relationships, as well as being a victim of said articles and books, I felt that we men needed something to steel ourselves through the process of being dumped and recovering. There are a lot of books like this for women, but none for men.

Lip-sticking: Is this your first book?

Zachary: This is my third [completed] book; I say completed because of the fact that I have several manuscripts in varying states of production that I have written over the years. My first two books deal with love; one is the emotional component, the other contains the analytical. While I was selling the first, I met a woman who would be the one that I fell for the hardest. Of course, while dealing with her, I was not actively marketing my book as I should’ve been. After the second time we broke up, I wrote the second book.

Lip-sticking: What is the purpose of this book?

Zachary: The purpose of this book is to lead men out of the valley of death that being dumped throws us into. It is a manual for getting passed, over, and through the process, with some emphasis on doing it in a positive manner. There are way too many incidents of men really losing it after a dump. At the end of the book, and the process, the [male] reader should have a new sense of life, self, and knowledge of what happened. Combined with the “next” philosophy, the Ten Commandments, and the Pyramid, they should be in the position to start attaining what they want out of life.

Lip-sticking: You're tackling a sensitive area with real honesty. Tell us how people are reacting to your book so far?

Zachary: The funniest thing was initially telling a couple of bartenders about the book, at a place that I frequent. They reacted the way a number of people have -- they didn’t agree with what I was writing [Jane can relate] until I started talking about certain points in the book.

When I attended Book Expo America 2005, which was not what I expected it to be, I had numerous people come to my booth after receiving the flyers I passed out. Two of them were men who both asked for my advice in each of their situations. I received a good amount of compliments from men who wish that they'd had the book several months ago; one from the CEO of a firm that produces military special ops games.

Lip-sticking: You say that every man has at least one ‘dump’ coming, why?

Zachary: Relationships are like riding a motorcycle; there are only two types of riders, those that have been down, and those that are going down. Since I say that there are three types of dumps, and since society and the whole notion of courting has changed, each man will definitely experience at least one type of dump.

Lip-sticking: We can’t believe you’ve ever been dumped. Say it isn’t so!

Zachary: I’ve been dumped.  Hell, I’ve been dumped three times by the same woman.

Lip-sticking: So, then, tell us what you say are the 3 ways men get dumped.

Zachary: There is the pre-dump, the date dump, and the dump.

The pre-dump can happen anytime from the first meeting up until before you actually start to get nice and comfortable with someone. It could be before you ever have any sense of shared intimacy, or even after a couple of full blown-out mind-numbing experiences.

Normally, the pre-dump occurs when you just start getting to know someone, and for one reason or another, the communication just fizzles. Chances are, you don't fit into the mold that she wants you to fit in. Don't be upset, you are not water, and this is not an aikido class. It can happen after a few phone calls, a few emails, and/or a few dates.

The date-dump can be very frustrating for some men, and if those men already have either some issues with women, or some anger management problems, then the date-dump can really be emotionally disheartening and possibly lead to some disastrous actions.

This is not to be confused with getting turned down by a woman that you met while you were already out. This deals with being dumped while on a date, or right after the date ends.

The worst manifestation of this could be that the woman walks out on you and takes a cab home. Okay, it could also be bad if she was the one who drove and leaves your ass right there. [!]Another bad scenario would be if she hooked up with another guy while on the date with you. In this case, if you are a gentleman and she goes for some other guy, be happy; she would've taken you through some crazy drama sooner or later.

This is a more defined scenario by the fact that you are into a groove with the woman. You are either in a committed monogamous relationship, marriage (which is not necessarily the aforementioned), or in a "relationship" where you and the woman have a defined set of rules of engagement between the two of you.

Being "released" from your contract at this stage is when it really hurts. This can be complicated by issues such as: you are living together; and/or that you have purchased some things together, whether they be real estate, furniture, or investment entities (a business, t-bills, etc.). Zack_cover

This whole scenario is worse if you are at a period that you have made some changes in your life (personal, social, etc.) to accommodate having this woman in your life as your "woman."

Lip-sticking: Share the ten commandments of reconstruction and reformation, as you write about them in the book.

Zachary: These are the commandments that we men must follow in regards to being dumped.  They are:

  1. This isn't the end of the world for you
  2. You might not be the first guy she dumped, and you might not be the last
  3. Somewhere in all of this, there are lessons, or knowledge, that you can take from this whole experience
  4. The reasons might've been you, and then again, they might not have
  5. No matter what, this experience (while there was a relationship) has added to the sum of you. It is to be understood, respected, and appreciated on the greater level of you
  6. There are other fish in the sea
  7. Even what we call "going back" can actually be going forward
  8. Become more than you were while you were with her
  9. Success is the greatest revenge
  10. Success is also the biggest turn-on

The book gets into more detail ..

Lip-sticking: So, what’s this “next” philosophy you talk about?

Zachary: The “next” philosophy came from a combination of a joke, the business card used in the movie “Hitch,” and the fact that with me, it seems to be only a matter of time before a woman does something and I want to tell her “next.” [does this make you the dumper?]

I did do the “next” thing on a dance floor years ago; since I love to dance, and some good music came on, I selected a dance partner. I warned her that I could dance and needed someone of equal or greater skill.  If she couldn’t measure up, I would kindly send her back to the spectator’s wall.  Well, I wound up sending her back, and three other women as well.  What’s bad is that each one laughed at the one before them and couldn’t do any better. In the end, I wound up going out with a good friend of the fourth woman. So, good things do happen from saying “next.” [but, at what cost? We wonder if this wasn’t too self-serving, Zach...after all, maybe other folks thought those women were mighty fine dancers.]

While the “next” philosophy is all about a deeper integrity, it can also be employed after you meet someone in person, and they are not at all like the picture that they described.

Lip-sticking: Let's tell the readers about your G.E.T. U.P. program.

Zachary: Do you remember those funny little acronyms for other things in life such as the ABC's of CPR (Airway, breathing, circulation) and the way to remember all of the classes of stars (OBAFGKMRNS - oh, be a fine girl, kiss me right now, slap!) or to remember the notes in a scale (EGBDF - every good boy does fine)?

Well, I had to come up with an acronym that can be used as a motto for us. We in turn, us dumped men, now have our own five step program which spells out GET UP.

Here's how it works: You been kicked in the groin, and you're now metaphysically on your knees, or just rolling around on the ground fighting the feeling of the fire in your gut. Oh, chances are that you'll be okay, but it's going to take some time for you to get up and walk regularly again. Now let's explain each letter:

G - Get over it. You've been dumped. It happens. You're not the first guy that it's happened to and you won't be the last; that is unless the world ends tomorrow.

E - Evaluate what happened; the good the bad and the ugly. In this, you need to analyze the dump and understand it through all its facets; the other party/combatant, yourself, and the dump. Do a "sit-rep" on how you got outmaneuvered, outflanked, and outgunned.

T - Take action. At this point you cannot afford to just sit there like a duck on a log, i.e. a sitting target. That's a good way for the world to just run over you, and for everyone else to just take aim and fire. There are many courses of action that you can take at this time, but you have to start by moving away from the scene of carnage.

U - Utilize what you learned in the second phase and make yourself a better person. You might need to change who you actually pick to get involved with, or you just might need to review what, where and how it went wrong, and not let that happen again.

P - Proceed/Progress with the rest of your life. You are going to face many battles, and some of them you will win and some of them you will lose.

In the end, I would've truly liked something great like the 5 D's mentioned in the movie Dodgeball; "dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge." That was purely classic, but alas, I couldn't think up anything like that and I didn't have time to sit with some guys over a keg of beer for that one (I am trying to lose a couple of pounds for the summer).

Lip-sticking: So, give us your specialized pyramid of success.

Zachary: I said the hell with Maslow’s pyramid, which I always felt was bogus from my college days, and come up with one of my own.  Here is our pyramid (from bottom to top):

  1. Spirit and Mind
  2. Body
  3. Education

4.      Housing

  1. Finances
  2. Transportation
  3. Wardrobe

6 & 7, and 4 & 5 can be reversed.  Hell, so can 2 & 3 for that matter.  However, I look at these at the things that you need to have together to really get the woman that you want. The book goes into detail on each step/tier.

Lip-sticking: I noticed that you included a worksheet on this, do you have a sample one with an incident in your own past available?

Zachary: I will be placing a sample worksheet on my website this upcoming week.

Lip-sticking: You write about “emotional honesty” being the foundation to a good relationship, can you go into a little detail on that?

Zachary: I was going to include it from the book, but it’s like a good eight pages. Simply put, emotional honesty is that honesty that you have first with yourself, and then with your partner. Men are affected by it more than women, because in most cases, men are not too worried about the status and/or attainments of their women; if their women are great looking, the sex is good, and she has half a brain, then they are satisfied. 

However, women are always sizing us up, and being that women think emotionally and men think logically, this is where we men are affected. Sometimes, women wonder how in the hell they actually got involved with the man that they did; this of course happens down the pike and not near the beginning of the relationship.

After being honest with oneself, you have to be honest in your assessments and opinions of the other person. This involved whether or not you can see them achieving their dreams, and if not, or even if so, whether or not you are going to steer them in the direction they need to take, or onto the path that is better suited to them. And if you can’t believe in them, then maybe you should let them go instead of having them around because they are providing security and comfort.

I myself would hate to be with a woman who didn’t believe in me, and allowed my focus to transfer from my dreams, to making her dreams come true.  This needs better explanation -- it’s in the book.

Lip-sticking: What about if she wants you back after she dumps you?

Zachary: Then you possibly have a temporary “Stepford wife.” I believe that right after a woman who has dumped you says that she wants you back, she should come bearing gifts and also be ready to take you to bed and treat you to a phenomenal day and night of sex. That’s just my feelings on that matter. [so, tell us what you REALLY think!]

Lip-sticking: Then, how about pursuing her after the dump? How do you feel about it?  Have you ever done it? Has it worked? And did it lead to something greater?

Zackary: I have pursued women in numerous occasions after being dumped. In some cases, I felt Zackary_forward like, “Is this what I really want?” In other cases, I was happy as a clam. In some cases it worked, and in some cases it didn’t. It worked more times that it didn’t; I talk more about it in my first two books. 

In the end, it never led to anything greater. In one case, it was because the other person still had insecurities. In another case, the person did something that really offended me. And in another, I started to see other things in the person that I knew that I couldn’t live with.

Lip-sticking: So, what’s on the horizon for you?

Zachary: I would like to write the same book, but for women [as written by a man], using a six-step program. Next comes the audiobook, and I would also like to do a DVD. For the latter, I am definitely looking for assistance.

There is another book in the works, but I’ll let you know more about that in the future.

***********************************************************

We hope this candid portrayl of how men feel when the woman they love (or are beginning to care about) treats them poorly -- okay, dumps them -- gives everyone something to mull over. As Zach says, there's a lot more in his book. We think it's a good read for both men AND women.

Now, what's not to like about that?

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