What does it take to be a man? Scrotum? Check. Nads? Yuppers. Johnson? Well, it is sort of iconic. Facial hair? Yeah, a scruffy stubble will man you up a bit, but facial hair on some dudes just makes them look like Frida Kahlo … or worse yet, John Waters. Take away the basic sports package, however, and manliness gets a little harder to pin down. For instance, pretty much everyone has nipples, even if you can’t milk them. A lot of dude nipples look like big, hairy, asymmetrical, precancerous moles – the type of areolic abominations that not even a rabid wolverine would latch onto, but they’re nipples nonetheless – certainly enough to suffice for a prison bitch or a four martini metrosexual. Boobs aren’t limited to just one gender either, nor are full, pouty lips, luscious lashes, or shapely legs - two out of three of which can be scored over the counter at Walgreens. Clearly manliness isn’t defined solely by physiological characteristics. Richard Simmons may have the chest hair of a lumberjack, but Rosie O’Donnell es mucho mas macho, and her chest is smooth as a baby’s butt. Don’t believe it? Check out Garry Marshall’s 1994 classic, Exit to Eden where she and Dan Ackroyd play cops sent to a Caribbean sex resort to track down plum … uh … diamond smugglers. Fast-forward to the scene where Rosie sports fishnets, a garter, and what can only be described as a high-test brassiere version of assless chaps. Game on, bitch. As Ro so brilliantly illustrates, a huge pair of knockers doesn’t necessarily preclude entry into the man club. Remember Meatloaf in Fight Club? Bad fucking ass. He was rocking EEs and an empty nutsack and he was still able to channel his inner warrior. OK, he cried a lot and got his ass kicked by Ed Norton (who is hairless and slightly more fem than Andy Dick on the masculinity scale) but give him props for manufacturing testosterone out of thin air. Ask yourself: If you met Meatloaf in a dark alley, would you have the huevos to man up and throw down? And if you pinned him on his back would you rip off his shirt and motorboat those huge fun bags? Of course you would. And would that make you less of a man? Questions like these have been plaguing manly philosophers since the ancient Greeks, who occasionally dabbled in heterosexuality when they weren’t carving penis sculptures and nude oil wrestling. In recent years, civilization has fallen off the wagon when it comes to celebrating manliness and men. In fact, some ball-draggers would even claim that being “festive” is essentially unmanly. Well, balderdash. What could be manlier than celebrating men? Not sure? Well, you can see for yourself this weekend when Birds Barbershop and plucky online zine PartyEnds.com host Man Fest, a butchy event featuring arm-wrestling competitions, a lumberjack photo booth, shoe shines, confidence rock (google it) DJ sets, and live music by the über-manly Golden Bear, whose lead singer Chris “Grizzle” Gregory is a cross between Bright Eyes and Hank Williams Jr. Man enough for you? If not, there will also be free scotch from Dewar’s, free beer from Steamworks Brewing Company, and wieners - lots and lots of wieners.
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