My manly son, with the fantastic beard, shared this video from BeardBrand founder, Eric Bandholz. Amen!
In school and society I grew up with that "real men" macho stereotypical, limiting crap. I'm grateful that at home my more sensitive, creative self was supported and "real man" nonsense wasn't taught in my home. But boy I really struggled with it at school and I didn't feel I fit, but I sure did try—to my detriment, and also the detriment of others.
I am glad to say that by college I was really comfortable with just me—a much better way to be. I like weapons, cars, mechanics, women, martial arts, action flicks, facial hair, fixing things, building and blowing up things. I also like romance, interior design, nurturing children, ballroom dancing, talking about feelings, watching sappy chick flicks, and as my kids will attest I am a "boob" because I cry easily when I'm touched by beautiful things ("Dad's crying again!").
I conduct a workshop called "Speaking Manglish and Womanese: Bridging the Gender Gap" which is both a lot of fun and really helpful in helping men and women get along better. While there are some common ways many men are and some common ways many women are, there are no hard and fast rules and there are many exceptions to every "rule" when it comes to individual people. Being masculine is great. Being feminine is great. My wife and I enjoy the masculine and feminine aspects of our personalities and relationship: I like being her man, and she likes being my girl. But our roles aren't rigid to gender stereotypes, fortunately, and because of that our relationship is dynamic and interesting. Personally, I have a lot of stereotypical "masculine" attributes and I also have a lot of stereotypical "feminine" attributes. As a REAL man I am ALL of that stuff. Some "guy" stuff I like, some "guy" stuff I don't (sports = boring). Some "girl" stuff I like, some "girl" stuff I don't (shoes shopping = boring). As a REAL man I am just ME.
What I equate a REAL man as being are the same things I equate a REAL woman with being, because these attributes, the ones that REALLY matter, are really just about being a REAL good PERSON: integrity, service, honor, kindness, compassion, a good work ethic, commitment, selflessness, and standing up for others.
On a related note, read "Why (weak) men call women 'bitches'"