All natural male enhancement: a guys' guide to being rugged, manly, and literate
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RECOMMENDATIONS FROM A MAN WITH A BEARD
By Derek Kosko
It has been brought to my attention that a recent survey says that guys don’t read as much as women. Duh. As a member of that particular half of the species, I could have told you that. I remember that that’s what we decided at the last meeting. (In case you’re wondering, girls, yes, we do have meetings, and we’re on to the slimming effects of the empire waist and big sunglasses).
Recreational canonical texts (that’s books) aside, we most definitely read, just in other mediums. Closed captioning on the TV doesn’t count, but articles online, in newspapers, and in Maxim totally do. For the purposes of this article, I am supposed to highlight one piece of literature, but nuts to that. Here is a list of my recommendations for some pleasureable reading.
THANK YOU FOR SMOKING
Let’s hit the ground running. This is a quick and fun read. The main character, Nick Naylor, is the smooth and suave man you wish you were. He is quick, witty, and actually gets laid. Think about that next time you’re at a party, chatting up a girl, and drinking boxed wine while wearing an ironic t-shirt or deep v-neck, you hipster bastard.
We’re not talking “spends-Friday-nights-doing-homework” geek, but “bites-the-heads-off-chickens, Siamese twin, has-flippers, midget-hunchback-albino-circus freak” geeks. This book is gross, graphic, sordid, evil, and friggin’ awesome! It questions what a freak really is and how families function. Come for the deformed strippers, stay for the cult!
ANYTHING BY SHAKESPEARE
Read some Shakespeare, damn it! At the very least, memorize a sonnet or two so you can recite them to the girl you’ve been pumping vodka tonics into all night. If you read a few of his plays, The Simpsons becomes funnier. And if you really understand it and dig deeper into the layered iambic pentameter, you’ll realize Shakespeare was one sick puppy. Seriously though, memorize the sonnets.
If you haven’t seen the movie. . . honestly, who hasn’t seen the movie? READ THIS BOOK. If not for the underlying themes of manhood, God, capitalism, violence, and identity, then read it because you had to sport a huge black eye when you saw the movie in the 8th grade and wanted someone to hit you as hard as they could. The writing is excellent and graphic. The one-liners come directly from the book, but the ending is different. Awesometasticly different.
Get out there and read a book that is interesting. It will improve your character as a man, impress those around, and make your wang bigger (maybe). I hope this helps expose you to some good reading so you’ll stop saying Catcher in the Rye is your favorite book. Come on, Holden Caulfield was a whiney little bitch. Admit it.
“A MAN CAN GET TO LOVE SHIT . . .”
By Corey Leis
All right, fellas. You’re looking for a book to satisfy your literary id. It took you six short stories and two novels to realize that Hemingway, generally thought of as the macho-est of the Literary Greats, is, well, boring. A trifle languid. You’ve had it with London’s outdoorsiness. You already learned how to build a fire from Anthony Hopkins. And, Stephen King, well, you still think he’s cool, but y’know . . .
Enter Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer. When first published in 1934 in Paris, France, it was barred from import into the United States and Great Britain due to its—ahem—lurid content. When Grove Press ventured to publish it in the States in the early sixties, Tropic of Cancer, among countless other books you may or may not have read in school, became part of the historical obscenity trials that attempted to delineate what exactly constituted pornography. As is often the case, art prevailed, and we can read Miller’s lovely novel here in the States, on the steps of the capital building if we want to!
Tropic of Cancer, one of a handful of Miller’s novels and stories describing his days in France in the 1930s, is a masterful blend of fiction and memoir. Henry (the character) is a struggling writer, trying to scrounge up enough francs for a meal and a fuck, and that’s pretty much our hero’s principal mission throughout. He engages in myriad exchanges—some conversational, most sexual.
But this is not merely a book chronicling the sexual exploits of a man who is more attractive and macho than you. Go read Tucker Max for that. No, Miller is a brilliant writer (probably not as attractive as you) who beautifully weaves narrative and philosophical cogitations into what I call a goddamned good novel.
But don’t take my word for it. Get your hands on a copy. Skim through it. Check it out, buy it, steal it (but that’s not a nice thing to do). It’s not a tremendously difficult or long read (just over three hundred pages), and you (probably) won’t regret it. If you do, well, I hear Dan Brown writes pretty good books.
FIGHT MAGAZINE - I WANT YOU TO READ THIS AS HARD AS YOU CAN
By Marcos Barron
There aren’t many essentials to living life: eating, sleeping, breeding, but one that seems to be left out too often is something that is as primal as the aforementioned activities: fighting. Fighting is something innate in everybody; it is just that some can do it better than others.
For those in need of some assistance in this area, mostly men, since they seem to be at the forefront of instigating fist fights, what better solution than to turn to something as blunt and easy to understand as Fight Magazine? This magazine is growing in popularity, as is the sport it represents, mixed-martial arts, but what it represents more is the instinctual, fiery, combative nature that either is nurtured or neglected in every young boy. Call it Cosmo for guys; either way, anybody looking to be a man’s man should at least take a glance inside.
Workout routines, idols to worship, pills to enhance physique, any part of your physique, what more would a guy want out of a magazine? Okay, given that this is not every male’s goal, that not every guy wants to look like a meathead, as so many of this magazine’s covers seem to ensure will happen if you look inside, there is also a surprising amount of philosophy involved for those who care about depth.
The magazine explains the different reasons people fight. Interestingly, it’s not all to get a paycheck or to show off bravado. The reasons can be more than that: expression of oneself—similar to something artists or writers do—the thirst for knowledge, or a sense of one’s calling.
As if those aren’t enough reasons to read, the magazine, although seemingly antagonistic, does not promote fighting in a bad light. It holds a well-trained and controlled stance on the subject, advocating for men and women to get trained and prepared for the hardships that can come about in life.
So, for those guys with little confidence and ego, this magazine can help a reader find outlets to garner his shortcomings. For the others with too much confidence, it can model some humility, since not every fighter thinks he is a god. And for the intellect in you, learning something not necessarily thought of when one says “knowledge” is an admirable endeavor.
GOD HATES US ALL
By Landon Devault
Let’s be honest. Guys usually don’t read. It’s just not interesting or a priority to us. One look around campus, and our attention cannot stay fixed onto words on a page for very long. But despite that, there are some real books out there not filled with the mundane archetypes and same stories told over and over again. God Hates Us All, yes, the book from the hit series, Californication, is one of those.
It’s got sex, rock and roll, self-loathing, drugs, more drugs, and the desperate needs of men. A secret no guy likes to openly admit: we have a need to connect with people. This book doesn’t quite make The Expendables look like a group of Girl Scouts, but you won’t find a more real book out there.
It isn’t some lame story of guy-meets-girl, guy-falls-in-love-with-girl, drama, and fights, where they fall in love and live happily ever after. The book says it best. “You know why love stories have happy endings? Because they end too early”.
The main character goes from having a Simpamina-addicted, sex-crazed girlfriend, to being stabbed by said deranged person, to dealing weed on the streets of New York while living in the Hotel Chelsea. All of this occurs while he is trying to steal a beautiful model from an abusive rock star boyfriend and searching the city for someone to satisfy his wanderlust.
Sounds like a good life, huh? But the reality of it is this: it is incredibly lonely. If Pineapple Express hasn’t confirmed it already for us, my real life friends can verify: No one wants to be friends with their drug dealer.
Being twenty can suck, hard. It’s not that life gets more difficult as you age, but that the expectations which are given to you can cause some serious shit in your life. God Hates Us All is about simply that. The isolation of moving out on your own into a world where you know no one, the self-loathing associated with lying to your parents and your crumbling relationship with them, hating yourself for how social or non-social you really are, and the desperate nature of humans.
This isn’t a pity party for the main character or some grand life lesson to be discovered, but the truth in how confused people really are searching in their lives for some level of meaning and possibly, yes, the neurotic moments of just belonging.
Through his journey into the crazy world, the narrator starts with a premature cynicism unbefitting of his age and ends up with real growth and perspective on life, love, or whatever the hell it is that really makes us tick.
FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS - HEMINGWAY AND YOU
By Noah Kelly
If there’s anything that can bring about the downfall of man, it’s woman. Even the greatest manly men end up croaking because of some broad bungling it all up with feelings and emotions and whatever-she-was-talking-about-I-stopped-listening-awhile-ago. Such is the fate of Ernest Hemingway à la Robert Jordan in WWI saboteur novel For Whom The Bell Tolls.
From the opening chapter you know just how incredibly tough Robert Jordan is (who goes by their full name all the time? tough motherfuckers, that’s who), how incredibly difficult his job is going to be, and how incredibly aggravating every other character is going to be in their attempts to help (read impede) his mission to blow the hell out of some Fascist bridge.
But this is the seminal manly man novel because the entire novel isn’t really about just blowing up a bridge. It’s really about Robert Jordan being a complete bad-ass. He’s an explosives expert, he’s a gun expert, and he’s a ladies’ man. When the rest of his guerrilla entourage sleep in a cave, he’s outside in the snow in the equivalent of a sleeping bag. When the other guerrillas are trying to bag the sassy young Maria, Robert Jordan has already tapped that. When Robert Jordan is essentially told it’s impossible to blow up that bridge, well, he sticks a bunch of dynamite into his backpack, and off he goes.
Hemingway’s blunt style of writing doesn’t leave room for flowery language. What you see is what you get without too many artsy-fartsy analogies and similes that bog down the flow of the story. The straightforward story doesn’t have very many twists, nothing that you wouldn’t see coming with the heavy amount of foreshadowing Hemingway uses, but the entire journey to the end is suspenseful and still a surprise.
The job of the bridge demolition constantly walks a tightrope of success, and each page seems to delay this inevitable and horrific event. But in a good way. The way Hemingway structures the arc of the story keeps the reader turning through pages, desperately hoping to get to the appointed exploding time.
The climactic end of the novel solidifies Hemingway and Robert Jordan as intense, manly men with more chisel in their jaws than if a stone mason built a replica granite Bruce Campbell bust. And the emotional, gut-wrenching end shows us that even manly men can have their heart strings tugged.
Hemingway crafts an expert novel that will run through so many facets of what it means to be tough, courageous and yet touchingly soft when the time calls for it. Manly men read Hemingway, and Robert Jordan is one manly man.