Men come in all different shapes and sizes, and while every man is unique the definition of what it is to be a man is relatively constant.
The most important quality a man can encompass is the will and ability to handle his shit, which is why I have written an article dedicated to the concept. With this one out of the way we’re left with eight more important traits every man should posses.
If you haven’t read “How to be a Man: Handle your Shit” you should go ahead and read that now. If you ignore everything else in this article, but follow that one, you’re going to be just fine. But if you want to be the best man you can be, you’re going to want to continue reading.
As I see it, a man is all of the following:
- A man handles his shit.
- A man is reliable.
- A man is honorable.
- A man has style and values his appearance.
- A man is a gentleman.
- A man fucks with conviction.
- A man has an opinion.
- A man knows when not to fight.
- A man knows the proper way to complete a task; he deviates by choice not ignorance.
- A man takes care of himself and his property.
- A man stands up for those who are unable to do so for themselves.
- A man is always working to better himself.
- A man can admit when he was wrong.
If you disagree with any of the above, you need to take a long look at yourself and your priorities. If you agree with the list you will find eight simple rules below to help you become the best man you can be.
Rule #1: be a gentleman
I don’t care who you are, or how you identify yourself, if you want to be taken seriously as a true man it’s your duty to be a gentleman above all else. It’s important to understand that being a gentleman and being a pushover is not the same thing.
- A gentleman thinks of others ahead of himself, but never lets his generosity be taken for granted.
- A gentleman treats all women with respect and dignity.
- A gentleman keeps his emotions under control.
- A gentleman goes out of his way to accommodate his guests.
- A gentleman listens, even when he’s not interested.
- A gentleman speaks honestly, but always with the best intentions.
Occasionally a woman will take advantage of your kindness, a gentleman acknowledges this and does not permit it to happen again. If you let the same person walk over you more than once, you are the definition of a pushover.
Rule #2: pour your friend’s drinks first
The term “gentleman” is typically thought of as how a man should treat a woman. But the general concepts should be extended to other men as well.
When the pitcher of beer is delivered, pour your friends drinks first.
When it comes to interacting with other men you need to find the appropriate line between being a gentleman and asshole. Always being pleasant and polite will make you come across as a pansy; being always confrontational and aggressive will make you an unpopular douche.
You should be willing to bend over backwards for a friend in need, but you should stand your ground when they try to push. You should always be the first one to offer to lend a hand, and never take things too seriously when you’re just shooting the shit.
Pour their drinks first, but make them buy the next round.
Rule #3: know the basics about cars
Listen, you don’t need to be a gearhead, you don’t need to subscribe to car porn magazines or get excited when a Ferrari rolls down your street, but you do need to understand the fundamentals about how they work and the major differences.
Guys talk about cars and girls expect men to have at least a basic understanding of them. If you have a driver’s license there’s no excuse: a man understands the tools he uses. You should know all the major parts of a car from the transmission to the spark plugs. You should know what a drive shaft is and the difference between a 4-banger and a straight-6.
There is too much for me to get into it here, but the truth is cars (old cars) are elaborate, but basic machines. This video exemplifies it quite well, how something seemingly complex is simple, beautiful, engineering.
Rule #4: always be improving
As a man you don’t need to know everything. You’re allowed to make mistakes and you don’t need to feel bad about that. But you should be always working towards improving yourself and becoming a better man. When someone tries to help you in this drop the ego, and be endlessly gracious.
This doesn’t just apply to some things, this applies to all. If someone corrects you when you make a mistake, don’t get defensive, don’t write it off spouting “I don’t give a fuck”, be better than that. You should want to make as few mistakes as possible, whether it be in welding or basic grammar.
Your goal should be to make a mistake no more than once. If you are making the same mistake often, you need to make a concerted effort to change that. By having this mentality you will always be working towards being the best man you can possibly be, a goal we should all strive for.
Rule #5: give a shit
We live in a society, and in it there is no room for selfishness. Keep your head up, take a look, and be better than average. You should always be willing to go out of your own way to help someone else, even a stranger. Hold doors for everyone, help carry items for those in need, give directions to those lost, and say hello to people you pass on the street.
If you see someone in need of help, help them.
Clean up after yourself, think about the person in front of and behind you, and be ready to act at all times. Anytime you are about to say the phrase “I don’t give a shit” stop and ask why you don’t give a shit and if you should change that. Make this world about more than just you.
Rule #6: be better than your father
It doesn’t matter if your father was a drunken waste of space or a nobel laureate, you are not your father, and you are not bound by his accomplishments or failures. To be clear I am not talking about becoming more successful than your father, never confuse success with character.
Most of us become our parents, if your father happens to be a tremendous man this isn’t a bad thing, necessarily. But your father was less than stellar, it’s your job to figure out how to get out of his footsteps. Let your father teach you as many things as he can, and then become your own man.
Just because “that’s how my dad did it” doesn’t mean that it’s good, or good enough. Your father is his own man, and so are you. Never allow his choices to be an excuse to justify your own. Be better than that, be better than him. The best thing you can ever do for a parent is to become a man they can be proud of.
Rule #7: treat women with the utmost respect
Embody the oldschool ideals of what it means to be a gentleman, and treat all women with the utmost admiration and respect, regardless of what they deserve.
This doesn’t mean you need to force your ‘manliness’ onto them, quite the contrary. Your job is to give them the respect, and treat them how they want to be treated. If you are on a date with a woman who adamantly wants to pay for her own meal, graciously accept. You should always be willing and happy to fit the roll of the classic man, including picking up the tab, but never force this onto anyone.
We teach kids to treat others how you want to be treated, but I feel this is incorrect. Always treat others how they want to be treated. If a woman chooses to spend her time with you, or chooses to share her body with you, never take that for granted. You should be honored she would choose you, and you should show her just how much you appreciate it.
Rule #8: be your own man
I talk a lot about what constitutes a real man, but the truth is a real man is a man who embodies the rules above and makes his own way through life.
A real man can be a stay at home dad, mechanic, writer, thief, cop, baker, or bum. It doesn’t matter if you like to drink whiskey, it only matters you know what you like. Have an opinion, have a clue, and stand up for what you hold dear.
Never allow someone to tell you what you can or cannot do. Listen to those who tell you what you should or shouldn’t do, and make your own choice whether or not to follow their advice. Never hide behind excuses, and own up to your shortcomings. We all have problems, what makes a man is how we deal with them.