An article I wrote that covers the essential aspects of being a modern man in my view. It’s not for the easily offended delicate types out there, but seems few willing to say what needs to be said, so I said it! Taken in context and intent, it will help men who identify with it, and may be an article some ladies find useful too I suspect…
Modern men are confused, especially where it concerns modern women, but more on that in a few. The modern man does not appear to know what’s required of him, what’s expected from him, or where to turn for advice. Well I’m here to help in some small measure. It’s often the case the simplest advice is the best advice. Here’s 10 politically incorrect tips that should help the confused modern man get a handle on it and back on track.
Let’s be honest, not everyone had great male role models to follow growing up. In fact, solid male role models are few and far between these days for younger men in need of some direction. The all too often result is men finding themselves wearing skinny jeans, hairless, and smelling like the chicks sitting behind him at Starbucks wearing the same unisex fragrance wondering “is this the man I wanted to be?” I can’t cure all the ills of mankind (with emphasis on the man part) in a short article, but I can give some basic advice that will help, should you choose to take it to heart and actually apply it. Consider it modern man building 101 and a work in progress to build from. It’s not a “how to get girls” guide, but a “how to be a man of measure in a confusing time for men which may result in more interest from women” guide. Capiche?
The advice is tongue-in-cheek and sarcastic to the max to be sure and hopefully humorous, but make no mistake, the advice is legit and will likely offend some of the delicate snowflake ilk we suffer in these times of political correctness. In my view, political correctness is harming the modern man. If you’re not offending someone, you’re doing it wrong in my view, so here’s some no bullshit advice the modern man should take seriously; it will get the confused modern man back on the path of manliness, and ultimately, happiness and satisfaction of being a man in a modern world. If you’re a sensitive snowflake easily offended by frank truth bombs and some salty language, probably not the article for you. If you’re in that large segment of men who are just damn confused about what qualities a modern man should possess to have a man card these days, read on!
1: Be Man Handy
Not to be confused with being a handyman. Yup, this again. I know, so old school and boring, but it’s still as important today as it was in your grandfather’s time and his grandfather’s time. No, being able to at least change a flat tire, add fluids to a vehicle, hammer a nail, figure shit out, and be generally handy has nothing to do with attracting women per se. It’s simply a basic skill set every man should have, regardless of who it may or may not attract, and it can be learned. That it’s a bonus in the eyes of many women is a plus, but should not the primary motivator for being handy with basic life stuff that happens. Truth is, most women find a man who can’t even change a flat tire less than useless, much less attractive.
There was a millennial type I spoke to recently who took his bike to a bike shop to add air to the tires! I shit you not. I asked him if he could change a tire on a car or add fluids to it and he said no. If you can’t change a tire or add fluids to a vehicle or figure out how to add air to the tires of your bicycle, you have failed even the basics of essential man skills and need to look between your legs to check the nard status. You don’t need to be Joe expert carpenter, car mechanic, and construction worker, but for God sake at least know how to change a lock on a door, fix a broken lamp, or do an oil change if needed. Buy a basic guide from Home Depot and start with small stuff. You should always have a basic minimal tool set, no matter where you live. Learn to drive a stick shift if you don’t know how to already. They might be rare in the US, but in much of the world it’s still quite common and it’s a good skill to have. It also looks cool when you’re the only guy in the group who can jump behind the wheel and work a stick shift like it was second nature.
Speaking of tools, learn how to use a firearm. No, you don’t have to be a Navy SEAL Delta operator ninja, but understanding the basics of how to use a firearm is another tool in the toolbox of life skills that could be very useful. As apex tool users, our forefathers fed their families, defended their lives from four and two legged varmints, and protected their way of life from both foreign and domestic enemies with that tool. Whether you like firearms or not is irrelevant in this context; not knowing how to use a firearm is like not knowing how to use a fire extinguisher because you don’t like fires. That level of denial and delusion is what gets you killed. Worse, it’s what gets the people you care about killed, and protecting them, to the best of your ability, is your job as a man. Being able to know which end goes bang, basic safety rules, and the essentials of operation and manipulation of firearms, is a basic essential man skill.
2: Stop Giving A Damn
Stop giving a damn what women want. You know what women really want? A man who knows what he wants. If some hand wringing PC type wants to take that out of context and claim it’s misogynistic, that men should stop caring about what women want, you really need to pay attention here. What’s meant by that advice is, many men today spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure what women want rather than who they are and what they want. Women as a rule, are attracted to men that know what they want and are hard working and driven to obtain it. Ambition is an aphrodisiac to women and earns the respect of other men. That does not mean being a jerk (see below for further details on that) or cavalier about women’s needs and feelings. That’s not what’s being recommended here, but it does mean not chasing your tail by trying to guess what women want and altering yourself to match it. You’ll never win and they’ll never find the man they want.
This is not about developing some “bad boy” persona, it’s about being true to yourself and realize there’s a lid for every pot and women sense, and are attracted to, authenticity and men respect it. If they are attracted to the bad boy types who treat them like dirt, ignore their feelings – usually due to self-esteem issues – you don’t want them anyway and should actively avoid such women. Be the authentic you, not some group approved version of you designed to appeal to the largest group of sheep you can find, female or otherwise. This brings us to:
3: Don’t be an A-Hole
It’s really not that complicated, but some guys seem to mess this one up, especially where it applies to women. Don’t take their stuff without permission, don’t write checks from their checkbooks, or attempt to sleep with their sister or best friend, or take their car without permission. You know, little stuff like that. Have a job, don’t live at home with your mommy (unless you’re mommy is sick or otherwise needs your help), and do your best to keep the Drama Llama visits to a minimum whenever possible. If you find this one confusing, or any of the above applies to you, you might be a jerk. To be honest, A-holes do make it easier for decent guys to succeed, so don’t worry if there’s no cure for Chronic A-Hole Syndrome. Be smart, don’t be one of those guys. If you are one of those, like all A-holes, the point of this section will be lost on you. “Good guys finish last!” some of you may say. That may be true in some cases, but it’s still preferable to being an A-hole. Karma does count for something.
Don’t mistake those that are natural born incurable A-holes for those with A-hole-like tendencies. All men have innate A-hole-like tendencies, because, well, we’re men! For example, don’t mistake arrogance for confidence or vice versa. The two are polar opposites. Arrogance stems from a low self-esteem and is a coping mechanism for it. Its nature is repulsive to other people be they men or women. Confidence is an attractant and comes from a locus of a healthy self-esteem coupled with experience and hard earned knowledge. Confidence, true confidence, has a magnetic quality to it.
Humility and confidence compliment each other and are always found together in the same person. The genuinely confident man is easy to spot as he’ll also be humble when it matters. Confident people know what they know and are confident in their abilities, but just as quick to admit to what they don’t know as their ego and self-esteem not dependent on their knowing everything or being right all the time.
4: Be Life Functional
No, you don’t have to run out and join a CrossFit “box” tomorrow, but that’s fine if you do. As I said in a recent article for Breach Bang Clear “As anyone not living in a cave the past few years knows, ‘functional training’ is all the rage. On the surface, that’s a good thing. It’s a generally positive trend toward training that’s more functional, applicable, and ‘real world.’ It’s recently found acceptance with the civilian market as well as the military and law enforcement communities. Yup, everyone and his mother has jumped on the ‘functional fitness/functional training’ bandwagon. That’s not a bad thing.” Being able to move your own bodyweight through space could save your life and that of others and is expected of a man.
This one seems fairly self-explanatory to me, but it seems to vex some. If you can’t at least pull yourself up over an object, drag someone of your approximate weight to safety, or help her brother get a heavy chest up a few flight of stairs, what good are you? If the heaviest thing you can deal with is a notebook computer, you have a problem. Yes, modern living has made the need to be minimally physically capable of doing those things non-essential for day-to-day survival, but your very survival may depend on that ability when you need it.
Hell, can you pick up your injured or sick girlfriend and get her to safety if there’s a fire? If not, you’re failing in the man department. Yes, some have legit reasons they can’t, such as injuries, illness, or age, but many if not most modern men can’t accomplish that and have no legit excuses as to why they can’t. That does require one to spend every waking minute of free time lifting weights, but a minimal fitness standard for being a functional human being that can rise to a challenge does exist. Women are by nature, smaller and weaker than men. Obviously not the case 100% of the time (so don’t get your panties in a wad you feminist wadcutters…) but as a general rule, that’s the case.
Me, I think women and men should be as physically strong as possible for health and lifelong functionality, but that’s another topic. Some women are pretty damn strong, many (sadly), not so much, none of which is your concern as a man per se. End of the day, a man should be able drag an injured person to safety, get himself over an obstacle, or when called on, lift heavy shit when his woman, friends, or family needs his assistance. If you can’t, and can supply no legit reason for that, get your ass onto a regular exercise program pronto. The benefits to health and visual appeal to the opposite sex, or sex of your preference, are added benefits of regular exercise obviously, but basic functional strength for both everyday life and possible emergencies is your job as a man. For some ideas how to get yourself into shape, this web site has tons of info!
5: Remember, “You don’t have to like it, you just have to do it”
That was not some Army drill sergeant who said that, but my 5’1” mother when I’d complain about not wanting to do something as a dumb kid. As I like to say, “She was the meanest man you ever met.” She was never going to win Mother Of The Year I can assure you, but she was tough as nails and did instill in me early the reality that we don’t always like or enjoy what has to be done, yet do it we must. A man needs to develop his “personal ethos” as Navy SEAL commander Mark Divine discusses at length in his excellent book on Kokoro Yoga. That ethos can be quite simple or based on a set of general guiding principles.
When times are tough, or I have to do something I really don’t want to that simply must be done, I hear my mother in my head. There were actually a few times when that simple mantra saved my ass, like when I got turned around while hiking in the snow deep in the woods in very cold weather and realized the sun was setting and if I didn’t get out of there before dark, I was going to be in deep do doo doo. I started to panic a bit and then realized come hell or high water I’d hike through it to safety and I “didn’t have to like it, I just had to do it” repeated over and over and over ‘till I popped out on a road finally a few hours later wet and cold but alive. I didn’t make that mistake twice (cuz men also learn from their mistakes!) and was much better prepared for future hikes.
The lesson here is, a man must have an internal fortitude that people come to respect and depend on. No one, man or woman, wants to be around that guy who they can’t depend on. The man they know, if he puts his mind to a thing, will get it done or die trying. Which brings us to:
6: Take a stand and stand there.
A man knows where he stands and stands there. He does not alter his views to please people or to get laid. People tend to respect a man who stands for something and stands there even if the people around him don’t always agree. Simply following what’s popular or trendy to “get along” or fit in in the modern world is not how people such as Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and Mark Twain to name a few that come to mind, made their mark on this world. The pressure to fit in, offend no one, and get along, is greater now than ever. Screw that. Guess what:
The goal of life is not to fit in, but to stand out!
A modern man of measure thinks before he speaks, chooses his words carefully, and attempts to apply critical thinking skills to what he says. But, he realizes what he says may not always be a popular place to stand, but stand there he will. That’s not the same as being a stubborn intransigent bucket head which leads us to:
7: “Real” Men learn from their mistakes!
Knowing where you stand, because your personal ethos and thoughtful research has lead you to conclude that’s where you should stand, is an essential aspect of being a modern man. That does not mean you can’t be wrong, admit when you’re wrong, and learn from it. Again see discussion about confidence vs. arrogance and being intransigent bucket head. Don’t be an intransigent bucket head. Be willing to challenge your own positions on a topic, and make sure they still hold up under thoughtful critical examination. As my old psychology professor used to say “Facts can alter emotions but emotions can’t alter facts.” You screw up, own it, and drive on.
Everyone screws up. Some learn from it, and do their damnedest not to repeat it. Some never seem to learn shit from their mistakes, and repeat the same mistakes over and over and that’s often due to being a stubborn intransigent bucket head. Don’t be that man. It’s neither productive nor “manly” and believe me, I come from a long line of intransigent bucket heads. Learn from your mistakes and you’ll be much closer to the man you wish to be, the man others look up to and respect, the man other men will want to emulate because you’re both strong of will and humble where it counts. It’s also a quality women find attractive.
8: The Metrosexual Vs. The Renaissance Man
The Merriam-webster.com definition of metrosexual is:
“…usually urban heterosexual male given to enhancing his personal appearance by fastidious grooming, beauty treatments, and fashionable clothes”
There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, and if that makes you happy, drive on I say. If a man can fix stuff, shoot shit when needed, strong enough to carry an injured person to safety, chop some wood, knows the difference between being his own man vs. following the crowed for approval, is not an A-hole, can recite a Robert Frost poem, and enjoys fine clothes, music and food, he may be a Renaissance man.
The Merriam-webster.com definition of Renaissance man is:
“…a man who is interested in and knows a lot about many things”
The Urban Dictionary definition is:
“An individual talented in all spheres of human endeavor, including but not limited to sports, art, science, war, philosophy and music.”
That is, a man who does his best to be multi faceted and multi talented in a wide variety of areas that are both practical and personally developmental.
Don’t get caught up in the whole alpha-male label or what “real” men do or don’t do, or some manly man nonsense that ends up as a poor facsimile of John Wayne. What it means to be a man of measure has changed over the generations, and that’s fine. Some things however don’t change. Being a man of measure is not about being a tough guy, getting into fights, or saying only three words per year, or swaggering around like some arrogant jerk. A “real” man can be as comfortable helping his daughter shop for clothes as he is with his buds at a football game. He’s also secure enough to tell his buds he can’t make the football game because he has a yoga class scheduled that day… Strive to be a man of measure, a modern day Renaissance man who does not cave to pressure to fit in. Which brings us to:
9: Do Manly Shit!
Strive to push your boundaries: skydive, take up a martial art, hike in the woods, take archery classes, play flag football, go camping alone, take a survival course, take an especially challenging form of yoga, etc. They don’t always have to be terribly dramatic. Never learned to swim? Go learn now! It will scare the hell out of you, but you’ll gain a huge sense of accomplishment from it, and repeated accomplishments accumulate into genuine confidence. Confidence, versus arrogance, must be built one brick at a time. It’s earned, not given, and takes time. Many men today seem expect respect not earned. Don’t be that guy.
The point being, you should actively seek out activities that challenge you on all levels that take you well out of your comfort zone. A modern man actively seeks out new ways to challenge his comfort zone, for if you don’t push your limits, how will you know where they are? Doing such things increases confidence, self-reliance, and self esteem. It also raises testosterone. The activities chosen may not always be “fun” while you’re doing them, but will be an opportunity for considerable personal growth.
I took a three day survival course once and there was nothing fun about it, but on completion, I experienced a huge sense of accomplishment, and well, more manly! I also kept the mantra “You don’t have to like it, you just have to do it” going in my head as I was freezing my ass off and hungry one night. Although it does not exactly fall under the “push your boundaries” category, even looking at pictures of attractive women can raise a man’s testosterone, if only temporarily. Speaking of testosterone…
10: Get your testosterone levels checked
Yes, seriously. It’s interesting to note data suggests the average testosterone levels of men has fallen dramatically from past generations as well as other indicators, such as strength dropping in age matched men between prior generations. That’s not good. If you think your grandpa was more “manly” then the men you see around you today, you’re probably right.
Testosterone is literally the hormone that makes men men.* It’s essential for all the things we tend to associate with men, such as muscle mass, strength, in addition to mood, libido, and so forth. Exactly why testosterone levels appear to have dropped over the generations is unclear, and likely multifactorial, including an increase in body fat levels, estrogenic chemicals (xenoestrogens) found in the environment, to socio-cultural effects, to others not fully elucidated at this time. Make no mistake, testosterone levels in men are not just a matter of biology, they are also a factor of psychology and culture. An in-depth discussion on testosterone and it’s many benefits to men is beyond the scope of this article, but I think every man should get it tested regardless, and there’s a ton of articles and such on my web site and resources such as Excelmale.com for more info on the topic. To get your testosterone checked cheaply, go to DiscountedLabs.com
That’s my down and dirty guide to what the modern man can do to start or enhance his journey as a man of measure in these confusing times, and quite possibly be more attractive to women as a side effect. Yes, some women may prefer the dude in skinny jeans who goes to the same place she does for a Brazilian wax and is wearing the same fragrance she is on a date, and is incapable of changing a flat tire. That’s not your problem nor concern frankly. Good luck to them I say. There’s a lid for every pot and men should not attempt to fit lids they are not the correct pot for. Remember, we are all a work in progress, and no one is perfect nor Superman. I know a few guys that get pretty close, and they’d be the first to tell you – because humility and confidence are always found together – they too are a work in progress.
So what about women? If a woman reads this article and decides she should focus on some of the above, does that make her more “manly?” or masculine? Not in the least and I’d encourage any woman to follow and emulate the above if she so chooses. However, this guide was for and about men, and what a modern man can do to potentially improve himself in all facets of life. It was a “man to man” talk as they say. For every article that covers some topic of concern to men, there’s a thousand articles written for women. So, if you feel left out, ladies, my bad, but it can’t be helped. There’s an article out there on how to ignore jerks who write articles directed at men only no doubt. I kid ladies, but you know what I’m saying here. There’s a ton of information out there for the women, not so much for the men that is not about how to get six pack abs and such. Hell, women reading this may want to forward it to the men in their lives as a hint…
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a yoga class to make. Good luck out there boys!
* = It’s also an essential hormone for women and I do cover that in various articles and videos on this site.
Will Brink is the owner of the Brinkzone Blog. Will has over 30 years experience as a respected author, columnist and consultant, to the supplement, fitness, bodybuilding, and weight loss industry and has been extensively published. Will graduated from Harvard University with a concentration in the natural sciences, and is a consultant to major supplement, dairy, and pharmaceutical companies.
His often ground breaking articles can be found in publications such as Lets Live, Muscle Media 2000, MuscleMag International, The Life Extension Magazine, Muscle n Fitness, Inside Karate, Exercise For Men Only, Body International, Power, Oxygen, Penthouse, Women’s World and The Townsend Letter For Doctors.
He’s also been published in peer reviewed journals.
You can also buy Will’s other books on Amazon, Apple iBook, and Barnes and Noble.