It struck me the other day, having just trimmed my moustache and assembled a barbecue, all by myself, that perhaps I could finally call myself a man.

Who ya calling kid?

Growing facial hair and cooking animals seems like something men do.

Tonight I’m going to a poker night. A man’s poker night. For men. With games for men like cricket and cards and drinks for men like Tooheys New and some sort of brown liquor like Scotch.

“Chris Paine. Man”. It doesn’t sound quite right. But neither does boy/youth/kid/chief/champ/ace or tiger. Definitely not tiger.

I recently turned 27. The barbecue I assembled which, just to repeat I managed all by myself, was given to me by my girlfriend. The moustache I trimmed was legitimate - my first - and grown in support of Movember.

I’m yet to reach other milestones like home ownership, fatherhood or making a piece of furniture. My hands don’t look worn like those belonging to the “real men” in the latest round of VB ads. I recently researched “playing golf” on and I rarely pay for beer in cash. I’m good at cooking salmon but rubbish at fixing cars. I’m comfortable wearing salmon but I’ve never owned a proper flanno (thick cotton check shirts from General Pants don’t count).

I asked my fellow Punchers what it meant to be a man. Ant reckons you need to be able to master skills which once fell almost exclusively in the women’s basket, like cooking, cleaning and child-rearing to be a real man these days.

Lucy says real men boast integrity, smell nice and wear trousers. I say real mean know how to use “trousers” in a sentence. I’m not implying Lucy’s a man.

Tory (M) says real men can fix bung toilets themselves. Some may say that’s a turn-on. Too much information?

All I can say for now is that, despite the possibly antiquated notions of manhood that a moustache or a barbecue may bestow on a young up-and-comer, I finally feel like a man. Whatever that means.

I can rely on myself and be relied upon. I take responsibility for my actions. I treat people with respect. I no longer see kids as the place where fun goes to die. I’m more comfortable in my own skin, even if that skin is becoming increasingly marked permanently by swallows and self-affirming mantras and, soon, I don’t know, a Japanese-themed half-sleeve or something.

I’ll wrap this up before I get too philosophical. Men, when did you realise you were a man? Ladies, what qualities do you look for in a man?

On Twitter:@christoforpaine, man.

Comments on this post close at 8pm AEST

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    • Fezzbo says:

      11:48am | 07/12/12

      You’re a man if you take responsibility for your past; accept your own imperfections and endeavor to make those your strengths; make decisions based on those around you as well as yourself; do all these things while juggling 5 chainsaws and driving a V8 Supercar…

    • Tubesteak says:

      05:21pm | 07/12/12

      Agree with some of that.
      A man is someone that supports himself. He doesn’t rely on others. He is self-sufficient and self-reliant.
      He doesn’t blame others or the system for a life he doesn’t like
      He takes responsibility for his actions and their outcomes
      He has abandoned childish fantasies such as being a rockstar, sportstar, movie star etc and has knuckled down into a real profession/trade and is making a go of it
      He doesn’t accept poor behaviour from others and puts people in their place as soon as they transgress

    • Jamie says:

      11:54am | 07/12/12

      The day you and your dad look at each other as equals

    • Bane says:

      02:48pm | 07/12/12

      I like this one.
      However, I’m in a step role to a 12 yr old, still a boy but progressing wonderfully ( primarily due to his excellent mother). But this boy is also more man in so many ways compared to his biological father.

      And while my father and I look at each other equally, I will never have to go through the hardships my father did, thanks to him being more of a man than his father.

    • Bane says:

      03:06pm | 07/12/12

      Other skills include;
      Tapping a keg, reverse parking, reversing with a trailer, cutting your own hair on multiple occasions, had at least 1 broken bone, dressing up as a woman at least once to a party, bench press at least your own body weight, had a woman cling to you for protection, change flat tyre, build a camp fire, chucked at least 1 ‘sickie’ for illegitimate reasons. Having a sense of humor, and and inability to take offence to mere words.

    • Markus says:

      11:58am | 07/12/12

      The day I stopped caring what anybody else thinks.

      That is not to say that I don’t seek out and listen to other people’s advice where desired, or take people’s opinions into account for things that affect more than just me, or admit when I made the wrong decision and accept any consequences.

      But you will never be more free in this life than when you are truly able to make an informed (or not) decision about something and give absolutely zero f**ks whether other people approve or not.

    • T says:

      12:20pm | 07/12/12

      Sounds perfect to me! The minute you stop caring what others think and live your life how you want other people start caring what you think.

      My Boyfriend has just started to understand this (he is 34) and I couldn’t be any more proud/ attracted or in love with him because of it.

      Being comfortable in your own skin and doing things because you want to, that’s a real man!

      I’m a woman BTW wink

    • Mahhrat says:

      01:20pm | 07/12/12

      Good call Markus.

    • Pattem says:

      03:19pm | 07/12/12

      Being able to say “Sorry” is really important.  Too easy to be too proud, too stubborn, or too angry to admit you are wrong as a man can be a really big hurdle to get over.

      Been there, done that!

    • Anubis says:

      12:01pm | 07/12/12

      “Ant reckons you need to be able to master skills which once fell almost exclusively in the women’s basket, like cooking, cleaning and child-rearing to be a real man these days.”

      Since when has Ant been a role model for men? You need a wider peer group to refer to.

    • Adam says:

      12:02pm | 07/12/12

      I like how you’ve tried to be hipster with the glasses but ended up looking like a poor Specsavers imitation. Well done chap.

    • Hel says:

      01:12pm | 07/12/12

      Maybe he just needs glasses??

    • andrew says:

      12:02pm | 07/12/12

      You’re a man when having your parents in your life is optional, not necessary. You’re a man when you can either do everything for yourself, or earn enough to pay someone else to do it. You’re a man when you make all the decisions affecting your life, and live with the consequences. You’re a man when you can be humble enough to admit you don’t know it all, and ask advice from someone who does.
      For me that would have been somewhere between age 20 ( left town to go to uni elsewhere ) and age 23 ( graduated and working full time ).

      Note - moving out of your mummy’s room and marrying a housewife the following day does not render one eligible for man status!

    • David C says:

      01:23pm | 07/12/12

      “You’re a man when you can be humble enough to admit you don’t know it all, and ask advice from someone who does”

      Andrew I will never ever ask anyone for directions

    • Helen says:

      01:30pm | 07/12/12

      So that makes me a man????

    • Stu says:

      12:06pm | 07/12/12

      Hey Chris,
      You are not a ‘man’ if you need to tell people you are a ‘man’.

    • Baloo says:

      12:08pm | 07/12/12

      Chris Paine may not sound right but I think Christopher Paine sound pretty manly, you could be like “Chris offers pain! and only pain!”, and then do some cool wrestling moves on some chump or something.

    • Steve says:

      12:09pm | 07/12/12

      i found 30 , was the first true feeling that i felt , to being given a ticket to being a real man, and a ticket to the adult World. All that high school crap, and stuff in your 20’s of"being young gone”. I find in Australia culture now, as a country maybe coz more generation X,Y,Zdders, are haveing kids later, and staying at home later. Your 20’s are a glorified teenage years, just only difference you get paid money to work, and go to Uni. But maturity wise no different to 17, or 18 yr old kids at schoolies. Where as baby bomer men grew up faster , and more mature. By mid 20’s , 25 many had a full time job, owned a house, married with 2 kids. None of this be a young guy, explore the world , free to be me crap. In many ways the baby boomer men were real men, not urban kids, who have to much time to contemplate and think. In other words the movie “reality bites”, 90’s is when all this Generation X,Y, and now Z , crap kicked in, . Modern day Men in there 20’s are the most annoying people or demographic just about going around. Funny thing is they don’t realise how annoying they are to men int here 30’s or baby boomers generation like me.
      They ramble on about there appearance all day, spend too much time looking in the mirror, all believe it’s there destiny to be successful, and all this other crap, they want it all.
      They should watch the 1980’s move “the big chill”, or see the movie “The Deer Hunter”, but give them a reality check on real life or the real World, and bring them down to earth.

    • Bob says:

      01:30pm | 07/12/12

      Depends how you’ve grown up I reckon. I’m seeing a lot of grown men, 40s and 50s, getting about like they’ve got a 20 year old’s head on an old man’s shoulders. You can play the generation game, but the boomers don’t scrub up next to the soldier gen, so bare that in mind.

      (A Conservative party member did, after all, dub the boomers the ‘selfish giant’ as well)

      On the wider subject, what makes a man has been talked up since Socrates.

      I’m just going to go with what he had to say. The four virtues:


      Don’t know how keen I am on piety, but the other three sound about right.

    • Economist says:

      12:10pm | 07/12/12

      Is there any set definition anymore? Have stereotypes been broken? We’re a diverse bunch these days. There are plenty of people who accept us for our shortcomings.

      What do ladies look for? Well they may look for certain characteristics but the settle for less wink Except in my case of course. My wife married up to the perfect male specimen wink

    • T says:

      12:25pm | 07/12/12

      I’m glad you claimed it nowIi can go home and say…

      “Sorry babe you are not the perfect male specimen, Economist is…”

      And give him a cuddle, poor thing.

    • Philosopher (sans definite article) says:

      12:56pm | 07/12/12

      so this is your wife’s second marriage? smile

    • Meph says:

      01:09pm | 07/12/12

      so you’re saying that real men are modest too? wink

    • Don says:

      01:10pm | 07/12/12

      Real men don’t use emoticons.

    • Anubis says:

      01:45pm | 07/12/12

      Economist - “My wife married up to the perfect male specimen”

      Who was that Economist? Were you upset when it happened?

    • Jim says:

      01:54pm | 07/12/12

      I approve the Don’s message

    • Economist says:

      03:23pm | 07/12/12

      Goddamnit @Anubis and @Philosopher I left my self open with that statement. I’ll get you both back one day.

      @Don :-D Is Don. Is good.

      @T well my wife constantly claims she one lotto with me and there are lots of lotto winners. So your babe can still be perfect.

      @Meph modesty is for the weak. In this day and age. You constantly have to spruik yourself.

    • The Philosopher says:

      12:15pm | 07/12/12

      I had this same conversation with my wife the other day while watching the idiot box. If you believe what TV advertisements tell us, to be a man you either:
      1) Use your hands to fish, build, paint, or drink (think every beer ad out there)
      2) Have the IQ of a chimpanzee and act like a child
      I often wonder if women were portrayed the way men are in some ads (e.g., moronic), what sort of public response there would be? I’m sure there would be an outcry and the ad would be pulled immediately. Do we men put up with it due to sheer apathy? Or do we just not take ourselves so seriously? Interested in what others think about this…

    • James says:

      12:52pm | 07/12/12

      We don’t spend (enough) time being the victim, that’s exclusively the role of the modern female.

    • ibast says:

      01:13pm | 07/12/12

      Yep I’ve got a nose for reverse sexism in ads.  there’s one for an oven cleaning product out there at them moment where the catchphrase is something like “it’s so easy even the man of the house can do it”.  Imagine if roles were reversed.

    • Helen says:

      01:35pm | 07/12/12

      You really think there aren’t a huge number of ads portraying women as stupid, or ditzy? I notice the ditzy women, you notice the moronic men.

    • Philosopher says:

      01:46pm | 07/12/12

      by discussing in such a whiny manner, how hard-done men are (sniff, why are the girls teasing me, mummy?) the three of you have thrown doubt onto your membership of the Man’s Club. You will have to re-apply when your tears dry and you can learn to laugh at yourselves again.

    • James says:

      03:04pm | 07/12/12

      But that’s the whole point mate, Its completely fine for men to be emotional and “whiney”. Being a man is not about how much crap you can absorb or dish out. Being a man means being yourself.

    • Baloo says:

      03:36pm | 07/12/12

      Advertisers know what they are doing, they know what works and what doesn’t to sell a product. When I see men doing stupid stunts on an advert and the men are acting similar to gorillas, personally, I’m not getting offended but rather thinking “Yeah!, man stuff!”, I think it’s best to just laugh at yourself about it.

      Have you ever used oven cleaner, last time I did, I swear I thought I was going to die.

    • JoniM says:

      12:22pm | 07/12/12

      Real men catch salmon, but never cook or wear it !
      You still have a way to go young fella !

    • AdamC says:

      12:39pm | 07/12/12

      “Real men catch salmon, but never cook or wear it !”

      In other words, real men like sashimi?

      I am down with that.

    • Fred says:

      12:37pm | 07/12/12

      You’re not a man until you can wear a poncho, sheep skin vest, and puncy cowboy hat all the while smoking a pen cigar and yet still looking like one tough mofo like Clint Eastwood.

    • Helen says:

      04:17pm | 07/12/12

      I believe Clint Eastwood would make wearing a dress look manly smile

    • dancan says:

      12:38pm | 07/12/12

      You’re a man when you stop writing existential articles questioning whether you’re a man or not, and instead just get on with life

    • Poita says:

      12:50pm | 07/12/12

      When your dick looks like it’s it’s own entity, rather than just a little worm attached to your body.

      Imo the last of the real men were the WW2 generation. Real men are so few as to be insignificant. Too much opportunism, greed, corruption, and all sorts distasteful stuff going on for there to justify any notion of there being any men in the world.

      Same goes for women. What makes a woman? How come we never say that?

    • Bob says:

      02:20pm | 07/12/12

      Not allowed to, I think.

      Women have no idea how to be ‘real women’, hell if we’re going to talk about there being a lack of real men around these days we should be fair about it.

      What happens when you squash gender roles? Headless chooks with no idea what their genitals signify.

    • ByStealth says:

      03:23pm | 07/12/12

      Traditionally girls become women after going through puberty. Its a biological thing. Boys becoming men was seen as completing a Rite of Passage.

    • ronny jonny says:

      04:14pm | 07/12/12

      “When your dick looks like it’s it’s own entity, rather than just a little worm attached to your body. “
      You made me LOL. Can real men LOL?

    • Mitch says:

      12:52pm | 07/12/12

      “I can rely on myself and be relied upon. I take responsibility for my actions. I treat people with respect.”

      I think this just makes you an adult, regardless of gender.

    • Frank says:

      12:54pm | 07/12/12

      sounds kinda gay and as a gay man i find that exciting

    • Rebecca says:

      01:04pm | 07/12/12

      My definition of a real man? One who is mature, respectful, responsible and loving towards others. Real men can come in either flanno shirts and footy shorts or pink shirts and skinny jeans - it’s the way they act that puts them on either side of the man/boy line smile

    • Trevor says:

      01:07pm | 07/12/12

      When you can live up to your wife’s expectations.

      Hence the only real men out there are widowers…

    • iansand says:

      01:08pm | 07/12/12

      You are a grownup when you realise that what people who you do not know think of you is not very important.

    • Jamie O'Brien says:

      01:11pm | 07/12/12

      Mate. I think the fact that you have identified the issue, made an effort to understand who you are, by taking responsibility for your actions past and present, while making every effort to make good, healthy decisions for yourself and your partner, you have become a man. Well done mate I think you are there. It’s not an overnight process, and definately one where you can have fun along the way!

    • Edster says:

      01:11pm | 07/12/12

      Real Men do what they have to do for their family; focus on the future; can have a laugh at their own expense; aren’t obsessed with their appearance, but keep in shape.  They know when and when not to speak; and know a bullshitter when they see one. 

      But most of all - you know that you can rely on them.

    • Another Chris says:

      01:15pm | 07/12/12

      Real Men don’t need to prove they’re a man to anyone. They go do the Doctors when they’re sick. They don’t believe their wife belongs in the kitchen and they have a go at fixing things themselves before they ask for help. They Defend they’re family in public, even if they tell them off in private. They stick to their word and don’t buy into gossip. They don’t emotionally drivel everything onto Social Networking sites and they don’t give a crap about what everyone else things about them…only those that they keep on the inner circle for accountability…which every man should have.

    • Renee says:

      01:16pm | 07/12/12

      A man becomes a man when he has a wife and children to support and love.

    • Rebecca says:

      02:06pm | 07/12/12

      Too bad if you’re infertile or gay or don’t want kids.

    • Bob says:

      02:22pm | 07/12/12

      Yeah right, so when does a woman become a woman?

    • Real Economist says:

      01:19pm | 07/12/12

      You will be a man when you stop asking yourself this question, writing about your self-doubt and having it publishing.

    • Mahhrat says:

      01:26pm | 07/12/12

      This article hints around a very important truth, but then retreats safely into stereotypes.  You’re still allowing yourself to be defined by those around you.  That *can* be okay, but beware you’re doing it for you, not for them.

      At it’s simplest?  You are a man when you say you are.  In the same way a woman is now not just a home-making cook with an apron, gushing over the new microwave she bought with her husband’s money, men are no longer brutish Mr Fix-Its who mow the lawn, earn the bread and work 12 hours a day.

      A man can be a CEO, or he can be a stay-home parent.  A woman can do the same thing.

      A man can become a woman, a woman become a man.

      If society still has stereotypes that it wants to shoehorn men into after fifty years of progressive thinking, that is society’s sole issue.  Where it becomes wrong - health care funding, child rearing, and unrealistic behavioural expectations being three - are when those old views are still enshrined in law and social circles.

      Be the man you want to be.  You can’t have it all - I leave that particular delusion to fundamental feminists - but you can have what you want if you’re reasonable, responsible and considerate of those around you.

    • fml says:

      01:44pm | 07/12/12

      What were to happen, what would be the consequences if this article was reversed and people were asking what makes a real woman?

      Interesting thought.

    • Mervyn Fawoud says:

      02:52pm | 07/12/12

      Well if you base it entirely on what is portrayed in TV shows and ads for women’s clothing then a “real” woman is slightly to moderately overweight and loathes skinny, “non-real” women.

      Contrast that with the concept of a real man, which is something to actually aspire to and it does make for an interesting thought.

    • AdamC says:

      01:31pm | 07/12/12

      The title of this article (and, to some extent, the article itself) reminded me of that cringe-inducingly awful Britney Spears song, ‘Not a girl, not yet a woman’ from about ten years ago. Eugh.

      In fact, I think the song was from the soundtrack from an equally terrible (I have heard) film called ‘Crossroads’, in which Brit starred. That film killed any hopes she had of becoming a movie star.

      As for what makes a man a man, I have no idea. Though being an adult is about taking responsibility. Especially, at first instance, responsibility for yourself.

    • Markus says:

      02:53pm | 07/12/12

      You must be mistaken, AdamC. Crossroads is one of the greatest movies of all time.
      My favourite part is where the Karate Kid beats Steve Vai in a guitar duel to win back the soul of an old black blues man from the devil.

      “I went down to the crossroads, fell down on my knees.
      Asked the lord above for mercy, save me if you please.”

    • DFB says:

      06:05pm | 07/12/12

      AdamC, the fact you know a Britney Spears song well enough to be reminded of it means you are not yet a man.

      Hand in your man card

    • Philosopher says:

      01:34pm | 07/12/12

      The very fact that you’ve written this article suggests you’ve some way to go, young fella.

    • JTO says:

      01:36pm | 07/12/12

      “when did you realise you were a man?”

      The day I gave my dad’s eulogy. Happens for lots of people earlier, but that was it for me. It was the day I knew there was no backup, no-one to save my ass if it all turned to shit. Personally I would rather have stayed a lad for a few years more.

    • Samantha says:

      01:39pm | 07/12/12

      A real man can do all the manly chores around the house, i.e. fixing stuff, putting furniture together, catching cane toads that have managed to get into the pool then killing them, can 4WD with his eyes closed and still treat a woman with the absolute respect that she deserves. And if you think they are a myth, I know it to be true.

    • Charles says:

      01:42pm | 07/12/12

      mate you spend too much time on the internet. manhood is not found on the internet.

    • JTO says:

      02:04pm | 07/12/12

      Capitals aren’t found often enough on the internet either. I’m pretty sure real men use capitals.

    • Charles says:

      04:26pm | 07/12/12

      JTO. Before you pick flaws in my use of capitals you should reflect on your own mastery of the English language.

      To use proper English you ought to have written:

      “People commenting on News forums often neglect to use capital letters at the start of sentences. In my opinion a real man would use capital letters appropriately.”

      You are either sure or you are unsure. Your use of the phrase “pretty sure” is nonsense and demonstrates an natural ineptitude for English.

      One must also remember that when rebutting or challenging ones argument one must attack the core idea. To attempt an rebuttal based on a failure to use capital letters demonstrates nothing more than your inability to form a coherent and persuasive argument.

    • JTO says:

      06:25pm | 07/12/12

      Nah see you missed the point, and the allusion, entirely. I’m a pedant, not a grammatical expert. The incongruity between the full stops and the lack of capitals was amusing. Had I used your construction, the allusion to your sentence would have been missing, and your were injecting an air of class which I’m pretty sure wouldn’t suit me at all.

      None the less, touché old chap.


    • Arnold Layne says:

      01:55pm | 07/12/12

      You come across as a wuss.  Being a man doesn’t mean being able to fix a car, but it means being able to stop crowing about assembling a barbecue like it was some kind of miracle and just get on with doing it.  If you can’t do it, get a mate to give you a hand and thank him by paying for and splitting a six pack with him while the sun goes down.  It means making decisions based on what’s right for you, your family and ethically without worrying about how it’ll play out when others find out.  It means accepting that we’re different to women and that it’s ok to be different to women.  It means a whole bunch of other things too but I’m over talking about it.

    • Zeta says:

      01:58pm | 07/12/12

      I don’t think there’s any one thing men do that makes them realise they’re a man, nothing that would fit conveniently into an advertisement for beer or aftershave at least. You just kind of wake up one day, and you are your father. That’s it. You don’t just clean the BBQ and then declare MAN! SMASH! and turn into the Incredible Hulk. You just look in the mirror, and notice you have your Dad’s widow’s peak, your eyebrows are starting to grow wings, crows feet are starting to criss cross the corners of your face like contrails, and you have hair on your knuckles like a man-hobbit.

      For me it’s actually really little things. The declining number of t-shirts in my wardrobe. I think the number of t-shirts every man owns decreases in proportion to their age. You know, when you’re 18, 19, 20 - all the way through to your mid-20s, you have good t-shirts for going out in. Then you realise all those have been replaced with collared shirts.

      In fact, it’s a theory I have about becoming a man in general, as opposed to becoming a woman. Girls accrue shit their entire lives, until they’re proper women, and transition is little more than an edifice built out of material possessions. A girl transitions to being a woman when she has a ring, a wedding dress, nice perfumes, a huge wardrobe, an artisinal candle wax scupture or whatever.

      But for men, it’s the complete opposite. When we’re young men, boys, we want all this stuff to complicate our lives. We buy cars and expensive sneakers and wide screen televisions and an XBox. Then we buy more shit for the shit we already bought.

      And I think in a really big practical way, transitioning to being a man is shedding a lot of that. It starts because you sacrifice a lot of it for your family. An 18 year old guy drives a Supra with a body kit more expensive than the car because he can afford to. A 38 year old guy drives a Subaru Forrester because he can fit his kids in it, he can haul around half his house if he has too. So the first thing you kind of shed is your car. Then you start to rationalise the rest of your life because you’re making room for all these other lives that, as a man, you’re responsible for. You give up wardrobe space to your wife. You don’t buy that $9000 LCD display because the kids are just going to wipe shit and spew on it anyway.

      And just over time, all the little things that a boy collects just kind of disappear from a man’s life like you lost that rock collection that was really important to you when you were 9.

      At 20, we’re these container loads full of junk we collect to make us feel like men. By 30, we’re just a couple of decent suits and a watch. By 40, we’re probably just a boat. Barely. If we’re lucky. Until we die, in those uniform brown slacks all old men seem to wear. With little else.

      I think fundamentally, becoming a man means not needing anything that isn’t important anymore. The irony of course, is that as we get older, get jobs, the capacity to acquire things increases for men. But real men choose not to do so.

      A BBQ and a fishing rod don’t make you a man. Unburdening yourself, uncomplicating yourself does. Now days, neither of those man-fundamentals actually does uncomplicate you. Once upon a time, a BBQ was an uncomplicated way to cook meat. Now, it’s another stress in your life that you don’t need. So I think giving up those things that you don’t need is really the key to it.

    • Philosopher says:

      02:21pm | 07/12/12

      hmm, I think you’ll find a lot of women consider themselves a Woman when they give birth, which is an act of courage, and become a mother, which is a process of endless struggle, love, patience and selflessness. Your facile assessment of women suggests you, too, have some way to go.

    • AdamC says:

      02:28pm | 07/12/12

      I like this. There is quite a bit of truth in it.

    • Zeta says:

      02:36pm | 07/12/12

      @ Philosopher - But isn’t a child just another possession to be collected?

    • Philosopher says:

      03:02pm | 07/12/12

      maybe just before the birth. The sentient, squalling creature takes the idea of possession and vomits it out at 3am, until the mother’s ego disappears in a welter of exhausted confusion. To be replaced by something entirely new.

    • Markus says:

      03:16pm | 07/12/12

      I’d say your presumption that anybody who pops out an offspring is immediately overflowing with the virtues of courage, love, patience and selflessness is a fairly facile assessment itself.

    • CC says:

      03:45pm | 07/12/12

      @Philosopher - So if you choose not to have kids, or you can’t because your wife has medical problems, or you yourself have medical problems, then, you arent a man?

    • Philosopher says:

      04:10pm | 07/12/12

      CC, of course that is not what I am saying at all. Becoming a parent is one way of having to become an adult; but there are other ways to show your character, for men and women both.

    • Kate says:

      01:59pm | 07/12/12

      I like Andrew’s interpretation on this one.

      To add to it from a female perspective, I also quite like the romantic, traditional version of a (gentle)man. One who opens doors (cars and buildings), pulls out my chair for me at a restaurant, stands for women/elderly/pregnant etc people who need chairs more, offers to pay (though I don’t accept!), and who offers up his coat when it’s cold outside. Plus a man in a well fitted suit is incredibly attractive!

      Call it a step backward for the sisterhood if you will, but to me it’s a damn turn on.

    • Pattem says:

      02:52pm | 07/12/12

      That’s the kind of man I strive to be!  Any male can be a man, but to be a gentleman takes a conscious and deliberate effort.

      A gentleman puts his partner’s or other people’s comfort and wellbeing ahead of himself.

    • Economist says:

      03:25pm | 07/12/12

      Holy Moley while I do these things the next time I’m going to have to look out for for the shudder.

    • ByStealth says:

      03:31pm | 07/12/12

      While I understand your attraction, I don’t think its a good idea to define men by their utility to women.

    • Meh... says:

      03:32pm | 07/12/12

      I don’t get why you want a man to offer to pay if you are not going to accept. Also if you want all of those things, then you better not be one of those people that complains about the gender pay gap, as everything comes at a price. And yes I am a woman.

    • Kate says:

      04:51pm | 07/12/12

      @ByStealth - No that was certainly not my intention! I was more so saying it’s just nice to get a bit of special treatment from your significant other - and that certainly goes both ways smile

      Some of these things (like standing up for others or opening doors) are just common courtesy, and should be practised by both men and women more often than they are.

    • DFB says:

      06:10pm | 07/12/12

      @ByStealth, you misunderstand.

      A man opens the door for a lady, why?

      Not because he is of use to a woman, she could open the door herself surely? Not because of some sort of condescending notion that women need to be helped.

      Because he is a man, a man’s job is to look after women, whether they need it or not, whether they want it or not. It’s not about her (really) it’s about him, showing respect to her and to himself.

      I’m not sure there is an english word for the concept, but the Maori term ‘mana’ sums this up well for us Kiwis.

    • Man says:

      02:14pm | 07/12/12

      Men become/act how society mostly women train them to act

    • The Hypocritic Oaf says:

      02:26pm | 07/12/12

      Perhaps reference could be made to some of the excellent articles on this website.
      Particularly the ‘A Man’s Life’ tab.

    • Bob says:

      02:27pm | 07/12/12

      Oh yeah, I realised that I was a man around 5 or 6 years old when I had a look downstairs and, sure enough, the equipment was there.

      Been one ever since, as a matter of fact.

    • Aaron says:

      02:28pm | 07/12/12

      A boy becomes a man, when he cuts through all the bullshit ideas that women think a man should be, and then puts himself into a position, where he satisfies a woman’s desires.

    • Philosopher says:

      02:51pm | 07/12/12

      were you drunk and nude when you wrote that?

    • Black Dynamite says:

      02:29pm | 07/12/12

      Is it being prepared to do the right thing, whatever the cost? Isn’t that what makes a man?

      Black Dynamite

    • JTO says:

      02:57pm | 07/12/12

      Are we confusing gentleman with man? Men don’t have to do the right thing to be a man, but a gentleman does.

    • T says:

      02:35pm | 07/12/12

      A real man?

      Is someone who knows his faults and tries to change them, for himself. Knows his good side and never hides it. Does what he wants, but not at the expense of others. Is selfless at the right times, and is selfish at the right times. Always has a kind word to say, and never intentionally hurts.

      A real woman?

      Is someone who knows her faults and tries to change them, for herself. Knows her good side and never hides it. Does what she wants, but not at the expense of others. Is selfless at the right times, and is selfish at the right times. Always has a kind word to say, and never intentionally hurts.

      It doesn’t matter how you dress, what you know, who you know, where you have been or what you can do or fix.

      We are all human after all.

    • natasha says:

      05:08pm | 07/12/12

      I was waiting for someone to say it!! thank you, T. I too cannot understand why we differentiate between men and women. I’ve been mocked numerous times for changing a flat tyre. I don’t think it made me manly; I just needed a new tyre because it was flat.

    • ibast says:

      02:35pm | 07/12/12

      Being a man is being confident with your shirt off, despite a beer belly.

    • tez says:

      02:37pm | 07/12/12

      Real men don’t need skin art.

    • ABC says:

      02:38pm | 07/12/12

      You are a man when you can throw a ball properly and drive a manual car.

    • Jeff says:

      02:43pm | 07/12/12

      I first realised I was a grown up when Ricky Ponting was appointed captain for Australia.  Me, older than holder of Austalia’s most important job?
      I guess now that Ricky has retired means that I am getting old.
      Best of luck Ricky - thankyou for a most memorable 17 Years.

    • DG says:

      03:00pm | 07/12/12

      Real men don’t eat quiche…....I do love a good open topped egg & bacon pie though.

    • ByStealth says:

      03:25pm | 07/12/12

      Here are some traits that I think a man has:

      - Agency and the ability to act according to his beliefs

      - Ability to set strong boundaries for himself and others, along with the will to enforce those boundaries with authority

      - Independent thought

      - Ability to take risks

      What I don’t think a Real Man is:

      - Whatever other women and men expect him to do to fulfill their agenda. eg “Real men don’t hit women ever for ANY reason”, “Man up and stop complaining”, “If you were a real man you’d…

      Frankly manhood can only be recognised by others. Its up to the man to assign it to himself and be recognised as a man by other men.

    • bullwinkle says:

      03:28pm | 07/12/12

      I recently taught my 15 year old son to split wood with a block splitter (like an axe but thicker - for all you city types). Once he got the hang of it, he did it for hours. It feels manly. He can also use my chainsaw, drive the ride on mower and will learn to drive my ute soon. He’s shot with a .22, been fishing, slept in a swag and is helping me put up a new shed. He also respects his mother and sister and works hard at school. He’s shaping up to be a good man and someone who’ll have a crack at anything. He’ll be a man’s man, a good bloke and a terrific fella all rolled into one.

    • Peter says:

      05:23pm | 07/12/12

      Well done bullwinkle, you’re a good dad and I hope that he passes it on. We need more fellas coming through who can do a lot, but most importantly, has learned to respect others. Man’s men play an important part in shaping society. It is a shame that most of them don’t realize it or just don’t care.
      Apart from working hard at school, I’ve covered all those bases. They are not only good skills, but fun as well.

    • Anon says:

      03:38pm | 07/12/12

      You are a man when you realize and accept that your actions have impacts on other people, and you accept responsibility for your actions.

    • ronny jonny says:

      03:39pm | 07/12/12

      I think I truly became a man the first time I killed an animal bigger than myself and made it into sausages.
      Prior to that I’d one all the other stuff, kids, work, travel, even grown a beard but it was those sausages that made me the man I am today.

    • Ippy says:

      03:44pm | 07/12/12

      Being a Man means owning your choices, whether they succeed or fail. Taking responsibility for your actions, owning the consequences and not passing the blame or the buck.

      Integrity and Honesty are the foundations of being a decent human being.

    • Bob from the bush says:

      03:47pm | 07/12/12

      I work with teenagers, some are men at 13, some will never be.

    • TheRealDave says:

      03:50pm | 07/12/12

      The day I realised I was a ‘man’, actually knew it 100%, was the day I was havign a drink with my old man at the pub. I was 20 I think and I hadn’t seen him for a few years. We were watching Australia play the Poms and by the end of the game we were both pretty legless and I used to drink a bit at thispub and I was kinda keen on the barmaid abd when she came to grab our glasses my old man let rip with a ‘How’s a %^&* sound’.

      1. I was embarrassed
      2. I realised my old man was just like all the blokes I hung around with at football - a complete knob once he got a few beers into him

      In that exact moment knew I was a ‘amn’. Not because thats how I talk to women or treat them - maybe because its the opposite….but I digress….but from then on out people I saw as ‘adults’ I started to see as the same as me. I was brought up to call friend sparents Mr and Mrs So and So. If an adult ever said to me ‘Just call me Gary’ (or whatever) I was never game to because my old man woulda floged me for calling an adult by their first name. I still do call some of my oldest mates parents Mr and Mrs So and So but I have zero objections to my kids calling my friends or their friends parents by their first names…..guess things have changed since the 70’s and 80’s….

      ...and no…I never got a chance to ask that barmaid out after that :(

    • Lloyd Copper says:

      04:01pm | 07/12/12

      cliche alert!

    • Happy Jacki says:

      04:06pm | 07/12/12

      not sure how to define a real man but if you look up Real man you’ll find a photo of my husband,  since I met him when he was 19 he seemed older than his years, doesn’t talk sh*t   ... oldest of 6 kids.. so isn’t afraid of household appliances like vacuum cleaners and can cook just as good as his mum which is awesome !! But can build me anything I pick out in a catalog and if he doesn’t know how to fix something he googles it and reads up on it until he knows it back to front he has saved us a lot of money !! He is also a great Dad .... he’s super handsome too smile

    • Daniel says:

      04:27pm | 07/12/12

      I think I’m a man therefore I am… Thats all there is to it.
      However if you are questioning if you are a man then you arn’t… Yet

    • John L says:

      04:31pm | 07/12/12

      I’ve always liked Terry Pratchett’s little poem/child’s ryhme:
      These are the Things that Make a Man

        Iron enough to make a nail,
        Lime enough to paint a wall,
        Water enough to drown a dog,
        Sulfur enough to stop the fleas,
        Poison enough to kill a cow,
        Potash enough to wash a shirt,
        Gold enough to buy a bean,
        Silver enough to coat a pin,
        Lead enough to ballast a bird,
        Phosphor enough to light the town,

        Strength enough to build a home,
        Time enough to hold a child,
        Love enough to break a heart.

    • Jai Normosone says:

      04:39pm | 07/12/12

      To be a man requires that you earn the title.  It is given to you by those who have earned it themselves - and you never grant it to yourself.

      To me a REAL man requires integrity, honesty, honour, a work ethic and a few of the girly things that show that you may actually have a heart in there somewhere.

      Standing by and watching the weak getting run over by government, union idiots, or assorted thugs automatically disqualifies you—as does running in a gang that seeks to pursue and hurt the weak.

    • ByStealth says:

      06:24pm | 07/12/12

      Being good at being a man and being a good man are too different things.

    • Peter says:

      05:10pm | 07/12/12

      It is amusing and enlightening reading all the responses here. I find the occasional reference to the Baby Boomers being the last generation of real men the funniest of all. This is a generation who maybe should have thought more and acted less. Most Baby Boomers I know still have this problem. When I look back on my life so far, I’ve managed to achieve quite a bit, and yet to be honest, I don’t feel like a Man all the time. Sure I don’t have a trade or a uni degree, but somehow managed to have a successful career which I gave up to raise my Daughter. Something that I now recognise as being the most difficult thing in the world to do, especially when surrounded by old fashioned males of various generations. Working is a doddle! I have all the more appreciation for my parents, especially my mum, for bringing the three of us up alive. Sure they made plenty of mistakes and they never realised that I was a gifted child in a system or school that inhibited me rather than encouraged, even though I aced all the IQ tests the Psychologist had, who in the end said that he could not measure my intelligence, but said it was in the top 5%. Whatever that means, it has not helped me at all. Still working on that one!
      Being a Man is today is hard to explain as we all have wildly differing opinions on this. The best I have heard is being comfortable in ones skin. The question to this is; are you prepared to leave your comfort zone and really test if you are genuinely comfortable in your skin or just too lazy or scared to stay where you are?
      Me, since leaving home at 17, I have had tremendous ups and downs, have learnt a great many things including the scary fact that I know so little, that people are basically the same everywhere, that learning a second language as an adult is very challenging, that the best country in the world does not exist, that home can be found anywhere and nowhere and that at 17 I was completely unprepared for the world.
      Now I’m a little further along and when my daughter is a little older, I will teach her what she needs to know and that she will always need to keep on learning. The Journey is the reward!
      Am I a Man? Yes and No. That depends on who you are and what your point of view is.

    • DFB says:

      06:04pm | 07/12/12

      You’re a man when you make decisions for yourself, then abide by their consequences without blaming anyone else and without getting unduly upset.

      Act with honour, dignity and courage.

      Stand up and say something, when something needs to be said, but know when to sit down again.

    • Ben says:

      06:11pm | 07/12/12

      One becomes a man when one clears a room with just one fart.

    • Brendon says:

      06:15pm | 07/12/12

      Hey Chris, congratulations on feeling like/being a man.  Next stop - “wise” man.  You may already be there as well, who knows.


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