Retro Relapse: Men & Adventure

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

Men need adventure. I don’t know why, it is just in our DNA. It is something that burns at our very core and something that needs to be quenched once in a while, otherwise we start to turn into some formless goo of a person.

Most men today, are this goo. I guess that’s good for bossy bitchy women, as their goo men are more or less putty in their hands. However, to the good not-so-bossy non-bitchy women out there, you’ve got to understand our thirst for adventure and respect it. Just like men need their other men friends to go out and be men and shit, they also need to feel like Indiana Jones every so often.

I hike for my health, sure. However, I could just walk on the sidewalk or go to easy trails and still get pretty good results. I choose to hike in dangerous, swampy, murky and reptile-infested places because it is an adventure. When I complete a ten mile hike in the Everglades or nearby, I don’t just feel a sense of accomplishment from the miles I walked, calories I burned and the hot Florida sun I absorbed. I also feel accomplishment from knowing that I once again conquered an area of the world that most people are deathly afraid of even going into. I certainly feel great from doing the physical challenge but I feel more elation from the adventure. The times I was in real danger, I walked away feeling high.

This doesn’t mean that a man needs to go out and do stupid shit and take ridiculous risks but facing hard and heavy shit and weathering the elements has a pretty big spiritual payoff and does wonders for the ego and a man’s sense of self. There are a lot of societal pressures on men, as to what makes a man. Well, first of all, fuck what anyone else thinks. Secondly, every man is different. Thirdly, one of the things that does make a man is adventure.

Finding adventure or even time for adventure in the modern world is difficult. We wake up, shower, eat breakfast, go to work, go to lunch, go back to work, go home, eat dinner, go to sleep, wash, rinse, repeat. That is our daily life and for some of us, we don’t really get to escape the modern adulthood cycle even on weekends. If we do escape work some days, it is usually replaced with errands. There is very little time for ourselves and when we have it, we are usually too exhausted to do anything about it.

As far as time goes, I do have the benefit of not having a wife and kids. I’m not saying that my lifestyle is preferable, it just is my lifestyle and it gives me the benefit of having more time to myself than most men my age. Although, I do have friends with wives and kids and a few of them are fortunate enough to have wives that allow them their time to themselves, as they also repay the favor, allowing their wives to have their own personal time. I think that’s a definite good sign of a strong marriage built on respect and understanding. But this post isn’t about marriage, so let me get back on track.

The thing is, you have to make time do get out there and do what you need to do to feed the fire inside. You owe it to yourself, you owe it to your significant other and your friends. If you have kids, you owe it to them because you certainly don’t want your kids to look back and remember you as that guy that would just conk out on the couch with a glass of whiskey every Sunday afternoon. The things that you really want for yourself and who you want to be ideally, are what you should be instilling in your children. Unless your ideal self and what you want for them is to be a semi-buzzed couch potato that can’t make it through the first half of a football game without passing out and snoring like a power chipper. And to the wives out there, is this who you wanted to marry?

Nowadays, adventure seems like something of the past that there isn’t room for in the modern world. Technology and innovation has changed a lot. For instance, nearly every inch of Earth has been explored and millions of people have scaled massive mountains. Treasure hunting has been reduced to retirees on Florida beaches with metal detectors and spades. Modern adventure has become a sort of simulation or a thing achieved through extreme quick fixes like bungee jumping, skydiving, base jumping, etc.

Personally, none of those appeal to me. I prefer roughing the elements on the ground and encountering seemingly life-threatening scenarios that way. Alligators and venomous snakes give me more of a rush, even though they mostly hightail it when you get near them. And I’ve yet to see a bear, boar, deer or panther that hasn’t ran away at the first sight of me. But there is always that chance of danger and being caught in the moment is what feeds my fire. But each man is different, you have to find what your thing is. Maybe figuring out what your favorite form of adventure is, could be an adventure in itself.

You can’t keep ignoring this part of yourself and tucking it away somewhere. It is a big part of what we are and not just men but human beings. Our entire history and our entire lives up until a few decades ago was nothing but adventure. That shit doesn’t just die because technology has made life easier. That’s like the best baseball player in the world quitting his sport to focus on playing MLB The Show from his couch. But that is essentially what we have done. We live vicariously through movies, video games and shit we see on the Internet but that doesn’t do anything other than make that fire burn more, at least for me. I’m not satisfied with simulation and watching someone else do it. I want the real thing.

Some guys are satisfied enough getting adventure through sports. It worked for me. I even raced cars for a bit and that did serious wonders for my adventurous soul. Everyone has got their thing or several things. It is imperative that you find it and act on it though.

It’s way too easy to keep making excuses and convincing yourself that you don’t have the time or energy to devote to anything other than your modern life cycle. Life isn’t about mundane cycles. Life is something you live and you aren’t living it passed out on the couch during your downtime. Teddy Roosevelt’s ghost is laughing his ass off right now.

Men need to experience and discover new things. Why have we stopped?

You see, adventure isn’t just about cheap thrills, adrenaline and the high you get, it is also about finding yourself, testing yourself and truly getting to know who you are, what you’re made of and pushing yourself even further than what you thought you could. That’s living life to the fullest and no one can say you wasted your time if you just went out and made the effort. You never know, you might like what you find.

Retro Relapse: Pick-Up Artists & Peacock Clowns

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

Now that the cat has been let out of the bag in regards to pick-up artists and their “game”, I’m shocked that dudes are still using these well-known tactics and I am even more surprised that chicks still fall for these peacocking asshat shenanigans. To each his own, I guess. That doesn’t mean that I can’t still toss some shit their way.

For one, the whole philosophy of being a pick-up artist is one of complete selfishness and being a class A lying douchebag. They manufacture a character, dress like an asshole and hide their true selves in an effort to fuck as many chicks as possible, not caring if they leave bodies in their wake. Why? Because they are reformed losers who found some magic “mystery” method or formula that has made them into… still losers.

Sorry PUA worshippers but that’s the truth. Another truth, is that getting pussy doesn’t make you a man. In fact, more often than not, it has made males continue to be fear turtle juveniles hiding in their shell because they are deathly afraid of just being themselves.

At its core, the pick-up artist philosophy teaches its practitioners to be liars. They want you to stop being who you are and instead, favor you transforming yourself into a goofy caricature wearing funny hats and accessories. They influence countless dudes to become dickbag womanizers.

Through being a liar, the dude is supposed to build confidence and swagger and become the ultimate male that chicks in any bar will throw their pussies at. The funny thing is, in a truly real world scenario, I’ve never seen this work out for guys all that effectively.

Dressing in crazy clothes and flare is called “peacocking” in the PUA community. Not only is that a stupid name but more often than not, these guys look like desperate mid-life crisis wankers about twenty years too young for a mid-life crisis. They also stick out like a sore thumb. Sure, a decade ago before this PUA bullshit became mainstream, maybe a chick would see one of these peacock clowns and go, “Hmm… that guy has an interesting style.” Nowadays, I mostly see girls go, “Peacocking douchebag at 9 o’clock.” At least the smart guys employing these strategies have learned to tone it down a bit and wear normal clothes with just a bit of flare or minor embellishments.

For guys down on their luck with women, or that just don’t have macking skills, these PUA programs make you a worse person. Say you commit to it, you succeed in the way that they want you to and you are able to start scoring chicks. Good for you, you have now succeeded where most guys will still continue to flounder after dishing out barrels of cash.

The problem is, you aren’t fixing your problems with yourself. You may have some form of confidence but you’re a devious lying piece of shit and apparently have no concern as to whether or not you’re out hurting any of the chicks you are trying to bang. You’ve gone from being a nice guy that needed a bit of help with women to a false human being who has thrown himself away in favor of some quick lays. Putting the lid down doesn’t flush the shit from the toilet.

And what happens when the quick lays aren’t enough. What happens when you decide that you want a long-term relationship because ultimately, even though you’ve screwed half the town, you are still alone and in need of true intimacy. You can play it cool and act like you don’t need it but the fact of the matter is, human beings are wired this way. Thriving just on sex gets boring after a while.

The point is, if you’ve been this lying bastard who buys his hats at the Halloween store, how do you show someone the real you and attract them on a deeper more intimate level? Do you continue to play the part or do you shed all that and be you? Do you even know who you are at this point?

The fact of the matter is, you can act like you’re all cool and badass because you’ve become a pussy magnet but you are no longer a real person. Chances are, at this point, you don’t know who you are anymore. How can a woman get to know you and see you in a realistic long-term sense, if you’ve thrown yourself away? And what woman would want a guy who doesn’t even know who he is? I used the term “woman” because one could probably still convince some naïve girls, at least for a little while, and even then, would you want to be with a chick that oblivious?

These professional pick-up artists are selling you snake oil. Their books, products, programs and seminars are expensive. Most of the guys who buy into it, fail at it or are overwhelmed by it and just find themselves more frustrated and more broke. These PUA masters are playing you just like they are playing the chicks they claim they score. The proof is in the pudding and if this shit worked, dudes everywhere would be sexual mastodons passing on the good word of these products.

The most effective method I’ve used, as have most guys, is being myself. No bullshit, no peacocking, just being me. Does it give me a high success rate? No. But neither will wearing a stupid hat and motorcycle goggles. At least I’m not getting laughed at for looking like an awkward doofus trying too hard. And in the end, I still have success and my dignity. Playing the game doesn’t mean playing yourself.

I’ll let Tom Haverford sum it up for you.

Retro Relapse: The Truth About Strength & Resilience

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

Whether you’re a man or a woman, chances are you’ve heard the phrase “You don’t know your own strength” at some point during your life. Never have truer words been spoken to you. It doesn’t matter if you are a strongman able to throw giant tires half the length of a football field or a petite girl trail running. Inside all of us lies more strength and resilience than we know. All it takes is that extra something to push it out of us.

I’ve had a few situations in my life where I’ve come to realize this after being faced with a scenario where I had to tap into something deeper in order to succeed or in some cases, survive. The most recent example came just yesterday, as I pushed myself harder than I should have and found myself in a potentially life-threatening situation.

I went hiking at Estero Bay Preserve, which I like due to the muddy and watery spots, as well as the changes in environment for a seemingly small area encased within the outer trail: a 4.5 mile loop. I have mapped out a course using every inch of trail available at this state park. My custom course is a hair over 6.5 miles, using unmarked trails I can extend it to about 10 miles. Yesterday, I attempted to do the 6.5 mile version because I knew that I could complete it in well under three hours and I needed to spend my day productively, as I was getting cabin fever sitting at home on a Sunday.

The mistake I made was starting at just before 1 p.m., as I usually start at 8-9 a.m. The reason why this was a mistake is that it was hot as shit outside. My weather app said it was 96 degrees but it said it felt like 105. It wasn’t unbearable when I started but by the time I got over 3 miles in, 96 degrees felt like 120. I found myself at a point in the trail where I was the furthest out and no matter which route I walked back, I had 3 miles ahead of me. In this situation, I chose the path of least resistance.

When things got unbearable, it hit me like a brick wall. Leading up to it, I felt myself getting hotter and I rested here and there but when it hit, it hit hard. I drank three liters of water, not to mention the two 20 oz. bottles I had within an hour before hiking. It didn’t seem to matter. My skin was extremely hot, my head felt like it was boiling inside and I was sweating profusely. When I got about another mile, I was still sipping on the water I had but I was no longer sweating. I felt the need to piss but my body couldn’t urinate. My vision was somewhat blurred and I was really sluggish as I continued down the trail. I was feeling the effects of what was close to becoming heat stroke.

Each time I got to a place with sufficient shade, I would rest for a few minutes out of the sun: sipping water. There weren’t a lot of shady areas, so the stretches between them seemed almost endless, as I struggled in the heat. When I got to some shade that I knew was less than a mile from my car, I could feel myself getting worse, even as I laid in the shade. I was alone, no one was there and I had to rely on myself to get me back to my vehicle, more water and a cold A/C. I didn’t think I could move at all but I knew I had to push myself because if I stopped again, I wouldn’t get up. I had carelessly put myself in one of the most dangerous situations I have ever been in.

But I got up, I pushed myself harder than I ever had. It was hard, part of me wanted to keel over and just wish for sunset and rain. I kept on walking. What was less than twenty minutes seemed like hours and I got hotter and hotter. I tried to distract my mind and think of other things but it wasn’t possible. It was literally hell but I didn’t stop.

After getting to my car, getting home, taking a cold shower for an hour and passing out, I woke up knowing that I had tapped into something that usually isn’t there. When I’m in the gym and need to push that extra bit, I do but I know if forced I could go even harder. Same thing goes for when I do other physical activities. If it gets too hard and there is an easy out, usually we take it. It isn’t until we’re forced or some other circumstance arises that most of us unlock that extra resilience and strength.

When I get to that point where I feel like giving up, I remember moments like this. I remember that I’ve faced some harrowing shit and walked away. I’ve also dealt with the worst that the universe could throw at me and overcome that. It’s not to brag because I’m not special. We all have this. We just have to remember it when we’re down or when we need to overcome an obstacle whether physical, mental or emotional.

It’s too easy to tap out.

Retro Relapse: Big Game Willies In the Cut

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

Big Game Willies. Man, I hate those guys. Being that I live in Southwest Florida, these big talking, big game motherfuckers are just about everywhere. One can easily spot them in one of the more prestigious bars buying mid-grade Scotch while trying to impress any of the attractive bartenders with big fancy stories of all their “business ventures” and “trips abroad”. Nine times out of ten, I would venture to guess that their business ventures have to do with borrowing more money than they can ever pay back and their trips abroad are to the east coast of Florida to go to some shitty Dolphins game. More often than not, they’re probably completely full of shit and are actually barely able to hold on to their job of selling life insurance in this tropical land of the dead.

The Big Game Willie is out for the pussy and that’s about it. Sure, like everyone, he seeks companionship but he certainly isn’t a top shelf player. He may convince a lady or two that he is some big baller doin’ big thangs but for the most part, his game is exposed as soon as he orders a Johnny Walker Red and immediately catches himself only to quickly say, “I… I mean Johnny Walker Black.” Bro, fuck you and fuck Johnny Walker Black.

While drinking the Scotch he can barely afford way too quickly to be a Scotch aficionado, he proceeds to try and lure the attention of the cute bartender or whichever unlucky female soul is closest within his vicinity. If he’s in a cigar smoking environment, he grabs a Macanudo because it is the only name he recognizes. He then attempts to woo the women in his corner of the bar about how he’s investing in some software bullshit or got the construction market cornered in some magical way. He talks at length about things he really doesn’t know but he is good at retaining information from other people more versed on the subject, which makes his talking out of his ass schtick seem plausible to someone not asking the right questions.

He’s a self-described world traveler and may even talk about some fancy European cuisine and art he knows nothing about, all while drinking what was almost Johnny Walker Red. He’s a fraud, a fake and one of the lowest forms of villainy because he’s not even good enough to be an amateur con man.

What does homeboy expect to accomplish? Sure, he may get that one night stand or two but ultimately, the girl will discover that he is a lying piece of shit. What then?

At what point do you stop being a fraudulent douchebag? I mean, there really is no long-term benefit to being a Big Game Willie. Yeah, you may get your dick wet once in a while because there are some dumb chicks on the market but you’d probably fare much better if you were a decent man and didn’t feel the need to paint yourself as someone you’re not. Besides that, I hope you’re at least smart enough to bang chicks at their house because your 400 square foot roach motel apartment isn’t going to work well for your big baller game. And please take the plastic spinners off of your 1996 Acura Integra because you’re not Latrell Sprewell. In fact, you probably don’t even know who that is.

At the end of the day, you’re an idiot, dude. What you don’t realize is that 95 percent of the world sees through you and are laughing at your expense. Girls, if you’ve been burned by a Big Game Willie, what the hell is wrong with you? You girls must be suffering from the Princess Syndrome.

I wish all the princesses and Big Game Willies would find an island somewhere and just fuck off.

Retro Relapse: 25 Things Manly Men Should Do On a Daily Basis

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

It is hard being a masculine manly man in an emasculated modern age where we are often times chastised for just being ourselves. I accept the challenge and thrive in uphill battles because being a masculine manly man is the essence of my entire core.

I fuel myself on the conquering and pillaging of those things that oppose my existence. And to remind myself of my mission of being myself, I do these twenty-five activities daily!

Keeping the testosterone flowing is essential for ultimate manliness and these activities certainly keep the man juice pumping through my gargantuan grizzly DNA!

1. Put a big fucking bear in a headlock and punch it in the face!

2. Take a nice hot bath in the La Brea Tar Pits then scoff at the rest of California!

3. Bench press an M1A1 Abrams tank… twice!

4. Throw a tomahawk, run passed it and catch it in your teeth!

5. Find the frozen remains of a woolly mammoth, grill the fucker and eat it like a steak – hair, tusks and all!

6. Wear a live king cobra as a belt!

7. Play football without helmets and pads on a minefield!

8. Go into the ocean, rip a sea urchin off of a rock with your bare hands and bite into it!

9. Firewalk in an active volcano – barefoot!

10. Drink a barrel of 100+ proof bourbon and chase it with a barrel of Scotch!

11. Dress like Teddy Roosevelt and wrestle a fucking moose into submission!

12. Power through a thousand pull-ups with a lit stick of dynamite as the bar!

13. Surf coast-to-coast across the Everglades on the back of an alligator!

14. Play Russian roulette with a Gatling gun!

15. Juggle multiple Smart cars! Fiat 500s if you’re feeling stronger!

16. Use an A-10 Thunderbolt II as a fucking hang glider!

17. Smoke a totem pole like a cigar!

18. Swim with piranhas and bite back until you’re the only living thing left in the water!

19. Take on ten Muay Thai boxers while handcuffed!

20. Drive cross country in a World War II motorcycle with a male lion in the sidecar!

21. Have a fencing duel using a live swordfish!

22. Tell Brock Lesnar that wrestling is fake!

23. Play chicken on a bicycle – against a rhino!

24. Build your own Thunderdome and invite Seal Team Six over for a rumble!

25. Videobomb an episode of Shark Week wearing a suit made of seal meat!

To enhance any or all of these experiences and their effects, find a way to include bacon in each activity.

*For the record: I actually cannot condone these activities and they will probably get you killed or maimed.

Retro Relapse: The Church of the Epic Beard

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

I go to church. It is the church of man. It is a very exclusive place of worship. Not all who try to join this institution are allowed in. Our membership seems to be dwindling even though more and more males try to earn entry within the hallowed walls of our divine institution. Most do not understand what membership requires, however, and thus, eliminate themselves from consideration. That’s their bad, as we were once made up of great men, leaders of the world in fact.

American presidents Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Harrison, Rutherford B. Hayes and James Garfield had bodacious beards. President Theodore Roosevelt didn’t have a beard but he had a sweet mustache epic enough to rival any bearded naysayer. Other presidents with facial hair of some sort that rocked it at an elite level of manliness were Martin Van Buren, John Quincy Adams, Chester A. Arthur, Thomas Jefferson, James Polk, William Taft, Zachary Taylor and the father of America, George Washington.

You see, in the old days, elections were won by the man who had the most beastly and stylish facial foliage. Somewhere over the last century or so, that has been lost. It’s bullshit. I’m tired of middle-aged pretty boys and saggy-jowled old men leading my nation. And don’t you notice a trend?

As time goes on, our country gets shittier and shittier and our freedoms are being slowly wiped away. One could only theorize that this is due to the train of bitchmen that have sat in the Oval Office. Men who take their eye off of the ball every morning in order to shave off their badge of manhood. They might as well be cutting their balls off and handing them over to China.

Once John F. Kennedy became president and television became God to Americans, everyone was enamored with how handsome this pretty boy in their living room was. The thing that J.F.K. had going for him though, is that he was a good leader, so from the start, he showed that he was a very savvy dude even without a beard.

The problem is, all women wanted to bone John Fitzgerald Kennedy and thus, men patterned themselves after his style. Beards were lost and men who needed them for that extra boost of power, fell to the pressures of society. Militant feminism rose, hippies with disgusting unkempt facial hair became the norm, big business frowned upon furry faces and mankind was left with pretty clean-shaven suburbanites and smelly guys whose beards looked like road kill. Men have never been the same and America has gotten weaker.

The effects of this are still felt today, as no president has had facial hair since the pre-Kennedy era. When you see someone in the political world with facial hair, the media immediately trashes them and tells them to buy a razor. All major news stations have become the political world’s version of TMZ. What they should be saying when the “Rent Is Too Damn High” guy is running for office is, “Wow! Look at this motherfucker! That’s the awesomest goddamned beard American politics has seen in a century, vote for him!”

The world wants you to think that we are a dying breed. Real men with luscious facial locks still exist and our numbers seem to be increasing because frankly, the status quo is a bunch of bullshit and we don’t care what slaves to the status quo think.

Look at professional athletes. Whenever the playoffs roll around, these dudes stop shaving until they win the championship or are eliminated by a team with better beards. Why do you think the Boston Red Sox came out of nowhere and won the World Series last year? Why did the Blackhawks dominate the NHL? In the Blackhawks case, they were even backed up by the extra power that they got from Patrick Kane’s mullet! Why did the Blackhawks lose this year in the Western Conference Finals? They had less beard and no mullet. Hell, in baseball, the best relief pitchers are the guys with insane beards. Look how dominant of a closer Brian Wilson was before he got hurt and let go by the San Francisco Giants. Wilson may have the best beard in sports history.

One thing that you’ll notice is how much fear men who don’t have beards or who can’t grow beards have for the facial-haired warrior. We live in a world and a system run by pretty boy feminist sycophants that frown at us and hold us down because they hate themselves for shaving and manscaping their genitalia in an effort to be sexually appealing to these modern wannabe Jacqueline Onassis chicks. While these dudes strive to be a really shitty caricature of Don Draper from Mad Men, they should really stop giving a fuck so much and just be more like Stan Rizzo. It’s a no brainer that Stan has become the coolest guy on the show after rejecting societal standards, just letting go and being himself.

There are guys desperate to be manlier in this world lacking manliness. I get it, that’s why I write half the shit I write. They grow beards as a form of defiance and in most cases, aren’t even sure why, it just feels right. Maybe once you get to the thirtyish mark, you really say “fuck it” and let go. You become much more confident in yourself and less dependent on other people and what they think. You realize that to be a more complete person and a better leader, you have to stop giving a shit about how you’re perceived and just take the bull by the fucking balls. No one respects a panderer. Do you think Teddy Roosevelt pandered or gave a shit what people thought about his robust mustache? No, he just went about his business, mustachioed grill forward, and never looked back.

I haven’t been fully clean-shaven since my father last made me shave when I was 16. Since then, I have had a beard of some sort and I never plan on not having one. Over the years, the more I’ve let it grow and the thicker it has become, I’ve garnered more respect from men and have received more compliments from the right kinds of women. The woman I’m seeing now introduced herself to me at a Spring Training game a few months back because she loved my beard.

For the record, a woman that is turned off by facial hair probably only dates the pretty boy type yet can’t understand why their man-children never live up to their long-term expectations. They’ll keep following that same cycle though, so if you’re smitten with one of these types of women, you should evolve and move on. Besides, within a decade they’ll be living in a small apartment full of piss-soaked cats and a couple kids from different dead beat pretty boys.

If you’re rocking a sweet beard, you’re doing alright. Don’t let the assholes of the world sway you. If you can’t grow a good one, that sucks. If you grow a shitty one that looks like a Wookiee pelt that’s been run over by a swamp buggy, clean that shit – be respectable for Christ’s sake! Speaking of which, don’t even get me started on the magic powers Jesus had because of his magnificent beard.

Also, don’t get me started on that Movember bullshit. I get that it is for a good cause or whatever but it is a bitch holiday for bitchmen to feel like they’re masculine for thirty days before they get all chicken shit after developing a third testicle. Fuck that trendy crap, support the cause and don’t make it an excuse to feel like you’re extra manly for a month. The cause you should support is the one that makes you less of a bitch.

The point is, we’re supposed to look like this. The universe didn’t bless us with this awesome feature if we weren’t supposed to showcase its glorious plumage. There is nothing wrong with proper grooming and looking nice; in fact, that is encouraged. Just don’t shave your face because someone else has told you that you’re supposed to. It’s hard to be a distinguished grizzly if you’re hairless.

Retro Relapse: Misconceptions of Manliness

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

There is a lot of division on the idea of what manliness is or what it should be.

Some people have this idea that a real manly man is a guy who is a big bearded, muscled alpha lion wearing a trucker hat made of bison jerky that surfs on top of a 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 while chewing shotgun shells wrapped in raw ribeyes.

Others believe a manly man is an “evolved” species who is respectful of women’s rights, accepting of a more androgynous society and is able to do women’s work and cross the gender line.

Some people, think that a manly man is an Aston Martin driving guy wearing one of his four dozen tailored suits and a watch that costs about as much as the vintage wine collection he has just to impress girls half his age.

Many believe a manly man is a dominating douchebag that conquers women and bullies the betas into doing his bidding.

The fact of the matter is, all of these are wrong. Although the first one does sound pretty badass, right?

Manliness can’t be summed up in a style or a hobby. It certainly isn’t defined by a political or social ideal. It’s not the car you drive, the clothes you wear or some non-prescription monocle that makes you feel like the gentlemen of yore. It certainly isn’t the food you eat, the heavy things you lift or the washboard abs you are striving either to get or to maintain. It’s not the Mossberg 500 in your closet, the heavy bag in your garage or the $1200 bicycle parked next to your hand-crafted canoe. It’s not the 20 mile hike you did or that time you went camping in bear country. It isn’t even the mustache wax you bought after having to “man up” and go into the beauty supply store to buy it.

It is none of these things.

Manliness isn’t some quantifiable physical thing or activity. Despite the nine bottles of whiskey you drank last week and the hair it put on your chest, you have not been magically transformed into the pillar of manliness. You are just a fuzzy drunkard. Granted, a fuzzy drunkard can still be a man but it is not some sort of prerequisite. A man is much more than all of these things and he is none of these things.

It is time for males, especially those wanting to be men, to come to terms with the fact that manliness has nothing to do with these exoteric things. Manliness is something that comes from the mind, the spirit and the heart. It’s a philosophy of life and being – not triceps, beards, paleo diets, crossfit or fancy hats. It is an attitude, a way to carry oneself. It is the way one handles situations and crises and constantly moves forward. It sure as shit isn’t about creating some ultimate ideal masculine persona. At its core, it is about substance and application. Real men already know this. False men may be a bit confused and not following along very well.

I feel the need to write this because I’ve been writing about manly issues since starting this website. At times, posts I’ve written have been misperceived and misrepresented by those with agendas or ideas of their own – people who can’t see the big picture and cherry pick for what they want to get out of my writing. I’m not sour about it but I at least wanted to clear the air and be straightforward about where I’m coming from.

While I pick on men who can’t handle ribbing or handle their alcohol or text like girls, it’s all in good fun and none of it should be taken too seriously. While I countdown manly movies and post reviews of manly grooming products and recipes for manly meals, it in no way means that you are less of a man for not embracing the lifestyle I’m selling here. And none of it will make you more of a man just for participating and taking my advice or recommendations. It may help at boosting your confidence to manly levels but unless you understand that real manliness has nothing to do with any of it, it won’t make you a true man.

My goal is not to sell a persona. My goal with what I write is to entertain and to help those who can read between the lines and truly see what I’m getting at. Most of the feedback that I have gotten has shown me that several things I’ve put out there have been pretty effective. Yes, I am a dick at times but that’s my personality. I’m a sarcastic and snarky guy and I’m not going to apologize for it. However, sometimes that may make my words seem like they are coming from a place that is mean spirited. Maybe that adds fuel to the fire of the hardcore male rights activists on one hand and the angry militant feminists on the other. Unlike them however, I, and most true men, don’t live in those extremes. We don’t have time for it.

I post the reviews, the recipes, the grooming stuff and everything else because it is stuff I find badass. You might disagree and that’s fine. When I talk about a manly movie, it doesn’t mean that my assessment of it is some sort of law. I am no expert, I’m just a guy with a lot of opinions and ideas that writes about them.

However, guys like feeling badass and looking badass. It builds confidence and security. The same way lipstick, heels and Gucci bags make women feel more confident and badass. I’m not saying that we are stuck in specific gender roles defined by old societal standards but for most people, they typically embrace the generalized image of their gender. Because of that, there is nothing wrong with enhancing that and boosting confidence and embracing whatever it is that makes you feel awesome. What I positively review or talk about, is what makes me feel awesome. It makes a lot of other men and often times the women that love them, feel confident and secure too.

There are various qualities that make a man. To name some, there is respect, loyalty, courage, honor and an overall sense of doing the right thing. No one is perfect and we all falter. There are times where I don’t necessarily do the right thing or make the best decision. I’m human, I have faults but the fact that I can see that in myself and know where I slipped up, means that I am moving in the right direction. The way to keep moving forward, is to recognize your flaws and do what you can to improve them and to rectify the mistakes that you may still have the opportunity to fix or alter. You can’t control the world but you can control how you respond to it and interact with it.

The thing is, everything I’ve said above also pertains to women. The goal here is to be better human beings. Whether you are a man or a woman makes no difference. I feel like this should all be common sense but many people seem to be ignorant of these universal truths.

This brings me to the whole concept of gender roles. Who really gives a shit about all that? Sure, there are things men are traditionally better at, as there are things that women are traditionally better at. That doesn’t mean that these things are limited to the gender that tradition dictates must fill that role. Many men nowadays shuttle the kids around, cook all the meals and clean house. Many women work corporate jobs or even manual labor jobs and excel at it. This is a much different world than it was even fifty years ago. Props to the guys who have evolved enough to handle these tasks and extra props for them having to most likely put up with their male friends giving them shit for it. But guys rib each other and I am guilty of it too. Having thick skin is another manly quality. Not giving a shit what other people think, is one of the best manly qualities.

How manliness is perceived in the physical sense is really in the eye of the beholder; it’s all subjective. In many instances, it is also cultural. However, despite the flannel shirts, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, 50 caliber rifles, monster truck tires, lumberjack competitions, weightlifting and smoked rib roasts, manliness is something inside of your core. Manliness is a product of who you are and how you carry yourself. All this other stuff is just window dressing. But feel free to soak up the window dressing.