The Most Traditional Dude Habits You Can Leave at the Door
7 Behaviors That No Longer Define Being a Man
For a long time, society has had unwritten rules in place for the way men are allowed to act within the realm of what has traditionally been defined as “manliness.” Their unwritten quality has allowed for some fluidity over time, but not nearly enough to challenge the overarching ideas of masculinity that have long dictated what is and what isn’t acceptable behavior for a man. That is, until recently.
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Picture masculinity and all that that word entails wrapped up in a neat little box. It doesn’t have a bow on top; there’s nothing shiny or glittery or glamorous about the paper it’s wrapped in — this is masculinity, after all — but what it does have, what’s appeared within the last few decades or so, are small cracks. They litter its surface and are the result of changing attitudes and minds.
The definition of masculinity is expanding, and it won’t be long before that box bursts right open, no longer able to contain manhood as we know it. But don’t worry: The flood isn’t going to wash away everything you know. It will still be admirable to provide for your family, you’ll still be called upon to be the rock to stand on and you’ll still be expected to lead when appropriate. It won’t be viewed as a negative if you like to hunt, fix cars, or be self-reliant.
No, what’s going to change — what is changing — is that we’re flushing out all of those toxic ideas surrounding masculinity. We’re scrapping the whole dichotomy of being “more manly” or “less manly” and letting people exist within the definition of manhood that most closely adheres to who they truly are.
As we talk about what this means on the ground level, here are some specific examples as to how the rules are changing.
1. You Don’t Need to Watch or Play Sports
So much of male camaraderie is wrapped up in sports that we forget there are guys out there who couldn’t care less about how many points Steph Curry scored in the latest playoff game or what the New York Giants’ needs are along the offensive line — and they don’t need to!
What does it matter if a man would rather see a ballet, a musical or dabble in other hobbies not related to athletics? The answer is that it doesn’t, and just because someone doesn’t care about an oddly-shaped ball reaching the end zone doesn’t make them any less of a man.
If you’re a man that can’t get enough sports action, there’s no issue there either for much the same reason. Just let a guy like what he wants to like.
2. You Can Drink Other Things Besides Beer
Giving alcoholic beverages gendered connotations is one of the stranger tenets of traditional masculinity ( and one that we should be happy to get rid of). In college, for example, your male friends might judge your manliness by the number of beers you’re able to shotgun within a given timeframe. They might even dock points from your man card if they discover you consuming anything that could be considered a “girly” drink.
But what if you don’t care for pounding beers? What if you’d rather sip on a vodka soda or something like a refreshing daiquiri? By all means, go for it. Alcohol is alcohol, after all — they all get you feeling some type of way once you’ve had your share.
3. Exercise Isn’t All About Lifting Weights
Do you even lift, bro? No? Well, hey, that’s perfectly OK because bench pressing is no longer the only acceptable way for a man to exercise. There are lots of other ways to work out, in fact, some of which include yoga, Pilates, swimming, and cycling.
Speaking of physical fitness, muscle mass and manliness are not correlated either. If you’re one of those guys whose muscles have muscles, props to you, but it doesn’t mean you get to look down on another man just because he isn’t on your level.
4. You Can Talk About Your Feelings
From a young age, society tells boys that they need to be tough. Feel like crying? Well, that’s unacceptable behavior. Stunting the way boys are allowed to express themselves follows them all the way into adulthood, of course, and sometimes with rather unpleasant results.
“Men are not unfeeling,” says Barbara Markway, a St. Louis-based psychologist who has authored numerous books on social anxiety disorder. “Rather, many are trapped in the confines of a socialization process that tells them it’s unmanly to cry, to hurt, or to express the myriad other motions we all experience as a result of living fully as human beings.”
Bottling up emotions such as fear or sadness can lead a man to express those things in other ways, according to Markway, including angry outbursts and prideful or stubborn behavior. It’s time to forget all that and realize that it’s healthy for every man to just let it all out every once in a while.
5. Your Culinary Skills Can Extend Beyond the Grill
How well a man can grill up a steak or burger is often a point of pride. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with that, but you ought to know that working on your cooking skills in other areas of the kitchen is perfectly acceptable, too. That whole “women belong in the kitchen” thing has been dead for some time — thank goodness — and in light of that, you would be well served to expand your skill set beyond mac n’ cheese and ramen noodles.
Take a cooking class, join a meal kit service, watch how-to’s on YouTube or just fire up The Food Network every now and then. Don’t be afraid to take a crack at recipes you find. Short of being seen as “less manly,” you’ll likely impress people, your significant other most of all, with the things you learn.
6. Interior Decorating Isn’t Just a Job for Women
Whether you live by yourself or with roommates, chances are your home still looks eerily similar to the way it did when you were in college. Maybe you have some posters up, a flag flashing the symbol of your favorite light beer or some raggedy-looking curtains that just get the job done. Here’s a little secret, though: Men are allowed to have taste and class when it comes to interior decorating, too.
Why should putting a little effort into the way your living space looks deemed a feminine quality? Don’t be afraid to shop at places like Home Goods or Bed Bath & Beyond to find items that can spruce up your space while still expressing who you are. You might actually find that it’s a lot more fun (and satisfying) to experiment with colors and patterns than you initially believed.
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7. You Don’t Have to Be the Sole Breadwinner
While providing for your family, either now or in the future, is admirable, you don’t have to feel like less of a man if your partner makes more money than you. According to the Pew Research Center, it’s becoming less common for fathers to be their family’s sole breadwinner. In 2016, the number of American households with dual incomes was 66 percent, up quite a bit from 1970, when that number was just 49 percent.
Though it isn’t the most common situation just yet, the rise of the stay-at-home dad is a very real thing, too. And there should be no shame if you find yourself in that scenario — it’s simply another way of being there for your family.
It’s time to drop those traditionally-held ideas about manhood and manliness. Once you allow that metaphorical box to rip wide open, releasing these newer ideas and behaviors, you might actually find that you feel as though you can truly be yourself without needing to conform to some specific ideal. It’s not voodoo magic — it’s simply accepting that in today’s world, masculinity isn’t so black and white.
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Source : Logan Hansen Link