These days, it seems like there’s a ton of discussion about what it means to be a man. Times are a’ changin’ and no longer are men solely defined by eating nothing but red meat, refusing to ask directions when lost, and punching anything that confuses them. Men can (and are even encouraged) to eat some leafy greens, reach out if they need help, and resolve conflict like an adult rather than a medieval baby throwing a temper tantrum. What a time to live in! Here are the definitive top 9 things that make a man for manhood in 2015:
1. Communication: Gone are the days where the quiet, taciturn man is the desired archetype. I’m not saying a man should whine about everything going on in his head, but an honest and open dialogue with lovers, family, and friends (and perhaps most importantly, other men) is absolutely necessary in this day and age. Speak up men, and open your hearts through your mouths. Be heard, while listening to those around you. Hearing and understanding what your companions are saying is just as important as sharing your own beliefs and feelings. Practice by whispering into your partner’s ears, and having your partner whisper back into yours. Silly and sensual.
2. Self-Reflection: A man once said, “An unexamined life, something something something.” And he makes a good point. A real man doesn’t bound through his day making mistakes without realizing his own flaws and foibles. One must know his faults to transcend them, and if you know yourself those around you will trust you more for it. You don’t need to be constantly navel-gazing and self-absorbed, but it pays off to give that belly button a glance every now and then. Know your strengths and your weaknesses, and don’t be afraid to admit them to yourself and others.
3. Sense of Adventure: Do it. Whatever it is. Keep trying new things, because if you’re not learning you’re dying (warning: you can also die if you keep learning). Try a new hobby, whether it’s yoga, camping, or calligraphy. Go to a new place. Taste a new food! Are you 7? Is the bad taste going to kill you, or just be gross for a second on your tongue? Say yes to all new things (at least once), but most of all to new flavors.
4. Sense of Self: Know who you are. This trait assimilates some that came before, but it’s important and distinct. Important traits are like building blocks, and you can’t have a true sense of sense without self-reflection or communication, and a sense of adventure will have you testing you beliefs against new experiences. To be the best possible man you can be, you have to know who you are and what you stand for. Are you a brave man who likes to fight bears and knit in the evenings? Own it. Are you afraid of the dark, and think socialism isn’t that bad? Own it, friend. Be you, and know who you really are (which often helps to attract mates).
5. Sense of Smell: There’s no need to throw this manly trait out in this new age. Our noses have been saving our bacons for eons, and now let us know which room has the bacon. A man should rely on his sense of smell in nearly all situations to let him know what’s on the up and up.
6. Confidence: Now that you have all of those senses down, it’s time to show them off to the world. Confidence doesn’t mean be cocky or arrogant, those often mask inner-weakness and doubt. Be truly confident, not con-faux-dent. Know your worth and capabilities, walk with your head held high and your back straight, and be okay with confidently telling someone you don’t have the answer. Know your worth, and realize there’s no reason to be nervous in any situation you’ve had time to prepare for (sidenote: always prepare and be ready for anything).
7. Wallet: Bring your fucking wallet with you. Everywhere. Maybe it was my time spent in the Boy Scouts that prepared me to always be prepared, but a man who travels without his wallet (unless in a pool, or somewhere similar) is not a man at all. Don’t go into situations expecting to get coddled and cared for, assuming others will pick up the tab. Bring your wallet, and reach for it when the bill comes damn it. Even if you’re not going anywhere you expect to pay for something, if you die the officials will more easily identify your body if you have an ID. Isn’t that nice?
8. Balls: I don’t mean testes, though a low-hanging sack definitely is one of the scientific requirements defining a man (Not me though. To paraphrase Jay-Z, ladies is men too, go and brush your shoulders off). You can call it gumption, courage, resolve, or bravery but have some goddamn balls and stand up for what you believe in and believe in what you stand for. Look fear in the face, and moon it. The world can be a large, frightening place but a man has to metaphorically sack up to make his or her way through it successfully. Take that chance, tell your boss he or she is wrong.
9. D.I.Y.-ness: Lastly, a man of the modern age must know when to do things his or her own way. It doesn’t matter if the populace is flowing one way or the other; if you want to go another direction, go there. Example? Everyone is making top 10 lists to start the year. This list is included in that category, but you know what friend? This is the last item. Do it yourself (which is just a manly way of saying be yourself in this case). Also, get your hands dirty from time to time and actually do it yourself whatever it may be.