There would seem to be a great deal to consider with regards to what exactly manliness is, given the broad spectrum of actions and decisions men can make. More ambiguation comes from the realm of sociology, where those same choices must be taken in-light of circumstance. With all of that said, to me, ‘manliness’ (or the essence of being a man) is actually a concept that can be applied universally, through social norms of past and present. I see it as a definitive truth, despite my philosophical groundings that whisper in my ear that I should hold nothing to be such. Yet, without ideals and some relative form of definitive truth, we are left with nothing to strive for and nothing to dream about. I think manliness, as I’ll outlay it, is a way of life that men should strive for. Why men? I don’t feel like discussing the equality of the sexes, but men and women are clearly different; different does not have to imply better or worse.
One of the easiest ways of defining manliness is to clearly state what it is not. Manliness is never using physical or other dominance as leverage against a woman; it is never acceptable to hit a woman… in self-defense you can block her hits, be patient enough to win the battle that way. Manliness is not bragging about your accomplishments or possessions; you never know exactly what circumstances the other person is in, so if you’re doing it to make yourself feel good, is that worth making someone else feel bad? Or if you’re in-fact generating some sort of worth or esteem from your possessions, do you really want to be known merely for what you were able to hoarde over the course of your life? Manliness is not throwing tantrums like a child; if you claim to be a man, you should be old enough to have realized that life isn’t fair and to have accepted it such that you realize tantrums are a waste of time. Manliness is not holding onto grudges like women do. The adage “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” is an absolute truth and if you don’t believe me, you haven’t experienced a real woman quite yet. A man doesn’t hold grudges; if he is wronged, he disposes of the wrong-doer so that he can no longer do him wrong (usually this just means cutting off ties, sometimes it means more).
How To Be A Man
It’s those last two examples of what manliness is not that really get to the core of what manliness is…manliness is to not be like a woman or a child. Yes, I realize that’s the definition of the word, but it’s important to see that the definition is one that can be derived by other means than a dictionary. But regardless, women and children are what create the very possibility of us being men. How do you be a man? You protect innocence; you protect women, children and animals…just as you protect your own woman, children and dog. Every woman you encounter in life is someone else’s daughter. Would you want your daughter treated the way you’re treating that lady? We, as men, know about the struggles of life and what goes on in dark alleyways. We know that desperation makes people do crazy things that endanger anyone in their path. But perhaps we know it so that they don’t have to. You can tell your kids bed-time stories of monsters, but wait until they’re older to reveal the stories of when you were a monster. Protect their innocence but don’t hide them from the world’s lack of it; expose them to it in a careful way so that they too can know what you do, without having to learn it the hard way as you did.
Treat women as equals, even if it doesn’t happen to be the case. You might be doing most of the work in the relationship but you’re with her for a reason; if you’re not you shouldn’t be with her. But realize those reasons and figure out if the inequalities of the relationship are worth living with. If they are, then don’t make a big deal about things, just treat her as if she were your equal. Ideally, you’ll realize that she is when you realize all the little things she does that you didn’t even notice.
Embracing Manliness As Part Of Your Character
Beyond that, being a man is about following the ethical code that all beings should follow. The simple stuff. I don’t need to get into right or wrong here, or their subjectivity, because I’m talking about the right or wrong that you know in your heart. Killing a man for no reason is wrong. Helping a person in genuine need without any desire for your own personal reward is right. I don’t care what religion you are or if you have very strong anti-Christian feelings, you’re doing the right things if you live a life along the lines that Jesus lays out in his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew V-VII).
Alas, even though there’s no rocket science involved here, living your life in a way that is perpetually manly is no easy task. The path of the righteous is never necessarily the right one. Gandhi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in this world”; any man can change the world if he lives his life according to those wise words. The very act of you living your life along a different path than most causes a change in the world. Then maybe someone sees how you’re living your life and how satisfied you are with it and they try to do as you do. Enough of those and we’d have a chain reaction on our hands. I don’t really know much, but I do know that the possibility of that existing is why I’ll always keep trying to live a life of manliness.