That's ok. You can't please everyone. I've never seen an article on this subject that was universally agreed upon by males and females alike.
However, because I see this argument quite often in social media circles I thought I would revisit it, because as we grow and become wiser through experience, our opinions and ideologies can and do generally change.
I don't want to write this with the idea that I'm trying to appeal to everyone's idea of what makes someone a "manly man", or "alpha male". That is a complete impossibility. But I think there is some common ground that most people can agree upon. And also because I've seen plenty of arguments that have caused pause for thought, or introspection.
The first thing I want to address, is that there is no such thing as a man that is going to neatly fit into some idealistic box that truly defines what a man is. I can't do that with a blog post, and I don't believe it can be done in theory either. Because all people have their own set of ethics and morals based upon how we were raised, and the unique experiences each of us have throughout life.
So there's no way to define a man "wholly". That is to say, if he doesn't fit neatly into all of these bullet points then he's really not a man. Or even if he did, he'd have flaws outside of said bullet points that might contradict those specific ideologies.
So I will touch on that first.
The "perfect" man, real "alpha" males -
To start, there are no perfect people, thus there are no perfect "men".
None of us are infallible or flawless. To err is to be human. And to err means we all will at some point, break the rules of whatever code we feels defines us as men.
Let me also say, everything I write on this topic is my own opinion. I will do my best to not be overly dogmatic or rigid. Because I don't believe anyone can truly nail down every facet of what makes someone totally "manly".
In my opinion, I do believe there are men that fit the bill better than others do at defining masculinity. This is MY opinion and I have a right to it. I do believe we have become a society filled with many emasculated males, and I believe there are many reasons for this.
Society doesn't seem to appreciate manly men any more. I can't tell you how many times I've watched an action flick where the "hero" is some bumbling clown who needs the help of a female to "save the day". She's always more physically capable than he is, and far more intellectual.
Sit-coms are even worse. The dad is always some fat guy that acts like a total dip shit, drinks cheap beer and believes that belching is an intelligent answer. That or he's some skinny bitch that avoids physical confrontation at all cost and has no insight to life at all. If not for "her" he'd be lucky to have ever gotten laid, or even be alive!
My persona belief is that many of these media outlets do this because it's imperative to cast men in a negative light in order to lift women up. I don't see the reason that one gender has to be torn down in order to make the other one appear strong. A man can be a mans man, with a strong woman by his side. I see no issue here. In fact, one tends to compliment the other. But there is no doubt that being manly is now frowned upon in society today, and that men and boys are more emasculated than ever.
Take a stroll through a clothing store some time and take a look at the clothes most young men get to pick from today. The jeans look very much like women's jeans and the shirts could easily be mistaken for feminine attire as well.
This article itself, before even being read, will get labeled as misogynistic, neanderthal tripe with no basis in reality. Prose worthy of being read only by 18 year olds with uncontrollable erections and acne ridden faces.
In fact, any time the word "alpha male" gets tossed around someone inevitably rolls their eyes and attaches a negative connotation to it. WITHOUT FAIL!
It's because people believe it reeks of superiority complexes and is drowned in insecurity. And that's very possible. Any male that owns a room doesn't do it by announcing "hey, I'm an alpha male." He does it through confidence, intelligent speaking, how he carries himself, and how he connects and resonates with other people in that room. Not because he benches 500 or has bigger arms than anyone in it or talks about all the asses he's kicked and women he's banged.
So now that I've prefaced this article with those notations, let's begin.......
"A real man wouldn't lie."
All "men" will lie. Understanding the difference between someone who has told a lie, and someone who is a liar is paramount. All of us "lie". So if your definition of a liar is "someone who lies" then we are all liars.
Generally speaking we lie for a myriad of reasons. However it can usually be narrowed down a few specific reasons.
1. We lie to keep from hurting someone we care about.
2. We lie to avoid confrontation
3. We lie to make ourselves look better
We've all been guilty of lying for these reasons in one way or another. However regardless of what someone may tell you, there is a very clear distinction between white lies and black lies.
"Does my ass look fat in this dress?"
This is a white lie.
Nevermind that it does. Saying it does not is a lie, but it is told with intention of not hurting your partner unnecessarily. Also because you probably don't want to spend the night arguing over her fat ass.
"Did you steal money from me?"
If you did steal, well that's a "black lie". Telling it shows a lack of respect for the person you are lying to, and you are doing so to avoid potentially significant consequences for your actions. The main part here however, is the respect part. The person didn't lie here to keep from hurting the other persons feelings. They lied because what they did was wrong, and don't want to be held accountable for their actions.
"I worked for Bill Gates for 3 years."
Nevermind that you only worked in the same building, and never once had a conversation with the man. This was done for nothing more than boasting. To make yourself look good, or to present a false sense of worthiness. Possibly even to yourself. After all, self importance is important. When it's created a lie, I think that says a lot about how the person feels about themselves.
All of these things are lies that represent different reasons and also different potential consequences. It all depends on the person you lied to, and the context of the lie.
Lying about how your woman looks in her clothes probably won't present the same level of issues you will face if you stole money from a friend and turned around and lied to them about it. Lying to someone in order to make yourself look better in their eyes, if found out about it, could indeed label you as a liar unless you could clearly explain that you were merely trying to impress them, and fucked up in doing so.
What has to be addressed, by YOU as a man, is this. Are you LIVING a lie? And if you are, are you doing so because you don't want to be held accountable for your actions?
Telling lies, and living your life as a liar aren't remotely the same thing. Yet the fact is, many of us have done both. Told lies, and lived lies at various times.
Living as a liar generally comes about from a combination of the types of lies we tell, and how often we tell them. We can dig some deep holes for ourselves by continuing down the path of not living up to our word. This also includes broken promises as well, which we've all done.
As a man, our word should matter. If our word isn't seen as trustworthy, then we aren't trustworthy. If we aren't considered trustworthy then our status as a men will surely be diminished. If we don't want to be held accountable for our actions, then we aren't living life as MEN.
The good part here is, we have complete control over crawling back out of the hole we dug with our lies and broken promises. But it will be a very painful undertaking. It means coming clean about our intentions, what we've done, who we have wronged, and making amends with those people. Sometimes the consequences that come with that is that we lose people we love forever because of it. If we are lucky, we will have people that love us enough to forgive us, and allow us to make amends for our wrongdoings. But there is no guarantee of that.
We all lie. And at times, live a lie. However a man that cares about his personal integrity will eventually wake up to this fact, and do his best to find his way back to living of a life where his word is taken seriously, and the integrity of his word is rarely questioned. It is indeed what men do. That is, men don't shy away from being held accountable. Whatever the consequences may be for the wrongs we have committed, we will stand and face them.
Generally that starts with forgiving yourself first. Holding onto guilt because of your actions will always prevent you from moving forward past your transgressions. Most of us believe that we need the forgiveness of others to move on, but we really have to start with the man in the mirror, and not the man other people currently see. Because some people may never see us the same after we have truly wronged them. And that is their right. It's up to us to repent from our personal sins, and find redemption in the fact that paying a penance comes with stitching back up all of the things we have undone.
"A real man wouldn't act in a way that defies what he truly believes in."
All "men" will compromise their beliefs at some point in their life, for one reason or another. Whether emotionally, physically, or financially driven, it does happen.
I've known people in financial distress that resorted to things outside of their own moral code, because they had kids to feed, and sacrificing part of their moral code so that they could keep a roof over their kids head, and food in their mouth meant THAT part of being a "man" outweighed certain moral issues.
I personally believe that a man provides for his kids, and the people that depend on him. So in essence, if that is higher up on the list of priorities it's very possible that a "man" man may compromise parts of himself in order to make sure those priorities not be left wanting.
I don't feel I can wrongly judge someone for making moral compromises to make sure their kids are taken care of. Well, let me rephrase that; it all depends on the moral compromise. Killing someone for money would fall within my "judgement zone" as calling you a piece of shit. I have a set of lines in my own moral coding I don't believe anyone can be justified in crossing. Rape and murder tend to be actions within that code I believe are never justified. I do not consider killing someone that has hurt or killed your loved ones to be murder by the way. I call that justice. But that's a seriously loaded topic and I'm not addressing that right now.
Where that line is drawn largely depends on the individual. Some people have done porn, others have sold drugs. The entire premise of my favorite show "Breaking Bad" was that Walt started making and selling meth so that his kids and family would be taken care of after he died from cancer. Of course, it developed into more than that later, however his intentions initially were to do whatever it took so that his wife and kids were taken care of long after he was gone.
Was he going to prey on the addictions of others in order to do that? Yes. In the eyes of some people that would inherently make his actions wrong, dishonest, or faulty. The means didn't justify the end, some would say.
However lots of people make money preying on the insecurities and addictions of people. The gambling industry does this legally every single day. So do companies that make alcohol and tobacco. As a society we don't frown quite as heavily on these things simply because of our legal system. Currently, gambling, tobacco, and alcohol is legal. Meth and prostitution, is not. Therefore we tend to believe at some level, because society has defined for us what is "right" and "wrong", that one is better than the other. A closer look behind the scenes at what addictions do to families, regardless of what those addictions are, leads me to believe that's not a lot of difference, or at least can be heavily debated.
Men can and have compromised their own moral code and belief systems for various reasons. The degree to which it was compromised largely depends on the man and those codes he adheres to, and for what reasons he abandoned them.
Just like lying, there will be ramifications for those compromises. There always is. Men will often compromise their beliefs for what they feel is the greater good. If a man is compromising what he believes in and steps on others in order to further his own well being, I have trouble getting behind that. It's self serving and is born out of narcissism. It's the opposite of sacrifice. Which is generally what men do when they give up part of who they are, so that people they care about need not suffer. They sacrifice those morals and that code in order to provide. I feel as though there is too much gray area in this regard to draw rigid lines.
"A real man wouldn't cheat"
"A real man bangs lots of women"
No one can tell me that Ghengis Khan wasn't a real fucking man, and he bedded possibly tens of thousands of women.
Martin Luther King Jr. is a civil rights icon and instrumental in changing American society insofar as helping minorities to be seen and treated as equals and completely change the face of America.
But that didn't keep him from having a voracious sexual appetite.
I could go on and on and on about men of history that conquered nations, ruled, so forth and so on that also plowed many women sideways, however it's not entirely relevant in defining a man in my opinion.
Lots of men have cheated and had affairs. Lots of men have not.
I personally believe the utter disdain for venturing outside of being with one woman is more heavily scrutinized in American than many other countries where it's understood that men often veer off of the beaten path a time or two, for no other reason than natural physiological wiring.
I am not condoning cheating. At all.
I'm just saying that just because a male ventures into another woman's pasture means he's less manly. If anything, I could make the case that he is.
With that said, the degree of a mans sexual conquest, or lack of it, doesn't and cannot define what makes a man.
I don't believe how many women a man has bed makes him more of a man than the one who has bed very few, or is completely faithful to one woman. I don't feel these qualities are indicative of what truly makes someone more manly.
Monogamy, abstinence, cheating, etc are all sexual choices and can vary wide in their acceptance from society to society. As American's we often believe that we have cornered the market on socially accepted values. We often forget that there's a whole big world out there that doesn't always agree with us. Not only that, but history is filled with men and societies who lived in a variety of ways regarding sexual behavior. The Spartans are considered the greatest warriors throughout all of history, but those dudes practiced pederasty (allegedly, it's still up for debate), and the women often had more than one lover. Meaning, the men were often banging several women at a time. For centuries, polygamy was the norm.
So depending on when you lived, and where you lived/live, there is no way to define "men" via their consenting sexual nature with other people. Of course, child rapists and rapists in general should be beaten to death in my opinion.
Some may say this contradicts my earlier statement about living a lie, and I can see that. However this is such a personal and polarizing topic that it gets debated for days on end. I believe that it falls under a different set of circumstances entirely. We only survived as a species via procreation, and monogamy tends to go against our natural physiological wiring. Thus I don't think that a man can be judged more or less manly simply do to his sexual exploits, desires, or lack of those.
Hormones tend to weigh very heavily in regards to this behavior and can dictate a mans sexual nature and behavior almost entirely. This doesn't mean he's absolved of breaking his word or promises, I just believe sexual actions and nature fall into a different realm than keeping your word in regards to other priorities and promises. I understand many people won't agree with this, and that's ok. Not everything in life falls under the rules of black and white in regards to sexual morality.
What I am getting at here, for the most part is, a man shouldn't be defined as the number of sexual notches on his belt. Nor should he be deemed less manly for a lack of them. No one ever became more of a man because he banged a bunch of females, or less of a man because he decided to keep it in his pants.
The only area I could touch here, or possibly nail down, would be that a man cares about the sexual satisfaction of his partner, or partners. I feel like that sentence alone nails down that entire concept. Be good in the sack. For the other person, I mean.
- All men make mistakes. Men understand this, atone for mistakes made and don't hide from the consequences associated with their actions and mistakes.
- Men sometimes understand they may have to sacrifice things they believe in, or order for the greater good of people they care about.
- Men cannot be defined through sexual conquest, lack of, orientation, or sexual betrayal. It's too broad of a subject to be able to define how a man behaves in regards to it. Women will hate that. I'm sorry. I do feel a man will care about the sexual satisfaction of his partner, and do his best to ensure that is happening.