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snl, man parks, pete davidson, men's wellness

"Man Park" on YouTube

“It’s not their fault masculinity makes intimacy so hard.”

This was a line from a recent "Saturday Night Live" sketch, aptly titled “Man Park.” The premise: A girlfriend is so concerned that her male partner has no friends, that she takes him to the “Man Park” to socialize. ”It’s like a dog park, but for guys in relationships.” Like a cute clumsy puppy, the boyfriend (Pete Davidson) plays with other “breeds” as the women cheer from the sidelines. Finally, the boyfriend gets to bond with his fellow males over Dave Matthews, Marvel, and Rick and Morty. You know … guy stuff.

That sketch might be hilarious, but it is touching on the very real loneliness that men experience. If you have any doubts, just take a look at some of the comments to the video:


“I feel personally attacked but also kind of disappointed this isn’t a thing. How do you make new friends as an adult? … my girlfriend is also my only friend lmao.”

“This really hits home. It’s incredible how men fall into this state of loneliness of friendships apart from their partners. I had lots of friends when I was young and have a lot of old time friends, but as an adult it’s been pretty hard forming these new bonds. It’s a mix of a lack of time, social events and COVID has kept us isolated and at home.”

“Jesus's biggest miracle was he had 12 close male friends at age 30.”

Loneliness. A problem...

Avrum Weiss, Ph.D., wrote a brilliant article on the subject in Psychology Today (it even references the SNL sketch). In it, he pointed out how in heterosexual relationships, men often rely on their female partners to maintain friendships. And that boys start out with as many close relationships as girls do, but often start to neglect their personal relationships to “pursue external success.” Basically, the skill of making friends is not like a bicycle. You do forget if you don’t keep at it.

Add to that a culturally taught association between vulnerability and weakness, and it’s no wonder that so many men find themselves lost.

Though SNL makes light of it, Weiss notes the serious toll isolation takes, stating that “loneliness is not only an unpleasant feeling; it is an interpersonal impairment that causes significant harm.” This includes less satisfaction in their intimate relationships, and even extends to a steep decline in physical health.

...and a solution

Billy Baker, author of We Need to Hang Out, has become a bit of an expert in overcoming loneliness. His now famous article for The Boston Globe retells him getting asked to write a piece about being middle aged and having no friends. Which is, as Baker shares, quite typical.

Baker eventually solved the puzzle of the elusive male companionship with a simple, yet radically effective strategy: He made engagement a regular activity. Wednesday nights were, and still are, planned friend nights.

Meeting new people could be as simple as taking a class or even volunteering (doesn’t hurt that the last one also appeals to a masculine drive for service and purpose). The real challenge, however, is maintaining those connections once they’re established.

Though regular social interaction is important for anyone, sociologist Rebecca G. Adams notes that regular activities might be particularly important to men, who tend to use friendship to escape reality, while women tend to use friends to face reality.

...and an invitation

Perhaps the biggest takeaway though, was that Baker reframed his outlook on masculinity. As his article expresses, he learned that admitting loneliness does not make you a loser. Nor does showing affection—even to another man—imply a lack of strength. Circling back to the SNL sketch, it’s not men’s fault that many of them have been taught to think that emotion = burden. The only way to change this belief, however, is to put themselves out there and move through the discomfort of potential awkwardness or rejection.

Sounds like a pretty classically labeled male trait when you think about it: a willingness to persevere through a difficult circumstance, in order for something better. That inherent determination serves to create emotional well-being, too.

Though finding friends might not be as easy as a walk through the “Man Park,” the results are well worth the effort. And men deserve to experience the type of emotional fortitude that comes from knowing people are out there when times are hard.

Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75

Lynch is part of a growing line of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory

Upon first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
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This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


Addie Rodriguez was supposed to take the field with her dad during a high school football game, where he, along with other dads, would lift her onto his shoulders for a routine. But Addie's dad was halfway across the country, unable to make the event.

Her father is Abel Rodriguez, a veteran airman who, after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was training at Travis Air Force Base in California, 1,700 miles from his family in San Antonio at the time.

"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

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Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.