What Really Makes A ‘Real Man’

Katie Young
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Wednesday - June 07, 2006
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A few weeks ago, my friends and I were discussing - well, more like complaining - about some of the bad boyfriends we’ve had in the past. While we were criticizing the old ones, we were exalting a particular man: my friend Shirley’s soon-to-be-husband, whom we all agreed was the epitome of a “real man” - the kind of man you wanted in your life forever.

We all considered Shirley fortunate to have found such a man to be her husband. And that got me thinking about what exactly women mean when they say, “Now that’s a real man!”

So I decided to ask you, dear readers, what you thought a “REAL man” is. Here are some of what you shared with me:

“A real man accepts your faults and loves you with his whole heart anyway.” - Kaleo, 30

“A real man calls you when he says he’s going to.” - Jean, 27


“A real man makes you have butterflies in your stomach 365 days a year.” - Kerrie, 27

“A real man doesn’t have to spend every free moment just with ‘the boys,‘not including you.” - Cindy, 25

“A real man can say he’s sorry and mean it.” - Susie, 28

“A real man is kind and puts my needs first.” - Jessica, 33

“A real man doesn’t need to get attention from women other than his girlfriend to feel good about himself.” - Cece, 23

“A real man is willing to make the effort to communicate, to romance and to love.” -Jenni, 27

“A real man isn’t threatened by a strong woman. In fact, he reveres her.” - Kaitlyn, 29

“A real man isn’t afraid of committing.” - Angie, 30

“A real man treats a woman with the utmost respect. Even when he’s angry, he can still treat her with love and kindness.” - Jessie, 29

“A real man knows that the little considerations make a world of difference. In other words, he’ll put in the effort to always make you feel special.” - Kellie, 30

“A real man knows that what really counts in a woman goes beyond a perfect body. He know what will make his partnership last is being with someone who can enrich his life with her intelligence, humility, femininity, confidence and, most importantly, her love.” ± Eva, 30.

“A real man is willing to learn what’s important to a woman.” - Kayla, 28

These were the ideas of women ages 20 to 30, who seemed to appreciate men who were in touch with a woman’s feelings. Women in their 30s and 40s had a slightly different take on a “REAL man.” They seemed to focus on the importance of stability and the “family man.”

“A real man is faithful, honest, open and takes your feelings into consideration.” - Selma, 31

“A real man will take responsibility for his family.” Kanoe, 36

“A real man can pay the rent.” - Betty, 35

“A real man is a good father.” - Penelope, 41


“A real man is a gentle man who treats a woman like a queen.” - Lucy, 40

“A fake man tries to impress others with superficial things. A real man unconsciously impresses others by living unselfishly.” - Naomi, 40

“A real man is a man who is strong on the outside but can show his sensitive side to both man and woman without feeling like a wimp or a pushover.” - Mirriam, 38

“A real man is someone who knows how to be sensitive to other people’s feelings.” - Jean, 45

“A real man is thankful that every day he gets a chance to be a better person, is connected with who he is and what he has, and loves unconditionally so he can be loved unconditionally.” Carla, 41

Women 50 and older seem to want men with depth, conviction and maturity.

“A real man is honest, sincere and truthful.” - Debbie, 52

“A real man is a man who wakes you up Sunday morning to attend New Hope services.” - Emilye, 56

“A real man is someone who acts on his convictions; he does-n’t just talk about it.” - Lisa, 58

“A real man is one who has the courage to be honest with himself, the humility to revere the Divine, the modesty to treat others with respect and the unselfishness to contribute to the betterment of the world.” - Jade, 61.

“A real man is true to his family, his wife, his friends and God.” - Hazel, 70

“A real man must be both loving and responsible. If neither, then you’re wasting space on Earth. If only one, then you’re not capable of an adult relationship.” - Marge, 70

“A real man shows strength without being macho.” - Maria, 55

“A real man can put a smile on a woman’s face.” - Darci, 52

“Like all human beings, a “real man” becomes successful in life when he is content with himself, can laugh at his shortcomings and learns to be unselfish.” - Hilary, 59

“The late Ann Landers wrote, ‘A real man can be 5-foot nothing and weigh 92 pounds. If he is compassionate, responsive to the needs of others, dependable, honorable, forthright, says what he means and means what he says, is gentle, loving and forgiving, has a sense of personal worth and can enjoy the success in others, he is a real man.’” - Sandy, 46.

Interestingly enough, when I polled several male friends of mine, most of them first answered that physical strength was a determining factor in what made a “real man.” They also thought women were looking for that.

No women, however, made that distinction, which just goes to show you how differently both genders understand the wants and needs of the other.

But all is not lost. One Young View reader, a man no less, had a wonderful answer to what makes a “real man.”

“A real man is one who can be honest with himself and others that he is not always a real man.” - Jeff, 42

Jeff says that putting up a front will do nothing but inhibit communication, personal growth and intimacy from developing in a relationship.

Whether it be about faith in God, devotion to family, caring, acceptance, romance, humor, commitment, honesty, reliability or love, perhaps the greatest measure of a real man is, at a very basic level, the ability for him to admit that he’s not a perfect macho specimen, that he can and will always work to be a better person - that he is, after all, human and imperfect, just like a woman.

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