It is generally accepted that being a man is more than just being a male. It is more than simply having a dick. Otherwise, even boys would be men. And it is even more than simply a matter of age. How long a person has been on this planet has little to do with whether he is a man or not. We have all met those males who we would not consider men even at the ripe age of 50.
So what is it that separates the men from the males? To me, it's about ambition, will, and responsibility.
Ambition is desire. A desire for more than he has and more than he can probably get in his lifetime. But that doesn't stop him from wanting. To live a life without ambition is to simply survive. There is a reason men were and are the driving and dominant force in society. They set up governments and infrastructure, build buildings, and dominate the tops of most careers, even the "feminine" ones like cooking. And when women succeed in these areas, they do so by adopting behaviors and mindsets associated with men. Margaret Tatcher, Janet Reno, Judge Judy. All very masculine women in looks and attitudes.
But ambition without the will to see it through is nothing more than a dream. All humans are dreamers. But men make their dreams reality with the sheer force of their will. Will is doing what it takes to get the job done. It's not about following any set path. The set path might have new perils. A man will overcome those perils or forge a new path he is better capable of travelling. When he lacks the money to finance his dreams, he'll get a loan, a job, or whatever else he thinks necessary to get the job done, even robbing a bank. When he lacks people, he'll pay them, charm them, and promise them all the riches in the world just to get them on his side. Nothing stands in his way for long. Contrast this with the boy who falls off his bike and runs crying to mommy. He is not a man. Contrast the man with the girl who breaks a nail and complains about it all day. She is not a man. A man will not look for reasons to stop trying. A man will keep trying even when everything is telling him to stop.
But without responsibility, ambition and will mean nothing. Let's face it. Life is not perfect. And neither are we. We all make mistakes. And responsibility means acknowledging your role in that mistake and accepting it. What good is will and ambition if you refuse to recognize with who and where the problem lies? A man is able to look at a situation and assess where the blame lies objectively, even if that means blaming himself. Because without that assessment, without taking responsibility, he cannot move forward. Blaming others for your own place in life is a fruitless activity. It fails to acknowledge that others will rarely act in ways that are convenient to us. It prevents one from seeing the real problem and without seeing the real problem it is impossible to fix. You keep making the same mistakes until you recognize that you are doing something wrong. Alcoholics Anonymous and similar programs call this step admitting you have a problem. A man accepts that in order to get what he wants, he must act rather than wait around for others to act. And a man's responsibility covers all aspects of his life, ranging from individual pursuits like career, to social pursuits like the people in his life, and even to global pursuits such as making the world a place in which he wants to live.
Notice what I left out. I left out the stuff about emotions. While others will tell you being a man is about hiding from or even embracing your emotions, those notions mean nothing here. Whether you choose to hide from your emotions or embrace them have little to do with your ambition, will, and level of responsibility. You can choose to never show emotion and still get what you want. You can also wear your emotions on your sleeve and still get what you want. But as a man, no option is off limits as you realize there is a time and a place for both. Your emotions are what they are. They can guide you. But they don't stop you. A man controls them and their display in order to reach his ambitions. Sometimes that means letting them run wild. And sometimes that means reigning them in. A man's will controls all.
I also left out the stuff about morality. A man wants what he wants. And he does what it takes to get it. But his willingness to take responsibility keeps him from doing things that will prevent him from reaching his ambitions. He recognizes stealing will land him in the state penitentiary, a place that makes it harder to get what he wants. But if he does land there, a man learns from his mistakes and doesn't let anything stop him from getting what he wants. A man's responsibility allows him to think long term and not just about passing fantasies in the moment. He commits to his wife and family, choosing not to cheat if he wants to maintain monogamous honest relationship with them. But if that is not a priority for him, he accepts it and chooses the path that best yields the results he wants. He is aware of his actions and the impact it has on the world around him. He defines his own moral code and the lines which he is not willing to cross.
So why is this attractive and especially attractive to women? It is not. Or rather, it is no more or less attractive than other women, androgynous men, sunsets, and shiny objects. What I mean is, a man doesn't focus on his own attractiveness. He does not try to get girls attracted to him because girls are attracted to anything and everything. And just because a girl desires something doesn't mean she'll go after it. If she did, she'd be a man.
Instead, a man goes after what he wants. He focuses on the object of his desire and exercises his will and responsibility in order to get her and keep her. He dominates people and circumstances in order to impose his will. A man prevails.
But a man also asks if he wants a woman he has to constantly entertain and pretend to be someone else in order to get her and keep her?
Or does he want a woman who wants him the way he is, where he is at ease with himself and does not have to try too hard in order to get her and keep her?
A man is aware of his desires and makes them real. He knows what he wants and gets it. Pursuing a woman based on her looks without regards to her personality and the way she makes him feel is a valid ambition. But so is pursuing a woman with those other intangibles like personality and how she makes him feel. He does not let the ambitions and desires of others cloud his own.
And if they do, he seeks to get clear of them, focusing on his own ambitions -- his own sexuality, his taste in women, his version of the "American Dream," and his own perfect world.
A man imposes his will. He does what he can, with what he has, wherever he is.