Grown-ass men are an endangered species, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Let’s turn up the collective level of testosterone so you can be the hunters, providers, and all-around badasses that nature meant for you to be.
Here are some tips (curated with a male friend of mine) about how to be more manly in your personal and professional life. Be forewarned: sweeping generalizations will be made.
1. Get a career, not just a job.
What you do is important. Ideally, it will be something you enjoy that you’re also good at. If that’s not possible, do the best you can where you are, and keep your eyes open for better opportunities. Never pass up an opportunity to learn something new. Do not under-employ yourself. Always be striving for the next level.
2. Keep it clean.
I know it’s your bachelor pad, but make sure it’s tidy. It doesn’t take much more than a tub of Clorox Wipes, a Swiffer, and a toilet bowl brush to make your man cave sparkle. Everyone feels more at home in a clean house.
3. Dress the part.
Your appearance is your calling card. Make your first (and second and third and fourth) impression a memorable one. This means shave (unless she’s expressed a preference for stubble). Buy at least one good hair product from the salon and know how to use it. Wear a suit, or at the very least, a blazer. Iron your clothes. Accessorize with high quality shoes, a belt, and a watch. Top it all off with a really good coat (i.e. a peacoat or a trench). There is nothing more impressive (or sexier) than a well-draped gentleman. If you are fashion-challenged, there’s this wonderful thing called a personal shopper at most department stores. Get one. It’s an investment in yourself.
4. Just say no to jewelry.
The only bling a man should ever sport is a wedding ring and/or a watch. No, I don’t care if you’ve won a Superbowl. If you wear a cross for religious reasons, keep it under your shirt.
5. Pump iron.
If girls can do it, you can do it. Lifting weights boosts testosterone. It gets your mojo flowing. It improves your self-confidence. After a half-an-hour of heavy lifting, you will feel like you can conquer the world. And you can! But first, let me see how much you bench.
6. Talk the talk.
Be confident, not cocky. Be articulate. Be upfront, but respectful. Share stories about your life, but be discreet when it comes to business deals or boudoir details. Make as few promises as possible, but keep the promises you make. Debate away, but don’t argue. Apologize when necessary (and avoid doing things you have to apologize for in the first place). Keep the four-letter words to a minimum.
7. Be appropriate on social media.
If you wouldn’t say it out loud, don’t put it on the Internet. Do not friend your love interest on Facebook, do not follow her on Twitter, do not “heart” her pics obsessively on Instagram. Do not complain about your job or your dates online. Nothing is truly delete-able; act accordingly.
8. Be direct.
If you wanted a job, would you just sit at home by the phone and wait for someone to magically call you and offer you your dream position? Of course not. You’d be sending out resumes, making follow-up contact, networking like hell, and kissing a lot of ass. Take the reins, be it in your career or your dating life.
9. Pick up the phone.
This can’t be emphasized enough. Texting is impersonal and easily misconstrued. E-mail has no standard response time. Real men call. And leave brief messages when their call goes unanswered.
10. Woo her.
Don’t insult her by asking her to “hang out.” She is a lady; treat her as such. (If she’s not a lady, why do you want to be with her?) If you’re into her, invite her to dinner. Don’t be a coffee cheapskate.
11. Plan the dates.
Again, to compare it to a job: if your boss told you to set up a lunch meeting with the CEO of Whatever Company, you wouldn’t respond with, “Do you have the number of that steak place?” You’d do the research, make a reservation, and arrange how to get there. Without asking for help.
12. Do the driving.
Every. Time. Do not ask if she wants you to drive. She wants you to drive. (Exception: if you’ve never met her in person, offer to pick her up but don’t be offended if she suggests separate cars. Women have been warned–and rightly so–against riding in cars with strangers.)
13. Pay for everything.
Don’t tell her you’re going to pay. Don’t brag about the fact that you’re loaded. Just take care of the tab. All of it. Discreetly.
14. Drink, but don’t get tanked.
Find a beverage you enjoy and make that your signature order at the bar. In the age of personal branding, pick a liquor that matches your personality. Have one or two drinks during a date. Do not get drunk. You (yes you!) look like an ass when inebriated. Getting wasted is the fastest way for her to lose respect for you. Don’t be that (drunk) guy.
15. Make the first move.
Without asking. This means any kind of hugging, thigh rubbing, shoulder squeezing, and especially kissing on the first or second date. If she resists or says no, back off. But don’t give up trying to win her over.
16. Initiate sex.
The last thing a woman wants is to beg. You’re the hungry man. Go get her. Not sure how? Picking her up and throwing her on a piece of furniture is always an option. If she resists or says no, respectfully accept the rejection. She might not want it as often as you do. That’s okay. Women are complex creatures, and their libidos even more so. But please don’t make her to come to you. (Unless she’s coming, natch.)
17. Direct bedroom activity.
You must seduce her. Read her signals. Follow the yellow brick road of her moans. If necessary, pick up some books and study the female anatomy so you at least have a road map in your mind of where you’re going. The one exception to this rule is if she knows exactly what makes her come and she tells you what it is. (In which case, just do it and take mental notes so she doesn’t have to demand it in the future.)
18. Be a rock.
Show up–whether it’s for your boss, your buddy, your girl, or your kids. Be the container for their messy emotions. Acknowledge, but do not indulge, drama. Really listen. Don’t give advice unless asked (and even then, tread carefully). You should be the steady, grounding force. When the shit hits the fan, your job is to reassure your lady (or your kids) that everything is going to be okay. Why? Because you’re around! And you are going to personally make sure everything is going to be okay. (Right? Right?!?!?!)
19. To protect and to serve.
Men are meant to protect women and children. Somehow, this lesson got lost and now we see men in the news doing horrific things to women. If you see someone being harmed, intervene. Be an everyday hero. Be the knight in shining armor. Speak out against injustice. Promote women in the workplace. Advocate for those who cannot do so for themselves.
20. Be man enough to have emotions.
Being a manly man doesn’t mean you have a cold heart. Quite the contrary. To love and let yourself be loved are brave acts. To express your love takes strength. I’m not suggesting you run around screaming, “I love you, man!” but I am asking you to tell the people closest to you that you care for them. (Because you do care for them, right? If not, they don’t belong in your life.)
21. Hold one another accountable.
Men listen to other men. When you see a friend acting in an un-gentlemanly fashion, speak up. Raise the bar for yourself and your buddies. Be the best version of yourself. Be the role model you never had. Leave a legacy.
22. Above all, be a decent human.
Being a man does not mean that you can insult others, hit or hurt people, rape, commit adultery, lie, abuse your power, manipulate people, waste their time, or otherwise make people’s lives miserable.
Understood? Good. Now man the fuck up and watch the world fall at your feet.