Some men are so naturally maternal, it would take just a small hormone tablet and a few group hugs to become a giant breast. They genuinely like to cuddle and talk about feelings. They listen intently when women talk about serious issues. Things like diet and lifestyle, the inherent strength of alternative medicine and the need to be kind to small furry dogs that defecate on the floor are topics to be debated earnestly over herbal tea and a nice slice of cake.
In many ways, those men have got it totally sussed. How can they go wrong? They’re not your Les Dawson, rollers-in-the-hair-push-up-the-fake-boobs kind of guy. They’re completely earnest and sympathetic, don’t forget shit all the time and are non-threatening to both genders. It goes beyond metrosexuality into pure genius and must be a precursor of a next evolutionary step for us less enlightened blokes.
But here’s the thing. I’m probably being massively stereotypical but, well, they annoy the shit out of me. They’re just too bloody serious. Guys are supposed to have a sense of humour and an appetite to rival a pool full of piranhas at swim-time on a hot day. But you’ll rarely catch these men eating a meat pie, scratching their belly in delight and smacking their bird’s backside in playful ignorance of the fact they’re supposed to be talking about the merits of Arnica for an ouchy knee. They don’t understand the rules of being a bloke. So to do my bit for young men struggling to find the way of a True Man, here’s my top ten tips to being a top fella.
#1 The “Made You Laugh Rule”
OK guys, this one is really really important. It basically goes like this: whatever you say, no matter how inappropriate, unsympathetic or downright rude, even if you are completely in the wrong and should by rights have your testicles nailed to a broad-leafed tree, if you quickly say something witty that gets a genuine belly laugh or involuntary snort (even if it’s quickly stifled by a missus horrified at her own response), then you’re in the clear. No one can give you grief when you make them laugh, it’s the law.
#2 No One Respects A Guy Who Blubs
Unless you failed in Rule #1 and your testicles are indeed in way too close contact with a large tree, hold them in fellas. Women will lie to you. They’ll say it’s ok to let it all out. Don’t for a second believe them. It’ll hang over your head until eventually, you’ll be faced with the choice to either shave your chest wig and read up on Low Carb Diets, or relocate to El Salvador and start life again as a gunslinger to reclaim your masculinity. Just don’t take the risk, I mean, there really isn’t much of a life in gunslinging. Or El Salvador for that matter. Besides, the sight of a big hairy bloke blubbing and blowing a snot bubble isn’t pretty. It won’t get you a sympathy shag. In fact, nothing good can come of this.
#3 Never, Ever, Ever Admit You’re Lost
This one is tricky because women are getting savvy to the fact that as blokes, we naturally despise and see weakness in men that ask for directions. Unfortunately most of us are cursed with an absolute lack of instinct for choosing the right way when faced with a 50-50 guess. You might be forgiven to assume it’s no big deal or that it’s ok to use a GPS, but think about it guys. Twenty thousand years ago, your hairy ancestor was loping through the tall grass looking for lunch. Would he have stopped beside someone who “looks like they’re a local” and asked for directions to the nearest herd of tasty wildebeests? No, indeed not. He’d have smiled confidently, given the bemused bystander a casual wink and leapt into the grass with a flourish. Of course, he might have starved to death, but at least he’d die knowing he’d not humbled himself by admitting his ignorance or succumbed to temptation to rely on technology purposefully imbued with some of the most irritating voices on the planet.
#4 Instructions Are Optional
It’s your instinct to set them aside and dive in. Embrace it. Whether that’s the insanely complicated toy your son is desperate to play with and was supposed to come assembled but arrived in 1,237 individual parts, a rather large tractor, raising small livestock or the latest software package, it makes no difference. Real blokes should just know how to assemble / operate / repair anything and get huge respect from being able to do so. There are however some notable exceptions: a) the washing machine, b) sewing machines and c) The Joy Of Sex, position 37. That one could really hurt you.
#5 When You Reach Age 34, Please Stop Dancing
I’m not entirely sure how this works, but from casual observation of male friends, it seems that sometime between the age of 34 and 38, your ability dance without causing serious emotional damage to onlookers will catastrophically fail. In a cruel twist, your perception of how awesome your moves are will simultaneously begin to soar. To be safe, I simply stopped dancing at age 34 and while I believe it to be a serious blow for the world of modern interpretative dance and dubstep, it’s the responsible choice guys.
#6 Vests Aren’t Cool
Unless you’re Bruce Lee, vests really aren’t cool. In fact, that goes for cardigans, waistcoats and chaps. I don’t care what the practical arguments for them are. They. Simply. Are. Not. Acceptable. Oh and that goes for stupid hats with bobbles and ties with cartoon characters on them. The people who make them are laughing at you, let’s not give them the satisfaction, eh guys?
#7 The “Smile And Nod Rule”
This is surprising, but it actually works pretty well. In any given situation, no matter how ignorant you are of the details of what’s being discussed or proposed, just smile and nod confidently. If you feel in the mood, I like to raise my right eyebrow a fraction for added effect. To avoid being called for your opinion, carefully time an attempt at an interjection into the conversation, pull back and nod again as the speaker finishes their point thereby making them believe you were going to make the same point and gaining a valuable ally in your deception. It works on blokes talking about sport, women who’ve had too much to drink and all Belgians. Oh, and of course the Americans too but then you could sit there with your mouth open for most of your life and still run for President it seems.
#8 Don’t Run Without A Shirt
You’ve all seen them. Joggers. As if they’re not bad enough in their natural state, those abhorrent few that think it’s appropriate to run bare-chested should have their buttocks superglued to a hard plastic garden chair and made to watch repeats of The Cosby Show until they weep for mercy (see Rule #2). Blokes don’t jog. We occasionally saunter, do the odd Dad Shuffle or a micro-sprint to catch balloons snatched out of our kid’s hands by the wind. We don’t jog. Especially not without a football shirt and a crowd of cheering women, lots of mud and the prospect of a pint or two at the end of 90 minutes.
#9 Be Hairy, Proud And Loud
I’m not sure about you, but pre-pubescent life wasn’t much fun for me. Nursing the three pathetic hairs that my chin sprouted at age 14 into the rich wig it is today took a lot of effort. Real men shouldn’t feel the need to pretend that they’re 14 and shave so much they begin to resemble Ken (from Barbie fame) in his Hawaiian Outfit. Take the lead from the legendary Brian Blessed and go bushy and whenever the opportunity presents itself, laugh loudly and smack your ample stomach for good measure. Your missus will appreciate it and you’ll save a fortune on toiletries.
#10 Eat, Drink And Never Trust A Belgian
This last one probably doesn’t need to be said, but it’s important to remember nonetheless. You can never really be sure who’s a Belgian or indeed, a sympathiser. It’s good to be cautious, especially around the French. Real men know this and aren’t afraid to ask the hard questions that might just keep their families safe. Personally, I use the Meat Pie Test to confirm the identity of suspicious individuals. In my experience, a corned beef and potato pie works most effectively since no Belgian would dream of eating one without being exposed by telltale involuntary facial ticks.
So that’s it. Ten rules for an honest bloke to live by. Hope you enjoy. Remember Rule #1.