I took part in a conversation a while back about nailing the male voice when we're writing. Several people enthusiastically said, "Oh, you've got to read So-and-so's advice on writing real men. She's the best!" Or "You've got to read Someone-or-other's guidelines. No one writes real men like her!"
I read, and kept wondering, what am I missing? Do I live in another universe? Are we of different species? Because the men in my life don't talk like So-and-so's or Someone-or-other's. The primary distinction of So-and-so's male characters was that they grunted a lot and spoke in incomplete sentences. For Someone-or-other, they cussed. (I was going to say cursed, but there's cursing and there's cussing, and these guys cussed) and they jumped to a lot of conclusions. (A woman broke their hearts? All women were bad.)
The popularity of grunting, cussing heroes proves they have their place, but when did this become the gold standard? My father was a strong man -- a soldier, a protector, a provider -- and not once did I ever hear him swear or see him run roughshod over anyone else. He was kind to children and gentle with animals, and he loved his family dearly. He wasn't sappy about it, but everyone knew.
But based on the standards of the alpha hero, he's not a real man.
There's so much more to a real man than the way he verbalizes. Instead of focusing of narrowing our choices to only a few, let's write about all the real guys out there. There's too many good ones to limit ourselves to just a few.