S/He Says

Charl Laubscher and Rebecca Kamm bring their 2- cents' worth to the table.

Modern Musings: What does it take to be a man?

3 comments
'How To Be A Man' lists abound. Here's one that's making waves online, for all the right/wrong reasons. Have a read and share your comments below.

What makes a real man?Photo / Thinkstock
What makes a real man?Photo / Thinkstock

Rebecca says:

Have you read it, yet - that list? The Unofficial Goldman Sachs Guide To Being A Man list? Tongue in cheek or not (it's a MYSTERY!) real live men are sharing it in non-ironic ways. Which maybe says more about them than it does its author, famed Twitterer/anonymous banker @GSElevator, but if there's one thing I hope you've taken from my ramblings it's that many people lack a brain.

So, for what it's worth, here's some damage control in a neat list of five. With bonus handy tips because I love you:

"Time is too short to do your own laundry"
This list was written by and for people who get 50 million dollar bonuses for showing up in the morning and breathing. Ignore.
ACTUAL HANDY TIP: Fresh linen matters - it separates the men from the boys somehow.

So, change your bedsheets. More than quarterly. KINDLY PLEASE.

"When in doubt, always kiss the girl"
When in doubt, never kiss the girl. If she wants you to kiss her, you will know - trust me. Therefore, no more mouth-lunges ever again. Hooray!
ACTUAL HANDY TIP: When the moment comes and your respective heads are crooning consensually in, don't ask if you can kiss her. It'll make her feel like she's 16 again, and not in a good way.

"Buy expensive sunglasses. Superficial? Yes, but so are the women judging you"
SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP
ACTUAL HANDY TIP: Help your girlfriend find her sunglasses every time she loses them. Help her so much; there are maximum points to be gained.

"Your clothes do not match. They go together."
What? See below for a more important matter.
ACTUAL HANDY TIP: Try really hard to keep your bare ankles covered when in trousers - they're not a selling point. Neither are twirly mustaches, believe it or not.

"Hookers aren't cool, but remember: the cheap ones are more expensive."
Apart from the fact all women boil down to sex-for-cash in one way or another (and I can't even go there, because wordcount), isn't this such a clever sentence? There's nothing like canny words for stale ideas - it's the apex!
ACTUAL HANDY TIP: Next time you read something like this, and laugh, remember: you and your parallel dudebros are laughing at your daughter/wife/mother/girlfriend/sister. There is no getting around that. Sorry.

Patrick Bateman in the film American Psycho.
Patrick Bateman in the film American Psycho.

Charl says:

"Honey, you have to read this."

Over burgers with two glamazon girl friends in Madison Park, New York, I'm told all about @GSElevator's definitive Guide to Being a Man.

Obviously I'm late to the party if I'm hearing about it over actual lunch, not Twitter.

"It's so f**king true."

Hang on, American bankers got something right?

Not exactly, no. And not at all according to some. The list is copping flack from across the internet, with critics crying Misogynist! and Capitalist! and pasting up the obligatory pictures of Patrick Bateman. Is-it-or-isnt-it-ironic parodies and a (overly considered and entirely inoffensive to anyone, ever) female version have all sprung up, too.

Which proves why it's always best to arrive a little late to the party: it gives you the chance to see what everyone's talking about.

Me? I like it. In a time where:

1. We all look to the internet and pretty much anybody, please, to tell us how to live our lives.
2. We all take ourselves far too seriously.
3. We have indescribably vile alternatives like this going around.

I find this (half serious) list provides not too bad a balance. It's modern, it's (mostly) relevant, it's irreverent, and it's masculine (which, these days, can be a bold move in and of itself.)

From practical tips like not dating a friend's ex (is it really worth it?) and joining Twitter to assume control of where your information comes from, to insights like trading a longer life for a more fulfilling one, that money is there to facilitate spontaneity, or accepting that "closure" is a fallacy, there are some genuine nuggets of bold, listen-here-sonny advice that can no doubt be used to keep yourself in check.

Which is what this is: a behavioral checklist. It's not a philosophical doctrine, and it doesn't set out to explain the way women think or act.

This list is about manners.

It's not about the cause, but the effect:

Yes, we live in an age where women can pay for their drinks and dinner. Doesn't mean that it won't go down well almost every time when you do regardless. Or at least offer. Especially on a first date.

No, it's not going to work out 100 per cent of the time if you 'kiss the girl' without explicit permission. But you'll regret getting it wrong less than you will never trying.

So it's not perfect. Parts are arrogant, callous and self-centered. Some completely irrelevant to most of us, and some simply don't make sense-I don't think even he knew what he was getting at with the "free hooker" gag.

But we're not perfect. We all have it in us to be arrogant, callous and self-centered. And for the most part, I say it's better to acknowledge our shortcomings, and work to keep them in check, than to pretend otherwise.

Bottom line? If you want to know how to act like a gentleman, you'll pick up some tips. If you're looking to anonymous Twitter-based satirists to solve broad existential questions or understand more about yourself, you've got bigger problems than whether or not piercings are liabilities in fistfights.

- www.nzherald.co.nz

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