Somewhere inside a man’s condo, there’s a 50-inch plasma that overlooks a Xbox 360 console and video games. Madden 10, Grand Theft Auto, Resident Evil 5 and NBA 2k10 are on rotation constantly. With this, there’s a woman who is feeling neglected, and is pissed as a result.

Grown men abusing video games and not paying attention to their women is all too common. With age comes relationships, and with relationships come compromise and with compromise comes a new identity. Like nature, people go through many incarnations. At the apex of maturity (growth) is the ability to coexist with somebody else.

We call this a relationship.

In this updated model, outdated operations should be shed. Playing video games may be an ageless process, but there are other things that should perish with age. Below are the top five “hobbies” that any grown man should approach with caution, along with the alternative side. This is assuming, of course, that relationship harmony is the goal.

Editor’s Note: The impact of social media on relationships isn’t lost on this author. He feels, however, that this deserves a full column in itself. Thanks.

1) Buying The Newest Jordans And Designer Clothes.

Any responsible grown man has to know the tenets of economics: Money spent on clothes is money that can’t be used to invest on appreciating assets. Or on fixing the house. Or charity. Michael Jordan made his fortune by understanding this principle (for purposes of this article, let’s consider the casinos of this country an appreciating asset). The Jordan brand was built on him excelling at something and parlaying the characteristics that defined him (tenacious work ethic, athleticism and eloquence) into apparel and shoes that cost $150-$200.

At some point, buying expensive gear for expensive’s sake has to grow old.

A grown man still relying on the Jordan brand to elevate his self worth should be ashamed. Even if he is a millionaire. And women, if you’re with a man like such, and you don’t check him on that, then you’re complicit. Living to subsidize someone else’s lifestyle is not the act of a responsible grown man. It’s the life of my 12-year-old brother.

Reversal: There is really no “good” alternative to this. The benefits of OD’ing on expensive clothes is not a sign of taste, but rather a flaw in one’s perception of taste. I’m not saying boycott Jordans, True Religion, Ed Hardy, Polo or Armani. Just be mindful of why these brands hold primacy in your consumption habits.

2) The Weekly Club Scene

This is a common gripe, so I won’t go into much here. A guy spending every weekend at the club is akin to a guy who buys (or desires to buy) every pair of Jordans that come out. Weekly club visits indicate a desire for companionship, albeit on a shallower level. Men don’t generally go to a club for a lasting relationship. They go to have fun. In every sense of the word.

Not that lasting relationships can’t be fun. Oops. Let’s just move on.

Reversal: Sometimes getting out is a good thing. And there will be times where it’s absolutely necessary. This is the exception. An exception that should be avoided at all costs. Which leads to my next point…

3) The Need To Hang With Fellas Every Weekend

Again, this is self-explanatory.

Reversal: Every couple need breaks from each other. A healthy balance of guy time is relative: Sometimes, guy nights are needed more frequently to disrupt the monotony of relationship obligation. Other times, guy nights are unnecessary on a frequent scale. After all, the goal is to be with a woman who can replace your boys. Difficult, but not impossible.

4) The Sparse Book Shelf

Ladies, if you’re talking to a guy that doesn’t like to read, that’s cool. If you’re talking to a guy that is fine with that, then that is the red flag of all flags. OK, maybe not of all flags. But it’s pretty bad. Aversion to reading gains momentum in the adolescent stage, where puberty heightens chemical levels to the point that reading becomes tangential. But as a grown man? There are two reasons a person doesn’t read: illiteracy and/or apathy.

Either one is bad. The latter is worse.

Reversal: Ladies, have you ever been with a guy who reads all the time? This doesn’t sound bad on the surface; in fact, this might be endearing. At its core, however, it represents excess. If he’s spending more time wrestling text than you, then needless to say, the relationship is on shaky ground. On a number of levels.

5) Ease Up On The Video Games And Sports

I’m slow to place this one here, but I overstand the potential for this to be abused. Video games and sports provide an escape that outsiders tend to view as juvenile. As a member of the privy, I have to say it’s far from such. However, with aging should come discipline. Children can spend all day playing video games and immersed in sports without an outside care in the world. Responsible grown men should do such when everything else is handled.

Sports immersion and video gaming schedule should be discussed and hashed out between the couple. Relationship duties should be at the center, with video games (and other habits) at the periphery.

Reversal: There’s no reason for a grown man to be glued to the tube playing video games all day. None.

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