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Macho's out and modern's in as Northern Ireland men want to be sensitive like David Beckham

By Staff Reporter

Published 13/08/2015

David Beckham with daughter Harper
David Beckham with daughter Harper

You might be forgiven for thinking that modern man in Northern Ireland is a contradiction in terms - but a new survey suggests they are a more sensitive bunch than you imagine.

Men here have moved away from the stereotypical macho Neanderthal, and now no longer consider traditional masculine activities to be as important, according to new research.

Northern Irish men were asked what they thought were the most important examples of being men, to mark a new campaign by Burt's Chips called Do It Right - and the results were surprising.

Meeting his first serious partner (44%) came top of the pile, and finding his own personal style (35%), and buying his first home (26%) were chosen as the next most popular achievements for a man in his 20s. But more traditionally masculine tasks such as putting up a shelf or building a flat pack item from scratch (13%), buying a toolbox (9%), and learning how to fix small everyday issues on his car (8%) all ranked significantly lower.

Men here generally shunned traditionally masculine answers, with creating his first campfire from scratch (8%), taking on his first home renovation project (4%), and winning man of the match for his sports team (1%) ranking as much less significant examples of becoming a man in their 20s.

A fifth (21%) of men in their 20s also sensibly said that learning their alcohol limits was an important example of men who Do It Right, dispelling the myth of boozy beer-swilling blokes.

The unpopularity of macho-male stereotypes was also clear, as men thought that the best examples of male celebrity role models were Andy Murray (20s), Prince Harry (30s), David Beckham (40s), George Clooney (50s) and Liam Neeson (60s).

Northern Irish men do become more typically practical as they age, with popular examples of "being a man" in their 40s being giving his first public speech (26%), ironing his shirts (21%) and knowing a good wine on the menu (21%).

In similar fashion, growing his own vegetables (39%) was one of the most popular activities for a man in his 50s.

When asked: "What makes a man?" Courage was described as the manliest trait (34%), followed by being protective of others (34%), and intelligence (30%). Surprisingly, kindness was voted the characteristic that men described as being the least manly (4%).

Pete Snodden: I’m quite blokey

Cool FM radio presenter and father-of-two Pete Snodden thinks he's quite reflective of the more sensitive younger man in Northern Ireland. "I do think I'm quite blokey in that I love to watch and play sports, I'm into my football and hockey. But when it comes to DIY I take the view that I can either try myself and make a hash of it or get a professional to do it. Certainly meeting my wife Julia and buying my home are two big achievements, but also generally just having a better sense of who I am as a man now at my age."

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