Manly Preferences

 

Which is the more manly preference: 1) the practical, 2) whatever one feels like, and to heck with anybody’s opinion of it, or 3) the opposite of whatever women like?

For example, soaps. A female friend once observed that I was the only guy she knew who buys scented hand soap. Undoubtedly, many guys would say it is unmanly to care about scents. But obviously they do care. Otherwise, they would sometimes get the scented and sometimes the unscented because they don’t pay attention to the labels. The way I figure it, if a soap that smells like coconut or lemon costs no more than soap than smells like lye, then it is practical to buy the soap that smells better. I can understand as a man not wanting to smell like flowers. But fretting about scents while pretending to not care doesn’t strike me as very manly.

Is it manly to dress in whatever is comfortable and suits one’s own personality? Or is it manly to dress according to what society expects of him? Suits, for example, were invented by Northerners who need multiple layers to stay warm. Is it manly to cook in the Southern summer sun? If cargo pants with many pockets are useful but not stylish, which is more practical and/or manly: utility or conformity?

Is it more manly to love a dangerous activity because of its dangers or despite its dangers? Does a man enjoy being daring? Or is he merely willing to be daring? In such scenarios, what’s the difference between a man’s man and an idiot?

Beards? Mustaches? Clean-shaven? Is this decision purely subjective?

Feel free to propose your own crossroads.

 

Published in Culture, General
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  1. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    My brother-in-law says of me that I am “the least manly manly-man he knows.”  I like that formulation.

    I take being manly in the biblical sense.  It has to do with my ability/commitment to be(being) a good husband and father.  In that respect, I value self-sufficiency and work.  On the one hand, my own dad and I spent all last weekend in the garage building a nice new work-bench from scratch.  On the other hand, I came inside to make dinner for everyone when we were done.  So, is cooking manly, sewing, building benches and tables, painting?  Well, I think that the very act of doing and stepping up to the plate to do what needs to be done, to acquire whatever skills are necessary, etc… constitutes manliness.

    Being well dressed is all part of what it means to be a good husband.  I wear a suit and shave and try to smell nice.  Yes, these things are manly.  Appreciating quality home-decor and keeping things nice…  also manly.  None of this precludes having 3 corning-kegs of homebrew out in the garage, on tap for all the man-friends.

    • #1
  2. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Risk/Danger is measured by Reward/Glory/Consequences.   I used to jump off 40 foot cliffs skiing.  Now I don’t.  Broken bones were manly then, now their a huge imposition.

    But I do still enjoy some risky sports too.  The thrill makes me feel alive.

    As far as soaps, I use whatever my wife buys.  Lord knows when the last time I shopped was.  I think we have Dove which is mild on eczema.

    • #2
  3. user_653084 Inactive
    user_653084
    @SalvatorePadula

    Your example misses the point. Soap (scented or not) is inherently un-manly.

    • #3
  4. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    Real men don’t worry about what real men do.

    • #4
  5. Guruforhire Inactive
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    There is more than one manly archtype.

    I am a gentry patrician, so fine smelling soaps and suits fits me just fine.

    A nice smelling guy dressed like a lumberjack is an effeminate poseur.

    • #5
  6. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    What we think of as manly changes, partially through the ages and cultures, and partially through context. Look in the kitchen of most restaurants, and who will you see cooking? Men. Back when most clothing was custom-made, where would a man go? To the tailor, not a seamstress. Cooking and sewing were “women’s work” in the home after the industrial revolution because men were working outside the home. (However, weaving was often done by women or children because they had smaller hands and more dexterity to dart their digits into the equipment.) But outside the home? Cooking and sewing were creative endeavors that brought bread and meat to the family table for many men.

    Think of ten famous chefs. If you can name that many, I’m guessing half or more are men. I do the cooking at home. Why? My wife is not excited by cooking and her dishes taste like it. On the other hand, I love to cook. I’ve been doing it for more than forty-five years, and I’m good at it. I would also note that such a creative act is a very yang activity.

    So, do as you please.

    On a side note, one of my favorite retails is Duluth Trading Company? Why? Because they know how to sell stuff to men, especially tradesmen. They advertise their sideclip suspenders as being as comfortable as a good shoulder holster. They also sell scented soaps. The scents are: Smells like Victory, Smells like Productivity, Smells like Accomplishment, and the new one, Smells like Naval Supremacy. They also sell cologne and scented beard oil. One of the beard oil scents is bacon.

    • #6
  7. Guruforhire Inactive
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    I wear a cologne originally commissioned by winston churchill and is made by a perfumery past down from father to son for 400 years.

    so…….

    • #7
  8. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    Ryan M., wonderful response.

    My take–I’ve thought long about this:

    Manly: Clothes are neat, clean, and coordinated classics–basic attention to dress.  Man is ready to do manly things, like look masculine when out eating (polo shirts and nice pants, flannel shirts rolled up at the sleeves) or ready to tackle jobs at work or around the house (uniform, jeans, solid color shirts).

    Not manly: Way too much thought put into clothing–man is current on all the fashions–dark rimmed glasses, scarves, sweater/turtlenecks. Man is ready to converse deeply at coffee shops and sound thoughtful and smart, or contribute to the world through art, music, writing.

    • #8
  9. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Is it more manly to love a dangerous activity because of its dangers or despite its dangers? Does a man enjoy being daring?

    I think it is most manly to take on dangerous responsibilities when one must to survive and show the courage and fortitude that men in the U.S. military do everyday.

    If cargo pants with many pockets are useful but not stylish, which is more practical and/or manly: utility or conformity?

    Who said cargo pants weren’t stylish? I still approve of them; utility is always important if you own a house, car or property. I, for instance, am never going to be the one to pick up a hammer, nails, or power tools of any kind. Or kill the black snake sunning himself atop my plumbago bushes. Or change a tire!

    My husband can wear whatever he likes.

    • #9
  10. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    sawatdeeka: Not manly: Way too much thought put into clothing–man is current on all the fashions–dark rimmed glasses, scarves, sweater/turtlenecks.

    The problem is that there are some professions where clothing matters, like lawyers.

    sawatdeeka: Not manly: Man is ready to converse deeply at coffee shops and sound thoughtful and smart, or contribute to the world through art, music, writing.

    What if he’s a thoughtful and smart man? I’m always ready to converse deeply wherever I go. Also on almost any subject.

    As for artists, writers, composers and musicians, the non-homosexual males I know in those categories are often very manly men. They are creating. Again, they are exhibiting the yang principle. Was Hemingway unmanly? How about Mozart or Sammy Hagar? Jon Bon Jovi? David Lee Roth? Diego Rivera as an artist? Gauguin?

    I have a friend who has made his living as a poet since he got out of the Navy after the Korean War. He supported a wife and children. Folks might call him a curmudgeon, but not unmanly.

    I’m probably missing some aspect of your point here. (And yes, I am also a poet/writer, musician, composer, and artist.)

    • #10
  11. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    Arahant:

    sawatdeeka: Not manly: Way too much thought put into clothing–man is current on all the fashions–dark rimmed glasses, scarves, sweater/turtlenecks.

    The problem is that there are some professions where clothing matters, like lawyers.

    sawatdeeka: Not manly: Man is ready to converse deeply at coffee shops and sound thoughtful and smart, or contribute to the world through art, music, writing.

    What if he’s a thoughtful and smart man? I’m always ready to converse deeply wherever I go. Also on almost any subject.

    As for artists, writers, composers and musicians, the non-homosexual males I know in those categories are often very manly men. They are creating. Again, they are exhibiting the yang principle. Was Hemingway unmanly? How about Mozart or Sammy Hagar? Jon Bon Jovi? David Lee Roth? Diego Rivera as an artist? Gauguin?

    I have a friend who has made his living as a poet since he got out of the Navy after the Korean War. He supported a wife and children. Folks might call him a curmudgeon, but not unmanly.

    I’m probably missing some aspect of your point here. (And yes, I am also a poet/writer, musician, composer, and artist.)

    Okay, I have to clarify. I do have a certain profile in mind. There are plenty of masculine creators. It is the really self-centered ones, usually young, that I’m thinking of. They try to sound deep and thoughtful, but they come off as trying to sound deep and thoughtful.

    • #11
  12. user_6236 Member
    user_6236
    @JimChase

    Forgive me, Aaron, but this is the first thing that popped into my head reading this post:

    Of course, I prefer Old Spice brand to Zest.

    • #12
  13. user_1938 Inactive
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    • #13
  14. user_44643 Inactive
    user_44643
    @MikeLaRoche

    Cowboy boots, cigars, and pickup trucks are the epitome of manliness.

    • #14
  15. user_645 Editor
    user_645
    @Claire

    It’s manly to have an instinct to protect women and children. All the rest, pretty unimportant.

    • #15
  16. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    20 plus years ago I did the manliest thing I’ll ever do.  I was given a choice to abort a child or marry a crazy lady.   Here he was then and here he is nowNick In Basic.  Baby Nick

    • #16
  17. PsychLynne Inactive
    PsychLynne
    @PsychLynne

    To circle back to the manliness, or lack thereof, of soap:

    For a year my husband sold life insurance.  After his first week in the office ( populated by all male agents), he put hand soap in the bathroom.  After a few months, based on the amount that was still there, he concluded that he was the only one using it.

    Thus, while many other things can be manly and more important, washing your hands after visiting the bathroom–and thus, soap–remains high on my list of manly attributes.

    • #17
  18. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    sawatdeeka: It is the really self-centered ones, usually young, that I’m thinking of. They try to sound deep and thoughtful, but they come off as trying to sound deep and thoughtful.

    Now, those I also know and do not think highly of.

    Personally, I have never tried to sound deep or thoughtful. I try to be the jester, but I do occasionally get caught out writing something profound.

    • #18
  19. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Claire Berlinski:It’s manly to have an instinct to protect women and children. All the rest, pretty unimportant.

    Amen to that!

    • #19
  20. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    I think Jay wins Ricochet today.

    • #20
  21. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @PleatedPantsForever

    AM – I’ll give you manly….pleated pants. They check all your boxes.

    1. Practical – you can actually fit your phone, wallet, and keys in your pocket
    2. To heck with everyone else’s opinion – we have taken a couple informal polls and flat front are definitely in around Ricochet
    3. Opposite of what women want – see answer to 2. Additional evidence, a couple months ago we had a presentations skills class at work and the lady running asked me if I used to be heavier because I wear pleated pants. True story, but I stick with the pleats

    The only thing manlier is on Ryan M’s post a month or so ago that turned into a pants conversation (I’d find it but am on my phone) some guy said he was so manly he did not know the difference between pleated and flat front. Now that is shave with a bowie knife manly

    • #21
  22. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    The definition of cool: “Making the good look effortless.”

    If you are seen to be trying, it isn’t cool.

    If what you do seems effortless, but it doesn’t work, then it isn’t cool.

    Perhaps a similar (though by no means identical) paradigm could be applied to “manliness”, theoretically.

    Consider facial hair.

    Why the person has facial hair is surely a factor in its manliness.

    Do you have facial hair because you’re too lazy to shave, or do you have facial hair because you are too busy to shave? Furthermore, if you have magnificently-sculpted facial hair, clearly you aren’t too lazy to shave, but you also clearly have too much time on your hands.

    If you grow a mustache because you want to be Ron Swanson, you’ve missed the point. It wasn’t the mustache that made him manly. It was his manliness that gave birth to the mustache.

    This, incidentally, is where the word “hipster” comes from.  It was coined in the 1940s/1950s New York City counterculture to indicate someone who was trying too hard to be a part of the culture rather than coming by it naturally.  It’s a synonym for “poseur” or “pretentious d-bag”.

    What is manly? Good form that follows good function.

    A good carpenter wearing a tuxedo isn’t manly. He may still get the job done just as well, but it looks stupid. Not manly.

    A bad carpenter dressed like a good carpenter also isn’t manly. He may look the part, but he doesn’t get the job done. Not manly.

    You wear the suit if the suit gets the job done. If wearing the suit makes the job more difficult, you shouldn’t wear the suit.

    Wearing a suit to go fishing, for example, may have made more sense in the days before synthetic fabrics. A good, thick, wool suit may have been the more practical choice available at the time. Today, it would just be silly.

    • #22
  23. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Men of my age cohort are usually appalled when I tell them my dad shaved his underarm hair (not that it comes up a lot in casual conversation). He learned the practice in the military before he deployed to Britain for the D-Day invasion — something about battlefield hygiene.

    After he got home from Europe (where he also fought in the Battle of the Bulge under Patton), he fathered six more children.

    My mother always said, “if your masculinity depends on your underarm hair…”

    So, in answer to your question, Aaron, if your masculinity depends on using unscented soap…

    Claire has it right.

    • #23
  24. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    The definition of cool: “Making the good look effortless.”

    Perfect!

    Your comment reminds me of what I remind my husband on a consistent basis:

    “I wish I could hijack your emotional composure and absorb it into my physical being.”

    • #24
  25. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    The King Prawn:I think Jay wins Ricochet today.

    Doesn’t he always?

    • #25
  26. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Arahant:

    The King Prawn:I think Jay wins Ricochet today.

    Doesn’t he always?

    Not when I’m the competition.

    In that case IT’S THUNDERDOME!!!

    ;-)

    • #26
  27. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @PleatedPantsForever

    There is only one rule in Thunderdome. Two men enter, one man leaves. Work with me, it sounded better coming from Tina Turnet

    • #27
  28. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Western Chauvinist: So, in answer to your question, Aaron, if your masculinity depends on using unscented soap…

    A real man buys the best value soap available on the shelf.

    Usually, that means the bulk pack of the generic brand ivory soap, but not always.

    Whether it’s scented or not is irrelevant to the discussion. If the pretty princess Disney brand soap was priced at $1 for a pack of a hundred bars, it would be the manliest soap on the shelf.

    It’s never priced that way.

    • #28
  29. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Pleated Pants Forever:There is only one rule in Thunderdome. Two men enter, one man leaves. Work with me, it sounded better coming from Tina Turnet

    Who rules Bartertown? Master Blaster.

    • #29
  30. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    EThompson: Your comment reminds me of what I remind my husband on a consistent basis: “I wish I could hijack your emotional composure and absorb it into my physical being.”

    My girlfriend also says similar things to me, and I usually have to reply, “yeah, but you’re the one of us that actually gets things done.”

    I cannot consider myself manly, because I’m no good at that part of the equation.

    • #30
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