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Men Who Don't Know How To Be Masculine

Props to @apkussma who posted a list inspired by an article in the Washington Post about this issue. I read the article a few days ago and wanted to do something with it. I drafted this list as notes for a blog post and both drafts have just been sitting there waiting for me to figure out what if anything to publish. I used Bing AI to make this picture to start with a joke about not needing to be this guy in order to be masculine.


    1. Be able to give a firm hand shake, strike a conversation and look people in the eye.

    Proper social skills are part of the equation along with the first impression we make.

    2. Mature in interactions

    Not lashing out anytime someone slights you, not tipping your hand when you think someone has insulted you. I'm a public figure in our tiny community. People say stupid and insulting things to me all the time. It wouldn't be in my interests to have a hissy fit every time that happens.

    3. Do the right thing

    Even when you think no one is looking. Someone probably is looking.

    4. Self awareness

    This matters for all sorts of things.

    5. Comfortable in your own skin

    Can make fun of yourself and handle it when others make fun of you. Making fun of yourself is a super power.

    6. Be your own person

    Know when to be skeptical, know when to be orthogonal to society. Also relevant is realizing that it does not matter what other people have or what other people want out of life. Pursue what makes you happy and fulfilled not other peoples' expectations of these things.

    7. Knowing how to be a dude

    The context here is situations engaging with other people and/or joining a group, assessing the group dynamic to both assimilate and bring your own personality into the group. Guys tease each other. People who can't engage in that sort of environment will never learn how to be a dude.

    My experience going from high school sports to a fraternity to years working on trading floors to the fire department have all been environments where I've had a great time for understanding this dynamic. Teasing is acceptance but not everyone can grasp that.

    8. Entitlement

    We are not entitled to anything. The sooner we get that, the better off we'll be.

    9. How you handle adversity

    You can circle the drain of despair or you can rally and overcome. This is also an area where we set an example, talked about below.

    10. Resilience

    Bad things happen. What you do about is a good measure of the man.

    11. Set an example

    We have an obligation to set an example for others.

    12. Accepting that you can learn from others

    Taking advice and learning lessons from older people. We go through periods at younger ages thinking we have it all figured out. I've learned a ton since my 30's.

    13. Attempt to solve your own problem without being a victim

    I'd go so far as saying playing the victim is a pet peeve of mine. Sometimes we are truly victims of something, that is different than playing the victim.

    14. Take care of yourself

    This is in part for you but also part how you set an example for others. Eating crappy food and never exercising is bad for you and sets a terrible example for anyone looking.

    15. Be able to replace a car battery and change a flat

    I don't think masculinity requires being very handy but some absolute basics, yes. Being able to replace a battery and change a flat as examples don't require knowing anything about truly fixing cards.

    16. Compassion for animals

    17. Cut out the video games

    Hours spent in dark rooms, playing video games, eating shitty food and not going outside are a huge part of the problem.

    18. Physical

    Be able to pull yourself up, jump without hurting yourself and be able to run for a bus. These sorts of things are about basic, physical functionality. I don't think masculinity requires deadllifting 400 pounds or running a 5 minute mile. Basic physical functionality is more about being able to get stuff done.

    19. Able to meet financial obligations

    Not rich but at some age having the ability to handle small financial bumps in the road like $1000 for a car repair or a veterinary bill.

    20. Have the right tool for the job

    This is a metaphor.

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