What Makes A Modern Man?


“I dare do all that may become a man; Who dares more is none.” – Macbeth

The question of what makes a modern man and “manliness” has been one that’s been on my mind for the past few weeks. The concept of “masculinity” has undergone a great deal of change over the last few decades as more men have been looking after their health and making an effort in the way they look, and with it the way men are viewed. But what responsibilities do men have to society? Some of you may think that society does nothing for you and therefore you owe it even less. Others may have an antiquated idea of what a man “should be” and some of you may just be unsure of where you stand.

Today, I want to run through some of the values and practices that I think makes a man in modern society. It won’t just be covering the material that I usual write about but also looking into behaviours that we , as a gender, need to dispose of and some we need to turn into habits.

Learn to Want to Develop Yourself

If there is one thing that is true of all humans on this Earth, it is that we are unfinished projects. From our heart’s first beat to it’s last we are constantly evolving and changing the way we perceive others and ourselves. No man is born with ability to fix a car or run a marathon, it is only with discipline and a desire to better yourself that these skills are developed and honed.

In my opinion, it is this desire to become a better version of yourself that makes a modern man and makes you a more valuable and rounded member of society. This is not to say that you need to be the best at everything you attempt, but asking questions and trying new things is what has helped us advance and pushes us to be better people.

There are a whole variety of guides available to help men develop themselves in terms of their personality and skillset, including GQ’s Man Up! feature written by Victoria Coren-Mitchell and UNIQLO’s Guide to Being A Metropolitan Man.

Be A Feminist

There should be no arguing with this. We are at the point now where women everywhere are seeking equality and a level playing field, both professionally and socially. As a gender, we should be looking to support this and understand that we should be supporting the women in our lives to do whatever they desire.

For men who don’t believe women face these pressures everyday in modern society, I would advice you watch the video below. Although produced with a certain level of humor, it shows some harsh truths about the way a male-dominated society treats women.

Showing support for feminism can be done through the HeForShe organisation by simply clicking “I Agree” on their website. It’s a small step to equality but it’s certainly one we should all be taking.

Give What You Can To Those Who Need It

Following the election here in the UK, there has been a great deal of anger concerning if and how the country will change. As Ghandi once said, “be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Give what you can to causes you believe in, it doesn’t even have to be money. Charities are calling out for men and women of all ages to contribute a few hours to their cause once a fortnight. so sign up and get involved.

It’s never been easier to give and even the smallest amount makes a difference in the end and it will also mean that you can sleep a little sounder knowing that you have contributed to those who have less than you do.

Understand The Difference Between Confidence and Cockiness

This is a common mistake made by men, thinking that bravado and “ladish” behaviour are the same as confidence. If you want to understand how confidence is perceived by others (especially women) then I invite you to read this AskWomen Reddit thread. Much of what is discussed revolves around authenticity, happiness in the way you look, respecting others and actually engaging with those you communicate with.

It’s worth watching men who you see as truly confident and noting how regularly they shout or brag, more often than not their behaviour is far more subtle and refined. The only person you have to prove anything to is yourself, and forunately you can communicate with him without even making a sound.

Take Your Health Seriously

Throughout your adult life you’ll find that you will have more people who count on you. Your friends, your partner, your family and those you work with will all be looking to you for one thing or another so your health becomes a key player in these people’s lives too. After 25 your metabolism begins to slow down by between 2-4% every year, making it harder for your body to keep up with that student diet you’ve relied on for the past half-decade.

The earlier you get into good habits, the easier it will be to maintain them and soon you’ll find yourself looking and feeling healthier. Learn how to cook with fresh produce, aim to do some form of exercise for at least 30 mins per day, look after your skin and cut back on your bad habits. Smoking, drinking excessively and poor diet are 3 common causes of poor health in young people. Cut out the first and cut back on the other two and you’ll see a rapid improvement in your health.

Be An Optimist

This is likely to cause a little controversy and, as many of you know, I’m not a big fan of people being negative for negativity’s sake. My reason? It’s just a coward’s way of living. You never attempt anything and reason that because of that you can never be disappointed. You anticipate the worst because that somehow seems like the smart option. Ultimately, however, you will find yourself at a later stage in life regretting every time you said “no” when an opportunity arose.

Positive thinking can help extend your lifespan, improve your career prospects and even help with your personal relationships, so why wouldn’t you be an optimist? It makes you stronger, more successful and happier in yourself and with others. Cynicism is going the way of the dinosaurs and I for one am happy to see it dead and buried.

Thanks for checking out the post and make sure to leave any questions or comments below, I’m always keen to hear from you all. As a way of saying thank you, UNIQLO has teamed up with a variety of writers and bloggers to offer a £200 spend at their stores. All you need to do is share your modern man style photos and mention UNIQLO_UK with #metropolitanmen for a chance to win (competition closes on June 5th). You can also sign-up to be notified of new posts and follow The Male Stylist activity. Also, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter or Instagram for style inspiration, gentleman’s musings and general fun.

Adam Walker - The Male Stylist