Often when we hear the phrase “man up” we think of harmful, outdated notions of masculinity. But by modern standards, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Now this piece is to be taken with a light heart, but at the same time understood, kind of like when you’re watching Modern Family or #Blackaf, you know it’s all a laugh but there is still that neatly tucked away lesson to take away. No need to dissect every word, just understand the overall picture.
Manning up will be misinterpreted by many men, manning up doesn’t mean you need to be more masculine. It means being well-rounded and respectful, humble and gracious. Understanding how to man up is more about a man’s self-reflection and adapting to what a new age man looks like. Times are changing and so is the overarching elements that make a man a man.
It’s safe to say that back in the day being a man came down to being traditionally honourable, having a reputation that was judged by peers and family, where integrity and chivalry were primary attributes in a man showcasing his set code of ethics. In the 19th century, the Stoic-Christian honour code referenced ancient Greek philosophy; explaining that a man seeking honour was the epitome of what made a man, this was entwined with a man’s ability to exemplify traits like bravery, sincerity and self-control.
Albert Einstein once said “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” Here, we are trying to address a more modern take on a man and that is, “Good men are like unicorns. Everyone talks about them but nobody has actually seen one.”
So there you have it, we need to uncover these unicorns of a lost realm and redefine what it means to man-up.
No, we don’t mean be simple. A man should know how to do the simple things in life and do them well. Can’t iron a shirt? Learn. Can’t cook? Learn. Can’t say sorry? Learn. A man who is great at the simple things in life makes things work, from cooking to reading, a man needs to spread across all mediums on a basic level in order to become complete.
Understand and appreciate who you are
No person is the same, and men come in all shapes and sizes. If you are tall then understand you are tall and dress accordingly, act accordingly. There is nothing worse than seeing a guy who could block Lebron James driving around in a Mini Cooper or wearing a shirt that’s three sizes too small. Know what you need and plan for it. A man who understands himself and also appreciates who he is naturally oozes confidence (not ego) and recognises how he can be a valuable member in society.
Be honest with yourself
This is the most important, men that need to man up often need to have a hard-honest conversation with themselves. This leads to understanding yourself, whether it be letting go of past events, or understanding you aren’t doing enough in one aspect of life is essential in the process of manning up. It allows for the simple things in life to be addressed and not ignored. Put on a few kilos over the winter? Be honest. Been on autopilot with friends and family? Be honest. This will address a man’s ego and keep it in check, making you confident in the right way.
Keep up to date with current events
That’s right, read the newspaper, browse the web, listen to a podcast. Be informative, know about the world you live in. Too many guys only know what they need to know, rather than knowing what they should know. A man that can carry a conversation and address current events in time as well as understand them is well armed and ready to display intellectual confidence.
Pick up a physical sport
Yes, you, you know who you are, put down the golf club. Put it down! Go and take boxing lessons, MMA is the flavour of the month at the moment and it’s time you got physical. In order to man up, you need to venture outside the confounds of the ninth hole, put down the nine iron and get out there! A local gym is another quick way to start getting physical and sculpting the right attitude.
Drink like a man
This is often misinterpreted. Do not skull a keg or drink out of a shoe. Whilst that may be awesome once or twice, a man that drinks like a college student is in a serious need of manning up. Hold your liquor and venture outside the realm of Pale Ale and Hops. Mix it up a little, buy a cocktail without looking at it like it’s Brussel sprouts. Know what you like to drink and have a special drink only you order. It shows you care about what you like and you know what you want.
Here are five drinks to keep in mind when approaching the bar:
1. Martini — Straight up is no ice and if you don’t want the green olive don’t order it dirty!
2. Rum and Coke — A drink that never fails, Captain Morgan is the usual pick with a dash of coke.
3. Negroni — this is a drink usually consumed before a heavy meal.
4. Classic Manhattan — A drink right out of New York City, be sure to give the cherry to a close friend or romantic interest!
5. Tom Collins — I don’t know Tom Collins but if he is as good as this drink tastes he is one hell of a man. It’s basically gin on the rocks, a perfect hot summers day drink.
Tighten up that vocab
We aren’t saying you need to be a literary genius, but do lose the loose-end words you don’t need. Like the great man Barack Obama, you can convey a message far stronger by losing words you don’t need. You know which ones they are. Here are some worth removing:
1. That — easily confused when referencing friends, for instance: I have friends that — should be I have friends who.
2. Went — We can get lazy with using this word, try using the verb you are explaining. For instance: I flew to Paris not I went to Paris.
3. Honestly — When we use honestly we are trying to add emphasis to a certain point, it can be tautologise and lazy.
4. Very — On point adjectives don’t need qualifiers, if you’re very happy try saying you are over the moon, or ecstatic.
5. Really — Unless you have lived under a rock there is no need to modify an adjective anymore, for the love of everything on this earth don’t repeat really to add emphasis. For instance: I’m really really mad. Just don’t do it!
6. Just — This word will make anything you are about to say weaker. Lose it now.
7. Maybe — No time for maybe, it oozes a lack of confidence.
8. Things — You put down the Lego set a long time ago, everything has a noun use it.
9. Never — You don’t need to be so definitive, use less invasive ways of conveying the same point.
10. Always — This word lands people in holes, put the shovel down and use something less permanent.
Have a broad wardrobe
Too many men have lob sided wardrobes. Too many suits and up-market clothing can give the wrong impression. Adversely, too many white t-shirts and V-necks give the impression you are attending way too many music festivals and spending way too much time living from 9 pm. Own a suit, buy basic t-shirts but have them all in moderation. Buy some sneakers but own a great pair of black shoes for when you need them. Spend time and effort building a strong wardrobe, one that will cover all bases.
Ask for help
A real man will know when it’s time to ask for help. Too many men are too afraid to ask for help when they need it most. According to Beyond Blue, 1 out of 8 men will experience depression and 1 in 5 men will experience anxiety at one point in their lives. Men are said to be less likely to ask for help than women with only 1 in 4 men seeking treatment for mental health issues. If you need a helping hand, someone who knows none of your friends and can give you a non-bias take on life events man up and get in contact. For more info head here.
In order for a man to man up, he has to cover this with ease. Respecting women isn’t opening a door for them, whilst it’s great and shows you carry an aspect of chivalry, it does not mean you respect women. Guys, when they are out with mates, change dramatically. It’s the way a man carries himself away from a woman that conveys respect and understanding. Even more so it’s about being equal. If a man can understand a woman is an equal partner, whether it be, in business, sport or relationships he is a man’s man.