Traits of "Real" Men

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The traits of real men are changing. It's time to say good-bye to some worn out stereotypes about men. We need alternatives to those tired beliefs. Permit me to indulge in a bit of wishful thinking as I present our top 8 generalizations about men followed by their more enlightened versions.



OLD idea: Real men don't do housework, cook, or change diapers.

  • NEW idea:
  • Real men nowadays understand that it's not fair for women to have to do all the housework, all the cooking, and all the childcare, on top of working a full-time job. So men are pitching in and doing things besides the stereotypical lawn mowing and auto repair. Real men help out and do things like cook dinner, wash the dishes, and do the laundry without being asked to.

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  • OLD idea:
  • Real men don't need to talk about their problems. (This trait needs to die a quick death.)

  • NEW idea:
  • Real men are tired of this stereotype of keeping everything inside and maintaining the fa├žade that they can work everything out by themselves without any help from anyone, including their wives and girlfriends. Real men aren't afraid of saying, "I've got a problem that I need to talk about. Have you got a minute?"

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  • OLD idea:
  • Real men don't cry. Variation: Real men don't show their emotions.

  • NEW idea:
  • Crying is a human behavior that releases tension and shows that you have deep feelings. Crying is not a sign of weakness, contrary to what most men in our culture are raised to believe. When a man allows himself to cry, it means he is confident and secure and knows that a straightforward display of human emotion does not threaten his masculinity. It means he can let his feelings out rather than stuffing them down, projecting them, or pretending they don't exist. And letting them out is not wimpy. It's healthy, normal, and natural. This stereotype deserves a kick in the butt!

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  • OLD idea:
  • Real men don't eat quiche (or tofu, or grilled chicken salad)

  • NEW idea:
  • Real men eat whatever they want. Real men eat sushi, gelato, and cheesecake. If it tastes good, why the hell not? Real men don't give a damn about this stereotype or what anyone thinks of them if they eat foods other than steaks, burgers, ribs, etc. or whatever foods might be perceived to be too feminine.

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    OLD Idea: Real men love sports.

  • NEW idea:
  • Some real men love sports and some real men couldn't care less about sports. Some real men only like a few sports and some real sports-loving men like to knit? What? Haven't you heard? A new trait of some men is that they love to knit and are good at it too. Maybe they knit while they're watching sports on TV. Bottom line? It's okay not to love sports. It's okay to love sports. Live and let live. Or live and let knit.

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  • OLD idea:
    Real men don't ask for directions.

  • NEW idea:
  • Real men ask for directions if they're lost and don't have a map because doing so saves a lot of time and gas. A new trait of real men is that they are willing to admit that they don't know where they are and can laugh about it. Real men don't think admitting that they are lost is a blow to their masculinity. Asking for directions is what real smart men do. Or, real men have a GPS navigation system. Problem solved! We won't miss this stereotype at all!



  • OLD idea:
  • Real men don't dance.

  • NEW idea:
  • Real men are good dancers (or at least willing to give it a try) and know how incredibly sexy it is to women when they know how to move on a dance floor. Real men aren't afraid to demonstrate good dance form by moving their hips when they dance the salsa, mambo, and other Latin-style dances. (Tip: it's called Latin Motion and men who know how to do it drive women wild!) Do you think all those men competing on 'Dancing with the Stars' are wimps? Real men take ballroom dance lessons and have the pick of the ladies because there are always more women than men taking dance classes.

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  • Old idea:
  • Real men are the breadwinners and should make more money than their partners.

  • New idea:
  • Real men aren't freaked out if the women they love make more money than they do. Stereotypically frail egos of men are no longer threatened if the women they love move up the career ladder and gain more power, prestige, and a higher salary than they do. They are happy for their women and support them in their career endeavors, no matter who is making more money or who has the more "impressive" job.

    The traits of real men are changing. Hallelujah!

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