The Punch Bowl’s Guide to Masculinity

What is a man?

It’s a question that’s never been easily satisfied with one answer. For some it’s washboard abs, for others an under-bite, and to a select few, an impecable knowledge of feng shui. Males have killed each other to prove their opinion, standing triumphantly over their opponents, sipping from boats of gravy, until the next challenge descends upon him with sharpened dumbbells. It seemed as if this battle would never end.

Thankfully, you’ve stumbled upon group of men dedicated to the pursuit of “true masculinity.” Tirelessly researching the constant change in male fashion, we’ve established a firm grip on the jugular of manliness, and won’t stop squeezing until every piece of advice dribbles from it’s mouth. We are the epitome of men, illuminating the chosen path for those interested in following. The following is a guide to the Modern Man, with easy-to-read advice on what tips to take…and which ones to avoid. After reading this, you’ll be so manly you won’t know what to do with yourself. We just hope there are enough lady friends around to find out when you do.

You’re welcome.

EARRINGS

by Raj Gopal

For as long as we can reasonably remember, earrings were meant for women and gay men. Gay guys like Alexander the Great, Liberace, Snagglepuss, and J. Edgar Hoover cornered the market on earrings and prevented straight men from even attempting to wear them without getting weird questions from their wives. But then, in the early 90s, something changed. Maybe it was the release of Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy,” or maybe it was just the release of decades of pent-up fabulousness, but for whatever reason, earrings became popular among straight men. Celebrities across America were donning earrings, from national icons like Michael Jordan and Arsenio Hall1 to respected rappers like MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice2.

And as titans of pop culture adopted earrings, so did your everyday schlubs—the firemen, construction workers, and CPAs. It was all headed towards a dark, frightening future in which we would turn into a race of RuPaul-like girl-men, when a miracle happened. Some time around ‘99, old white guys like Harrison Ford and Howie Mandel had a meeting and decided to try out diamond studs, singlehandedly making earrings uncool again. Thanks to these brave men, earrings went the way of trucker hats and parachute pants, and masculinity was saved. Today, earrings have mostly been claimed by rappers and athletes, but you still have the occasional douchebag who hasn’t gotten the message yet.

1The creator of the fist pump

2 It was a sad, sad time for hip hop

TATTOOS

by Lance Wildorf

This display of masculinity first came about during the Prehistoric period. One early caveman desperately craved the attention of a cavelady in about the same way that I crave to see Michael J. Fox star in a ShakeWeight commercial (too real?). No matter how many beasts he would kill or how many times he’d grunt and bang his chest she would always turn away and mate with Tarz or Blart. So once after a rather successful day of killing a Wooly Mammoth (no I don’t mean that creature you banged at SAE last week), he hatched a plan to make himself more noticeable. Our hero brilliantly painted the blood of the animal on his chest and forearms, creating pictures of tribal tattoos and skulls that the caveman thought were both “badass” and “gnarly.”

He walked on down to the camp to pick up his prospective mate. Nothing, he thought, could stop him now. However, when he approached the lady, instead of seeing her eyes a flutter, she burst into outrageous laughter. Calling the rest of the camp over, she pointed and chastised him. It seemed that his sweat made the blood run off and that he actually looked like the stupid and inept (and now extinct) Cornellosapian, an animal known to use its feces as shampoo and deodorant. He was then violently beaten with a dull rock for his transgression. As his innards sprayed onto the sacrificial altar, he immediately regretted his decision.

Ever since that moment, men have fawned over and subsequently been unhappy with their moronic decision to scribble on themselves. John the Apostle will forever be known for his “I’m with Stupid” Tattoo as he watched a dying Jesus utter his last breath. George Washington instantly came to lament the tattoo of England he got when he fought for the British in the Seven Years War. Although not as extreme as in those times, tattoos are still alive and kicking. For an affordable price (US $500) you could have a drunk Charles Manson look alike draw on you with possibly HIV infected needles. Although they may not attract girls now, don’t worry. In about 50 years you’ll get all the nurses you want when that tattoo of a guitar starts to resemble disgusting bed sores.

EMOTICONS

by Andrew Piskai

Sinatra. Odysseus. Roosevelt. What do these men have in common? Is it their ruggedly good looks? Is it their uncompromising drive and innumerable successes? Is it their crass, calloused outlook on the hardships of life? Perhaps. More importantly, inherently stitched deep within the fibers of their essences, there exists one fundamental fact that places these men in historic folklore for centuries after their deaths —- that places these men on a pedestal among other lesser men. These men, these innovators and titans of the world, would never in their wildish dreams degrade themselves by using emoticons.

A real man does not emote. He stoically faces the battles of his life and overcomes them or perishes in the effort. He bears the heavy burden of a family, of a country, of an empire and is righteously revered and respected. A real man would rather eviscerate himself than diminish his self-depiction to a colon, three commas, and a pair of “entheses”. He has never uttered the phrases “smiley face” or “frowny face,” nor will he stoop to drawing them with the punctuation of the English language, no matter how obscure those punctuation marks may be. The English language is a tool for business transactions and troop motivation speeches. It is not to be used in flirtatious jest by some poof with spiked hair, earrings, and no moustache.

Does this sound like a man to you? “Well, we officially bought Brookenberger. You’re looking at the man who just earned 5.9 billion dollars. :- D”

How about this? “Would you accompany me out to dinner at the Plaza Hotel on Thursday? :-*”

“You’re fired >:O” just doesn’t do the trick. Be a man. Don’t emote.

MUSTACHES

by Jonah Lustig

Fashion and masculinity has undergone great changes in the last 50 years. For much of the past half-century, nothing said ‘manly’ like a big bushy mustache, but recently it has faded into obscurity faster and more completely than Kel Mitchell. In the following analysis I will examine the evolution of the mustache from the 60’s to today, and attempt to account for its fall in popularity.

The late 60’s were a revolutionary time, especially in the field of mustaches. George Harrison’s mustache was the Woodstock of facial hair, it was large, smelled like marijuana, and was an inspiration for millions in the decade to come.

In the 70’s, men continued to make the mustache even greater. Today we have Ron Burgundy as a testament to the great mustaches of news anchors across the globe, but it was Mark Spitz that had the mustache of his generation. Spitz proved that a real man wouldn’t shave his stache even if it did make him swim faster, and he embarrassed the hairless freaks at the ’72 Olympics.

In the 80’s, men became to rely on the mustache exclusively for fashion. This led to the inevitable decline of fashion-sense for the rest of the body. Like popular music, no one seemed to know what was cool and popular, and the Devos of the fashion world (Hawaiian shirts, bed hair, and plaid loafers) took advantage of it.

But while the rest of male fashion went to hell, the mustache kept on improving. Because it was the sole focus, it advanced to almost dangerously manly levels. Then, quite suddenly, it was perfected.

There was no doubt about it. Absolute, total, perfection. Tom Selleck’s mustache was so flawless that it was the most popular character on Magnum P.I., and the sole reason for the show’s extended popularity. Women wanted to caress it and men wanted to…well…caress it. To this day scientists have studied Selleck’s face to try and discover the extraordinary features that allowed the mustache to blossom the way it did.

Unfortunately, no mustache has lived up to the Selleck. People had come close before, and few came near it after, but none ever attained the status that the Selleck had held. Through the late 80’s and 90’s, people abandoned the mustache, and it began to lose notoriety.

Like 50 Cent, in today’s day and age the mustache has fallen from stardom to obscurity

Which caused the other’s ultimate demise? It’s anyone’s guess.

In popular form it has condensed into a slug-like state, while the bushy manifestation is no longer associated with manliness. Certain individuals seem bent on keeping it that way…

Yeesh. It will take a very, very long time for the mustache to recover from this. Thanks a lot Bolton.

PET BEAR

by Shai Nir

Guys, watching sports and chugging beer doesn’t make you manly. You know what makes you manly? A pet bear. Nothing gives your testosterone centers a much-needed kick like dominion over nature’s beefiest slaughteratrons. The top choice for real men is of course a polar bear or a grizzly, though lesser brown bears will do as well. The black bear is usually a chick bear but can make a decent training bear for boys. Giant Pandas are more furniture than bear, and are not much good for any purpose beyond looking seriously pimp.

Though mastering the bear is no easy journey, you’ll find it a worthy ally. A bear will accompany you on the hunt, sniffing out prey and never chuckling when you miss a duck. A bear will hold the line in a pick up game of Football or help you double-team your wife. On the weekends, you and your friends can organize bear cavalry and roam the wastes or Suburbia in search of douchebags to maul: The heavier and more powerful your bear, the greater your prestige and share of the spoils. If your house is ever attacked, a bear will stand around and look cool while you beat the intruders half to death with their own spines, like a real man. But like a true partner a bear knows when to step in, and anyone trying to cheap-shot you from the back will have to face its powerful claws and the deadly beam shining from its abdomen.

LACROSSE

by Sam Pasternack

If I were to jump out from behind a tree and yell the word “lacrosse” at you, what would first come to mind? Would it be your high cholesterol hometown of La Crosse, Wisconsin? What about Napoleonic French Admiral Jean-Baptiste Raymond de Lacrosse, would you think of him? For most people, the first thought that would come to mind is “that thing that bros do”, or as scholars call it, lacrosse.

Lacrosse is the pinniecle of the masculine world. Founded a long ass time ago, it was the first sport created by Native Americans. That’s right, white people founded this sport! (Unlike basketball, which was invented by a Canadian.) The Native Americans adapted the game from a similar ancient Gaelic sport called Hurling. Modern lacrosse players pay homage to their Gaelic predecessors by playing lacrosse during the week, but hurling over the weekend.

Lacrosse is a sport that teaches children excellent morals – like that it’s ok to hit your friend in the head with a metal pole if he has something you want. Clearly, it has reason for being the fastest growing sport among the youth in America. Around our great country, children and adults alike crowd around the television to watch an exciting game between two of our most impressive professional teams: the Chesapeke Bayhawks and the Long Island Lizards. These two teams have some of the most prestigious history since the league began in 2001. Most children these days all have the same pipeline dream: to play in Hempstead, NY’s awe-inspiring James M. Shuart Stadium, and to learn from epically famous coaches like Jim Mule. Their chances of making it to the big time are slim, however, as there are only six teams in the league.

There is, of course, room for imbrovement. An even more impressive sport has recently been created. ‘Tis lacrosse played on horseback, and it is known as polocrosse. As of now, the only people who play this game are the Pope, Kevin Durant, and the Dos Equis Guy, but it will catch on.

SPIKED HAIR

by Sean Kelly

Back in the mid-90’s, boy bands exploded into the cultural zeitgeist like an army of bloodthirsty orcs. Backstreet was back without ever having been there in the first place, baffling physicists all over the globe. Their kind eyes and soft hands embraced us with the subtly of a face-hugger, planting eggs in our body that eventually hatched into terrible lifestyle choices: denim jackets, earrings, and Tiger Beat magazine. But all of these phenomenons were second to one: spiked hair.

Each pair of puckered lips came with a fresh blowout: a surface of gravity-defying needles that stabbed my sanity with a persistence that would make the Zodiac killer proud. Even my adolescent, confused self attempted the style a few times, as if anyone could actually see it while I sat in my living room trying to beat “Ocarina of Time” for the twenty-seventh time.

Thankfully, we eventually woke up in a bathtub filled with ice and called our common sense in a terrifying panic. The boy-band parasite withered and died as we stood over it laughing, and the hairstyle thankfully disappeared with it. Then, clawing upwards from Hades like a vengeful demon, it reincarnated itself in an even more powerful form: “The Jersey Shore.” Now I can’t sleep with the light off and frequently hallucinate a giant serpent spewing bronzed Abercrombie models with sea urchins for heads.

I hate the way my soul stinks every time I say “frosted tips,” and I don’t want my girlfriends hands looking like she tried to pick-pocket a heroin addict after touching my head. I’m sure blowouts provide benefits for things like spear-fishing, popping balloons, or poking holes in your Keystone Light cans to make a bowl for the weed you’re not going to smoke, but ever since The Situation slithered into my nightmares, your new fucking haircut radiates douche-baggery with the intensity of a thousand burning assholes. Hot, sticky, flaming assholes.

Though, there will always be one instance where the style is perfectly acceptable:

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