Paul Theroux, in his essay "Being a Man," tells us how disgusted he is with masculinity, or what he perceives to be masculinity. He complains that manliness is "by its very nature destructive-emotionally damaging and socially harmful." I have a hard time believing him. The concept of manliness I've been exposed to my entire life is anything but destructive.
I've always believed that being a man means, first of all, that you take responsibility for your actions. If you've done the wrong thing, you do whatever it takes to make amends. You admit your guilt. You take the punishment for it, if any exists. You learn not to do it again.
Being a man means using the brain God gave you. You don't follow the crowd just because it's the thing do. You think about what to do in that situation and in all others. If the action is wrong or doesn't make sense, you don't do it. Even if you're criticized for it, when you know you've done the right thing, and you stand firm, living through the criticism makes you a stronger person in the long run.
Theroux argues, "It is very hard to imagine any concept of manliness that does not belittle women, and it begins very early." It's not hard at all for me. The idea of manliness I've always known rejects any suggestion of belittling women. I've spent my entire life around the kind of men Theroux ignores in his essay. These men love their wives, make the effort to let them know they're loved, and even help out with housework now and then. Real men detest anything that makes women appear as objects instead of people.
A man, a real man, places his family ahead of anything else. He spends time with his children, teaching them valuable lessons they'll carry throughout their lives. He does not ignore them to hunt, fish, or golf. He doesn't view his wife as only an ornament or a sex object. She's his companion, often his best friend. And though they won't always agree on everything, he'll stay with her because the vows he repeated on his wedding day mean something to him.