Over the past week, I’ve had a few conversations, seen a couple of social media posts, and read a few articles that all centered on today’s changing landscape of masculinity. Now, I’ve already been clear about my thoughts on cowboys, chest hair, and chivalry. I’ve also done my fair share of poking fun at men, particularly those who play dodgeball or ride in hot-tugs or get in catfights or tweet too openly (really, it’s too much…). But I figured that after spending the past couple weeks soliciting help from most every guy I know for this “Menfolk Confess…” series (don’t yall worry, the “Dames Confess…” series will be here in a couple of weeks!), it would be nice to write something for them. Because giving them free reign to wax poetic about women’s bodies wasn’t enough payment in and of itself…
So here’s a little Man-Talk Monday for the gents out there.
Men, it’s ok to be men.
Men, it’s ok to grow out your beard. Actually, it’s kind of nice.
Men, it’s ok to be cleanshaven. Especially if all the beard you can grow is patchy scruff or weird neck hairs. (Please no weird neck hairs. They’re creepy.)
Men, it’s ok to shave your legs...if you’re a swimmer.
Men, it’s ok to have chest hair. Preferable, in fact. Ladies don’t like feeling like they’re spooning with a prepubescent boy. (Can I get an amen?)
Men, it’s ok if you don’t have chest hair. I hear there are plenty of ladies out in Humboldt County who have plenty to share. But really, unless you’ve got a magic carpet going on up there, leave it be.
Men, it’s ok to be chivalrous. Open a door, offer a hand, give up your seat, or let a lady go first. I promise you, it is appreciated. And if it isn’t, well, you’re that much more admirable for doing it anyway.
Men, it’s ok to buy straight-leg jeans from the men’s section. You’ve seen Free Willy and/or Blackfish, right? Unnecessary imprisonment is bad news for everyone. Shamu was made to roam the ocean wilderness, and men were made to wear jeans with…ahem…”breathing room.”
Men, it’s ok to be bold. Say hello, start a conversation, ask for her number, invite her to dinner. Chicks dig that.
Men, it’s ok to be straightforward. Tell her when you’re interested. Tell her when you’re not. Be upfront about what you are or are not going after.
Men, it’s ok to have emotions. Be overjoyed, be heartbroken, be infuriated, be twitterpated, be scared, be passionate, and express it in a healthy way. (If that involves a leotard and body paint and interpretive dancing to Barbara Streisand hits…well, that’s your call.)
Men, it’s ok to not be emotional. You can be stoic and taciturn and John-Wayne-esque if that’s more your jam, and that’s just fine. You don’t have to have all the feels. If you’re crying over the latest rose ceremony on The Bachelorette, that’s not cute.
Men, it’s ok to be violent. Go shooting. Put on some boxing gloves. Play tackle football (what is this with grown men playing “two hand touch?”). Wrestle. Hunt. Swing a damn kettlebell.
Men, it’s ok to be dirty. Get some mud on your boots and grease on your hands. Go play in the dirt. Rip holes in in your jeans. Dig a hole. Get sweaty. Earn some callouses. Break out of that cubicle and tear up some earth. Break something. Build something. Just shower at some point after all that.
Men, it’s ok to not be fashionable. As long as you aren’t a nudist and aren’t just being lazy, it’s fine. In fact, it’s kind of endearing. (And if you need to impress, remember- it’s hard to go wrong with some clean jeans or slacks and a white button up.)
Men, it’s ok to care about how you look. Dress well if you want to. Practice good hygiene, take care of yourself, and enjoy what you see in the mirror. Just don’t be a douchenozzle, and don’t steal your girlfriend’s hair products.
Men, it’s ok to be assertive. Disagree with your boss. Confront your girlfriend. Say “no.” Speak up. Know what you stand for and stand for it.
Men, it’s ok to eat a salad. You don’t have to prove your manhood by demolishing a 3lb filet mignon. (Although if you know your way around a barbeque grill, you might earn some extra points. The way to a girl’s heart is sometimes through her stomach.)
Men, it’s ok to eat a steak. You don’t have to go gluten-free/vegan/macrobiotic just because Oprah did. On the other hand, if you’re a vegetarian or following a special diet for a good reason, that’s great. Do you, and don’t apologize for it.
Men, it’s ok to smell like tobacco and leather and WD-40 and aftershave and pine and all manner of manly things. It’s highly recommended, actually.
Men, it’s ok to not look like Gerard Butler or Hugh Jackman or Zac Efron. It’s ok to not be the biggest or strongest or fastest. Do your best, figure out where your strengths lie, and take pride in what you achieve. You can look like a champ and still be an asshole. Act like a champ, and you’ll be known as a champ.
Men, it’s ok to be burly. It’s ok to not have a 6-pack, to not be lean, to not have veins popping out of your abs and calves and shoulders. Lift big, eat big, be big and strong and brawny and barrel-chested…and embrace your big ol’ burly self.
Men, it’s ok to be “a guy.” Spend time with your brothers. Eat hot wings. Tell dirty jokes. Watch the big game. Play World of Warcraft, or play Just Dance, or play poker. Enjoy “bro-time.”
Men, it’s ok to be men.