The traditional image of masculinity is well defined, carved out in history and carried through to the present day. When we think of a 'real' man, our thoughts turn to chiseled, commandeering figures; Herculean in stature and Churchillian in resolve. A real man never compromises, a real man eats red meat, a real man puts bros before hoes and never apologises for his manliness.
It may not have escaped your notice that we are no longer hunter-gatherers. Survival of the fittest no longer governs our place in nature, instead our intelligence and willingness to work get us to the places we want to be. The old notions of masculinity should have fallen by the wayside, but in a world built for men and fuelled by testosterone, these assets continue to carry value.
If we are going to make any social progress this century, we not only need to address the institutionalised oppression of women, but the myths of masculinity that keep patriarchal standards alive.
1 Real men are the providers
Men have to be the breadwinners. In a heteronormative relationship, it's the man who brings in the big bucks, puts food on the table, pays the mortgage and keeps the car filled up. The woman earns a token salary, ideally around the £20-£25K mark - don't want her getting any ideas, now - to complement the fat cheque that drops onto the doormat every month.
If the roles were reversed, the man must relinquish his testes and renounce his manhood with immediate effect. Heaven help him if he elects to stay at home and look after the children while his partner continues to pursue her career. What is he, some kind of nancy? Some kind of nancy nanny?
2 Real men don’t feel pain
Men are impervious to all damage, emotional or physical. A swift kick in the balls is met with a steely grin and a quip: "That's the softest tap I've had since I done your sister. Whaeeeey!" The breakdown of a long-term relationship is the start of another sexual conquest, and she was a used-up piece of old muff anyway. Good riddance.
The weight of the world lands squarely on your shoulders and you deal with it; Atlas didn't bitch about it, so why should you? I can't even mention Atlas and you in the same sentence.
3 Real men don’t cry
Except in the following circumstances:
1) Videos of dogs greeting returning soldiers
2) Writing off your '97 Corsa that you got when you were 18
3) The Stone Roses breaking up
4) A particularly spicy vindaloo that caught you off guard
5) Gareth Southgate's missed penalty that put England out of Euro '96
6) Getting smoke in your eyes from the barbecue
7) The Stone Roses reuniting
8) Roy 'Chubby' Brown's last DVD
9) Your old man's funeral
10) Toy Story 3
4 Real men are independent
Got a problem? Solve it. How do you solve it? Check your Man-ual. You know, that all-encompassing guide to life that came with your penis. The answer's not in there? Oh well, you'll just have to struggle on and hope no one finds out what a pathetic idiot you are for not knowing. No, don't ask for help; women ask for help. You're not a woman, are you?
Men are strong and the strength of men is what keeps our world spinning. Like oaken beams, a man is structure and support, and should he splinter, it's off to the scrap heap. A man needs no one but himself, he is self-sustaining and is depended upon.
5 Real men never back down
Failure is not an option. There's no throwing in the towel, no gettin' while the gettin's good. You don't pick your battles, you wage war. Death or glory, hell for leather, once more unto the breach and take no prisoners. Even if it makes no sense to carry on fighting, even though there's no shame in retreat, you battle on, because that's what men do.
No matter the odds, no matter the cost, men fight the good fight until it turns bad, even when everyone's telling you to stop.
6 Real men live for competition
If you're not first, you're last. It's your duty as a man to be a manlier man than all the other men, and the manliest man is the man who wins. From the football fields to the big city boardroom, if you've even an ounce of testosterone in your dick, you should be using it to fight your way to the top. A man's worth is defined by his success, and success is just another word for victory.
7 Real men are physically dominant
All you skinny fucks can get out - come back when you can use 'bench' as a verb. If you're not down the gym sculpting your guns and maintaining your temple then what are you doing? Flower arranging? Reading poetry? Even Wordsworth knew how to use a chess press.
You know why women like a guy with muscles? Because they know he's not going to snap like a twig when defending her honour. If you can't make women feel safe and other men scared, what good are you to this world?
8 Real men wear the trousers
Decisions are the man's remit; important things are too important to leave to the flimflammery of women. You can't drive if you take a backseat, and if you're not driving then you're not in control. There may be a 'partnership' of sorts in effect, but when it comes down to the crunch, it's the man that needs to say yay or nay.
You can't give a woman the final word, that's goes against the order of nature, so get your jeans on, tighten your belt and start issuing commands. You are Nelson and this is your Waterloo.
9 Real men make the money
You can be a nice guy, you can work hard, you can do good things; none of it matters if you ain't got the bunce to back it up. Money matters, maybe more than anything. A man provides, and since the dewey-eyed sad sacks in the government stopped us from killing our own food, men provide by making the money. If you can't make the money, if you can't bring home the bacon, what else can you do?
10 Real men play the field
Fuck 'em then chuck 'em, am I right, lads? Relationships are alright if you want a bit of snatch on tap, but why stick with bitter when that foxy IPA down the road keeps giving you the eye? It's a man's right to sleep around, to stick his oar in wherever he can.
Not with some slag though, obviously. Lasses should have more self-respect than to run around town with their pants down, acting like a prozzie. A lady in the streets and a freak in the sheets, y'know?
11 Real men fuck like pros
While you're on the game, you've got to be the champion. You're a super stud of a stallion and the ladies expect nothing less than two hours of world-class shagging. Constant, screaming orgasms and nary a drop spilt until she's walking like John Wayne. 'Intimacy' and 'romance' are for the pansies that can't get it up; smashing birds is the name of your game, and you are Michael Fucking Jordan.
12 Real men don’t submit to women
There's a word for blokes that let their girls tell them what to do: pussy-whipped. Listening to what she has to say, doing what she asks; you may as well be castrated, mate. Check your balls at the door, they're no good to you now. Same goes for the work place: if a woman tries to give her view, just talk over her. Yeah, you feel a bit bad, but she's got to learn her place.
13 Real men reject femininity
Alright, there was that time when it was okay for blokes to wear pink polo shirts, but no one does that any more. Men aren't pretty, men don't like pretty things. You might have a bath if you got muddy in the Sunday leagues, but you'll have none of that bubbly crap in there, and definitely no scented candles. The only place you can be in touch with your feminine side is in the closet, next to the nice towels and moisturiser.
14 Real men suffer
Men are made in hard times. We don't have to cut down trees or kill bison to survive anymore, so instead we silently endure all the hardships of life with a stiff upper lip, because that's what men do.
Suffering is good for the soul, and asking to share the load weakens your resolve. You're a man, and to be a man you have to face up to your responsibilities on your own. It's good for you to hurt, it's good for you to struggle, and the moment you ask for help, so goes your manhood.