Ten things all men should do

We men are simple creatures, our switch is either on or off. It’s either coffee or tea. Men are easy to understand but hard to get along with. The difficulty comes when you don’t follow the rules.
What rules? These are what I call the “Unwritten code of conduct for men” a.k.a Macho Rules. These laws are handed down from one generation to the next. From as early as childhood, we are indoctrinated in the ways of being a man. The first thing we are taught is that boys must be tough and should show no sign of fear. Then the most famous: real men don’t cry. We should be able to bear pain without complaining.

The irony of it all is that these culturally diverse rules have lead to strongly held beliefs and dangerous, life-threatening habits being formed by men. As a direct result of how they were grown, a great number of men have a difficulty putting their feelings into words. This leads to them breaking things or hurting people. The refusal to cry or open up about what’s going on inside generates a number of psychological issues. In addition to that, men are literally afraid of going to the doctor. They will sit and watch an illness fester until it reaches crisis levels before they visit the doctor.

Having seen firsthand how dangerous these “Macho Rules” can be, I’ve decided to share another set of Must Do’s for men. These are practical suggestions which should improve health, personal hygiene and mental well-being.

1. Visit the doctor



Don’t ‘watch’ whatever is bothering you. It’s not a TV. Go see your doctor and be open with him/her. I remember having stomach burns and feeling a lump in my throat earlier this year. With no hesitation, I ran to see a doctor. Turns out I had GERD. It’s better to go in early and have a doctor say that there’s nothing wrong rather than to sit and have a normal problem worsen.

Men over 40 need to have a their prostates examined at least once per year.

“Other than skin cancer, prostate is the most common cancer in American men…..about 1 man in 7 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. In 2015 an excess of 220,000 new cases were reported and over 27,000 died from prostate cancer.”American Cancer Society

 The Center for Disease Control (CDC) in 2012 indicated from research conducted between 1999-2012, that black men were “more likely to die of prostate cancer than any other group.” Prostate Cancer Rates by Race and Ethnicity. Obviously, we brothas’ need to get tested. Early prevention is always better than trying to cure. Do the sensible thing.

2. Grow a beard



These days, growing a beard can be a dangerous thing. With the level of paranoia now gripping the nations around, people are rather suspicious of men with beards but beards are in. Browse any Instagram feed and you’ll see various styles and stories. As young boys we eagerly awaited the sighting of that first strand of facial hair. Nothing seems to signify manhood more than a beard and mustache. Who ever says you have to be cleaned shaved every day clearly spent too much time in the army.

3. Shower regularly



Personal hygiene is critical to health and a feeling of well being. Many people underestimate the therapeutic effect of a shower. Clean, healthy skin looks good on everybody.

4. Express feelings in words



Men love to smash things when they get angry or buy girls expensive gifts when they’re really into them. We are not often blessed with the gift of gab. I’ve seen many guys fumble around trying to find the right words to express his feelings towards a young lady. Putting feelings into words can be a bit tedious but in the end it turns out to be less costly. Speaking about your emotions gets others to see your perspective and appreciate what your current state of mind is. Such conversations increase your connection with the hearer.

Little boys are not encouraged to share emotions because it makes them look soft and boys must be tough. This is a misguided code of conduct fed to us as a requirement for manhood. I’ve found that it takes unbelievable strength and courage to share your feelings. By this I’m not just referring to saying “I love you” but communicating why you love, requires mental tenacity.

For the angry guy who gets upset every time his boss makes a disparaging remark, it might help if you say how you feel about his actions. Hitting him or a punching bag really does nothing to help your situation at all. Make it clear that you dislike the comments because of A, B, and C. You may get much further with this response than smashing something or someone.

5. Talk about what’s eating you



Mad men abound. Going through the streets, I see way more insane men than I see women. I doubt that the women are hiding or institutionalized. The women are at home. The men are on the streets eating out of garbage cans. Why?

Here’s a simple scenario:

Guy gets home from work and just drops into the sofa and turns on the TV. He’s very pensive and very quiet. His wife can get very little out of him. It’s obvious that something is eating him. Just what is it? He won’t say. He’s too busy thinking about a solution to the problem. He spends hours going through all the permutations and possible conclusions but nothing fits. This leads him to become stressed, the effects of which are physical – high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity/weight loss. The end result is a chemical imbalance in the brain.

Just what was it? We don’t know. He never said.

Many of us men walk around with a host of problems we’re trying to solve…in our heads. It chokes the daylights out of us. It would help if we spoke about it. Get another viewpoint. Get help! I don’t think you’ll die if you reach out for help. Come to think of it, you may actually live longer when you do.

Cry.

We men, tend not to cry. That’s how we were grown. One of the many macho rules. A man loses none of his masculinity when he cries. It’s all still there. Crying shows that you’re sensitive and you’re hurting. It’s a legit way of expressing one’s inner feelings. So, forget what they told you.

6. Go Camping




Nature’s book teaches valuable lessons. Living in the city robs one of the thrill and adventure of outdoors. The only exciting things to see are the anxious cab drivers rushing to beat the traffic light. Apart from the people, everything else is inanimate. This is some life we’re living, away from other lifeforms.

Spending a few moments in the hills or forest can do wonders for your physical and mental health. When was the last time you really had a whiff of fresh air? Can you recall the last time you heard the sounds of birds or insects? When was the last time your feet touched soil? Don’t you get tired of the concrete jungle? My suggestion: go camping, have a relaxing time among real things. You’ll be better off for having done so.

7. Learn to Cook

I believe all men should learn to cook. At least learn the basics, because it can save your life, your wallet and may even get you that special lady. You don’t need to know how to make a “fille minyawn”. The term is actually “filet mignon” and it’s French for a “tender fillet”, a thin cut of beef steak from the smaller end of tenderloin….One special meal is enough. Pasta dishes are fairly simple and don’t take much time to prepare. I would suggest fish, all you need is a skillet, salt and pepper. Cooks in 15 minutes. Add to that baked potatoes and steamed vegetables. Voila! If you need a little help here’s something from Gordon Ramsay.

8. Take care of your fingers



If there’s one thing I hate it’s the sight of dirty nails. The next unsightly thing is long nails on a man’s hands. For the life of me I just don’t grasp the impetus for doing this nail thing. Finger nails harbor all types of germs. Cut those nails. Wash your hands with antibacterial soap. Sanitize and ensure that you moisturize. Scruffy hands are not a sign of manliness. Your hands lack serious attention.

9. Sleep



Lack of sleep leads to confusion of mind. It’s that simple.

10. Get in touch with your spirituality



Mention God at the dinner table and you’re seen as the odd one. It’s not polite to speak about one’s religion or spirituality in public anymore. Spirituality is now a taboo subject. I find it instructive to note that most of the world’s highly regarded leaders were very religious and spoke about their spirituality quite openly. Martin Luther King, Mohammad Ali, Manny Pachiao, Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela all were religious men. Might I add that all except Gandhi and Ali were Christians. We live in a world now where you can’t pray in schools and dare not talk about the Bible less you be labelled or seen as offending someone.

We are all spiritual beings. Try as you may, this is one aspect of our being that we cannot avoid. We were created to worship. The tribal people in the remotest parts of the earth worship. Are we too civilized and educated to worship? Having faith in God helps to order the flux of our reality. It does help to know that there is a Supreme being who is in control of the universe. So, yes, “we are not alone.”

C’est tout!

They say, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got. But if what you get isn’t what you want then do something different.” Adapt to new rules.

As always, “style is personal” so, do you. I’m out.

*All pictures taken from Pinterest unless otherwise stated.

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