Manhood

In the near future, I will be offering a webinar on one of my favorite, complicated subjects: manhood. This feels timely to me to do, particularly in light of the recent highly viewed, highly controversial Gillette commercial.

I plan to begin by making the I believe crucial distinction between the stereotypical definition of a real man–Mr. “macho man”—vs. a non-macho definition that I will get to shortly. I think we all know the stereotype of a macho man, e.g., chiseled physique, strong as an ox, fixer-handy as hell, cocky in his (over)confidence, extols his sexual prowess, has a lot of money (or at least feels compelled to act like he does), lives life adventurously, and: makes sure to hide his vulnerability and always appear “strong”. Well, goodness knows on a personal note, to quote Bob Dylan (showing my age a bit here), “that ain’t me babe; no no no, it ain’t me babe….” So what do I view a “real man” as being? Let me preface my answer to this by saying I have given this subject a great deal of thought over the years. And the conclusion I have come to is to propose a list of qualities that I invite anyone reading this— and anyone you care to share it with—to please comment on. Okay, here goes. One totally non-macho man’s definition of a real man:

🔹 is hard-working, but not a workaholic
🔹 keeps in good shape physically and mentally
🔹 prioritizes accountability, integrity, reliability, and trustworthiness
🔹 financially, prioritizes a sensible balancing of spending versus saving, consistent with his level of earned income
🔹 sexually, prioritizes making sex as pleasurable and loving as possible for both himself and his partner
🔹 can show emotional vulnerability on occasion, without judging himself as “weak” or “unmanly” for it
🔹 prioritizes earning other peoples’ respect rather than demanding it; and makes sure to show it to others when it clearly is warranted to do so
🔹 is courageous and assertive most of the time, without resorting to aggressive intimidation
🔹 has a good sense of humor–in a playful, connecting, at times self-deprecating way, rather than being overly sarcastic and/or belittling of others
🔹 gives something back to his community
🔹 will do what he can within reason to protect and support important people around him
🔹 is affectionate in a non-sexual way
and last but not least
🔹 prioritizes moderation in indulgences; yet enjoys making allowance for extra indulging on special occasions

Moral of the story? I know I will never fully be this man, since it obviously sets the bar awfully high. But I also know this: this is so much more of a real man than a macho man can ever be. So I will spend the rest of my life striving to stay as much of the non-macho type as I can be, while hoping to get as good at it as I can get!

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