What Does It Mean To Be Manly?

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Since I’m spending a month in Manly, Australia, it got me thinking…what does society consider a “manly” man? Has this changed throughout my lifespan? Is it evolving? Do heterosexual women, like myself, consider the same things manly as homosexual men do? What about different cultures? During my month on the beach in Australia, I attempted to get a few answers to these questions.

From strictly personal experience, I know that a kilt is considered quite manly. I spent evenings in Australia binge-watching episodes of Outlander, starring Sam Heughan in a kilt. Even my husband, Scott, has a man-crush on him. Perhaps it’s because Scott wears his own kilt once a year to the Jazzfest music festival in New Orleans New Orleans Jazzfest With a Group of Hooligans.

Scott at Jazzfest
Sam Heughan in Outlander
Sam Heughan in Outlander












But since I was in Australia, and not Scotland, I decided to hit the beaches, interview some mates, and find out what’s manly in Manly, Australia. Some of the teen girls I spoke with thought the surfers and skaters depicted a very manly style. One girl mentioned that going in the ocean (even when it’s raining) all year long was part of a manly lifestyle. Another friend said she liked guys with long hair, beachy clothes, and a relaxed attitude.

But what about the older crowd? When I interviewed some new Moms in their thirties, they found it manly when they saw men taking care of children. This showed a modern twist on the role fathers are playing in society today, and that manly can be an action as well as a way of looking.  I found quite a few manly men out alone with their babies and children.

I found one man that matched his mate in clothing. I bet she found that quite manly.


Physically, there are so many distinct options to choose from. I found everything from guys with a “man-bun,” to tattoos, beards, muscles, men in shirts with slogans or …..wait for it….. pictures of kittens!

I couldn’t forget the manliness of a man in a uniform either. Or the appeal (?) of a man in a speedo, which in Manly they refer to as a “budgy smuggler,” with a budgy being a small bird.

police in Australia
Constables at the beach
men in budgy smugler speedo on beach in Manly Australia
Men in budgy smugglers on the beach in Manly Australia

But what about the more mature gentleman? What makes a mature man manly? Is it still about looks? More about action? These men were waiting patiently while their spouses shopped in the outdoor mall. Surely their spouses considered that a manly act.

men on bench in Corso Manly Australia

After trying to figure out the answer, I came upon one chap I interviewed at the Australian Open of Surfing. He seemed to sum it up for me in a way that made the most sense. He said, “Being manly means being comfortable in your own skin and accepting other people for who they are.” Now, that’s manly!

Marriage Tips Worth Their Weight In Gold

Manly, Australia; Surfer’s Paradise Down Under

Surfing Sydney



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