I keep hearing about a lot of women who want a “real man”, “gentleman”, “refined man” et al. Ironically, these same women in real life end up hooking up with an excuse of a man! Those wimpy, unsure, spineless, rudderless, approval-seeking, self-pitying breed of men who nobody really looks up to. A real man has personality, an edge, his own opinions and some principles which he will never compromise on. Despite that the manliness of men has always been challenged throughout history and popular culture. But are women woman enough to recognize and respect a “real man” who they declare they want? It’s left to be seen.

I therefore decided to come up with my own list of essential characteristics that I highly admire in the men(and women) that I have interacted with throughout my life including my own parents.

What makes a man, a Man?

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  1. Integrity- For me, integrity translates directly to dependability. I can’t trust someone whose actions don’t match their words most of the time. Most people find being predictable to be boring. But if there’s no consistency in actions, values, principles then it becomes difficult for trust to develop in relationships. We take the presence of integrity for granted in our closest relationships which encourages us to “lean on” our partners, open up to them, be vulnerable in front of them. Which means that if our partner has said before that they love us, we are naturally inclined to believe that they have our best interest in mind and that their actions will be in accordance with that sentiment. That is to say that we trust our partner to have integrity. And that’s why integrity comes first!
  2. Generosity- It’s an extremely charming quality to have in a man or woman. The inclination to give without expecting much in return. It could mean, being generous with love, warmth, praise, gifts, attention, hugs, warmth, appreciation, help. A generous spirit speaks a lot about a person. Look out for it!
  3. Commitment- Commitment comes where convenience ends. We don’t need commitment to be on Facebook all day. But we need it to actually accomplish something in real life. It takes commitment to work on and weed out our flaws. It takes commitment to stay on in a relationship when things don’t look too bright. It takes commitment to workout when all we feel like doing is sitting on our behinds. Some people always have one foot in the door when they’re in a relationship because of a notion that being commitment-phobic is cute. It is not really. It doesn’t take any commitment to sleep around with ten women but it takes commitment to make one woman incredibly happy even after ten years. Yeah whatever. Call me old-fashioned but I find commitment very sexy!
  4. Self-assurance/Confidence- A man who has confidence does not wait to seek approval from others, including from women. A confident man acts according to his own will without feeling a need for appeasement. He can call a spade a f*&%ing spade. A confident man doesn’t have to roar nor does he have to discuss his romps with other women to prove how cool he is. A confident man doesn’t feel the need to come across as funny at someone else’s expense. A confident man stands up not just for himself but also for his people, if need be.
  5. Compassion/Caring– An understanding and sensitivity toward his fellow human beings is integral to being a man. These days I see people going a little overboard by being verbally compassionate towards the terrible suffering of the children of Syria but being stone-cold towards their own family! That’s NOT compassion, I am sorry. Does he walk on the traffic-side of the road when you’re together? Does she give you a spontaneous shoulder/foot rub when she knows you’re tired? Does he make himself available when you’re feeling low? Does she buy you a little gift(it could be anything…doesn’t matter) to cheer you up when you’re super-stressed? Does he open doors for you? Is he courteous with his car-cleaners and waiters? If the answers are yes then that’s because of compassion.
  6. Passion– I find people without passion rather dull. They’re not passionate in love nor in life. It’s all like an attitude of passivity; allowing life to operate on auto-pilot. A passionate person is naturally motivated and inspired by something higher than himself. Although I understand that not all of us are fortunate to find an occupation or hobby that we’re passionate about. But that can’t be an excuse to not BE passionate. There’s passion even in love. People who love passionately, allow themselves to feel unhindered emotion for this loved one, they allow themselves to be pulled by their heart, they don’t blunt what they feel under the guise of humour or some other excuse. Passionate people don’t feel ashamed of what they feel. There also could be a passion for sport, self-improvement, music, literature, dance, community service, travel, motivational speaking etc. The list is endless.
  7. Ambition– It’s ambition that drives men. Especially when the men they look up to are achievers, it fuels ambition. To me, a man who’s not ambitious, is a man who doesn’t care to give his personal best. He’s someone who’s unwilling to take risks and digest the possibility of failure. Such men come across as self-satisfied and complacent. Ambition doesn’t just mean talking about becoming a billionaire over and over again. It means doing whatever is needed to achieve that goal. Better life, better body, better mind, better money, better skills etc. Ambition and self-improvement are in that sense a similar thing.
  8. Responsibility– A man takes total responsibility for his life. 100%. No exceptions. There’s a difference between that and blame. Blame is just shifting the responsibility to someone or something else. A responsibility is taken with a resolve to face the consequences without complaining or making the situation better…again without complaining. Really, nobody like a whinoceros! A responsible man will speak and act with thought of consequences not just for himself but also for others. A responsible man is an asset to anyone’s life. He’ll take the responsibility of driving his friends when they all want to drink. He’s the one who’ll wait to drive a lady friend back home even if it’s inconvenient. He takes responsibility for whatever best he can do in his most cherished relationships to make sure that it grows and is well-nurtured. A responsible man is self-reliant. He doesn’t have to shout at his mother or girlfriend to find his socks. He takes responsibility and enjoys it.
  9. Humour- A man who can’t laugh at himself is a sour puss! But at the same time, I am beginning to see sometimes that being funny is overrated. It’s almost like it makes up for not having everything else! “….yeah he’s quite an asshole, but he’s really funny!” BAM! Redemption for being asshole. For instance, I was performing in Germany couple of years back and one such “funny” guy thought it would be hilarious to keep my guitar-case in the middle of the road, after my performance ended. So apparently the joke was: “oh where’s the guitar?!!! It’s in the middle of a road hahaha”.  I therefore know that humour is very subjective. But there are still some kinds of funny that are unbecoming of a man/woman. For example, making fun of your guy’s cojones or of your wife’s grandma-style underwear in front of people, your girlfriend’s ass or your boyfriend’s impotence. These are NEVER funny. There’s a difference between being funny and being abusive/offensive. Unfortunately in such cases humour is a lost art. But just yesterday I met a fine young man who’s one of the most silent people I have met. And yet he’s so damn funny! He didn’t need to keep yapping all the time to be funny. He just said these 2-3 hilarious things yesterday that had us in splits!  So there, a nice and subtle Chanandler Bong.
  10. Love- Last but not the least. What’s a man who cannot or has not loved! There’s really nothing cute about a man who’s a commitment-phobe. Since we’re on the topic of Chanandler Bong, even Chandler grew a pair and took steps forward when he was in love. EVEN CHANDLER. He had issues, he worked on them. He’s happily married with two kids and Joey. So what if your heart broke once? You’re sit over there and cry like a girl? Or set out on making yourself a man that someone would want to be with? What’s a man who cannot show love and affection? What use is he to anyone who is not passionate about the one he loves?

So this is my list of the “real man”. But these qualities apply to women as well.

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