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‘Matching Tattoos? Hell No! What Happens if We Break Up?’ — Tiki Barber’s Take

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The reaction to Tiki Barber’s few first columns was pretty awesome.  Then the former NFL star kicked it up a notch, and decided to take on a myriad of other issues. Today, Tiki answers questions about turning 30, matching tattoos, old friends and gigantism. This is Tiki Barber’s Take. 

“I’m turning 30 next month. I’m looking to have one last major blowout with friends before I crawl quietly into old age. Any suggestions on how to spend the final days of my youth?” — Sam, almost 30, Michigan

First of all, “you’re only as old as you feel” is a cliché for a reason!  You are nowhere near old, my friend.  I just turned 38 myself, so I know the angst you may be feeling, but it’s premature to get worried.

Your 30s are your prime years!  You’ve spent your 20s getting to know who you are, what you want, and who qualifies as a trusted friend.  You have officially “grown up!”

As you celebrate that transition, I suggest not falling back on what you know and have done — bar crawls, strip clubs and the like. Instead, start dabbling in the joys of early middle age.

Treat yourself:  Spend some money and buy something that you will get great utility out of, like a expensive watch, or a tailor-made suit.  Something that, when you put it on, will make you feel confident about yourself and where you’re going in life.

Grab the aforementioned group of trusted friends — it will have shrunken from the “everyone’s your beer buddy” days — and have a dinner party with the best bottles of wine you can find. Invite your close family, and bask in the stories of you. The only way to appreciate and be appreciated by those whose shoulders you’ve stood on to get to this point, is to spend time with them on the occasions that matter.

“My girlfriend won’t stop mentioning the idea of getting matching tattoos. I’m against it, I’ve told her as much, but she thinks it’s the best idea. How do I tell her no for the hundredth time?” – Danny, 21, St. Louis

There are so many ways to answer this one, but since I have a tattoo that sort of matches one of my wife’s (operative word being wife here), I can speak from experience.

The obvious fear and initial reaction is “Hell no…what happens if we break up?”  That actually is the only answer that you need. However, if you’re looking to be diplomatic, here is how I would suggest going about it.

Explain to her that your body is your temple.  That it is sacred to you – albeit, loaned to her on occassion – and that if you are going to permanently ink yourself, then it has to be something that is precious to you.  For instance, I have “PLAY PROUD” tattooed up my right ribcage (yes, it hurt like a b*tch), because it is something my mother used to say to my brother and I before every game that we played, and it took on a special meaning.

Tell her that you all have so much growing left to do as a couple, and that it would be a disservice to your relationship if you prematurely and arbitrarily got inked with something that wasn’t personal to both of you together.

That should give you time to decide if you’re ready to make her your wife.

“I’m friends with a guy who I’ve known since elementary school. Our friendship is going on thirty years but we’ve got ZERO in common anymore. I feel bad just cutting him loose. What should I do?” — Steve, 34, New Jersey

I would suggest not cutting your friend loose, but slowly and naturally let the relationship ebb.  Sometime people grow apart and your lives go in different directions; that doesn’t mean that you have to sever ties.

This is where the value of social networking gains significance.  You never know when someone that you have had a previous relationship with will become valuable again, whether it be for personal or professional reasons.

I think the best route is to be honest, and say “hey look, _____, my life is really in transition now, and I have a lot on my plate.  Let’s catch up sometime in the future.”  From there, since you left it open, there is no obligation and you can reconnect when you feel the time is right.

Never burn a bridge, because you never know when you’ll have to cross the river again.

Would you rather be 4’5″ or 7’7″ tall? I’m not sure this will help anyone, but it’s fun to discuss.

I would definitely rather be 7’7”!!

Yes, I’d be awkward and stand out everywhere that I went, but there happens to be a little organization that would give me a high paying job for a few years…the NBA! LOL.

Got a question for the former NFL star? Send it to chris [@] guyspeed [dot] com.

Tiki Barber's TakeTiki Barber is the all-time leading rusher in New York Giants history and a 3x Pro Bowler. He is the co-founder and chairman of Thuzio, an online marketplace to connect the public with professional athletes for appearances, coaching, speaking and unique fan experiences. He was a correspondent for NBC and currently co-hosts CBS Sports radio’s weekday morning show. Tiki graduated from the University of Virginia with a concentration in Management Information Systems.

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