There is endless scholarship on what constitutes authentic manhood—a “real” man if you will.
A quick, cursory cruise on the Google machine reveals, for example, these tremendously useful gems: "10 Signs To Know You're Dating A Real Man, By A Real Man," "10 Ways to Know You're Dating a Real Man," "7 Things Every Real Man Does When He’s Serious About You."
Generally a 10000% reliable and accurate tool, the issue with these Interwebz findings is that none of these pieces say the same thing. How the hell are we supposed to know a real man when we think we've found one if there's not even close to a consensus on what one is!?
Fortunately for you, I’ve taken the effort to compile a definitive guide on the matter.
Follow these easy steps, and you’ll know a REAL man when you see him every time!
1. Is he two inches tall, with soft fur, whiskers, and a long tail? This is decidedly NOT a man, but a mouse. I realize that since the 1937publication of John Steinbeck’s novella Of Mice And Men, these two populations have been conflated, so don’t feel bad about getting them confused. That said, if you find this non-man in your kitchen, it’s probably time to purchase a snap-trap or call an exterminator (who, upside, may in fact be an actual man!).
2. Does he boss you around a lot when you’re driving and stutter when you miss an exit, passive aggressively giving you the silent treatment for a few seconds every time you make a wrong turn? There’s a good chance this “man” is actually a GPS. If he fits in your hand and is a silver hue, you can confirm that he is, assuredly, a machine controlled by satellites in the sky designed to help you navigate. Likely not too good at emotional attachment, but at least you can have limited, one-sided conversations. The GPS is definitely (sort of) listening to every word you say. You could do worse!
3. He has four wheels and two overlapping ovals on his face? Bad news: he’s a Camry, not a man. :/
4. Eyes that cut through your soul, a chiseled face, captivating smile, fitted suit? This seems promising! You may in fact have a man on your hands! Just to make sure though, be sure to run your hand across his bearded face. Does he have a glossy, two-dimensional finish? Shoot! This is just an Idris Elba poster. Given the fact that it’s made of paper products, he’s going to be unlikely to keep you warm . . . but there are rumors swirling that he’ll be starring as James Bond soon—so at least, maybe, you can catch him in moving/speaking form soon!
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5. “Who?” he asks repeatedly. It’s charming at first, but the echoing cries of his confusion begin to concern the people who are nearby. Could this be the befuddled man of your dreams . . . !? Alas no. He’s an owl.
6. He cuts through the water with a slow, graceful ease. Is the way his bespeckled, 20-foot frame displaces the sea a result of his virulent, not-fucking-around-100%-real-manhood? Actually, no again. He's a whale shark. And you're scuba diving—remember to always monitor your air tank!
7. Tall with a striking face, he has a very concerned expression as he casts his glance over his left shoulder. He has chiseled abs, his body near anatomical perfection—almost like an enduring piece of art that's been around since the 16th century. He's quiet, yes, but people swarm to him every day, armed with cameras to capture his majesty. This seems like the best bet of them all, the realest of the real men. Why else would he be surrounded by starry-eyed masses, were it not for his distinct manfulness?
Ah, because this is actually the statue of David, chiseled by Michelangelo. I guess if the silent-but-marble type is your thing, you can go for it, but be prepared for guards to tackle you if you make a move to cuddle with him.