"I'm not a tough guy. I'm just delivering the truth and the only truth and if you can't deal with it, too bad." -Kevin O'Leary
In a previous post, I talked about what constitutes a "tough" woman (if you missed "Ode To The Bitch", you can find it here). I wanted to talk about women because oftentimes, tough women are a mystery. But that post got me thinking.
What about men?
Tough guys have been reduced to caricatures in our society. The street thug. The gangbanger. The dumb goon. "Toughness" in men is associated with being dangerous, mean, even abusive.
I have a different idea of what it means to be tough.
I've known a lot of tough men. To the person, they blow the stereotypes out of the water.
Here's what they've taught me about what it really means to be a tough guy.
Tough guys don't advertise. If you have to tell someone you're a tough guy -by how you talk, walk, or dress- odds are you're not as tough as you think you are. The toughest guys I've ever met look just like everyone else... until someone crosses that uncrossable line.
Then watch out.
Tough guys crack jokes, not just skulls. All the tough guys I've met are rib-shatteringly funny. I don't know why this is. Maybe it's a way to diffuse a bad situation before it develops- I honestly have no idea.
It's not exactly a requirement, but if you come across a guy with a wicked sense of humor, odds are, he can hold his own when it's called for.
Tough guys look out for those weaker than them. This includes women, children, old people, even other men. Anyone who takes advantage of or tries to intimidate others isn't a tough guy; he's a bully.
Tough guys take care of themselves. I'm not just talking about in a fight. They can sew a button, do their own laundry, throw together an edible meal. True tough guys don't rely on other people to look after them. They look after themselves.
Tough guys don't start fights- they finish them. You won't find a tough guy picking fights. Tough guys know the damage they can do, and in most situations, would prefer to just walk away.
But don't think that means they won't fight. Hurt someone they care about or throw the first punch, and they'll make sure you never make the same mistake twice.
Tough guys need tough women. Relationships succeed when both parties are equal. The only person equal to a tough guy is a tough woman. She sees through the bluster and the bullshit, and knows a tough guy will treat her the way she deserves.
The opposite is also true. Tough guys look at a woman other people might dismiss as a "bitch", and see someone who will be able to keep up. Plus, they love a challenge, and nothing is more challenging than winning a tough woman's heart.
They may not draw attention to themselves, but there are still tough guys out there, if you know where to look. They are infinitely more interesting -and infinitely tougher- than anything Hollywood could come up with.
And they're the men I choose to base my heroes on.
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