From the Archives: How To Be A Man (According To Society)
How To Be A Man (According To Society)
A Comedic Essay by William Grant
*This essay was originally published in Columbia College Chicago's The Lab Review Vol: 2
Being a man is not an easy role to play.
It’s a role you have to throw yourself into, a role where you have to give 100% of yourself 110% of the time. It’s not a joke and it’s not always fun, but, damn it, you’re a man and you’re not here to have fun.
The first steps to being a man involve the body.
This involves not just a physical process, but a mental and spiritual one as well. Your body must a fine tuned, sexually driven, perfectly put together machine. You have to breathe masculinity, walk sex, and spit testosterone. Your body is your instrument and you must use it to play the song of man.
You get a membership to a gym. This is important: do not go to Planet Fitness. Planet Fitness is for fat cowards who are afraid of a real gym experience. That’s not you. You need to grunt and yell and scream “Hoorah!” as you toss those eighty pound dumbbells back on the bench. Go to LA Fitness or somewhere else that encourages yelling.
When you go to the gym, you carry a gym bag because you’re fucking serious about this work out. The bag has no frills, very basic, very black. If you can find one with Puma or Adidas printed on the side then you’re golden. You’ve probably been working out since college, most likely between morning sex with your girl and that afternoon class you always skipped.
Your bag is filled with the essentials: a change of clothes for when you’re done, deodorant, shampoo (no name brands, no conditioner), second pair of sneakers and socks. No books, no magazines for the treadmill. The treadmill is for sweating and the ESPN highlights on the flat screens.
You’ve already got your work out clothes on (basketball shorts and a sleeveless shirt) so you toss your bag in a locker and get to fucking work.
You start with the treadmill, running, not walking, a mile to get your heart rate up. Then it’s the weights. You hit the pounds hard for at least two hours (NEVER less). The moms, most with kids still in Pre-K, watch you. You notice.
When you’re done, you head back to the locker rooms and hit the shower. You have to shower at the gym. Only boys shower at home and you’re a man with muscles, pubes, and nothing to hide. When you’re in the showers, you chat with the other fellas. The conversation will always shift to women. If you’re the man that respects women, you stay silent, laughing or nodding occasionally so you don’t seem like a douche. If you’re the playboy kind of man, you join in the conversation. Hell, you fucking lead the conversation. You tell all about your conquests and one night stands. You tell’em about that girl that got on her knees for you at the movie theatre and that time you went down on some waitress in the restaurant restroom. Nobody comments on the semis that most of you are getting. Everyone except you. You pride yourself in the amount of control you have over your domain. Those little boys.
With your body hair, you have to walk a line.
You need it, it has to be there. Hair and manhood go hand in hand. It’s important to have it in all the necessary places: chest, legs, groin. It’s also important to not have it in all the necessary places: back and ass. Your chest can grow free most of the time. You’re lucky in that most men don’t have to worry about it getting unruly. On occasion, you may wish to trim or shave certain edges to keep it within the general area. This is allowed. Never touch your legs. Now, the area most men will struggle with is the groin. First, NEVER shave your pubic hair. Never. It doesn’t matter if that guy in your favorite porno did it. It never looks as good on you. Yes, it makes your dick look bigger, but you’re meant to have hair down there. Don’t remove it. Trimming is key. Always trim. Not too much, but enough so you’re not suffocating your girl in rug every time she blows you. That results in fewer blowjobs and men get blowjobs, damn it! If you’re one of the unfortunate men that struggles with back and/or ass hair, rip it off quick. Wax that shit down. No woman wants to run her hands down your back while you’re pile-driving her and feel like she’s getting rug burn on her fingertips. If the only hair on your ass is a light dusting of peach fuzz, you should be safe to leave it. The most important rule when handling the hair situation is to never look like you manscaped. It should look like it’s growing or not growing the way God intended.
Now when you’re dressing yourself, you have to be careful.
It’s important to look good, real good, but not like you put too much time into getting ready. You should look careless, but confident and sexy. You have to pick how you’re gonna play it.
If you’re a business man, you wear a suit or some form of a slacks and button-down shirt combo. Your shirt will always be tucked in and wrinkle free. The pants should look freshly ironed. The tie needs to be nice with minimal patterns. Stripes are acceptable. You don’t need a pocket square for work. It’s important to never go too far. Your hair should be combed and slicked with some kind of gel. Always be clean-shaven, always. A beard, while possible to pull off, can mess up your entire appearance. Be careful.
If you’re not the business man and instead go for the bachelor lifestyle (which probably includes a job as a contractor, bartender, or musician, among others), you have more freedom in your costume choices. You can make a lot work for you, but you tend to stick to jeans and a t-shirt. You like your comfort and why should you deviate from that? You don’t have to answer to anyone or anything. You are your own man. Your t-shirts tend to be tighter to show off the muscles you’ve procured from all that time at the gym. Your jeans are worn and relaxed, they hang low on your hips. Sometimes, when you feel the occasion requires you to look a little nicer, you bring out a button down. Unlike your business man brother, these are not tucked into your waist band. You let it hang loose and relaxed, the top few buttons undone to show off the man fur you’ve been growing since adolescence. Since you don’t have a job that requires you to look formal, you can let the hair on your head be free. If you can pull off the “just rolled out of bed” look, good for you. This look is not easy and only works for select men. Most guys have to comb and if you are one of these guys than don’t forget the most important rule of grooming as a man: never look like you spent time on it. Your hairstyle should look like it only took a couple run throughs with a comb. Remember to take care of your hair. Women love to run their fingers through your hair, so it should feel good when they do. Using conditioner at the gym is a definite no, but always embrace it in the privacy of your own shower. Outside of your shampoo and conditioning routine, don’t use too many products. Products will make it look like you spent too much time on your hair which, as you now know, is a no-no.
When you’re with your friends, you drink beer. The only time water is an acceptable choice during a social outing is at an expensive restaurant and when you’re the Designated Driver. Beer is the drink of men. It keeps hair on your chest and jizz in your balls. Never falter on this rule. You drink your beer and you talk sports, women, and work. Scratch your chest and adjust your dick. Never cry or show any emotion that doesn’t involve humor, anger, or boredom. You are with your people and you don’t do that with your people.
Now sex is something that has to be important. It drives your life. It recharges your batteries and prepares you for battle.
You must have sex often. The kind of women you choose will bleed into what kind of sex you have. If you’re the businessman who respects women and is a friend of monogamy, you might get sex fairly often. It will usually be what your friends consider “vanilla sex.” It won’t be wild and you certainly won’t be referring to your penis as Christian Grey. You will focus on her, making it enjoyable for her. You’ll be tender and attentive, being mindful of her pleasure as well as her emotions. It will be enjoyable because all sex is, but it won’t be everything you crave it to be. Deal with it. On the other hand, if you decide to be the playboy bachelor, you can expect your sex life to be feral and savage, like an undomesticated wolf. You’ll pick up girls in bars and fuck them at their place before walking back to your place feeling like a fox. Your pick up techniques will be refined and sure proof. Pick up lines are for little boys and sexually insecure college kids. If you want a girl, you just walk up and get her. She’ll be moist and begging for you to take her home. You’ll bang girls who are untamed in the bedroom and you’ll be good at it. You better be, otherwise you should just put on a suit and get married because you’re done. You start every evening by looking yourself in the mirror and saying “I’m gonna find a girl and sexually ruin her for all others because I’m a man.” And you will do just that.
Being a man is an important role to play and not everyone is up for the job. But you, you are a man and therefore must adhere to all the rules and regulations that come with the part. You must be strong, you must be confident, you must be sexual, and, above all else, you must never be gay. Men aren’t gay.