If This Is What People Think “Being a Man” Is, We’re Screwed
Do you want to be a man? It’s a silly question. If you’re a cis or trans female, the answer is a simple “no,” and if you’re a cis or trans male over 18, you probably thought you already were. You’re just being silly, though– you can’t be a man just because you happen to be male. That’s like saying you can be alive just because you happen to be walking around, breathing air. No, if you’re going to be a man, you need to turn to real experts, like the folks at Business Insider and some guy who tweets gossip overheard at Goldman Sachs.
These guys truly know what it takes to be men. Business Insider, for example, was so manly that until recently, they employed a Chief Technical Officer who openly tweeted his belief that women were inferior to men. How manly is that? As for Goldman Sachs, they helped destroy the world’s economy. I don’t need to tell you that nothing says “manly” like “casting hundreds of millions of people into penury.”
At this point, you’re asking, “But Jeff! I’m an aspiring man. What kind of tips do these manly men have for me?” Well, they are many, and they are varied, and they are listed in handy, bullet-point form, because naturally, real men don’t read stories with “paragraphs.”
Now, I should note that there are some boring, common-sense points that tell you things that boring adults of all genders should do, like:
- When the bartender asks, you should already know what you want to drink.
- You probably use your cell phone too often and at the wrong moments.
- Staying angry is a waste of energy.
That’s decent advice, but it’s pretty boring. I want advice on how to be a man, darn it, not some woman who chooses to let go of anger and set down her phone in order to deal with the humans around her. Sheesh.
Thankfully, the list has some really good advice, especially about the ladies:
- When in doubt, always kiss the girl.
- Buy expensive sunglasses. Superficial? Yes, but so are the women judging you. And it tells these women you appreciate nice things and are responsible enough not to lose them.
- No selfies. Aspire to experience photo-worthy moments in the company of a beautiful woman.
- Desserts are for women. Order one and pretend you don’t mind that she’s eating yours.
And of course, my favorite:
- Pretty women who are unaccompanied want you to talk to them.
If you know women, you know this is genius advice. Women just love it when men keep coming up to them out of nowhere to hit on them. Of course, that rule only applies as long as they’re not the property of another guy. That’s just rude.
They also love it when you kiss them out of the blue, but only if you’re wearing expensive shades. Women are materialistic and shallow, unlike men, which is why your pictures of yourself are only worthwhile if there’s a woman in them to show off.
Speaking of showing off, there’s also some great advice on how to be the kind of person who’s better than the poors. I mean, poor people — they can’t be men! I’m pretty sure it’s the law. Heed this advice:
- Always carry cash. Keep some in your front pocket.
- Time is too short to do your own laundry.
- If riding the bus doesn’t incentivize you to improve your station in life, nothing will.
- You can get away with a lot more if you’re the one buying the drinks.
- The cliché is that having money is about not wasting time. But in reality, money is about facilitating spontaneity.
Really. Can a poor person spontaneously buy a drink for the pretty, unaccompanied lady laced with something that lets you get away with a lot more? Not on your tintype, mister!
Of course, this is a guide for men. So clearly, there’s a lot of great information about how to be a father. Like:
- Start a wine collection for your kids when they are born. Add a few cases every year without telling them. It’ll make a phenomenal gift in twenty years.
- Eat brunch with friends at least every other weekend. Leave Rusty and Junior at home.
And… Um… Okay, that’s it. Should a man care if his kids are alive or not? You bought them some wine, so those little snots should be grateful. Besides, raising kids is women’s work.
But hey, at least there’s a whole bunch of information about how to be a good, responsible partner, like… Uh… Well, okay, there isn’t any. That’s only because being a good partner is not particularly important to men.
If you’ve read this far and haven’t gathered that I don’t think much of this list, let me state it explicitly: I don’t think much of this list. First of all, I think the idea that you need a guide to tell you how to be a man is just offensive. I am a man; by definition, anything I do is “being a man.” Also, anything any other man — be he straight, gay, cis, trans, Black, White, Latino, Asian, rich, poor, a parent, not a parent, a husband, a partner, and/or single — does is “being a man.” There is no single guide to manliness.
If there was, though, this wouldn’t be it. A man is an adult male, and adults, whatever their gender, have responsibilities — responsibilities to themselves, responsibilities to those they choose to partner with, responsibilities to those they choose to bring into the world. The essence of adulthood is not buying flashy shades, hitting on people and drinking at multiple bars. It’s about doing what you need to do rather than what you want to do. It’s being responsible and loving. It’s recognizing that your actions impact you and those you love, not just now, but for the rest of your lives.
This isn’t a guide to being a man. This is a guide to being a boy — a privileged, entitled, narcissistic boy, who’s partying and drinking and doing everything but becoming an adult.
The authors of this list are not men, or women, for they are not adults and do not understand what it is to be an adult. You see, adulthood is a lot more difficult than a bullet-point list can possibly explain. It is at times agonizing and gut-wrenching and boring and marvelous and life-changing and joyous, and it has absolutely nothing to do with buying drinks for your friends. It is about building a life that, in the end, you can look back on with pride. It’s about leaving this world just a little better than you found it. It isn’t flashy, but it means a hell of a lot more than being a regular at more than one bar.
Photo Credit: Connor Turner