The term manly is not what it once was. It does not mean macho. From a woman’s perspective, these are the manliest things a man can do.
What do you think of when you think of the manliest things a man can do? Lifting weights? Saving a damsel in distress? Perhaps even pretending your tears are allergies or refusing to talk about your feelings?
Those things are not manly. In fact, those are signs of toxic masculinity. And not all masculinity is toxic. Being respectful, understanding, gentle, and calm are masculine traits that are not toxic. They let a man be a man without feeling less than for not conforming.
When a man is at his manliest, he is being himself regardless of what society says manly is. [Read: The gender stereotypes about males we need to let go of for good]
What does being manly mean?
Sure, being manly may mean something a little bit different to everyone. Ten or twenty years ago manly would be used to describe someone like John Wayne or Chuck Norris. But now it is used to describe someone like Will Smith or Chris Evans.
These are men that are not just attractive and protective but also take a stance. They share their voices to fight for what is right without pure violence, but with understanding and patience.
Being manly is not a characteristic to describe attributes only aligned with one gender, but being manly is a collection of qualities that make a man who he is. [Read: Sensitive sides: Should men embrace male femininity]
The unmanliest things a man can do
Along with plenty of manly things a man can do, there are plenty of things a man can do that he may think are manly, but are in fact quite the opposite. Things that may have once been described as manly are not so attractive in today’s day and age.
Women do not want a man that is just physically strong and that knows how to beat someone up *not that they ever did*. In fact, many of these traits are unmanly and can turn off most women. So be aware.
#1 Insult a woman. This is something no man or woman should ever do. It was a well-known pickup method that a man would compliment a woman backhandedly to make her feel bad and then want to be affirmed by the same guy that insulted her.
Women have been empowered beyond this tactic. All that insulting a woman will do for you is make you look like a jackass. [Read: Here’s how you can be masculine without being a jerk]
#2 Mansplain. Even today a lot of men do not realize they are doing this. Not at work, not at the bar, and not on a date. Sure, if a woman asks you to explain what you do for a living, go for it. But if she is talking about women’s healthcare, politely listen.
If you mention fishing and she says I love fishing, do not explain to her how to fish. She knows. Do not underestimate a woman. [Read: Mansplaining: Come on, don’t be a dick]
#3 Say he is not a feminist. Because the word feminist seems pro-women, many men seem to think that means it is anti-men. That is not true. All the word means is pro-equality. And any man that isn’t for that is not much of a man, let alone a person.
Saying you’re not a feminist just makes you sound uneducated and misogynistic.
#4 Be close-minded. We all have our beliefs and stances. But being closed off to even hearing others out is such an unattractive quality. A manly man may stand his ground but will hear others out.
#5 Be jealous. Sure, everyone wants to know a guy is attracted to them. But you don’t own a woman and women do not owe you anything. Being jealous and having to show your power over another guy only shows that you are insecure.
#6 Be overprotective. It is sweet when a man looks out for a woman. Help her carry her groceries or bring her a jacket when it is chilly. But not wanting her to go out with her girlfriends because you are worried about other guys doesn’t say you have the power. It says you are afraid. [Read: 17 big signs of an overprotective and jealous boyfriend girls hate]
#7 Fight. Maybe if you are a boxer for a living, fighting is manly because you are dedicated to your job. But getting into bar fights and beating up someone for spilling their drink on your date is juvenile, not manly.
#8 Smoking. Filling your lungs with toxins, polluting the environment, and putting others at risk with second-hand smoke is not cool and sly or mysterious. It is gross, unhealthy, and stupid.
#9 Speeding. Boys and their fast cars. Yes, I know, Fast and Furious is a big thing. But there is a reason that is a movie and is fiction. No woman wants a man who is taking such a dangerous risk with his own or anyone else’s life.
#10 Being cocky. Being confident is one thing, being cocky is another. Being sure of yourself is sexy and manly. Being a douchebag because you make a lot of money, drive a loud car, or for any other reasons makes it seem like you are overcompensating and are super disrespectful. [Read: The subtle differences between a cocky and arrogant man]
The manliest things a man can do
Feeling confident in your masculinity is the best way to not have to over compensate by portraying traditionally masculine traits.
#1 Be a gentleman. Even though women want equality, being courteous is not a bad thing. Holding the door, getting our coat, or offering to pay the bill is sweet. It shows that you are thinking about others.
And this is not just a trait you should have on dates. A true manly man shows his gentlemanly qualities to strangers, children, and the elderly as well. [Read: 20 qualities in a guy that make him a really good man]
#2 Be respectful. If a woman declines your request for a date, move on. If a woman has a drink with you but won’t go home with you, go home and eat some ice cream, do not call her a tease or pressure her.
Women do not owe you anything. You catch more flies with honey, so be appreciative, kind, and understanding. The response to that will be so much better. [Read: 8 ways men don’t realize they’re subtly shaming women]
#3 Be patient. Whether patience is required for when it is appropriate to go to bed together or when someone slow is crossing the street, just slow down. Being in a rush makes it seem like you aren’t living in the moment or appreciate what you are doing or who you are with.
#4 Remain calm. Although men have long been considered aggressive and strong, you do not need to yell and scream or punch walls to seem manly. Remaining calm, handling tense or stressful situations with poise and grace is what women see as manly.
#5 Cry. One thing I personally hate seeing is when a man tries to hide his tears. Boys are often told not to cry because boys don’t cry. But that is so toxic to a boy’s emotional growth. Instead, seeing a man cry and own the fact that he is feeling emotions is so manly to me.
#6 Listen. Nodding along while a woman speaks is not listening. But actually hearing what she says, interacting, asking questions, and bringing it up later is what women want. This is manly. A man that can actually focus on someone else and what they are saying and retain that information is one of the manliest things a man can do in my book. [Read: 10 little changes that’ll make you a better listener]
#7 Be capable. There seems to be this man-boy complex that is happening. Adult men are behaving like teenage boys and it is supposed to be attractive. Women want a man that can take care of himself. He can clean for himself, cook at least the basics, and handle life.
I am not sure why it is considered manly to some when a man can’t complete normal adult tasks, but it really isn’t.
#8 Smell good. Sure, some women are attracted to a man’s natural musk. That makes sense. After he has been working out or something, but not bathing regularly is not manly. In fact, it is pretty gross. You do not have to bathe in Old Spice but some soap and deodorant go a long way when it comes to the mastering manliest things a man can do.
#9 Be reliable. This may seem boring, but even the most adventure seeking women find it manly when a guy is reliable. This does not mean you need a routine or to be working a 9-5 job. It means you are there when you say you will be. You keep promises.
You don’t cancel plans last minute or wait for something better to come along. Being true to your world is certainly one of the manliest things a man can do. [Read: How to successfully pass a shit test from a woman]
#10 Be funny. Laugh like no one is watching. When a guy can overlook how others see him and just laugh, laugh cry, tell jokes, and let go, it is so sexy. A man who can’t laugh at himself comes off as uptight and like he his hiding something.
A man who can just laugh uncontrollably and make others laugh too is comfortable in his skin.
#11 Be good with animals. This may be a personal one for me, but anyone that isn’t allergic to animals would probably agree. A guy whose face lights up around a cute puppy, kitten, or even a human baby is not afraid to show a comforting and nurturing side to himself.
#12 Be honest. Lying is such a dick move. It is not manly to get away with tricking someone, cheating, or anything like that. What is manly is being upfront and honest, especially when that is the hard thing to do. It is easy to lie. It is a coward’s way out.
One of the manliest things a man can do is own up to his mistakes, tell the truth when it’s hard, and say he is sorry and mean it.
#13 Be self-aware. It is so manly when a man knows he is not perfect. He is happy and comfortable with who he is but is always trying to better himself. When a man blames others for his faults or woes, he only shows his lack of self-awareness and lack of effort to overcome.
#14 Be supportive. Being insecure about a woman’s power job, position, or even height is so vile and misogynist. Being supportive of a woman in any role she chooses is manly. Rooting a woman on or even a fellow man rather than dragging them down to ensure your own success is slimy, not manly. [Read: What a woman is really saying when she pulls away from you]
#15 Be you. You might say, well, I am not a feminist, I am a fighter, and I love being aggressive. Well, I am sorry to say that these qualities are just not manly ones. But the good news is that when you dig deep inside and are actually being yourself a lot of that faux-macho stuff disappears.
When you are comfortable in your own skin, you don’t need to hide behind aggression or denial. You are manly when you are being yourself.
These are the manliest things a man can do from a woman’s perspective. Perhaps you disagree, and that is okay. Just don’t come crying to me when your unmanly qualities backfire on you.