Updated Dec, 14th 2012
How To Be A Manly Man
Yes, that is the question that every man secretly asks himself from time to time, or perhaps he asks it of himself not so secretly, like doing it out loud while shaving in the morning or while driving to work. The problem is that there are so many conflicting ideas of what it means to be "manly". How is a proto-man even able to settle on which ideal to pursue?
In our modern society there is not only confusion on what manly roles should be sought after. Let's look at just a few of them.
The Wanderer. This is the guy who likes to travel a lot, not really interested in setting down roots, whether in a family or a geographical context. Perhaps there is a large adventurous streak in him so he finds it important to skydive, rock climb, mountain bike, or snowboard. The adrenalin rush helps remind him that he is really alive. Perhaps he likes to trek to the far corners of the earth so he can experience the fulness of life and witness how other cultures operate.
The Forever-Boy. This is the guy whose life revolves around toys, entertainment, fantasy. Perhaps he still lives in his parents' house or otherwise has "failed to launch". He might actually have a job or even a career, but his home life is to retreat into World of Warcraft or watching excessive amounts of professional sports. His future plans may include how to get a larger television or a monster computer. Establishing friendships may be low on the priority list.
The Father-Figure. This is the guy who buys into the notion that a full grown man should take reponsibility for helping to raise the next generation, and actually has an idea on how it should be done. He is usually married and looks forward to having children or actually being a father. He sees his vocation or career as a way to accomplish his familial goals, even if his job is one he greatly enjoys on its own merits.
The Fear-of-Failure. This is the guy who likes women, but is deathly afraid of them. Perhaps he has never even had a date or even asked a woman for a date. He usually is a quiet, responsible, hardworking guy, but can't seem to untangle the mystery of the gender battles.
The Tarzan. This is the guy who buys into the notion that his main function in life to have sex with as many different partners as he can. He may or may not be married and have children, but his marital status is beside the point. Multiple sex partners helps him feel like he is a real man.
There are of course other stereotypes that could be described here. What are some of the ones you run into frequently? Your feedback and comments are welcome and solicited.
Future posts will talk about what should men aspire to, and how they can get there from wherever they are. Also, we'll talk about what influences currently exist in modern society that tend to derail men from getting to where they really should be. Even though this blog is dedicated to helping men find their way clear through a troubled world, the insights of women on this topic are definitely wanted and requested. The adage of "no man is an island" is particularly appropriate here.
OK men, stand forth and deliver. How do we get from here to there?