Excerpt: 'Real Men Don't Apologize'

Comedian Jim Belushi has starred in numerous movies as well as the current hit ABC TV show, "According to Jim."

In his book "Real Men Don't Apologize," Belushi gives advice on dating, marriage, sex, and what it takes to be a man. He talks about losing his comedian brother, John Belushi, and trying to pursue his own career while living in his brother's shadow.

He also talks about how men can continue to be "real men" while still making things work with women. Read an excerpt of this book below:


Before you scoff and say to yourself, "What advice can Jim Belushi, beloved international superstar of stage and screen, give to me, Joe Everyman?" the answer is simple: hope.

I want to let you in on a little secret: I wasn't always the man you see today. There was a time in my life, believe it or not, when I was at rock-bottom. I was a loser. And it's because of those experiences that I'm able to relate to you guys out there looking for a little guidance, a little help. So, newsflash, kids: I am Joe Everyman. And to illustrate my point, I'm gonna tell you a story about a gourmet dinner I had with Mike Ditka.

Let me set the stage. The year was 1987, and I was working on a little film called Red Heat. You don't remember? Maybe this will refresh your memory: "Moscow's toughest detective. Chicago's craziest cop. There's only one thing worse than making them mad. Making them partners." Ahhh, now you remember. Back then I was a major film star slumming with a little-known Austrian bodybuilder who needed a break.

Not a year earlier, my beloved Chicago Bears had danced the triumphant Super Bowl Shuffle, but they failed to repeat -- losing to a New York Giants squad that we would later learn was all hopped up on coke. The loss saddened me greatly and the film's director, Walter Hill, visited me in my trailer to cheer me up.

Walter told me he'd just had a dream about a movie for me to make. In this movie I play myself. The film begins at my breakfast table. My wife is serving me six eggs over easy and three Polish sausages, but I cannot eat because I am too distraught over the apparent end of the Bears dynasty. Finally, she drops the frying pan and says, "Just do it. Just go join the Bears."

Realizing it is what I must do, I leave immediately for Bears training camp. Upon arriving, I explain to Coach Ditka that I want to contribute to the team. Because I am a noted linebacker from my high school years, he agrees to give me a shot. I spend several months training for opening day, and Ditka rewards me with a spot on the kickoff coverage team. On opening day against the hated Packers, I race down the field during kickoff to cover the return man. As I'm zeroing in on the guy, a Packer blocks me out of the play. I tumble out of bounds, blowing out my knee. It is a career-ending injury, but I am happy because, for that brief moment, I played like a Monster of the Midway.

When Walter was finished speaking I said, "That's the greatest goddamned movie pitch I've ever heard. Get me five million plus ten percent of the gross and we can start shooting tomorrow." Walter left the trailer, and I was soon called to the set for my scene.

I should note, however, that as I was walking to the stage, I passed my costar's trailer and heard Walter's voice from inside: "Arnold, I had a dream. You're at your breakfast table, but you're depressed. Finally Maria says, 'Just do it. Just go run for governor.'"

My agent passed on Walter's brilliant idea and had me make Homer and Eddie instead. Remember that one? Me neither. But as fate would have it, a few years later I was invited to have dinner with Mike Ditka. As I watched him eat a steak thicker than my arm, I told him that someone had once pitched me an idea for a movie where he would be my costar. As I recounted Walter's movie to Coach -- it's a little thing Ditka and I have; I call him "Coach" and he calls me "Belutchi" -- I was pretty sure he was more interested in his twice-baked potato than the story. But when I reached the part where I get blocked out of the play, Coach dropped his fork.

For a split second I thought he might need the Heimlich, but then he sprang from his seat (with surprising agility for a man who hasn't had cartilage in his knees since the sixties) and stuck his meaty index finger in my face. "No, Belutchi!" he bellowed. "You run down that field and you make that tackle. You force a fumble! You pick up the ball. You run into the end zone for a touchdown! You spike the ball! Because NO ONE REMEMBERS A LOSER! THEY ONLY REMEMBER A WINNER." That's why Coach Ditka has won a Super Bowl and Walter Hill hasn't. No one remembers a loser. Write it down so you'll remember it. Oh, right. I wrote it down for you. But remember it, because truer words have never been spoken.

Believe me, I know. I've been a loser. I'll admit it; my career has had some peaks and valleys. The peaks being About Last Night... , The Principal, Salvador, Taking Care of Business (where the Cubs win the World Series!), and the ABC hit comedy According to Jim (Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 Central and Mountain), with the valleys being . . . well, the nineties.

And, of course, the day my brother died.

At that moment not only did I lose a brother, I also became the head of the family, but I had no idea how to lead my family in the public spotlight. The media was capitalizing on my brother's death. My family and my life were falling apart, and I couldn't stop the downward spiral. I made one bad decision after another. One of those guys they quote for T-shirts once said, "Heroes aren't born, they're cornered." Oh, I was cornered. And I found out that I was no hero. So I found myself in my late thirties with two failed marriages, a son I barely knew and a career circling the drain. My confidence was shot, my self-esteem was at an all-time low and just to fuck with me even more, God started thinning my hair.

Where am I today? I'm married to a woman I love and who (even more surprisingly) loves me too, and I have an amazing relationship with my older son. I have two more kids that I cherish and adore. I'm playing a part I love to play on According to Jim, and the public seems to really enjoy it. (Apparently critics don't have Nielsen boxes.) I get to tour the country with a ten-piece band, the Sacred Hearts, which blows the doors off any place they play. As for my hair ...well, it's hanging in there.

Basically, I turned my life around. I pulled it kicking and screaming from the 99-cent used-VHS bin back to the actor-with-a-leading-role career. Only this time, I lived my life in a way that was true to the kind of man I wanted to be.

I didn't do it alone. I went to workshops to learn about being a man. I found a community of men to help me. And, most importantly, I discovered that only a man can teach another man what being a man is all about.

Fortunately for you, you've bought a book written by a man. So I'll give you the advice that I've collected from men like my friend Stevie B., Mike Ditka, my cousin Gus, David Deida, Robert Bly, probation officers, social workers, Rob Becker, Dr. Steven Benedict, shrinks, teamsters, headmasters, neighbors, the members of the Sacred Hearts Band (look for the CDs 36-22-36 and Big Men, Big Music on House of Blues Records) and A. Justin Sterling. It's a bit more in-depth than "No one remembers a loser," but that's your wake-up call.

This is a book about men, but not because I think men are better than women. Quite the opposite. Men are woefully outmatched by women. All men have to offer is our competitive instincts and whether or not we can lift something heavy. Women are nurturers, they literally carry life in them, they are community leaders, and they are intuitive, grounded, powerful, smart, verbal, complex and beautiful. It's tough to keep up with that. Both my previous marriages ended because I wasn't man enough for my wives.

I'm writing this book because we, as men, need to raise our game to meet the challenge the women of the world are giving us. The constant stream of challenges coming every single minute of every single day. Nothing but challenges. Hell, I can't even walk in the door before ...all right. Let's hold that thought.

I want you to forget whatever you think you know about me as an actor and think of me as a man, like you. What I have to say might change your life. At the very least, it should help get you laid.