It’s common to hear people use the phrases, “be a man,” or “man up,” typically when a male is exhibiting some type of behavior that could be interpreted as feminine. It’s certainly not intended to be a slight towards females, but men trying to flaunt their strength or their toughness is something that goes back to the beginning of mankind.
Back when our earliest ancestors were hunter-gatherers, it was the men who took pride in hunting for food and defending their homes from outside invasion. This is something that has not been lost in thousands of years of evolution. It’s common practice, when a group of men are together in a room, to try and show off who is the strongest. Taking pride in your manhood is, for the most part, universal. No matter how sensitive, or how secure you are, if someone insults your manhood, you’re going to take it personally; it’s innate.
However, my question is, what, exactly does it mean to “man up?” What are the qualifications?
I myself have many traits that the stereotypical man should exhibit. I am fairly athletic, I like how females look, I spit on the ground sometimes when I am outside just for the hell of it, and I will occasionally burp.
Conversely, I also possess qualities that one can construe as “unmanly.” I enjoy romantic comedies, I watch American Idol and Downton Abbey, and I sometimes wear a scarf. So what does it all mean?
What is the best way to determine manliness? I think I might know.
The obvious first guess is by determining how much one can bench press. However, while it is certainly important to be strong, it’s not necessarily important to be the strongest. To prove my point, next time you are at your local gym, check out who is hanging out by the bench press.
I can virtually guarantee you that they will possess at least four of these five qualities: 1) They will be excessively tan, bordering on orange. 2) They will say the word “Bro” at least once in the short time you observe them. 3) Their arms will be jacked, but their legs will be puny. 4) They will spend no actual time lifting, and more time talking to somebody nearby about how much they drank last weekend. 5) When they finally do lift, they will grunt a lot.
Do you really consider those people to be the prime examples of what men should be like? Of course not. In fact, they are detrimental to our society. Thus, manliness should not be determined by the size of our biceps.
So, what then? Should manliness be determined by how many girls you hook up with?
Men often like to brag about how many girls they “get.” Then they like to swap stories about that one chick they hooked up with and then never spoke to again.
Am I going to sit here and lie, and say that I don’t admire a guy that is capable of luring many girls into his bedroom? No. But I don’t envy them either. Firstly, if you are constantly moving on from women to women, then it probably says a lot about your low standards. I’m going to assume that you’re not banging supermodels every night, and that you will pretty much get with any girl who is willing to have you.
That, to me, is not a positive trait. It also means that you probably have gonorrhea. In my opinion, you could still be very manly and simply have one steady girlfriend. So I don’t really see what the connection is between “slaying broads” and manliness. Also, one can argue that gallantry and chivalry play a part in manliness. Though you still maintain your “alpha male” bravado, treating women with respect and dignity is a factor.
Is manliness judged by how much beer one can drink on any given night? Uh, just take a look at that person’s beer belly, and I think you have your answer.
I repeat, so what then? Well I think I know.
Manliness is not determined by strength, or by your success with the opposite sex, nor by alcohol consumption.
It’s determined by how many tools that you can properly identify.
Anything and everything in this world can be constructed, fixed, or altered with the right tool. Specific tools are structured to facilitate and simplify whatever you need to get done, whether it be cutting a piece of wood, hammering in a nail, or assembling a bookshelf. If you have the proper tool, and the appropriate knowledge, then strength is irrelevant.
Recently, I accompanied a friend into a tool shop. I was lost. Every tool looked like a foreign object, and I couldn’t tell you what one single thing was, and I felt ashamed. Never before had I felt less like a man. And this is coming from someone who has ordered pineapple vodkas at bars before.
I looked at the guys who owned and ran the store, who could advise every individual on whatever tool they needed to purchase, and I thought, these guys are men.
I firmly believe that every man should at least possess their own toolbox, whether they know how to use the tools or not. Unless you have a toolbox, then you can never fully be a man. Because just having people see that you own a toolbox will leave some type of positive impression.
And you’d be shocked how many different tools exist in this world. Everyone knows what a hammer, a wrench, and a screwdriver are. But there are hundreds of different types of those things.
Being able to build something from scratch is what manliness is all about. Being able to properly use a power drill, or knowing the correct way to use a saw. That, my friends, is the real test.
Because everyone knows, that you ain’t a mench unless you own a wrench.