7 Reasons You Don’t Feel Like a Real Man
Society has a very rigid idea of what constitutes masculinity. Often, our definitions of what is masculine are rooted in the conventions and gender roles of the past, something which makes them unachievable ideals rather than anything tangible, or real, to aspire too. Despite knowing this though, sometimes you feel that you don’t quite measure up. Here are seven reasons that you don’t feel like a real man.
1. You use moisturiser. Using moisturiser doesn’t feel manly. It’s very good at keeping your skin soft and preventing the premature aging of the skin, but it’s not manly. I once moisturised my face, exited the bathroom (which my wife then entered) and tried to open the bedroom door. I couldn’t, as my hands were slick from the moisturiser and I couldn’t grip the doorknob. I was trapped outside the bedroom for five minutes. “This never happened to the captain of the Titanic”, I remember thinking, as I waited for my wife to rescue me. Real men don’t use moisturiser.
2. Facial hair. Real men – Victorian men – sported impressive and elaborate facial hair. Who, apart from Daniel Day-Lewis and Sebastien Chabal, can even grow such magnificent face furniture today? Certainly no one at this website – the best we can manage are a sparse ginger moustache and a slightly less sparse – but still bloody ginger – beard. Modern men also trim their facial hair too much. Real men have natural and wild facial hair – not prissy, neat goatees (and you should never, ever trust a man with a neat beard. Noel Edmonds has a neat beard). Real men do not have neat beards. Real men have substantial, flowing beards that are the same colour as their head-hair. Real men probably don’t even have scissors. In fact, real men probably eat scissors.
3. Coffee. Coffee is an amazing beverage and real men drink it. What real men don’t do, however, is go into Starbucks and order a venti soy-hazelnut-vanilla-cinnamon-white-mocha-choca-latte with caramel and an extra shot of espresso. Real men drink their coffee black, from tin mugs around a fire – or some sort of black-lead-coal-stove-thing with flames and a chimney – and the stronger and viler tasting the coffee is, the better. Also, real men don’t drink their coffee from cups – even if that is the only receptacle that fits into their espresso maker properly – and they don’t have a muffin with it. Not blueberry; not zucchini-walnut. Real men have no muffin.
4. Pain. Real men shrug off pain. Pain isn’t good – it’s er…well…painful – and it can be undignified. It especially hurts when you’re plucking the middle of your eyebrow to pluralise it. That sort of pain is reasonably manageable though. Real pain, however, can only dealt with by real men. I injured my knee last year (in a very manly way – up a mountain). The next day, when I woke up, it really hurt. As I climbed out of bed and put weight on it I suddenly – and quite unexpectedly – shrieked “I yi yi yi yi”, in the manner of Carmen Miranda. Real men don’t react that way to pain; Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes chopped his own fingers off with a fretsaw in his shed to save himself a six-thousand pound surgeons bill. I bet he didn’t shriek “I yi yi yi yi” like Carmen Miranda – or like anyone else. Never mind exhorting men complaining of pain to “man-up”, they should be told to Fiennes-up (I’m really hoping that will catch on).
5. Décor. You actually care about what the inside of your own home looks like and have an opinion about it too. You have even bought Laura Ashley toile-patterned sheets in both red and blue, because they look nice. Do real men care about soft-furnishings? Did Douglas Bader rearrange the cushions on his sofa and extinguish the scented candles before going off to beat the Germans without his legs? No he bloody didn’t. Real men don’t spend their time cocking about with flock-wallpaper and vases. Nor do they have a set of Le Creuset pans. Real men don’t even need legs.
6. Pets. Real men have real pets – parrots, cats or reasonably-sized dogs. What they don’t have are little dogs that you can put in a bag or rodents, budgies, rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, snakes or fish. They certainly don’t have fish. You can tell a real man by the way he interacts with his pet. No real man names his pet Fluffykins or Pookles. Real men give their pets sensible names. Real men also address their pets properly, rather than clicking at them or making baby-noises. They address them as if they were a visiting chum:
“So Mr Prendegast, the sun has just passed the yard-arm, what would you say to a spot of brandy? What’s that Mr Prendegast? You’re a cat and you don’t drink brandy? Oh I see. Would you settle for some biscuits and a rub under the chin? I’m glad. There’s a good chap.”
That’s how a real man talks to a pet – like an equal. Real men don’t address pets as if they were idiots, or children. They don’t dress them up in clothes or put them in bags. The only time a real man carries a pet is when he wants to put it outside so that it can chase something. He certainly doesn’t give his pet chocolate-drops or a hug. Or give anyone a hug, for that matter.
7. You are a woman. Women don’t feel like real men. They don’t even feel like pretend men. They feel warm and soft. They sound like this: