How to Be a Man

Men of WSO, what does "being a man" mean to you? Not talking biologically. What experiences have you gone through that changed you from a boy into a man?

  • What are the fundamental principles of manliness?
  • What are you favorite books or movies/ shows about being a man?
  • Who are the positive role models for men in the 21st century? Fictional characters allowed

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Comments (55)

Most Helpful
Jul 18, 2020 - 8:57pm

Doing shit you don't want to do for people who you love.

Making sacrifices now for a better future for your loved ones.

Taking full responsibility for all your failures and shortcomings without blaming your circumstances.

Making decisions based on what is most optimal rather than what you wish/want.

Getting up after every life knockdown because you know what staying down means for the people that you want to give the world to.

Personally, what made me a "man" was just getting fucked by life to a point that I reached a rock bottom that I never would imagine. Realizing then that the people that I loved needed me to step up and make their lives better. The day that I started worrying if I would make enough from my shitty job to pay utilities for my household is probably one of the days where I started becoming a "man". Been fortunate enough that I was able to climb out of that hole and turn my life around for the better. Became a much different person and I really like who life through many hits molded me to be.

Jul 19, 2020 - 9:17am
AnonymousMonkey130:

Taking full responsibility for all your failures and shortcomings without blaming your circumstances.

I disagree slightly here. I 100% agree that being a man means taking full responsibility for all of your failures and shortcomings. I don't agree with the blanket idea of "without blaming your circumstances". I'd ammend that "without blaming the circumstances that you had control over and acknowledging the situation as a whole". The only reason I want to specify is because there are times where you end up failing or having shortcomings because of things outside of your control.

  • 11
Jul 19, 2020 - 7:47pm

Agreed, with both your post and the opinion of the guy who commented above me, as it is a good point.

Dayman?
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Jul 18, 2020 - 11:54pm

Realizing that your life isn't always about you. There have been moments when life got real for me quick: my mom telling me she loved me and was proud of me in the hospital waiting room at night before a treatment that could have failed to save her when she got sick (basically the "if this is it, final I love you"), my best friend dying, my family running into financial problems, partially due to costs from my mom literally almost dying, that nearly caused us to lose the house I grew up in...

This shit gives you perspective, and while my mom and the house are still there better than ever (unfortunately not my friend), these moments changed how I think about my own life. I think back to that night in the hospital as truly the end of my childhood, as I sat there in the waiting room. My mom didn't die but the dreams of my future I had as a kid sure did. Kind of like how some people call 9/11 the end of the 90s.

Realizing that being a good person takes sacrifice is a big step to becoming a man for me. Those financial troubles led me to put aside my dream of being a Marine and having an adventurous life after that to go work in banking, because it would pay more money faster, and I want to be there for my family financially if need be. I'm about to lose my grandmother, and it's not easy discussing death with my younger cousins who haven't had a huge loss, but they trust me and its something I need to do.

...idk... I'm probably not making sense. Its different for everyone, but these moments are what shaped me.

Edit/addition:

Wanted to add more because I'm now thinking about this. Midnight thoughts haha. Another aspect of making a sacrifice is letting go. Banking is cool but its not something I ever woke up dying to do. I wanted a life to be more of an adventure when I was a kid. I had all of these dreams, but life gets real, and now those bright and beautiful dreams just get smaller and more distant the more I slave away towards a future that I'm not even sure I want. It's hard not to feel completely doomed and paralyzed by it sometimes, having to give up on things I still think of because I need to be ready to be there for whats left of my family when the time comes. But as things change in life, I've realized that I need to let go. Almost like letting go of your old self. New year new me? Idk if this has to do with what makes a man or not, maybe im just some blip on the radar or noise in the system, but fuck, thats what made me one. Sorry.

Dayman?
  • 28
Jul 19, 2020 - 8:43pm

were there any real men in Mad Men? Pete was a sniveling spoiled brat, Roger Sterling was fun but he never worked or earned his place, the British dude hung himself. Kind of weak sauce all around. Don had his good looks that would magnetically draw women at a bar and had great leadership skills in the office but he threw away his life repeatedly with both hands because he couldn't keep little donny in his trousers.

Jul 19, 2020 - 8:56am

Being the captain of your own ship. Accept that statistically life isn't fair. Time spent wishing you had better circumstances, is time wasted. Accept your situation and realise that there is a great deal you can influence by taking responsibility and action yourself.

Try to act in a way which you won't regret in the future in ALL facets of your life. Yes you may be hardworking and diligent at work, but what good is that if you're cheating in a relationship or haven't reached out to your parents in a month? Work is just one aspect of your life, strive to be respectable in all aspects.

Reflect. Introspectively question, who am I, who do I want to be, what do I want out of life? Following a path because your friends are, or because your parents wanted you to, is a sure way live an unfulfilled life. I often think, if we only get one chance at life, imagine being on your dead bed and thinking damn I wish I did something completely different. That scares the shit out of me. Live the life you want.

Array
  • 4
Jul 19, 2020 - 1:35pm

You're actually right. Being a "man" in our modern times just mostly means being an adult.

Loyalty (to family), diligence, resilience, honesty, integrity, etc... no longer just apply to men.

I suppose the real difference is in how those qualities are portrayed. I think this divergence between being a real man vs a real woman comes out when we have kids (but what do I know).

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Jul 19, 2020 - 11:32am

Not really being a man, but more being a responsible adult. Admit when you're wrong and even when you don't agree with something or someone, give them your ears and respect, as they might change your mind. I hate to be cliche, but Ron Swanson from that television series Parks and Recreation is a good example. On the surface, he's gruff and may be considered rude, but he cares deeply for his family and personal relationships, is willing to civilly discuss opposing viewpoints, and fights for what he believes in. He has different political and personal views than his colleagues, but that doesn't stop him from treating them with respect and valuing their opinions.

Jul 19, 2020 - 5:01pm

you've just triggered all the manlets that frequent WSO.

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Jul 19, 2020 - 1:18pm

Once I get an Investment Banking Summer Analyst Offer I will then, and only then, consider myself a man.

 

  • 2
Jul 19, 2020 - 9:38pm

Getting the job is one thing, you have to HOLD the job. That's the most important part of the job! /Seinfeld

Be excellent to each other, and party on, dudes.
Funniest
Jul 19, 2020 - 5:02pm

i had sex once. that made me feel pretty manly. especially once i'd stopped crying.

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  • 9
Jul 20, 2020 - 9:00am

can't really elaborate. boy scout's honour.

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  • 1
  • Intern in IB - Ind
Jul 19, 2020 - 7:50pm

As an intern, let me show you betas what it really means to be a man by walking you through a day in my life.

I woke up this morning at 4:00am after slinging 20 boilermakers last night (clear alcohol is for women on diets). I dealt with my hangover how any man deals with it... eating meat and drinking more because complaining about hangovers is for wispy little boys who sit down when they pee. I proceeded to go outside into the snow (real men only live in the snow) and chopped down trees for the log cabin that I'm building. I was pretty hungry after that so I ate 10 raw eggs and the leg of an elk that I had killed with my bare hands walking back to my house from chopping wood. I was feeling a bit lazy so I just did a small woodworking project and built a sailboat. By that time it was around 8am and time to spread some comps because I'm a proud American and I avoid welfare like the plauge. After assigning work to my MD, I decided to go on a short jog up a mountain. It was a warm day so I decided to cool off by cutting out some ice and jumping in the lake near my house. After finishing the rest of the work I had for the day, I got my onesie out of the dryer, watched My Little Pony, and ate strawberry cheesecake before hopping in my Superman bed ready to attack the next day.

Jul 19, 2020 - 10:24pm

Fight Club, but not for the superficial destructive themes of the movie and general debauchery, more so trying to improve yourself, learning to make the best of a bad situation, and being able to actually support others instead of leeching of them for emotional support.

Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

Jul 20, 2020 - 10:19am

Harvey Specter is an over fantasized version of what a man should be. He's def got some solid characteristics but he's way over the top. Losing his cool and throwing off fits of anger? That's not manly, that's childish.

Jul 20, 2020 - 12:25pm

To add a caveat to the predominant answer here; sacrifice for the sake of sacrifice does not make you a man. You don't have to be miserable to be a man. Do not settle just because it pays the bills.

For me a great example of what a man is, is Maximus in the movie the Gladiator. A man in my opinion is boiled down to someone you can depend on when the time arises, with an unbroken set of values.

Jul 20, 2020 - 1:22pm

but maximus was a miserable man? a father to a murder son, husband to a murdered wife, etc.

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