I Am (Sort Of) A Man

Ever since I was told my writing was male, I've been concerned that I might be a man. Today, I decided to take a quiz.

Esquire's "Are You A Man" quiz offers a way to "find out where you stand in the landscape of masculine virtues — competence, emotional and physical discipline, self-possession, honesty, humor, and a solid first name of at least two and no more than three syllables." It also allows that a man is "a good thing to be, mostly. Even, of course, if you're a woman," which clouds the issue somewhat. Nonetheless, I decided to press on. I answered questions about which tie I preferred (slender, but not too skinny), whether I hated my dad (no), and how quickly I felt I could "bed a woman" (since I've never attempted this, it's possible that my guess of 24 hours was too optimistic). At the end, I was rewarded with the news that I was three-quarters of a man. This seemed pretty decent — I passed, after all — but I decided to check with some male and female friends to see how I measured up.

The Jezebel staff was pretty evenly split between three-quarters and "not quite a man," the latter of which was accompanied by a helpful quote from 50 Cent: "Move before you are ready." Of the actual men I surveyed, two got "not quite" and three got three-quarters. One of the not-quiters commented, "I feel dumber and more brotastic just taking this test," which probably just means he is a sissy girlyboy. A seventy-five-percenter speculated that "I bet if you answer like a huge dick who loves Entourage and Tosh.0 then you will exceed 3/4." So I decided to take the quiz again, this time answering like a huge dick — I claimed, for instance, that there were outstanding restraining orders against me and that I had recently spent time "in Jennifer Aniston." Success! I scored "fully man." Esquire explained, "There are men and there are men. You belong in both groups." Apparently both groups belong in Jennifer Aniston.

Still, I wasn't completely satisfied. Which was more manly — 3/4 or "not quite"? And in the words of one of my male guinea pigs, "what the fuck is 3/4?" Does it mean that I and half my coworkers fall into the top quartile of manliness? And how accurate can a test really be when so many people score exactly the same? One male subject implied that the quiz itself might need a shot of testosterone: "a real man calculates things to two decimals."

Are You a Man? [Esquire]

Image via terekhov igor/Shutterstock.com