Are you an adult male? Congratulations; but are you a grown-ass man ? The difference may seem subtle, but it goes further than just acquiring a savings account and more than one pair of decent shoes. (Though true grown-ass men should probably look like Jidenna in "Classic Man" at all times, in an ideal world.) Grown-ass men are respectful, take responsibility, are self-aware, and make efforts to improve themselves and their treatment of others. Grown-ass men are perfectly allowed to spend their weekends playing Mario Kart and running around on skateboards, but they aren't emotionally infantile or unreliable, and they know damn well that catcalling is for sexist losers. Not you? If you want to make this your reality, there are New Year's resolutions that may be able to help.
If you think this is a sexist throwback to the so-called "real men" of the 1950s, I've got news for you. The 2016 grown-ass man is a feminist. He fights against patriarchy, emotional repression, sexist nonsense, and repressive gender roles. Grown-ass men accept women as equals and act accordingly. So if you've got a burgeoning grown-ass man on your hands, or if you have ambitions to solidify your own grown-ass status, these are the things to put on your list for 2016. It's time to become a serious adult.
1. "I Will Not Catcall"
Come on. You're an adult. You're not fooling anybody; nobody thinks you're trying to genuinely compliment the target of your, ahem, "affections". We all know you're just trying to show off and make yourself feel big, and that you don't really care if the woman in question feels uncomfortable. Well, it's borderline acceptable when you're two years old (a friend of mine used to pinch women's butts at daycare), but if you're a grown-ass man? Hell no. It's 2016, and both you and the woman you're yelling at deserve a lot better.
2. "I Will Not Let Friends Or Family Perpetuate Sexism"
Got that dumb cousin who makes "get back in the kitchen" jokes? That grandmother who wonders why your girlfriend has a job instead of homemaking? That friend who always makes stupid remarks when he see girls at the hardware store? It's the year to put your foot down. The buck stops with you; if you make it clear it's not cool around you (because you're an adult, and it damn well shouldn't be), they may begin to get the message that it's not cool, period. Don't let stuff slide; take a stand.
3. "I Will Prioritize Respect In My Relationships"
You are not only an adult, you are a grown-ass man, and that implies taking responsibility for what happens in your relationships. Respectful ones are good ones: if she or he validates your feelings, listens to what you say, compromises, doesn't get cruel or personally insulting while fighting, and wants to hear about your dreams, that's respect. And that goes for what you give back as well. You aren't allowed to demand respect if you're not giving it too; that's the basis of relationship equality.
4. "I Will Communicate About Sex"
You are now officially too old to be selfish sexually. And you should also be experienced enough to know that thinking of sex in purely selfish pleasure-oriented terms doesn't get either of you as far as your 14 year-old self thought. Wham bam whatever: they're not coming back if that's your modus operandi, mate.
Communicating between sexual partners, including drawing boundaries, identifying problems, and setting up experiments, isn't "for pussies": it's both necessary and hot, and it leads to far steamier sex than silent fondlings without explicit instruction.
5. "I Will Allow Myself To be Emotionally Vulnerable"
Patriarchy works both ways. The model of the man in charge, the breadwinner, the rational strongman, can be seriously imprisoning to your self-image, and you may not even know it. Boys don't cry? Boys can cry all they want. You are not violating any masculine code of decency if you allow yourself to get a bit better at understanding your emotions and how you react to things. The Macho Police are not going to come and take you away for having a serious conversation about how you feel. Try to recognize whether any deeply ingrained beliefs about what men "should do" are holding you back.
6. "I Will Take Responsibility For My Sexual Health"
Have you had an STD test lately? No? Might be a good idea to go get one, because an estimated 19.7 million new STDs will be contracted in the U.S. in 2016, according to the American Sexual Health Association, and you can't be sure if that number includes you if you're not vigilant. You're also luckier than women, in that symptoms of STDs for you are less likely to be hidden internally or to be mistaken for something else; but women are also far more likely to go to the doctor, so break the stereotype of the doctor-averse man and get yourself to the nearest clinic if you've noticed anything awry or are about to start sexin' a new partner.
7. "I Will Not Tell Anybody To 'Man Up' Or 'Stop Being A Pussy'"
Don't reinforce stupid stereotypes about masculinity and femininity, even in flippant stuff like everyday conversations. Being a man is not innately strong, and having a vagina is not innately weakening. Cut out the sexist stuff: no saying anybody runs "like a girl" in a negative way, no wondering which person's "wearing the pants" in a relationship, no telling a timid coworker to "grow a pair". Cut that nonsense out of your language; you're a grown-ass dude and can express yourself far better.
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