The Manifesto of the Real Man

A few years ago, I wrote a piece on Tough Guys vs. Real Men. Since that time, I've been asked "What do you think makes a Real Man?"

I contemplated writing a guide to being one, but I think that's useless. You can't really teach a guy to be a Real Man. You can teach him the mechanics and behaviors that a Real Man exhibits, but to me, it's far more engrained than simply knowing how to change a flat tire, or helping old ladies across the street, or shaking hands firmly.

There's a set of rules I live my life by. They're based on respect and honesty, to myself and to others. So here they are, collected and presented to you as a The Manifesto of The Real Man. Feel free to share them, disagree with them or add to them. I'm listening and will reply in the comments, and those points which deserve to be added, I will add.

  • I will not cheat. On my lovers, on my friends, or at poker.
  • I will lose with dignity.
  • I will win with grace.
  • I will never betray my sense of self for someone else, no matter the potential payoff.
  • I will shake every stranger's hand that is offered to me.
  • I will never shake the hand of a man who has been proven a liar, cheat or thief.
  • I will respect women. In all regards, in all cases, both physically and mentally.
  • I will love tenderly and deeply. If I cannot love a thing, activity or person tenderly and deeply, for reasons my own or theirs, I will simply like them and save my love for something or someone who deserve the full deal.
  • I will not dye my hair just to hide my grey. Expression of self (e.g. Purple hair) is not the same as shame of age. 
  • I will go bald with dignity.
  • I will speak the truth, even if my voice shakes.
  • I will never strike a man who does not deserve it. Should he deserve it, however, I will rain down on him a righteous fury that will leave him no doubt as to how much he deserved it.
  • I will never strike a woman.
  • I will not reduce myself and succumb to retribution or revenge, for I will not behave like someone I do not wish to be.
  • I will be strong of mind and of body, and work daily to maintain this strength.
  • I will acknowledge where I am vulnerable and face these vulnerabilities. Where I can strengthen them, I will. Where I cannot, I will trust my friends to help me recognize when they are being exploited.
  • I will keep only the secrets of the people who deserve protection.
  • I will NEVER force, cajole or manipulate anyone into doing anything they do not want to do, and I will punish anyone I find doing so.
  • Whatever style of dress I choose; whatever I choose to decorate my body with; whatever adornments or aspects I bring to my physical appearance: They will be for myself and no one else. 
  • I will attempt to bend where I might break. 
  • Should I break, I will not stay broken. I will take the pieces and rebuild myself, filling in the gaps that were there previously with something whole. 
  • I will give freely of myself whatever I may, be it smiles, advice, compliments, help or charity.
  • I will not break any person. There is no joy or satisfaction in it.

    And finally:  
  • I will admonish and clear from my life any man who does not abide by these rules, for they are false and undeserving of my respect.