A man opens doors — always; a gentleman also stands when a woman arrives or leaves a table and when another man is being introduced. This not quaint, patronizing, pre-feminist behavior; it’s called courtesy that a man extends to a woman in appreciation for all she brings to the world. And expresses the respect of meeting another man.
A man knows how — and when — to curse, which is never used in the heat of an argument or in shouting at a missed hoop shot (a man never loses control), but to put a perfect punctuation on a colorful point.
A man never strikes a woman, child or animal — ever.
A man takes care of his body.
A man has at one point in his life read and memorized a poem — not a limerick. Limericks are for boys.
A man is a protector of those with less or in a weakened state or being taken advantage of. But he does not prevent a person from exercising their own personal expression of power and defense. He knows all individuals must learn to stand on their own two feet.
A man accepts no labels or judgments or limitations for himself or others. A man’s purpose is to find his own self-expression and then help others to find theirs.
A man believes in something greater than himself if for no other reason that it keeps him humble and grateful.
A man does not give his power over to a religion or cult or spiritual practice. He may learn from these practices and beliefs, but only in so far as they help him to empower himself and in turn others. A man is respectful of others spiritual choices, as long as no one’s free will is being impinged upon. He trusts each individual to find their own path. He does not proselytize though he does share. A man is an expression of his own godhood.
A man doesn’t apologize for his sexuality or his enjoyment of erotica — as long as no one’s informed, responsible, adult free will has been abused. A man enjoys his sexuality and shares it with his partner for the mutual enjoyment of both, not as an excuse to avoid intimacy. A man celebrates that, in sex, the woman always comes first.
A man doesn’t belong to a political party, but learns form all positions and makes his own informed decisions.
A man dresses consciously, whether for the beach, hanging out on the couch or for a formal dinner.
A modern man doesn’t hunt to kill, unless he plans to feed himself and his family, but to test his hunting skills and make contact with his primal masculine energies. He honors the life — and death — of the animal as his ancient ancestors did. A man never allows an animal to suffer. When the same intents can be experienced with a hunting photograph, then bullets are put aside.
A man is a protector of the environment.
A man obeys just laws and fights unjust laws and is thoughtful in his distinction of the two.
A man is harmless, but will defend himself, his family and his country if need be.
A man is respectful of differing points of view.
A man doesn’t take personal credit, but if credit is offered, he accepts it gratefully and humbly.
A man listens.
A man does not complain and certainly never whines. Though he does share his feelings.
A man performs his work with respect and integrity, or he finds new work that fosters these energies. A man knows that all work is honorable, whether a banker or a trash hauler. And he knows that the greatest work is that which helps others.
A man is gentle, kind, thoughtful.
A man is his own man.
A man is not prejudiced or racist or sexist; he accepts the complexity and diversity of life.
A man knows how to dance.
A man knows the difference between an ale, a beer, a scotch and a bourbon.
A man does not drink anything with an umbrella in it.
A man does not text message (my bad).
A man does not say, “My bad.”
A man speaks to another in person or on the phone rather than hiding behind email and message services.
A man does not spend added time with the computer or tv when he can be taking a walk or having a talk with his partner or child. A man doesn’t play video games unless it is with his child. A man does not read comic books unless it is to his children.
A man clears the path ahead and tests the water first.
A man knows how to build a fire, find true north, and read a geographic map.
A man, on occasion — literally — howls at the full moon.
A man faces his fears and help others face theirs.
A man does not dictate but encourages and supports.
A man doesn’t raise his voice: he doesn’t need to.
A man doesn’t raise his fist; he doesn’t need to. Violence is always his last choice. But when forced to act, he does so without hesitation.
A man is not weak, but also knows there is strength and healing power in vulnerability.
A man is both sturdy oak and bending willow.
A man builds things to last.
A man places his name on his creations.
A man accepts responsibility for his actions, does not lie, or pass the blame, and always apologizes when an apology is required.
A man does not seek revenge but closure.
A man is compassionate and empathetic.
A man holds his partner’s hand.
A man champions the best in himself and others.
A man enjoys competition and is never a sore loser. And he’ll stay to encourage the last one across the finish line.
A man never cheats.
A man is not afraid to cry to share his powerful emotional life.
A man shares without hesitation, even to his last dollar.
Too much? Unrealistic? Impossible?
Suck it up.
Be a man.