It has since become socially acceptable for men to get their nails groomed; wear “man” purses, or “murses;” and even makeup – all formerly luxuries reserved for girls and women.
But advertisers and other media have picked up on a general nostalgia for a time when gender roles were simpler, says Mark Marchetti, a retired police officer who spends his free time scuba diving, hunting, enjoying fine liquor and cigars, and writing adventure novels – Lizard Key.
“Coming from the most culturally progressive areas of California, I’m basically a live-and-let-live kind of guy, but I can sympathize with the sentiment that male virility has been sequestered, and I think we could afford its return,” Marchetti says. “When I go to other parts of the country and read a sign that says, ‘We Welcome Hunters,’ a great relief washes over me, because that’s not the attitude in California.”
He notes some media trends that are successfully embracing old-school manliness, including the Dos Equis ‘Most Interesting Man in the World;’ the popularity in Mixed Martial Arts and the Ultimate Fighting Championship; and TV shows like “Sons of Anarchy.” Marchetti offers the following additional suggestions for men to embrace their virility:
1. Grow a beard: Facial hair has meant many things to various cultures throughout history, from philosophical indifference to paternal maturity. In case you haven’t already noticed, most women don’t want to compete with their man for “Who’s the Prettiest.” If you can’t grow a good beard, allow the scruff to have its way for about a week, shave on Sunday, rinse, repeat.
2. Ditch the domesticated cat lifestyle: One thing is certain – real men were not born to sit still in front of a computer all day under florescent lights, eat Weight Watchers for lunch and watch dancing competitions with their wives at night … But if this lifestyle is necessary during the week, mix it up on the weekend! Go camping, catch a few fish or just cut loose with the boys with a few beers and jokes you wouldn’t tell the boss or wife, assuming they’re two different people.
3. For the young bloods … Too many teenage boys sit on their butts (getting fat!) playing video games. Why not use the technology of the natural world? Check out a sport, a team or individual one, and see what your body is made of. Fishing and hiking is a great way to experience what life was like … before digital games and instant messaging!
4. Get reacquainted with your muscles: You can make a good case that men belong to the more “physical” gender; we have better coordination skills, tend to be physically stronger, have better night vision and, packed with testosterone, have sex on the mind most of the time. A sedentary lifestyle and bad eating habits have taken what may be our greatest distinguishing feature and turned it against us. But there’s nothing like the feel of a cathartic workout to put a guy back in touch with his body – and the benefits of exercise affect nearly every aspect of a man’s life.
5. Embrace your “Inner-Dude;” he’s alright: Although confidence makes everyone attractive, one could argue this goes double for men. Self-assurance, however, is impossible if you’re constantly second-guessing your instincts, like what you find funny or simply needing time to yourself. Don’t be afraid of what you like, or what you need.
Guest poster Mark Marchetti is a modern Renaissance man who graduated from California State University, San Jose and went on to a 28-year-long career in law enforcement. He continues to teach firearms training. While attending high school in what is now Silicon Valley, Marchetti became a music instructor and, later, a scuba diver. He has traveled the world, diving reefs and shipwrecks, and meeting colorful characters. Marchetti is also a racecar driver, hunter, fisherman, golfer and writer. He has four grown children and lives with his wife; they divide their time between homes in Montara, Calif. and Catalina Island.