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gender roles
Photo by We-Vibe Toys on Unsplash

There is nothing unmanly about taking a bubble bath.

As society rethinks and reshapes the use of gender roles, both sexes (and everywhere in-between) are finding more opportunities to explore previously repressed aspects of themselves. It often feels like the Wild West of gender identity—an exciting new time to break through tired paradigms in search for something that is a better fit. We can see this on both a macro and micro scale, from something as widespread as more countries legalizing same sex marriage to something as simple as a man rocking a pencil skirt and heels. Each are radical in their own way.

A Reddit user asked men to name some “unmanly” things they did that they weren’t ashamed of. Their answers, though fun to read, also have an interesting through line, one of embracing sensitivity. Or, rather, their femininity. From self-care, to arts and crafts, to crying during Disney movies, each of these activities challenges the long accepted—and often problematic—belief of what makes a man a "man."

Psychology Today contributor Tyger Latham, Psy.D. writes that “Most of us immediately identify with the adage that to be a man often means: being tough, staying in control, never crying, working through physical pain, providing for your family, and never backing down from a fight. While such roles provide men with an operational model in which to exist, they can also be extremely restrictive.” He even described a condition known as alexithymia, quite literally meaning “without words for emotions,” that many male clients encounter while trying to express what’s happening on the inside.

But what if the pursuit of happiness includes the pursuit of wholeness? Some would argue that the latter is more important altogether. Men—and women, for that matter—should be able to go fishing, knit while they wait on the pond, come home and throw on an exfoliating face mask while watching a rom-com. So yes, while these answers do serve as a lighthearted digital romp through the internet, they are also symbols of small, yet significant victories.

Without further ado, here are 18 “unmanly” things that are good for the soul, no matter the gender:


1. Sewing

“I think it is helpful for spatial reasoning, attention to detail, and creativity. It is basically construction out of a very thin, flexible material that requires the builder to create the object inside-out."

2. Bubble baths

“I don't take baths much but if I do you best believe there's gonna be bubbles galore in that bath.”

“Bath bombs rule, my favorite one turns the water black and sparkly and smells like peppermint.”

3. Cute voices for animals

“In high school there was a video shown in class, and when puppies came on screen I yelled 'PUPPIES!' in a ridiculous falsetto. I still have that reaction regularly when I see puppies.”

“I do this with puppies...kittens...cats...any cute animal…”

4. Prioritizing fashion … to the point of indecision

“There are literally a few minutes where I am stressed out wondering 'I wore that a few days ago; this is too similar to what I wore yesterday' and so on. This is mostly when getting ready for work, which is business casual. I have a dozen or so button-down shirts, but I still can't make up my damn mind.”

5. A love of all things hygge

“I love fuzzy socks, fuzzy blankets, fuzzy anything.”

“I love blankets. My birthday, Christmas, valentines day; just give me more blankets. Let me make a cave of blankets and hibernate straight through until spring.”

hyygesocks GIFGiphy

6. A fondness for stuffed animals

“I sleep with two stuffed animals. It would be three, but Pete the polar bear is now with my girlfriend in the Netherlands.”

“I still sleep with a teddy bear I got when I was 4. I'm 30 now. I hope to give it to my daughter when she is born/old enough.”

7. Checking out other guys

"I can tell when a guy is attractive, I have no sexual desire for dudes but I can tell if I find one good looking, i'd even go as far to say I have a type."

8. Enjoying domestic chores

"I love looking doing things for my wife...coffee and breakfast in bed everyday, I wash up, I pack her a lunch to take to work everyday, spoil her with little surprises a few times a month etc. Turns out my friends and my father all think I am whipped. They think she has me under her thumb. I guess they don't know that we split house chores in a number of ways but I chose to do extra things as I have some extra time since I don't have to commute - it feels fair to me.They also don't understand that when I lost my job my wife encouraged me to do my own thing and that she supported both of us for a long time to allow me to follow my dream. In short, my mates and father just don't understand or want to be with a woman who is a partner and equal in the relationship.”

9. Being the little spoon

"I'm nearly a foot taller than my girlfriend, but if we're cuddling in bed I like to be the little spoon, it's hilarious and comfy."

"I once was sitting on the floor and my girlfriend at the time was sitting on the couch giving me a back rub. She eventually wrapped her arms around me from behind and asked how it felt. 'Like this room is the only thing in the entire world.'"

“Sleeping as the little spoon is really nice because it makes you feel needed on a physical level which is really comforting."

10. Crying

“Personally, I think that it takes a lot more bravery to open yourself up to something special, such as love for a pet, than to keep everything around you at arms length to numb your own sensitivity (or vulnerability if you will) to anything. You display a willingness to express yourself, knowing full well that it could get you hurt, and then bear any resulting pain, ultimately overcoming it. What the hell could be more manly?”

“I will cry at any movie where a dog dies. Every, Single. Time. A Dog’s Purpose was a very unpleasant movie for me.”
men showing emotionsCry GIF by MasterChefAUGiphy

11. Gardening

“It’s great being able to grow things from just seeds."

12. Therapy

“Everyone needs a little bit of therapy. Even if you’re perfectly fine, everyone needs someone to talk to.”

13. Sharing feelings with the kids

"Hugging my kids, apologizing to them when I’m wrong ('sorry I accused you of making a mess outside, I just learned it was the neighbors’ kid'), and showing them it’s okay to have and express feelings. Yes, daddy can get teary eyed too when watching a sad movie. Also as an extension of apologizing for having done wrong, being able to back down. When in an argument and find out you’re wrong, it’s not weak to say 'I didn’t know that. Sorry, I was wrong.'”

14. Complimenting guy friends

"A lot of people feel it's not manly to do so but I think it's important and it feels great having a group of guys that doesn’t just bash each other all the time."

15. Interior decorating

“I spend a ridiculous amount of time looking up furniture/wall art/etc. just fantasizing about how I'm going to decorate it when I finally get my own place.”

16. Baking

“I just donned a pink apron with strawberries on it to help my girlfriend make a pie. Her family razzed me about it... but hey, no pie for them.”

“I bake and listen to Adele. Sometimes at the same time.”

17. Afternoon tea

“I don't care who you are. You haven't lived until you've eaten tiny cucumber sandwiches and scones off a three-story silver party platter.”

18. Self-care

self care for menChristian Bale Face Mask GIF by PeacockTVGiphy

“Manicures and pedicures, obviously no nail polish, but my hands and feet are usually a horrendous pile of dead skin and callouses from working out and my job. It makes me feel a little better about people seeing them, they don’t get all of them, but it definitely makes them look closer to normal.”

“I love doing a facial cleanse, tone and moisturize, makes your face feel awesome."

“I go full-on Bateman. Have multiple face masks, skin creams and hair products. Started as a way to bond with my sisters, ended up being something that centers me in the mornings and a comforting ritual a couple of times a night.”

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

popular

Woman left at the altar by her fiance decided to 'turn the day around’ and have a wedding anyway

'I didn’t want to remember the day as complete sadness.'

via Pixabay

The show must go on… and more power to her.

There are few things that feel more awful than being stranded at the altar by your spouse-to-be. That’s why people are cheering on Kayley Stead, 27, from the U.K. for turning a day of extreme disappointment into a party for her friends, family and most importantly, herself.

According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.

“[A groomsman] called one of the maids of honor to explain that the groom had ‘gone.’ We were told he had left the caravan they were staying at in Oxwich Bay (the venue) at 12:30 a.m. to visit his family, who were staying in another caravan nearby and hadn’t returned. When they woke in the morning, he was not there and his car had gone,” Jordie Cullen wrote on a GoFundMe page.

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Education

How a 3,800-year-old stone tablet helped create modern legal systems

'Innocent until proven guilty' isn't that new of a concept.

Kind of looks like the Matrix code...

The modern justice system is certainly not without its flaws, however most can agree that the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” is one that (when not abused) stands as the foundation of what fair due process looks like. This principle, it turns out, isn’t so modern at all. It can actually be traced all the way back to nearly 3,800 years ago.

historyLady Justice, the image of impartial fairness. Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

English barrister Sir William Garrow is known for coining the "innocent until proven guilty" phrase between the 18th and 19th century, after insisting that evidence be provided by accusers and thoroughly tested in court. But this notion, as radical as it seemed at the time, can, in fact, be credited to an ancient Babylonian king who ruled Mesopotamia.

During his reign from 1792 to 1750 B.C., Hammurabi left behind a legacy of accomplishments as a ruler and a diplomat. His most influential contribution was a series of 282 laws and regulations that were painstakingly compiled after he sent legal experts throughout his kingdom to gather existing laws, then adapted or eliminated them in order to create a universal system.

Those laws were inscribed on a large, seven-foot stone monument, and they were known as the Code of Hammurabi.

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Pop Culture

TikTok star's surprising method for finding good Chinese food is blowing people's minds

Yelp can be a helpful tool for scoping out food joints, but maybe not in the way you think.

Photo by Debbie Tea on Unsplash

Different cultures view service differently.

Content creator Freddy Wong has a brilliantly easy way to find authentic Chinese food.

As he reveals in a mega viral video that’s racked up 9.4 million views on TikTok and 7.7 million views on Twitter, the trick (assuming you live in a major metropolitan area) is to “go on Yelp and look for restaurants with 3.5 stars, and exactly 3.5 stars." Not 3. Not 4. 3.5.

He then backs up his argument with some pretty undeniable photo evidence.

First, he pulls up an image of a Yelp page from P.F. Chang’s. With only 2.5 stars, one can tell the food is “obviously bad.” Alternatively, Din Tai Fung—a globally recognized Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant—has four stars.

Sounds good right? Wrong. In this case, “too many stars” means that “too many white people like it,” indicating that the restaurant is being judged on service rather than food quality. According to Wong, if “the service is too good, the food is not as good as it could be.”

He then pulls up the Yelp page for a couple of local Chinese restaurants, both of which have 3.5 stars. The waiters at these establishments might “not pay attention to you,” he admits, adding that they might even be “rude.” But, Wong attests, “it’s going to taste better.”

@rocketjump

Why I only go to Chinese restaurants with 3.5 star ratings

♬ original sound - RocketJump

"The dumplings here are better [than Din Tai Fung's]. I've been here," he says of the 3.5 star Shanghai Dumpling House. Considering his Twitter profile boasts a “James Beard Award winning KBBQ Gourmand'' title, it seems like he knows what he’s talking about.

So, why is this 3.5 rule the “sweet spot”? As Wong explains, it all comes down to different “cultural expectations.”

“In Asia, they’re not as proactive. They’re not going to come up to you, they’re not going to just proactively give you refills, you need to flag down the waiter,” he says, noting the different interpretations of service.

"People on Yelp are insufferable,” he continues, arguing that “they're dinging all these restaurants because the service is bad,” but the food is so good that it balances out the bad service. Hence, a 3.5-star rating. His reasoning is arguably sound—people do often give absurdly scathing reviews that in no way accurately reflect a restaurant’s food quality.

“A good Yelp review doesn’t mean it’s a good restaurant — it simply means the restaurant is good at doing things that won’t hurt their online rating,” Wong said in an interview with Today, adding that “highly rated Yelp restaurants are often those with counter service and limited menus, minimizing potential negative interaction with staff.”

He also added the caveat, “I don’t have anything against those places, but I think people who only eat at the ‘highest rated’ restaurants on online review sites are only eating at the most boring restaurants.”

A ton of people in the comments seem to back Wong’s theory.

best chinese food

100% accurate, some say

TikTok

Plus, the theory seems to not be limited to just Chinese restaurants, further implying that maybe there’s more of a cultural misunderstanding, rather than any real lack of quality.

thai food near me

No drink refills but the food is fire.

TikTok

yelp reviews, yelp

2.8 is the new 5

TikTok

One of the gifts that our modern world provides is the opportunity to truly experience and appreciate other cultures. Since food is easily one of the most accessible (and enjoyable) ways to do that, perhaps we should prioritize seeking authenticity, rather than rely on a flawed and superficial rating system.

As Wong told Today, “I hope it encourages people to go out and eat more food from not only Chinese restaurants, but restaurants representing the whole world of cultural cuisines.”