Singaporebrides | The Groom Room

December 2015

How To Spot A Real Man

When does a boy become a man? Fu Jinming explains what maketh a bona fide man.

In almost every culture, there are rites of passages for when boys are considered to have become men. For some it’s an age, like 18, or 21. For others it’s a stage of life, like getting a driver’s license, getting married, or having a sexual relationship for the first time.

Then there are the blood-curdling tribal rituals. Who could forget such classics as dancing to bullet ant bites for 10 minutes? Or killing a lion. Or in some cases, another man.

Yet the truth is, modern manhood has less to do with a number, a single life moment, or a misplaced act of bravado. True macho-dom has more to do with an attitude, a way of thinking, and a way of behaving.

For there are men who may be 21, yet act like they’re 12. Men who are rich in wealth, yet poor in emotions. They’re exhausting to be with. And frankly, a bit of an embarrassment to seen with.

So how do we separate the chaff from the wheat? The man-child from the man? Here are some common traits to help you identify the man that boys want to be when they grow up. And once you do, one you’ll do well to keep.

1. He allows himself to love

A real man isn’t afraid to love someone other than himself. He makes room in his heart and life for another, and is not afraid to let someone know she matters –just so she knows. And that includes his mother. He’s the guy who’ll open the door and pull up a seat for you. Not because he thinks you’re weak, but because he cares more about your comfort than his.

2. He knows what it is to be kind

Before he asks something of someone, he stops and thinks in the other person’s shoes. Possessing a strong sense of empathy and thought for others, he’ll tell the waitress to take her time, ask the co-worker if he needs help, and secretly feed stray cats on his way home. He understands what it’s like to feel down and out, and knows just how to pull you back up.

3. He knows when to be a child, and when to be an adult

For there is a difference between being child-like and childish, and the latter is an absolute turn-off. A grown man knows when to tap into his inner child for creative ideas and solutions, but is able to switch back to adulthood when making rational decisions. That means knowing the difference between a compromise and pettiness, resolution and a tantrum.

Elegant-Vintage-Wedding-63Elegance With a Touch of Vintage, captured by Dazza of Tinydot Photography

4. He saves up for furniture, not video games

A proper man makes plans to have his own pad, and makes sound financial decisions to get it. That means knowing where his priorities lay, and keeping them there. He’s disciplined enough to follow a savings plan, and wise enough to separate the essential from the excessive. Rather than the instant gratifications of the present, he prefers to buy into the future.

5. He’s completely comfortable in his own skin

We all have our insecurities, but a real man is lord over his. Rather than let them grow to become a chip on his shoulder, he harnesses strength from his anxieties. He would have gone through bad haircuts, silly outfits, as well as professional –and social – train wrecks before arriving at his current state of confidence. He knows exactly who he is, what his belief systems are, and what he stands for.

6. He can make his own decisions

And chances are, they’re often ones that are well thought through. More often than not, they’re also the right calls, shaped by experience and clear-headedness that’s characteristic of an independent thinker. That’s not to say he dismisses the opinions of others. He’s just not easily swayed by peer pressure or authority. Because he understands that the path he chooses will define him as an individual.

7. He doesn’t sweat the small stuff

The size of a man can often be measured by the size of his problems. It’s a pretty good indication of how he deals with the lemons that life inevitably throws from time to time. Does he tear his hair out at the little things, or does he keep calm and focus on the big picture? Does he send his friends or co-workers into a headless frenzy, or does he steady the ship and steer forward no matter what? It speaks volumes about a man’s temperament, perspective and leadership abilities.

8. He avoids a physical fight if he can

It’s the first thing you learn in martial arts, for the man who throws the first punch has lost the battle. Which is why schoolyard fights are called just that – they’re how schoolboys settle their differences. A man however, prefers to win you over with his logic and intellect, in a clear, rational debate. He’d rather stand out in a battle of wits than a battle of fists.

9. He chooses the right friends

How well a man chooses his company reflects his judgement of character. Whether it’s the guys he hangs out at the bar, or at the odd video game party, the people he chooses to spend his time with are ones who will lend meaning to his life. More importantly, they are imbued with qualities that will, by sheer influence, make him a better, wiser person.

Rustic-Whimsical-Wedding-at-The-Stables-106Rustic and Whimsical Wedding at the Stables, captured by Mindy Tan Photography

10. He listens

A real man lends his ear to just about everything and everyone – from friendly advice to petty troubles, to even incoherent gibberish from kids. It suggests a generous dose of patience, humility and selflessness. It is also a hint of his potential as a partner and father. He’s interested in you and what you have to say, even in an argument. And he will hold his opinions until you’re done with your side of the story. The last thing you want is a guy whose idea of a conversation is one where you’re doing all the listening.

11. He experiences life

Nothing is sexier than a guy shaped by real-world experiences. The more he experiences, the more interesting he becomes. And chances are, the wiser too. He’s the man with a reservoir of stories and insights to share. There’s never a dull moment with him, not when he provides the most interesting conversations you’ll ever have. So if you’re a man, take a risk and burst out of your bubble. Take the roads less travelled, and earn your stories.

You might just earn her hand.

Credits: Feature image of Elegance With a Touch of Vintage, captured by Wishwander Pictures.