What Makes a Man?
Barrington H. Brennen, 2000, 2021
makes a man? There are many different views. I have
discovered that the most common definition of a man
describes a male in terms of being a "the leader."
Notice I said "the" leader not "a" leader.
Hence, we raise our boys to concentrate on what some
call the "natural, God-given responsibility" to be "in
charge" of others - especially the women. One way we
emphasize this male dominance is by asking the following
question when visiting a home: "Who is the man of the
This question often means that when there is no father
in the home, the son will be considered the "man of
the house (the leader)" even when there are older
sisters. Another way of reinforcing male dominance is
when it is time to select church leaders. Often a gifted
and talented female will be overlooked and a
not-so-talented, uneducated male will be chosen to serve
as a church leader in a local congregation. Invariably
the church suffers because of such decisions. Could it
be that we are making a mistake here? I believe we are.
It is my personal opinion, based on scripture (See
Genesis 1:26-30), that God gave both Adam and Eve the
responsibility to have dominion over the earth. In other
words, they were both given equal leadership roles in
managing planet earth. They were to work harmoniously as
horticulturists, sociologists, theologians, political
scientists, as well as married partners.
Would the real man please stand up? Is he the dominant
leader? Or is he the self-confident, mature thinking,
well-adjusted male who focuses on harmoniously living
and sharing with his female counterpart? Many years ago
(1991) there was a fascinating article in "Menís Health"
magazine published describing the typical man. Here is
what it said. The typical male:
Thinks about sex every 15 minutes until age 40, when
such thoughts occur only once every half hour. He makes
3 million sperms every hour and has sex 2.5 times per
Produces about 25 feet of hair in his lifetime. One out
of five will go bald in his 20s, and the same number
will retain full head of hair until his dying day.
Will take in enough air during his lifetime to fill two
blimps the size of the Hindenburg.
Retains about 60 percent of his body weight in water and
will produce up to half a gallon of sweat daily. He
prefers a shower rather than a bath to remove his
perspiration, and one out of three will sing while
Has a heart that pumps about 50 million gallons of blood
and beat around 2.5 billion times during his lifetime.
Walks 1,250 miles per year, and even though he is not
the fastest animal on earth, he can outrun any other
species for long distances.
Consumes 2,400 calories per day, and his body is so
efficient that if he ran on gasoline, he would get 900
miles per gallon.
Has a brain that weighs almost three pounds. (Some
employers or spouses would suggest that is an optimistic
estimate at best.)
Falls in love an average of six times during his
lifetime. Is married and would marry his spouse again.
Cries about once a month, approximately one fourth as
often as a woman, and he usually tries to hide it.
Eats his corn on the cob in circles rather than straight
Does not know his cholesterol count and will not go to
the doctor unless it is an emergency.
Thinks he looks simply fine in the nude, no matter what
his body weight.
Will not stop to ask for directions when he is in a car.
Follows pro-football but lets his wife buy all his
Lives eight years less than the typical woman, even
though more males are conceived than females.
125 male embryos are conceived for every 100 females.
105 baby boys are born for every 100 females.
There are 100 men aged 18 for every 100 females.
There are 68 men aged 85 or older for every 100 females.
There are 44 men aged 85 or older for every 100 females.
I hope you do not agree with all of the above
statements. What is a man? What is it to be masculine?
Many think that masculinity is biologically determined,
but most of its origins are cultural and historical. Is
the real man a dying breed? Do we identify a real man
by the physical strength he demonstrates or by how he
uses his brain? Do we identify a real man by the
number of children he has and the number women he has
around him, or it is by self-control? Is it possible we
can identify a real man by a gentle and kind spirit?
What do you think?
Barrington H. Brennen is a marriage and family
therapist. Send your questions or comments to
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 242-327 1980 or
visit the website