Since we were little boys, society has taught us that being a man means being masculine. Not showing emotion, being skilled with manual labor, and that we need to master any sport we can. This has put men into a box that has been hard to escape. Thankfully, times are changing, and so are people. Deep down we all knew that being a “masculine man” isn’t about being tough and emotionless. No, being a true man means being in touch with ourselves, owning who we are, and taking care of the people in our lives, no matter how your life looks. There are all different people, family, lives, and most of all, there are all different types of men in our world. There are straight men, there are gay men, there are bi men, there are blue collar workers, there are white collar workers, there are outgoing and talkative men, there are introverted men, but the thing that makes them a man isn’t their toughness. No, the thing that makes a man a man is their compassion for their mother who took care of them their whole life, the love they show for their husband or wife, and their children. What makes a man is kindness, hard work, love and motivation.

I knew a true man, he was my dad. He loved my brother and I in a way I can’t even begin to describe to you. Yes, he fit some of the stereotypes; he was a little rigid, he was good with his hands, and he was a hell of a worker. However, he always showed love for his sons, and his wife. He showed emotion when emotion was needed. He showed me what it it’s like to be a truly masculine man. Him and I are a little different (other than our attitudes as my mom would say). As I said though, very different in many ways. He had a bride that he adored, someday, I’ll have a husband that I can’t live without. He was okay with the simple things in life, I have a higher end taste. Regardless of those things, he taught me what it means to be masculine; the building blocks to being a true man. Love, compassion, understanding, tolerance, hard work, and having a strong character are all things that make a man, all of the other things are just part of that man’s story.

Whether you wield a hammer everyday, or sit in the 52nd floor of a Manhattan skyscraper, what makes you a man is not how tough you are, or how many sports you played in high school and college. What makes you a MASCULINE man is the love and tolerance you show for others. What makes you a masculine man is the character you portray everyday, no matter how hard the day gets. At the end of the day, if you have these traits, you are a man whether you come home to a man or a woman, whether you lay drywall or design clothes, and whether you show love and compassion for the ones who have always showed you the same.