“How does twerking empower today’s generation?” ranted a thumb warrior on Facebook that sat in the audience for a taping of my new online talk show, “The Millennials.”
During a group discussion segment titled “Pass the Bowl,” where a group of Millennial panelists pass around a bowl filled with topical questions to extend their point of view on, we debated such questions as, “What do you think is the biggest misconception about today’s generation?”, “What motivates you?” and “Who do you feel is the best role model representing Millennials in the public eye?” To lighten the mood, one question asked whether or not a girl named Joanna, a guest panelist for the day, should twerk it out. When everyone agreed she should, and Joanna actually twerked it out, someone named Kenny was provoked to undermine the validity of the show’s message to empower today’s generation.
I thought the message of the show was empowering when I sat down with a Paralympian to discuss seeing beyond your limits, and when I had a guest relive the moment he found his sister hanging in his shower hoping to dishonor the stigma of having depression or other mental health issues and open up the conversation to such a taboo issue.
I saw this movement as more than a platform for perpetual conversations on serious issues, but also a chance to put today’s generation in the driver’s seat to be who they are, which sometimes includes having fun.
Suddenly, I felt pressure to be Rev. Martin Luther King because I had a message. Sure, I have a dream, but when I work my ass off to make that dream reach fruition, I like to have a drink and toast to my accomplishment.
Can there be a balance between being responsible and having a good time?
That’s the question I struggled with as I propelled to my final show of my premiere week.
Then a good friend and up-and-coming lifestyle coach, Greg Rider, appeared on my show as one of my final guests to promote his newest endeavor.
“MANbro is a site aimed at helping men achieve the perfect balance of being a responsible man and bro who can be one of the guys,” he discussed.
After Greg demonstrated four ways to make a killer first impression to a generation that is beginning to hide behind technological forms of communication, I wrapped my premiere week and it was party time.
I spent the weekend with Greg and his friends Di Carlo and Symons, who ventured with him from Canada to be part of the movement of “The Millennials.”
That night, Greg and I got into a drunken argument, and I made him and his friends sleep outside because he was being a dick.
The next day, we forgot about it and spent the day hanging out and visiting an arcade before all wearing tank tops to a local college bar that welcomed teenagers.
While Greg tried finding a girl that was old enough to not be a virgin and Symons sang every word to every song that played, I kept meeting kids that were 16 and 17, making them go up to Di Carlo and reveal their age so we could laugh about it between shots.
In those 48 hours, my friends and I fought, drank, talked business, and played air hockey. That’s what men do.
Sometimes we’re gentleman, chasing our dreams and empowering those around us. Other times we’re just one of the guys. Without that perfect balance, you become inflexible. Without flexibility to relate to everyone, you break.