"If Your Guy Does These 16 Things, Congrats! You Found a Real Man."
That's the title of the Popsugar article my friend sent me, which presented "a list of all things that make up a true gentleman."
Now, the first warning sign is obvious: NEVER trust someone who tells you, "congrats." They are trying to trick you into believing that they are happy for you, and they may be trying to harm you or one of your close associates. When you hear the phrase "congrats," you should treat it like a fire alarm and get out of the building, fast.
The second warning sign, of course, is more insidious – this article is telling someone how to be a person. "16 Signs That She's a REAL Woman," sounds like a terrible, sexist title for an article – so why are we entertaining Signs That He's A Real Man?
And can we talk about the fact that this article assumes that wanting to be with a woman is an assumed characteristic of the Mythical Real Man? Hmm. I don't know, Brenda Della Casa, Author Extraordinaire – if that's even your real name! First you tell me congrats, and now you're telling all my poor gay friends how to be the best straight man they can be.
LET'S DIG A LITTLE DEEPER!
Sign #1 That You Are The Best Straight Man You Can Be:
"He is hygienic, but cleans his nails and trims his nose hairs outside of a nail salon. Think about it: Would Hemingway or Gladiator be getting his nails buffed? Methinks not." – Brenda Della Casa
You cannot go to a salon and still be a real man. Sorry guys, but it's true, because Brenda Della Casa says it is. If you have ever gotten your hair trimmed by another human being, not by a tame bear trained to use shears or by your own manly self, you are not a gentleman. And if your wife has ever pressured you into getting a manicure, you know, for your wedding day or something, and you finally said yes just to humor her because you love her, THEN YOU ARE NOT A MAN.
Sign #6 That You Are Not Brenda Della Casa's Ex-Boyfriend
"If he wants to see her again, he lets her know, and if he doesn't, he politely lets her know that it was a pleasure to spend time with her, even if it wasn't. He does, however, let her know gently and firmly enough that he's not interested so that she doesn't waste her time thinking it might become something it won't."
Fact: a gentleman lies. He tells women bald-faced lies about how fun it was to hang out with them, even if they both had a horrible time. He also is 100% to blame if she gets the wrong idea and somehow takes their terrible date as a sign this is going to be something serious and meaningful.
Sign #9 You're A Hairy-Chested Alpha Male
"Sure, he might want to get into a woman's bed, but he's also interested in getting into her head as experience has shown him that seduction is a delicate dance and the man who resides in her mind has conquered every other part of her."
A real man wants to conquer women. He wants to get into a woman's mind, so that he can get into her bed. That's his role, after all. And if you're not conquering something, well then, you might as well be a woman yourself.
(Note: I feel dirty even writing this, even though it's 100000% satirical. Gag.)
Sign #10 You're An Acceptably Dominant Manly Man
"He appreciates a woman who shows she cares for him, but he isn't interested in being courted."
Because Brenda Della Casa believes in gender roles, you guys. She knows just as well as you and I do that men are meant to be on the hunt, and women are meant to be the prey. A woman taking the reins and boldly declaring her interest isn't sexy or equitable – it's an affront to the age-old pillars of patriarchy under which we've all lived for so long!
As soon as a woman tries to show interest in him, and not vice versa, real men obviously turn and run. Again, please note that real men appreciate women.
CONGRATS, BRENDA. YOU'VE SUCCEEDED IN FILLING ME WITH RAGE.
Now, not all Brenda's points are bad. She does throw in a few good points, like this one:
"14. He has taken the time to get to know himself and has a strong understanding of his own character and convictions, what he values and what he doesn't. He is a man who is honest with himself about himself and therefore is OK being honest with those around him."
I think that's a nice quality in a human being, whether male, female, or other-identifying.
But here's the deal, and the overall problem I have with this article – the thing that makes you a "REAL man" is the same thing that makes you a "REAL woman":
You say, to yourself or the world or whatever circle of loved ones you deem worthy, "Hey. I'm a man."
Or, "Hey. I'm a woman. It's what I feel like and it's who I am." You're real. Boom.
And whether or not you go to the nail salon, or like women, or wear pink, or whatever – you're still a real man. Nobody – especially not the ever-congratsy Brenda Della Casa – can take that away from you.