5 things every man should know
I think every boy who wants to attain the title of being a “Man” should strive to attain some variation of what I’m about to say. A lot of articles have been floating around social media about the evolution of dating as you get older and I felt like some things were romanticized that in reality, should be brought out more bluntly. For everyone else, I’d like to argue that because someone is older, it does not mean that they are a “Man”. I’ve met a lot of 25, 30+ year old “boys”, and have shockingly met 20, 21 year olds who can be labeled “Men”. I feel that this list will give insight as to what characterizes us males as “Men” and certain traits that give us the privilege, not right to claim this title.
1) A Man and Emotions. Yes, we all feel them, women and men alike but “Men” should have a solid grasp on what gets exposed and what doesn’t. There’s all this talk about “controlling” emotions but I think the word “control” is thrown around as if a Man can tell himself what to feel and what not to. This is false: males are not programs. As I grew older I found that I don’t get less angry, less happy, less jealous – I just learned when it is appropriate to express certain emotions and when it’s best to suppress them.
2) A Man and Goals. Men should have goals – a Man should identify what he wants. Us “Men” should hone in on some type of goal and strive to achieve it. This isn’t bashing the free spirits aka hipsters, because hey, if that’s your goal then live it to its extent. “Boys” say they’re half this, half that – No. You pick an ideal, goal and you spend your 20’s learning to defend and develop it, and when you get to your 30’s hopefully you get paid for it. If you’re lucky this’ll happen at the same time. When women tell me that a guy has his hands in one too many baskets without a clear consensus on what he wants then he is a “Boy”. A warning though; talk is cheap. Goals aren’t documented, and in most cases aren’t advertised. Trust me, though, when a Man believes in something he is passionate. Passion is evident in action.
3) A Man and Criticality. We live in a vastly changed and still changing media. Our generation has access to a wealth of information through a plethora of sources that was never so freely available. The folly in all this is the regurgitation of current events and thoughts on them. I find that there are very few people who think of ideas or perspectives on developing stories and way too many people repeating or rewording the same information. I realized that everyone is quick to access information, but “Boys” are the quickest in sharing it. “Men” should not read something and automatically believe in it because it strums some emotional chord in them. “Men” should do their due diligence and do their best to understand things thoroughly before providing their insight. If a “Man” hasn’t, he will gladly speak up and say he doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about – “Boys” will read headlines and will do their best to appear knowledgeable. Being critical isn’t about being overly judgmental. It’s soaking in all accessible information from varying perspectives and then deciding where to stand.
4) A Man and being Concise. Far too many times my fellow brethren will go off on tangents only to arrive at a simple point that could have been achieved with fewer words. I am not advocating that a Man should be less talkative, because certain situations warrant it, but overall “Men” should be very quick at arriving to the point they are getting across. This means asking 3-4 questions instead of 15. This goes back to point #3 about criticality. A Man would be a steadfast listener, not in the sense that what is being said is “heard” but in the sense that what is being said is “processed”. Keep things simple – ‘like plants eat sun and shit air’ simple.
5) A Man and himself. A Man is brutally honest with himself, and has an idea of where he is lacking. A lot of “Boys” look in the mirror and think the person standing in front of them is two notches higher on a 1-10 scale than what they actually are. If you’re wittier than you are attractive, avoid loud clubs. If you’re attractive, God bless you, but stay interesting. Getting the opposite sex to be attracted to you isn’t as difficult as some males make it out to be. If you’re attractive half the work is already done, and sadly very little effort needs to be done for women to rave about you. This is perhaps a sad effect of the “physical attractiveness stereotype”, but this is no excuse to be hopeless. After all, there is no such thing as hopeless situations – just hopeless people in situations. Men should be able to proudly admit they suck at something. Men realize they aren’t perfect. They set realistic expectations. “Boys” will promise everything in the world and then some.
— Edward J. Kang, 25, Columbia University