So today’s topic was one that seemed to need a little more time to put together. First, it is a longer list than any I have put together to this point and second, it took some observation and thought to realize the perfection listed below. This is a list of the 9 manliest things . . . yes, I said “things.” This was intentionally used as to give me a broad range of discretion and the ability to attack whatever I wanted. Over the last two weeks, I have kept an on-going list of the things that truly stick out as manly, and these are the “Things” that keep us men, who we are…
These are in no particular order, but each represent something that when crossing our paths, we all immediately think “Wow, that is a man” or something similar.
Guns, buns, and booze – The James Bond Experience
So when I decided I was going to follow Law’s suggestion and write about the 9 manliest things, I decided I would need to establish the Alpha Male. Someone who exemplified the characteristics we are nurtured into believing create the flawless guy. Now, primarily when I interject, I use asterisks and bold letters, but here I’m going to use a colon and bold letters: DANIEL CRAIG AND SEAN CONNERY ARE THE BEST BONDS, THERE IS NO DISCUSSION OR OPTIONS!!!! Yes, I am allowed to have two, because these 2 were from different Bond eras. Craig was chronologically the original Bond, and Connery was a middle Bond according to the series. They had different goals and agendas as the James Bond character. Now with every James Bond Convo, we must also include a Bond Girls List:
1. Vesper Lynd/Eva Green -Those blue eyes and dark hair make my heart melt every time I see them. It helps she is the only woman the best Bond ever truly loved….but who wouldn’t love her. . . . EEEEEVVVVVVVAAAAAA.
2. Jinx/Halle Berry – Would be #1 with long hair, but, even as is, comes across as nothing but strikingly beautiful.
3. Camille/Olga Kurylenko – Obviously I am biased towards the newer Bond girls, but if you can show me a “classic” that outshines these 3, I will gladly concede.
So what is it that makes us all want to be like James Bond?? I mean seriously, who doesn’t want to move to England, become a 00 and have a license to kill? Have a Maserati loaded with nukes (or something similar)—HOW GREAT WOULD THAT BE!!?!?!?!? I would probably knock of my own little Pip (my little Shih Tzu, we will discuss dogs later in the episode) to walk into a room and have Eva Green be able to have a suit tailored flawlessly to my every inch. *Please YouTube the scene from Lucky#Slevin about the man getting his suit tailored . . . ”yes”* There are very few individuals who have the swagger to roll into a room and order a martini, shaken not stirred AND ABSOLUTELY OWN EVERY EYE IN THE ROOM. Beautiful women, big guns, power, explosions, fast cars, crazy gadgets (yes, we all tried inventing stuff between the ages of 8-14, don’t argue),and THE killer smile. . . . The reason Bond movies are so successful is not from the acting and storylines . . . it’s because JAMES BOND IS THE ALPHA MALE!!!!!
Avoiding Commitment – It’s a Gift really…
So, when thinking about some things that are very common to men, this seems to be a common stereotype. But stereotypes are based on something right?? They aren’t exactly like rumors, and may have popped up out of nowhere. There has been at least a consistent pattern of men fearing commitment. I have seen this in my own life recently in a way most people couldn’t even imagine. I really, truly enjoy my job right now, but I am scared to make a commitment to it because the results aren’t guaranteed. I am scared to get outside my comfort zone, take a risk and open up (SOME AEROSMITH JUST CAME ON!!!! Classic rock is truly starting to grow on me….. I haven’t been this happy in a job in a long time, but ultimately my success or failure in my job is based on me and me alone. I would like to think I could pawn failure off on someone else, but in reality (WALK THIS WAY!!!! TALK THIS WAY!!!!!!) I am the only one responsible for my professional survival that is. This doesn’t always apply to relationships alone obviously, but all men can trace back their fear of commitment, which stems from a fear of failure, to a single event. This event is not always an immediate life-changing event, and in many cases may have done as much good as harm. I can say with certainty that moment in my life sparked a change (O.M.G. HOLIDAY IN SPAIN – Pandora is treating me well tonight)and has done more harm than good. But it has made certain aspects of my life more difficult than they were before.
When I try to figure out the cause of this effect, I realize the uncertainty and lack of control we possess in these situations (or PERCEIVE to have, this is another topic on it’s own) causes us to sabotage these situations ourselves. From a professional perspective, it may come from being lazy during a task we think we do well in our sleep and we end up making a mistake. From a personal or relationship perspective it may come from thinking others may make the same mistakes we made, or not being sure if we can remain true to the goal. Hell, I even have a problem committing to a dog, just ask Wrigley and Pip. . . .
I am not proposing that this is a good thing, but good things can come from taking the scenic route. We may learn from seeing the extra aspects of life we weren’t expecting.
Beer Pong – Hall of Fame
Having recently (a little over a year ago) departed from the truest of college scenes (WHOOP!!!) and running my 6 year sprint, I consider myself an expert on drinking games. Waterfalls, F the dealer, King’s Cup, P&A, Flip Cup (consider this Beer Pong’s retarded, red-headed step-child), Jerry’s kids, bags, washers—you name it, I have played it. (Pandora has now gone to crap) And there is no game like Beer Pong to establish the Man of the Realm. Now, due to the popularity of this game, I would like to officially proclaim Bad Boy (previously known as DogDog) and I established THE Hall of Fame. We are also the reigning Title Holders, and will remain retired holding said title. We have a few members who we have inducted, The Bird Man (Mr. Consistency), Nasty (did he really just do that????), Law (no one comes out of retirement like him) and a few others, but it is a very exclusive club.
Point of this section, when you see someone who you believe is deserving of a Hall of Fame vote, realize YOU ARE LOOKING AT A MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Cars, Trucks, and SUVs, OH MY!!??!!??
So I’ll be honest here, I am not a huge car guy . . . I am in the drastic minority and deserve a little criticism for it . . . but I BRING THE TRUTH!!! 90% of guys out there can identify with a certain type of vehicle and probably even a specific one with in the 3 primary categories. The beauty of said categories is they are generally a very accurate representation of who you are, OR who you want to be. . . .
1. Cars – By this I mean sports cars. (LOVE ME SOME JONATHAN TYLER AND THE NORTHERN LIGHTS!!!) When I see someone roll up in a smoking hot rod, I immediately think, “Look at this tool, this guy lies about everything including the supermodel he picked up last night at Ghost Bar.” Quick side note: NO ONE GOES TO GHOST BAR, YOUR STORY IS ALREADY FLAWED!!!! They are usually so full of it that I dismiss them before they give me their over-gripping handshake. *I would like to qualify this with the fact one of my close friends drives a SICK Camaro SS and he is nothing like this.*
2. Trucks – In many ways, I am a huge truck fan. I currently work in the construction industry, and have a huge need for one. But nothing reeks of poser, sperry/croc/costa del mar/cookie-cutter frat boy than a big, clean, spotless truck. If you would like to appear as unoriginal as trashcan punch, then by all means, roll around in a jacked-up truck. The only bigger tool box will be the one in your bed, and even that is probably a coin flip.
3. SUVs – Nothing screams “Daddy’s money” like a Tahoe. Now that also being said, I have some dear friends who have Tahoes/Yukons/Denalis, etc and I love them. But it takes more than just a few years of work and being responsible to want and be able to pull one of these off. Rolling down Texas Ave after you leave your 12pm class on Friday with your JBF hair….Daddy would be so proud. Now, for those of you who are on the other side of this group and are responsible and purchased one on your own. I hope to be joining you shortly—depending on the job situation. I’m going to need a minimum of 30 MPG on the highway for my next car purchase.
Wings and Beer – Tailgating
There really isn’t a whole lot that needs to be said here. I still very distinctly remember my first endeavor eating wings with a woman around (she will remain unnamed), and it was not a good experience. I was consistently getting the “WTF is wrong with you,” “Why are eating such unhealthy food,” *It’s ironic “Dark Days” by Jackson Taylor just came on. For you Texas Country fans, check this guy out.* “I’m so embarrassed” looks . . . and I could have kept going. For this reason alone, eating wings and drinking beer needs to be reserved for men, and men alone. I have yet to meet a woman would will sit down with me, eat more wings than is responsible and polish off a 12 pack. Now, I should also say, if I ever did meet such a woman, I would not know what to think…
Now Wings and Beer are not immediately synonymous with tailgating. But in reality, the majority of the same laws apply, though to a smaller extent. At a good solid Tailgate *and I would immediately like to complement the First Familys’ Tailgate as always being an absolute blast, WHOOP!!!* the women will be drinking beer and eating meat, but if the vegetable contingent is too strong…it will drop out of the true Man Level.
At a tailgate, men drink beer and eat wings/sausage/occasionally steak or chicken. THE KEY TO A MANLY TAILGATE IS BEING UNHEALTHY!!!!! IF YOU ARE GOING TO BRING WOMEN, YOU MAY AS WELL BRING VEGETABLES!!!!!!!
Big Dogs – Literally
I would like to preface this by saying, I have an oversized shih-tzu who I love dearly. If you would like to see pictures of my little Pip, please visit http://twitter.com/Joshbenson85. I do not consider myself a Dog Park kind of guy, but I can also look at the guys who epitomize traditional manliness and they are not running around with little lap dogs…I see Bloodhounds, Labs, Boxers, Goldens, Great Danes, etc. When they are puppies, you can get away with nearly anything because of the age . . . but I challenge ANYONE—take a full-grown, standard poodle into a dog park and pick up a woman . . . IT WILL NOT HAPPEN!!!!!! Take a full grown Lab into a dog park, you can throw a slobbery tennis ball at hot chicks all day and “accidently” bring a little extra attention to yourself. Big dogs do what we think cars (in general) should do—our dog of choice represents our inner self. I will gladly make myself the example here. My two dogs of choice are Labs and Goldens. They are traditional, beautiful when taken care of, very social, very happy, love being active, and may have the occasional health problem (see the title of my blog). If I picked out the dog of my choice it would be a better representation of me than any car I could choose. That is why big dogs do have a VERY STRONG correlation to manly men.
Admitting you are wrong and/or apologizing
So the definition of a man is actually very integral to this lop-sided dialogue. In reality, we can look at it from what a man “should be” or what represents social “manliness.” What I tried to achieve in this post is a little mix of both. This is one of the sections of what a man “should be.”
When I look at the mistakes I have made when interacting with the opposite gender, no matter on what level, much of it generated from my inability to see their thought processes, and how my actions were affecting them. Hell, half the time I thought I was doing something good, or helping, when the exact opposite was the case.
So during my 2nd tour of duty at Texas A&M (WHOOP!!!), I become involved with a beautiful young woman, Amazing, who for some reason decided I was fun enough to continually hang out with. Well, we crossed this exact path on my 24th birthday. Due to my poor decision making, Amazing had made a few pit stops in my favor over the previous few months. On the night of my birthday, I was eating dinner with Attorney, and a few of us were dropped off at Martini Street. Well, I had failed to do the right thing and have her there when she should have been, but I thought I was recommending a good idea by telling her to take a cab (unbeknownst to her at the time, Attorney, Nugget, and I had talked about it for hours that day) to meet up with us. Well, it came across wrong, as if I was being a smart@$$. In fact, the opposite was the case—I wanted Amazing there as much as anyone, but my poor recommendation came across as me being a huge doucher, and deservedly so. Amazing was right to be upset by my innocent suggestion, and I had to ADMIT I WAS WRONG AND APOLOGIZE even though it was not malicious.
It takes a true man to realize when he has screwed up and take responsibility for it. Looking back, my suggestion wasn’t bad; hell, it was a great idea based on my conversations that day. But in reality, based on the way it came across, I made a poor decision. I should have had Amazing next to me the whole time, and I conveyed my idea in an even worse manner.
Steak and Potatoes – Grilling
Now grilling comes in many different sizes and shapes, but if a good man wants to set a standard here are the key components: 1) Get the word about said event early, 2) Pick up more meat than could possibly be needed, and 3) Put more beer on ice in a cooler than John Daly can drink. A grilled steak is about as good as any food this entire world has to offer, and us males know this. . . . This time honored tradition has its roots at our most primitive of instincts. When men were clubbing baby wooly mammoths for dinner, they were also throwing it over an open fire to get all the bacteria running for the hills. Men, meat, and fires . . . sounds pretty awesome to me. . . .
Being a good son, grandson, brother, father, cousin, and friend.
At first glance, this may seem to force someone to act a certain way and live a lifestyle they do not want to live. This may come across as allowing someone else to control your life, and not being free to make your own choices. THIS IS NOT THE CASE!!! *Just got back from a great night out with James Bond, miss that guy like none other* I was originally planning on making this the longest section of the post, because I believe this is the most important aspect of a male becoming a man, but in reality this is a very simple concept. Being a man means standing up for what you believe in . . . it means defending your family, closest friends, significant others even when they may or may not be doing the right thing. They are the people that will still be standing beside you when you are going through your hardest days.
For some crazy reason, God decided I would be the one in my social groups to go through these hard times first . . . and I cannot count how many of my amazing friends have shown their true AND AMAZING colors about manhood. It doesn’t mean you have to take someone out drinking, or buy them the occasional dinner, or even give them a little extra time on some financial issues. Being a man in a social relationship means ACTUALLY LISTENING to what is going on, why it happened, and being understanding. Of course there is always the point where the line needs to be drawn, and that is equally a part of being a good *take your pick of positions.* Many of you know how difficult the last year or so has been for me, and damn near as many of you have been there for me. I can only hope Karma does its thing, and when I have the opportunity to repay y’all, I am man enough to do it.
The short version of this section is simply this . . . PUT YOURSELF IN THEIR SHOES—HOW WOULD YOU WANT THEM TO HANDLE THE SITUATION??? Because that is how you should handle it as a man!!!!!!! There is a very simple metaphor that describes this situation . . . TREAT OTHERS HOW YOU WANT TO BE TREATED!!! If you want your grandparents to downplay your existence when talking to their friends then continue to be a worthless SOB. If you want your best friend to proudly claim you, then you are on the right path. Trust me . . . the day you start caring about them, is the day you start becoming a real man. . . .
The Devil’s Advocate
So, this is obviously not something that makes a man. Arguing for fun doesn’t make anyone’s life easier. But after 9 points of the things that truly represent men, there is bound to be some doucher dude or overly-sensitive breezy who has a bone to pick with my psychologically backed depiction of male life. But let’s be honest here . . . there is an exception to EVERY RULE!!!!!!!!! I’m going to break this down very simply . . . I like Strawberry-Cheesecake ice cream from Marble Slab (Best ice cream ever made, and there is NO argument), but that doesn’t mean I want it following every meal I eat. Just because a male has a midget dog doesn’t make him less of a man . . . just because I am not a huge car guy does not make me gay . . . just because someone doesn’t like pork doesn’t make them a crappy tailgater . . . THERE IS AN EXCEPTION TO EVERY RULE!!!!!
In reality, becoming a man is a process. The 9 manliest things are subjective to each individual. But I have provided a template for different areas you can begin to develop your own manhood.
As always, I cannot express my appreciation enough for your read. The fact that you allowed me to interrupt this much of your day is a blessing to me. I have been personally, professionally, and spiritually blessed more than I deserve the last few months, and I thank those of you who have been a part of it. Your suggestions and thoughts are ALWAYS appreciated.