Hello, my fellow men, it's me again!

Some half a year ago I was trying to date this marvel of a girl (long story), and this one time, we were talking and she asked me "What does it mean 'to be a real man' to you?". I told her that in my opinion, a real man does the right things, keeps his word, and in general, is a proper person. While I'm not sure if the answer satisfied her, it got me wondering - whether or not I know what a real man is, I still don't know how to actually become one. Even if my above answer is correct, it's only half the thing, it seems.

Just a couple of days ago, I was walking home from dance class with our teacher and another girl. The teacher is a flirty lady, and sometimes she flirts with me. On that particular day, both she and the other girl praised me a lot for my dancing, and for me generally being a nice and cool person. But when they began to discuss their men, the girl asked her "Well if you're single, why not try George?" to what she answered "Well George is nice and all, but I'm done with boys, I want a real man."

(While I appreciate the honesty, it was really rude, first off, because I was right beside them, second, because its fucking emasculating(!), and third because she just had to stop right before me - am I really that bad? I thought I was fine, didn't they praise me? Why flirt with me at all? I always end up being too late it seems. >.>)

I'm 24 right now, and I am facing a kind of personal crisis - I don't feel like a real man (no, not just because of this particular case - this one was more of an eye-opener). Sure, I have that manly organ in my pants, but that's not enough, right? Not for the rational, moral animals that we humans are. The above listed traits are one thing. Judging by the dance teacher's exs, I'd assume financial stability and 'maturity' are another. But there's still more to it. What bothers me is that I'm not competitive (really can't be arsed, don't see the point of it), that my ambitions are only so big (guess its the difficult situation in my country), and that I'm really not ready for any responsibility because I was never really given any.

So I guess what I'm asking is - how do you actually change? Desire is one thing, but what's the direction? Are there guidelines? My dad taught me some things, my mom taught me other things, but since they're both intellectuals, they couldn't teach me the less intellectual things. When I was a teen, I used to run with those 'problem kids', but I didn't learn too much from them - guess I'm just too well brought up for some of those things. I feel really useless, I have few practical skills (plumbing, repairing electrical devices, etc.), one of my cousins even rubs it in my face (because he's a true street kid, who used to run with gangs and whatnot, because he's a blue-collar and knows his way around tools and chit).

Eh, anyway.

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Initiation.  A time when other men look at you and say, yeah, you got it.

Not quite sure if it's initiation anymore. Sure, ritualized functions have their purpose, and are a great mental boost like the bird giving Dumbo the magic feather. 

And other men; where are they? By the time maturity sets in, most men's networks are scattered to the four winds. Are you going to rely on your work mates, bosses and acquaintances to tell you you are a man?

I think events have to happen to set in maturity, and unfortunately, mostly unpleasant: death of a parent. The enormous responsibility of having a child. Having to slog through commitments to family and community in good times and bad. Oh, and making a marriage work through the years as time takes its mental and physical toll on both.

Just my musings here, not meant to be the end-all by any means.

I agree with you about events and maturity, Carl. Experiences give us opportunities to mature.


we don't do that kind of stuff here, like at all

Integrity. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, etc., all give you a framework for integrity. If you aren't the faithful sort, then, you must find other inspirations for integrity; there are thousands. 

That's just a start, but I think, a good one. 

PS - women's ideas of a "real man" vary widely. I don't believe listening to them is the best reference - you can't be both a cowboy AND the metrosexual man-bun sort. Decide for yourself what manhood is, and let it speak for you.  

They vary, sure, but most of the women i know value the things i listed. It's not a matter of 'cowboy vs metrosexual'.

Still, you make a good point.

Agreed that women's ideas vary widely, which means there are women for who like whatever type of man you want to be.  

Don't let any woman define what a real man is for you.  That's ass-backwards.

One sign of maturity is referring to the opposite sex as "woman", not "girl" (unless it's out of affection)

That's what they are.

Where I was going with this was to show the age difference between the different ladies.

I have to disagree with Sir. Rites of passage are nice. But they don't have to be something contrived or even something acknowledged by other men. To me, it's just the occurrence that makes you honestly see yourself as a man.

"To thine own self be true." When your values don't align with your actions, it can cause depression.
Do you believe in independence and a good work ethic, but you are living off your parents?
Do you believe in honesty, but you are stuck in a lie?
Do you believe in helping others, but don't give anything?
Do you have a passion that you are hiding from others?

Bottom line: Are you doing what you know to do?

Quit measuring yourself with others. If you are skilled enough around the house for minor jobs and are generally self-sufficient, you shouldn't worry about being some kind of handyman. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses, visible or invisible. Just be yourself. If someone doesn't like it, screw 'em. That's not to say you shouldn't heed the counsel of others, but only if you respect the person giving the advice. Why should you care about the opinions of strangers and ignoramuses? Never derive your sense of self-worth from other people.


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