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How To Man Up

By Alex James

Why do you think life often insist on treating us as less than the men we actually are? Time to man up and face the onslaught against us like gentlemen and not bitches.

Below you will find a small list of decorum do's and don'ts to ensure our words and deeds match the testosterone pumping through our veins.

Learn To Talk The Talk
Slang can be cool, but if your vernacular is entirely comprised of colloquialisms, it runs the risk of being tuned out by your contemporaries. The wrong rhetoric can impede even the best ideas. If you're tired of your thoughts falling on deaf ears, ameliorate your speech with as much literature as your eyeballs can handle. Novels, biographies, magazines, and newspapers will help you build a more developed vocabulary.

Get The News
Newspaper subscriptions are crazy cheap these days, plus there's a ton of reputable journalism online, so there's no reason not do bone up on your current events knowledge. Short of reading the news, there is a lazy man's solution: Watch news channels. The talking heads that feature prominently on 24-hour news networks typically have a superior command of the language you'd like to speak better. Listening to them frequently will help you do just that.
While you're at it, forget lame catchphrases like "It's all good," "Don't go there" and "You the man" from your vocabulary altogether. These buzz sayings had a place in the pop-culture lexicon of the late '90s, but have since been exhausted.

Watch Your Words
Remember Han Solo in Star Wars? Of course you do. He's beloved for his courage, right? Well, not really. He spends much of the first movie trying to avoid conflict and running away from his responsibilities. Hardly A-1 man stuff. And while he progressed into a real leader throughout the course of the original trilogy, his defining characteristic remains what he says -- or rather, what he doesn't say. Solo was the master of not over-sharing, but of condensing what he had to say into a memorable gruff quip. Can you imagine this guy with a Facebook account? We can't. Go Solo -- don't blab, don't gossip, and don't brag. People will respect what you have to say more if you're not flooding them with a constant barrage of words.

Hit The Gym
Maintain some level of physical fitness. Don't have the time to be a chiseled underwear model? Who does? You don't need all that tone and bulk to be an Adonis. Sticking to a workout program designed by somebody who spends their days racking your weights will make you look better, period. Furthermore, your general disposition will surge, as endorphins are released through routine exercise. Your performance on the job, in the bedroom and wherever else you do your thing will also get a boost because of increased motor coordination and mental clarity. There are no downsides to being physically fit.

Forget The Past
Sherlock Holmes may have been a great -- albeit fictional -- man to model yourself after, but when it comes to your boyfriend's past, don't try to be a detective. Unearthing the wrong kind of knowledge could send you into a tailspin of doubt and jealousy. No matter who a person is, there are going to be some skeletons in their closet, and jealousy can definitely be a two-way street. How would he feel if he knew about your most depraved moments? No better than you, if you knew about his, so refrain from broaching the subject altogether and concentrate on what really matters: you and him in this moment. While knowing about each other's lives and interests is important, each of you should be able to keep certain details private.

Drink Well
Back in the day, men retired to wood-paneled parlors where they would congregate to smoke and drink (they were called gentlemen's clubs). Although the particulars of their liaisons are only speculative, it's a safe bet that their glasses of amber cognac didn't have toothpick umbrellas sticking out of them. Neither should yours. A clean glass of vodka will assuage the tension of the day and put a stumble in your step better than a Sex on the Beach any day. Best of all, you won't look like a guy who's clueless about drinks while sipping one. So take a cue from those mustachioed forefathers and drink like a man.

Shake With Authority
Your handshake gives you away. So what does yours say about you? Firm and assertive or weak and submissive? Never has a first impression faux pas been more telling than interlocking hands with a dead fish. Right away your future employer or husband-to-be will be left to wonder if there is any substance behind that loosey-goosey grip. If you realize your shake is kind of shaky, feel free to work out your hands (or just your right) in order to boost it. For a short-term solution, put yourself on firmer ground by extending your index finger along the shakee's wrist. It'll act as a stabilizing force and make it harder for the other guy to squish your hand into a pulp.

Look 'Em In The Eye
If etiquette were a family, then eye contact would be the first cousin to the handshake. Not maintaining it is equivalent to a confession of guilt. No one will actually come out and accuse you of being culpable, but if you can't look somebody directly in the eye, they'll think that you have something to hide. You may be of the noblest intentions, but if you can't stand cornea to cornea with a man, your integrity will be in doubt.

The quickest and surest ways to man up starts by making a strong handshake and knowing gaze your standard operating procedure.

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