#65: The Sidekick Manifesto

It apparently has to be stated that this is largely a satire. If anything herein offends you for some reason, reevaluate your life.

Given the rash of incompetent Sidekick behavior I have had to endure recently, the Time has Come to write The Sidekick Manifesto, which is a detailed guide on How to be a Better Sidekick. This Manifesto will clearly detail all of the responsibilities a Sidekick is expected to undertake while under the direction of a trusted Mentor, as well as delve into the Sidekick-Mentor Dynamic.

Who is a Sidekick?

A Sidekick is an apprentice or protege who is serving under the tutelage of an experienced and wise Mentor. Usually, the Sidekick voluntarily elects to undergo this internship, but in some situations the role of Sidekick is forced upon an unwilling participant.

A Sidekick serves under a Mentor for an indeterminate amount of time, much like a squire serving under a knight. Continuing with this analogy, a Sidekick pledges allegiance and loyalty to a Mentor in exchange for an education of sorts, as well as a degree of social and possibly physical protection.

Once a Sidekick has reached a degree of relative maturity – and take note, this could mean emotional maturity just as easily as physical maturity – it is the obligation of the Mentor to release the Sidekick from her or his contract of service. It is then the obligation of the now-former Sidekick to continue this Circle of Life by one day taking on a Sidekick or her or his own and imparting the same lessons and wisdom that she or he was once taught.

Who Has Sidekicks?

Alpha Males

A major male status symbol is being adored and followed by other Men. A concept as old as the wheel is that of the less-experienced or younger Man following the Alpha Male in the middle of his prime.

There are great demands on the time of an Alpha Male, as he likely means many things to many people. A Sidekick acts as a bit of an agent or press secretary for the Alpha Male, representing the Alpha’s interests when he is not able to do so himself. In exchange, the Sidekick receives a one-of-a-kind education on How to Be an Alpha Male, which will in turn one day allow the Sidekick to be equally beloved and respected.

The Fringe Benefits of serving as the Sidekick to an Alpha are extremely diverse. To cite Matt Damon as an example, his decision to sign up as George Clooney’s Sidekick has legitimized him as a box-office star and increased his earning power immeasurably. Meanwhile, the Fringe Benefits of serving as the Sidekick to the high-school quarterback could include the Sidekick’s pick of the women the Quarterback does not want. It greatly varies situation-to-situation.

Bad Boys

Bad Boys need Sidekicks as “Social Liaisons”, since they tend to have a litany of ASPDs (Anti-Social Personality Disorders), not to be confused with the burning-crotch thing you got from that sailor last July. While Bad Boys generally project the image of the toughened loner, as they say, “No Man is an Island.” The Sidekick, usually a younger female, is the boat that goes between this “island” and the rest of the world.

From the perspective of a potential female Sidekick, a Bad Boy is of course very attractive, as he is to most women. This attraction to the Bad Boy rarely fades (as long as he retains his edge), even as the Sidekick approaches Womanhood.

While the Sidekick may pledge her allegiance and stay with the Bad Boy due to her attraction to him, the Fringe Benefit she receives is adventure and drama (which I am told women enjoy to a small degree). The Sidekick’s life will get at least 100% more interesting by tagging along with a Bad Boy. While the Sidekick may at times chafe because she is again being forced to run from the cops or finish a fifth of 1800 Silver, secretly she is thrilled because she is no longer spending her Saturday nights cat-sitting or playing Jenga with a bunch of married couples.


Captains are designated leaders. They are not hired. They are appointed due to their competence. This theme is most prominent in Hockey, in which every team designates one player as its Captain. Peer appointment is a much-greater honor than being named Commander, in which a designated leader is chosen by some kind of hierarchy.

Real Captains lead, regardless of who follows them. They are seldom Sidekicks because they tend to jump head-first into all things, consequences be damned. Captains are fearless, and this inspires others to follow them.

The Sidekick of a Captain should note that she or he no longer has the ability to think, as a Captain does not think about any of her or his actions until the moment of action or truth. Even if a Captain has a Secret Evil Plan, there is a strong chance the Captain is going to be extremely VAGUE about the details. The Sidekick of a Captain needs to be very flexible and “read-and-react” rather than thoughtful. The Fringe Benefit is that Captains are constantly seeking Glory, which they are certain to revel in and share with their Sidekick.


Charismatics are principled on making others believe in their doctrine. The Sidekick in this case is the first disciple of the Charismatic, one who believes in the message of the Charismatic almost as vehemently as the Charismatic himself.

The loyalty of the Sidekick in this case is predicated on Faith, i.e. the belief that one day the Sidekick’s loyalty will be rewarded. This does not have to apply exclusively to religion, as this could also be belief in the artistic, musical, or writing talent of the Charismatic. The belief is that one day, many others will recognize the Charismatic for having the same talent that the Sidekick him or herself sees, and the Sidekick’s belief will be vindicated.

I have written more on Building a Charismatic here, to reinforce the concept.


Cougars are women of sophistication and status who prefer the company of younger Men due to their firmer bodies and lighter emotional baggage. By nature, Cougars are decisive bordering on cutthroat, and their focus on their respective goals often necessitates a Sidekick in order to juggle a Cougar’s ever-growing list of business and personal ventures.

While the tone of the article may have suggested that “Mentor” was a Man-only position, nothing could be further from the truth. Many women can become outstanding Mentors, if they accept the duty willingly. Cougars, for example, embody all five necessary traits of a quality Mentor: Confidence, Dignity, Experience, Poise, and Self-Respect. In the same way as an Alpha Male, having a Sidekick is a major status symbol, and we all know how Cougars love those.

A Cougar may have particular value in that she can bring a wealth of female-specific skills to the Mentor-Sidekick dynamic. Whereas the above-listed traits of a Mentor are gender-neutral, a Cougar such as Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada” has a veritable arsenal of womanly charms that a female Sidekick could really benefit from cultivating.

The one thing a Sidekick must remember in this instance is that a Cougar, by definition, is someone who is making up for lost time. As such, a Cougar is going to be business-like bordering-on-salty, so it will behoove the Sidekick to be not only attentive to details, but also to develop unusually-thick skin.


Don Draper: [Holding up an empty bottle, vexed] Why is this empty?
Allison: [Exasperated] Because you drank it all!

Creators are visionaries. They are innovative, but their abilities to both lead and see the future are somewhat offset by their laundry-list of personal short-comings and inability to take care of themselves.

The Sidekick of a Creator fills the standard supporting role, with the Fringe Benefit of learning to think like her or his avant-garde Mentor. The downside is that a Creator is dangerously close to being an artist or even a bit of a diva, meaning that there is a direct inversion between his or her talent and his or her ability to cope with it. A Creator is more apt to be a bit of a drinker or even a drug-user, meaning that her or his Sidekick must be extra-vigilant and prepared to deal with the Mentor’s bouts of Drunken Inappropriateness.


A Commander is a whimsical leader who is forced to retain his or her authority through the use of coercion or power. There is an excellent chance you work under a Commander, i.e. someone who you would have little to no respect for if he or she did not have the power to fire you.

Commanders need Sidekicks because, like most Mentors, they have immense ambition but limited ability or desire to dig their own ditches. Commanders frequently take on the role of “Bad Cop”, so they compel or solicit the services of a Sidekick to play the role of “Good Cop”.

The Sidekick of a Commander is usually someone with integrity who takes the outrageous demands of a Commander with a grain of salt. While most Mentors are bossy to some degree or another, Commanders tend to go overboard in both their requests and the tone in which they issue these “requests”. A Sidekick working under a Commander should expect their relationship to be Short-and-Sweet, as it is a Mentorship of mutual convenience (and often monetary or social considerations) rather than one built on affinity or personal growth.


Egomaniacs are people who have an inability to think beyond themselves and their own personal wants. As with Charismatics, there is a certain magnetism to the brazen confidence an Egomaniac tends to display, and someone who is less-certain of her or himself may find that she or he is drawn to the bullhorn personality of the standard-issue Egomaniac.

The Fringe Benefit is that the Sidekick is forced to be considerably less self-conscious, because all of the focus is constantly placed on the Egomaniac. While this does not seem like much of a benefit at all, for a person is who is constantly doubting her or himself, tending to the self-appeasing whims of an Egomaniac actually comes as a welcome relief. Beyond that, the Egomaniac is inadvertently teaching the Sidekick self-confidence, which is of course invaluable.


The opposite of the Egomaniac is the Hero, who thinks constantly about the well-being of others. This need to put others before her or himself can become an obsession, taken to such a degree that the Hero needs to bring in a Sidekick to assist him or her with whatever mission the Hero has set for her or himself.

The Sidekick could be drawn to the Hero for any number of reasons: perhaps, for example, the Sidekick has a similarly-ardent desire to protect others, but does not have the means to do so on a large scale. Aligning oneself with a Hero enables the Sidekick to perform acts of heroism her or himself.

The Fringe Benefit is the self-satisfaction that heroic-types feel after helping others. This is something a person either experiences, or they do not. Choosing a Hero as a Mentor allows a Sidekick to experience this feeling with much-greater regularity and often on a much larger scale.


Van: Do you know why I made you my assistant?”

Taj: So you could teach me how to muff dive?

Van: No. Well, yeah. But also because you have the potential to be great.”

-Van Wilder to Taj, Van Wilder

Much like Alpha Males, Superstars need Sidekicks because there are tremendous demands placed on their time. Whether we are talking about Lady Gaga or LeBron James, the fact remains that a barrage of people are always clamoring after Superstars in an effort to eat up their attention and time.

In this case, a Sidekick differentiates her or himself from the rest of a Superstar’s entourage by having the Potential to one day be great in their own right. While a Superstar is guaranteed to have plenty of hangers-on who are otherwise devoid of talent, a Sidekick is someone who reminds the Superstar of him or herself, in some fashion. The Superstar takes a special interest in helping the Sidekick cultivate her or his unique talents to the height of their abilities.

As with the Alpha Male, the Fringe Benefits a Superstar can extend are myriad. In the case of the above-pictured Mario Lemieux, Fringe Benefits may include all-you-can-drink ’66 Beaujolais, a room in his swank mansion, choice seating at Consol Energy Center, lap dances, Stanley Cups, etc. It really depends on the personal preferences of the Superstar.

What are the Responsibilities of a Sidekick?

You know the expression, ‘a Man’s Man’? A Man’s Man is the leader of the pack, the kind of Man other Men look up to, admire, and emulate.”

– Lauren Holly, What Women Want

What are the Responsibilities of a Sidekick? Glad you asked. Here is an overview of the general responsibilities of a quality Sidekick:

* Unquestioned Devotion and Obedience – the Sidekick has pledged her or his allegiance to the Mentor. It should be a given that the Sidekick will never backtalk or question the Mentor, but like a frisky puppy, some Sidekicks just love to test boundaries under the guise of “being playful”. It is the duty of the Mentor to properly punish the Sidekick whenever this Acting-Out rears its ugly head, lest this behavior prompt an eventual Wingman Rebellion or other undesirable carrying-on.

* Unwavering Support of the Mentor – as a Mentor is very likely to be a polarizing figure, it is imperative that the Sidekick be feverishly loyal to the Mentor. The Mentor will be apt to make plenty of enemies, and it is the duty of the Sidekick to not only watch the Mentor’s back, but to refute any malicious lies or other attempts of social espionage people may attempt against the Mentor.

* Handling the Details – Mentors are typically inconsiderate, or at the very least preoccupied with more-important matters. Because Mentors are so valuable, it is the role of the Sidekick to handle any secretarial-type duties that may arise. These can include: booking hotels, event planning, social media management, taking the Mentor’s car to get washed, answering the phone, and limiting the Mentor’s drinking if the Mentor appears to have a problem. Basically, anything you can picture an intern or a personal assistant doing within the realm of appropriateness and reason.

* Always Be Learning – Enlisting as a Sidekick is like going to College: you are permitted to be something of a bane on both the Mentor and society-at-large because you are ideally developing into a better human being. Bouts of incompetence will be accepted from the Sidekick because a long-term investment in making the Sidekick a more-effective person is being made. The Sidekick needs to always remember that the primary goal of taking on a Mentor is to learn, and thus a Sidekick should be hanging on the Mentor’s every action and word, even if the Sidekick is incredibly drunk (and especially if the Mentor is incredibly drunk).

* Helping the Mentor achieve her or his Goals – while the role of the Mentor is to make the Sidekick a better and more complete person, the role of the Sidekick is to help the Mentor achieve her or his goals, whatever those goals might be. If the Mentor, for example, desperately wants to have Awesome sex with Dara Torres, the Sidekick should be writing her hand-written letters once a week gently persuading Dara to think about it.

(Note: Let’s be honest – Dara Torres is a perfect woman)

While this list may seem outlandish, remember that the Mentor is investing much of her or his time and energy into making the Sidekick a better person – probably without taking money for it. Just as it would be unreasonable to expect a Chiropractor or Psychologist to work on someone for months or years without any compensation, it is unreasonable for someone to expect free Mentoring with no repayment. The very least a Sidekick can do is to facilitate the whims of the Mentor (and make no mistake – more often than not, they will be whims).

Why Be a Sidekick/Why Be a Mentor?

I have covered the concept of the Circle of Life in previous posts. The Circle of Life is the concept that a father or father-figure passes along the lessons of Life to his son from generation-to-generation. This concept of progress is how we evolve as a species, and is prominently displayed in the film The Lion King.

I implore you to seek out both a Mentor and a Sidekick. It will make Life much more rewarding. Even if you are like me and think you know everything, adopting a Mentor can really help iron out some of your most-glaring character deficiencies.

While my current preference is to take on a field of relative experts in a diverse range of skills (such as music, medicine, art, aka the GI Joe Model), I would not be averse to taking on a Mentor more similar to myself if I could find one.

Lastly, it should be noted that a Sidekick’s Sidekick is subject to the commands of a “Grandfather” Mentor under the same line of thought as military chain of command. If your Mentor’s Mentor tells you something, you should take it in with the same level of respect as you would if your own grandfather said it.

Animal Sidekicks

Animal Sidekicks have the same responsibilities outlined above. In addition, they should be adorable, so as to attract as much attention from the opposite sex as possible. Animals in fact make ideal Sidekicks, assuming they can be trained properly.

Sidekicks vs. Friends

A Sidekick is both more and less than a standard-issue Friend. In fact, as a Sidekick you should view yourself as an unpaid intern working for a very demanding boss rather than a social equal.

While it is implied that a Sidekick is not the same as a Friend based upon the divergent ways in which a Mentor treats the two, there are plenty of benefits a Sidekick receives that a more typical “Friend” may not be privy to. These Fringe Benefits, or special treatments that a Mentor might not otherwise bestow upon a “Friend” can be diverse, ranging from Footing the Bar Tabs to Taxi Service to World Domination. Every Mentor-Sidekick relationship is different, and will thus be subject to differences in Compensation.

Sidekicks vs. Wingmen/Wingwomen

A Sidekick may be eventually promoted to “Wingman” or “Wingwoman” after an appropriate term of service. While “Sidekick” is a deferential position relative to “Mentor”, a Wingman or Wingwoman is more-or-less regarded as an equal and a peer.

The goal of the Mentor is to make the Sidekick self-sufficient and reasonably cool, rounding out the deficiencies in character or skill that a Sidekick might possess. This is commonly seen in parenting: at some point, a son or daughter stops being a child (in the strict sense) and can proceed to have a more adult relationship with her or his parents. The same concept applies in Mentoring, assuming the Sidekick achieves a reasonable degree of competence and self-sufficiency in the Mentored fields.

Not every Sidekick gets promoted to Wingman or Wingwoman; as written above, the promotion to Wingperson is based on Merit, not time served. A quick learner might be promoted from Sidekick to Wingperson within a single Summer; a more obtuse Sidekick might take years or even decades of tutelage before a promotion is in order, if ever.

Like other employees, a Sidekick who is not promoted within a reasonable term is quite likely to turn on her or his Mentor. This is an unfortunate situation known as …

The Wingman (or Wingwoman) Rebellion

The Wingman Rebellion is an ugly scenario in which the Sidekick wants to be released from her or his apprenticeship, but due to social circumstances cannot shake the image of being a Sidekick. This leads to a vicious cycle in which the Sidekick projects her or his frustration onto the Mentor, regardless of how warranted these frustrations might be.

If that explanation was unclear, here is a real-world example: picture two friends (let’s call them Maverick and Goose). While Maverick and Goose consider each other equals, Maverick is much better-looking and much more popular. Goose is decent-looking, goofy, and likable, but every time a girl comes over to talk to the twosome, she flirts shamelessly with Maverick and mostly ignores Goose. When she does talk to Goose, all she does is ask him questions about Maverick.

The same thing happens no matter where Goose and Maverick go. Goose tries not to get mad at Maverick, because Maverick is constantly supportive and respectful of him, but everyone else treats Maverick like the second coming of Jesus Christ while barely acknowledging Goose. Worse, the only time anyone does give Goose the time of day, they are consciously or unconsciously condescending to him. No one takes Goose seriously, except maybe Maverick.

This happens for weeks or months or years, until one day Goose snaps and lashes out at Maverick with unreasonable anger. Maverick is confused and a little hurt, because really, he has been nothing but a loyal and supportive friend to Goose.

Maverick never went to Goose and said, “You are my Sidekick,” but due to Maverick’s Alpha Male status, both men and women alike started viewing Goose as subservient to Maverick. This is galling to the male ego. While women are generally assigned social status based upon their looks, men are assigned status based upon how other people treat them. When a man starts to be seen as a Beta Male (or in this case, a Sidekick), a negative feedback loop is created in which the Sidekick must work ten times harder to get 10% of the respect that the Alpha Male gets. One can see where this would get very frustrating.

This clip from “How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days” illustrates the difference between an Alpha Male (who is assigned the role of “Mentor”, whether he wants it or not) and Beta Males (who are assigned the roles of “Sidekick”, even though they would likely rather be “Mentors”:)

You are nuts if you do not think the other two dudes in the clip aside from Matthew McConaughey want to fuck Kate Hudson. Of course they do. They also realize they have no shot with her, so the closest they can get to being with a woman like that is to co-mingle with a “Maverick” like Matt McConaughey’s character. They have unwillingly, or at least unknowingly, elected to be Sidekicks.

The Wingman Rebellion is not always a male Sidekick rebelling against a male Mentor. For example, if a woman elects to be the “Sidekick” of a man she is very attracted to as a way of incurring his favor, she is likely going to get frustrated after years of her “Mentor” ignoring her sexually and making her do his laundry and help him chat up other girls. She will “rebel” by either angrily cutting him completely out of her life (similar to the male Wingman Rebellion), or by making one last desperation pass at him. The second scenario usually ends up being only slightly less embarrassing than having your mom walk in on you having sex.

Having said that, female Sidekicks seem to rebel against male Mentors less frequently. I attribute this to the natural male instinct to dominate, but really, who knows. I cannot speak to the tendency of female Sidekicks to rebel against female Mentors, as I have been neither.

Opposite-Sex Sidekicks

“…Like the naked leads the blind.
I know I’m selfish, I’m unkind.
Sucker love I always find,
Someone to bruise and leave behind…”

Placebo, Every Me Every You

Some less-ethical Mentors will use their physical attractiveness or Charisma to pigeon-hole a member of the opposite-sex into being her or his Sidekick. Perhaps the term “Lackey” should be used rather than Sidekick, as this type of Mentoring is rarely reciprocal.

This is distinct from a Bad Boy Mentor electing to take on a female Sidekick, despite her attraction to him. An ethical Mentor, such as a Bad Boy, will understand the situation and do his best to ensure that the Sidekick is receiving a proper education, and thus preserves the integrity of the Mentor-Sidekick dynamic. Even if the Mentor never verbally addresses the situation, the subtext is that the Mentor is in fact looking out for the interests and well-being of the Sidekick.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have unethical Users who control opposite-sex (or homosexual same-sex) Sidekicks through the power of attraction. The difference between the two types is the Lack of Reciprocation from the User. An unethical User will turn an attracted party into a Cuddle Bitch or Foot-Stool rather than a respected Sidekick.

This is neither a predominately male or female tendency. Users, indiscriminate of gender, will have lengthy histories of manipulating those attracted to them. While the discriminating and tasteful Mentor may have a preference regarding the gender of his Sidekick, there are usually logical reasons why the Mentor elects for one gender over the other, even if the only reason is social chemistry.

Has Jack Ever Been a Sidekick?

I have always had an excellent understanding of people and the world, and even at a young age demonstrated the confidence of a born Narcissist. Furthermore, you have to play to your skill-set; if you display the ability to throw a football well at a young age, it usually makes sense for you to play Quarterback rather than Receiver.

As such, I have traditionally taken on the role of Mentor, even to people considerably older than me. This is not always intentional, as my college Sidekick clamped onto me with the tenacity of a bear trap, despite my efforts to shake him long enough to get to third base with one or two of the girls in my dorm. While I do not claim to be competent in all fields, I generally play to my strengths (hockey, drinking, etc), and thus tend to serve in more of an instructional or leadership capacity.

However, there is one particular time in which I served as a Sidekick: in college, I worked for about 10 months at a strip club as a bartender. The club’s owner, whose name I do not dare write, took a particular shine to me; he memorably once said I was “so good-looking he wanted to fuck my mouth,” before taking two of the club’s young ladies back into his “office” to do hard drugs and fill-in-the-blank.

The club’s owner, who I will refer to as “Dirk”, was about 30 years older than me, and unarguably the most psychotic man I have ever met in my life. For example, he not only pulled a gun on one of his employees, but fired it at him. A routine internet search should bring up the details of the man and that incident, especially if you use the term “tax evasion”. He did not “believe in computers”, instead keeping the financial records of a $10,000-a-night cash business written on Post-Its and gas-station receipts. I am fully convinced the man tried to burn down his own club and collect the insurance money, which again a creative internet search could yield the details of.

Anyway, “Dirk” really liked me for some reason, and made every effort to take me under his wing. While I did not “party” much compared to “Dirk” (meaning I did not snort random powders off the unwashed stomachs of strippers), not once did I interact with the man without him going on some rambling tirade about God-knows-what. He was constantly dispensing advice on where I should get my haircut and what toothpaste I should use, and though he was keenly interested in how I behaved, he rarely asked questions and instead gave strict directions such as “if you leave your car windows cracked again, I am going to fucking stab you. There are all kinds of untrustworthy people around this neighborhood.” You don’t say, “Dirk”.

This certifiably-insane man does demonstrate what I sometimes fail to bring to a Mentor-Sidekick relationship: Experience. I might have an innate understanding of anatomy and the human body, but I have zero reps performing surgery on someone. Experience, regardless of the field of participation, is incalculably more valuable than all of the fancy book-learning you could hope to have. More than anything else, Experience is the trait you should look for in a Mentor.

As such, I have generally looked to people much older than me for Mentoring, such as my grandfather. Even when I was 8 years old, I thought I knew better than people my parents’ age and considered myself more or less their intellectual peer; but many older people project a sage wisdom that a 40-year old usually does not. A price tag cannot be put on the Lifetime of Experience a 65 or 70-year old can acquire. As people get into their 60s, they have seen and done it all a few times over, and can be extremely insightful. You would do well to be less dismissive and more attentive the next time some crazy old guy starts barking about economics or war, because there is a good chance he has first-hand Experience dealing in the matter at hand.

Closing Remarks

I have a great deal of experience as a Mentor, and thus thought it was my duty to write The Sidekick Manifesto before I get the bill for all of my years of repetitive head trauma from contact sports.

Additionally, my current Sidekick has gotten a little fussy and has started to test her boundaries on a regular basis. Since Negative Reinforcement seems to have run its course, I believe now is the time to appeal to her rational side and thoroughly explain the necessity of the Mentor-Sidekick dynamic, lest her petulant streak continue to bite me in the ass.

I believe this article nicely outlines the responsibilities of the Sidekick, as well as completely delves into the logic behind enforcement of the Mentor-Sidekick Dynamic. A good Mentor does not bop his Sidekick on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper just to be a prick, but as a way of maintaining the respect necessary to preserve the Mentor-Sidekick Dynamic. As long as Respect is maintained, the Mentor-Sidekick relationship can be fun and relaxed.

As for you, if you have acquired a good deal of Life Experience, perhaps the time has come for you to take on an adrift, eager-to-learn Sidekick. In the same vein, if you lack guidance or are otherwise lost, it may be time for you to seek out a learned Mentor to help right your ship. Both sides of the Mentor-Sidekick relationship can be extremely gratifying, if both sides properly accept their respective roles and heed the lessons passed along in this article.




;#90: Testosterone, My Religion


This article is written for Men, or maybe boys who want to be Men. Women are more than welcome to read it, but ladies may not find the value in it that males might. Thanks.

At Age 18, after a Spring/Summer of getting my ass beaten by vicious 21-year old Men, I decided to go to college instead of trying to latch onto a Junior Hockey team for the upcoming Fall season. Getting punched in the face repeatedly by players much bigger and stronger than you is incentive for Higher Education, if any exists.

I ended up at my beloved Duquesne University, and things ultimately worked out. But I almost didn’t make the Duquesne team, largely because I assumed I would walk-on because of my ability to put up points.

While my ability to score wasn’t an issue, the Duquesne coach had major concerns about my ability to play physically. Though I could surely take a beating, there were questions about my ability to dish one out. Duquesne was largely a Hitting/Skating team at the time, and I was told that I would not make the team unless my speed and strength rapidly improved.

Insistent upon making the team, I took a crazed approach to getting my strength/speed up to par, living at Duquesne’s modest gym and pounding enough Protein Powder and sports supplements to give Jordan Belfort pause. I probably was the last man on the roster, but damned if I didn’t work my way onto that team.

For training geeks, I took my body fat down from 12.5% to just over 9% (Bioimpedence), took my scale weight from 179 to 195 (noting that I was all volumized from the Creatine), shaved almost 1.5 seconds off my blueline-to-blueline time, added 60 pounds to my Squat, and generally transformed myself into a raging beast in 21 days. I’m living proof that love and feverish dedication can help you accomplish the seemingly-absurd.

(Note: I didn’t take steroids due to NCAA drug testing and whatnot, but at the time I probably would have considered it. That time period was a blur for me, but I remember heavy doses of ZMA, Creatine, Glutamine, and the now-banned Ephedra by the fistful. Shoot to Thrill, indeed.)

But love and dedication alone didn’t get me onto that team. To achieve my goal of making the team, I used two primary sources of information to guide my nutrition and training:

1) A then-fledgling website called Testosterone.com, or T-Nation, and

2) A book written by two prominent T-Nation contributors called The Testosterone Advantage

I would not have made that team without this information, so this article serves as my sincere thanks to Dr. John Berardi, Christian Thibaudeau, Chad Waterbury, Chris Shugart, Lou Schuler, Dr. Jeff Volek, Charles Staley, Tim Patterson, and anyone else who may have indirectly contributed to my efforts. Thank you all, very sincerely.

Anyway, while I was satisfied (somewhat) in achieving my goal of making the hockey team, the real treat was the change in body chemistry that I had undergone. Three straight weeks of daily high-volume leg training immediately followed by 30 minutes of Sprint Intervals, combined with John Berardi and Lou Schuler’s dietary recommendations, had my hormones gushing.

I am privileged enough to know what it’s like to walk into a 75-seat lecture hall and have every girl and woman in the room turn to gawk at you, which of course contributes to my legendary modesty. It was almost as though the girls, and even an instructor or two, could smell me before they could see me. I would get this prolonged, overtly-sexual eye contact from Women who from appearance would not seem to want anything to do with me.

Once a Man has experienced this high – having lots and lots of Women interested in him on a primal level – he will almost certainly chase the dragon for the rest of his life.

People sometimes talk about what their addictions are, as though everyone must have one. Most people say alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, etc. The tack taken by many is that everyone has a vice. While I’ve dabbled in all of the preceding to various degrees, at eighteen I found an addictive force more compelling than all of the collective indecency in Las Vegas. This of course was Testosterone.


The Good Lord is my Savior, but Testosterone is my Religion. Since my freshman year of college, I have relentlessly sought more and more natural Testosterone and Growth Hormone, even as years of this pursuit have turned me into a twisted mix of Buddy Love and a Caveman.

In the process, I’ve become a Mentor to other Men who are still finding their way. I covered a lot of this in my satirical article The Sidekick Manifesto, but what I’ve experienced is that a pronounced uptick in Testosterone levels will have both Men and Women flocking to you. Even if they claim to detest or fear you – as is regularly the case with Mad Men’s Don Draper – people are compelled to seek the approval, comfort, and counsel of High-Testosterone (or Alpha) Males on an almost-biological level.

Having said that, it’s been brought to my attention recently that some of the “Men” in Wilmington have taken to asking themselves, “What Would Jack F____ll Do?” While this is somewhat flattering, the impression I get is that the clownish and wayward are not doing what I would do in given situations. They are not heeding Jack’s Rules and they are not Doing the Right Thing. They either lack understanding as to what I would do in certain scenarios, or they are asking the wrong questions entirely.

In fact, I almost titled this article “What Jack F____ll Would Do”, but I ultimately decided that was too self-indulgent and not at all Vague. I touched upon most of the reasons that I don’t want my name all over the internet in my article on Quitting Facebook, but the short version is that I don’t like being stalked on the internet. If anything herein needs clarification, I can be found at a hockey rink in either Wilmington or Greater Pittsburgh. I’m in the #11 jersey.

Instead of a WJFWD article, I decided to compile The Testosterone Ten Eleven Commandments in the interest of both enlightening and entertaining both low-T males as well as intrigued women.


Before we begin, I will shill for both T-Nation, Coach Schuler, and Doctors Berardi and Volek. I suggest you visit both T-Nation and Precision Nutrition and consider purchasing a copy of The Testosterone Advantage, as I did when I was 18.  I have no financial stake in any of the above, but I find it all to be excellent information.

In addition to citing specific examples on how to be more of a high-value male, this article will also aim to guide beaten-down and frustrated Men by providing them with more general advice on how to live successfully and the beginning steps to take on a path to long-term happiness. Enjoy.

The Testosterone Ten Eleven Commandments

I) Be Hilarious…and Sexy


(Note: as noted above, I am no longer on the Facebook, but I remain Hilarious and Sexy.)

When people start assigning personality traits to me (more on this below), they frequently acknowledge how Sexy I am, but because I’m not a clown they assume that I lack a sense of humor.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I am Hilarious with a capital H. But there is a big point of distinction revolving around my use of humor.

To be Hilarious and Sexy, a Man must let comedy flow organically, mostly by making smart-ass comments about the Women in his orbit or working as many as 12 Meows into a professional e-mail. Comedy, not variety, is the Spice of Life, and some people make the mistake of thinking more is automatically better.

What a Man should not do is dance for an audience like a puppet. That’s a critical difference between an Alpha and your standard-issue clown.

I am Hilarious, but it’s on my time and the select privilege of my family, friends, and readers. I don’t go into a car dealership and do my best schtick like Chris Rock opening a set, because that’s a business negotiation. I have a gift for comic timing, and I chose to share that gift for people I enjoy being around rather than those I actively despise.

If you want to be a Hilarious Man, I highly recommend you downshift and seek a more subtle approach. It’s Hilarious when Vince Vaughn quietly pokes fun at the obnoxious characters in his life, but it’s only marginally-funny when Ben Stiller rams his awkward idea of comedy down our collective throat. With comedy, Less is More.

In fact, the Dodgeball dichotomy between Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller’s characters is an excellent example on Being a Clown versus Being Hilarious … and Sexy. Find the guy who’s trying too hard in this picture:

Vaughn + Stiller

If you are a Man, and if you are trying to be Hilarious/Sexy, my strongest recommendation is that you develop a complete infatuation with yourself. What I’ve found is that Women are fascinated when Men are preoccupied or even self-obsessed to a certain degree. I am not going to breakdown the psychology at play here, but I will link to a wide number of celebrity examples demonstrating attractive women doting on self-obsessed men.

The key is to always walk the line between being serious and bringing the hilarity. My favorite personal example is from many years ago, when I was lounging in my living room admiring my muscles. My female roommate Pickles walked in, and not really sure if I was kidding or not, I lifted my leg off the couch and barked, “Pickles, look at how ripped my calf is,” commanding her to stare at my flexed lower leg.

Was I kidding? Was I serious? It doesn’t matter, because it was Hilarious. Pickles rolled her eyes, but then came and sat down on the couch to listen to more of my outrageous, self-aggrandizing claims.

A large number of people have come to these same conclusions about comedy. Some of them have even attempted to brand my particular style of comedy, to varying degrees of success. But the key is to have a seemingly-unhealthy preoccupation with yourself, mixed with a modicum of self-awareness. Being Hilarious…and Sexy requires having the right proportions of each, used judicially and with practiced restraint.

II) Be an Original


I will always have a soft spot for Professional Wrestling, as Pro Wrestling basically saved me from full-blown alcoholism. I’ll save the complete story for another time, but the short version is that I had to start locking myself in my apartment on Friday nights because if I didn’t, I would be apt to have 10-12 vodka clubs immediately followed by a tryst with someone’s wife/girlfriend. It was a bad look.

Not sure when you last watched Friday Night television, but the pickings are slim. There’s a healthy amount of Tween porn, white-trash theater reruns such as COPS or Jerry Springer, QVC-type infomercial programs, Pawn Stars mini-marathons, etc. There’s almost nothing substantive.

(Note: Cinemax fixed this problem by putting the Best New Show on Television on Friday Nights. Meet the New Boss is exactly right.)

As far as original programming goes, I can assure you the top of the card used to be Friday Night Smackdown, one of WWE’s signature programs. So, I developed this weekly ritual where I sat myself down with a bottle of lemon-lime soda water and watched these incredibly-athletic egomaniacs scream at each other for two glorious hours and dried out a bit.

I will always be grateful to Vince McMahon of the WWE for providing me with a few hours of mindless distraction on Friday nights, which ultimately prevented me from death by alcohol poisoning or furious-husband stabbing. Maybe Vince can work a “Smackdown Saves Lives!” angle later in the year.

Anyway, one of the signature performers on Smackdown was CM Punk, who has since left the company. Like many other stars who gained mainstream appeal, Punk looked around at the abysmal corporate culture that has killed Professional Wrestling and decided that as much as he loved Pro Wrestling itself, he no longer wanted to be a part of it. Punk has since become a celebrity in his own right, and his personal popularity easily eclipses that of the current WWE product.

Though I’m disappointed CM Punk decided he could no longer reconcile the corporate oppression of the WWE Machine with his personal beliefs, I am thrilled that he was enough of a Man to leave something he loved behind for the sake of his personal well-being. See the 8th Commandment below for more on this.

Punk was willing to give almost everything he had to the WWE, but there were two ways in which he absolutely refused to compromise:

1) Punk was unwilling to sacrifice his personal dignity. He was unwilling to take on a dated, obnoxious Russell Brand-style gimmick or wear a ridiculous bunny rabbit costume for the greater glory of WWE.

2) Punk was unwilling to compromise himself and his personal beliefs. If he was going to be part of the WWE, he was going to do so pantomiming Jesus Christ and playfully forcing his Straight Edge beliefs onto others.

CM Punk is an Original. He took what he personally believed in and made it cool. He did not chase popularity and let it contradict what he knew in his heart to be true. The downside of Being an Original is that you are frequently misunderstood, and that people will tend to denigrate you rather than appreciate you, at least initially.

The mistake would be to copy CM Punk’s attitude and values. Punk is thoroughly counter-culture and anti-authority, and while that can be you to a certain degree, it’s likely you don’t hate authority for it’s own sake.

Instead, Be an Original. You probably don’t think like other people, and if you want to be High-T, you shouldn’t act that way. Being true to yourself and doing things your own way, sometimes to your detriment, is an essential part of being both a Man and an Original.

It’s easy to tell someone to Be an Original, and if it were easy everyone would do it. The problem is that innovators and people who act and think unconventionally are usually not well-received by society, at least not at first. People tend to distill all others in their orbit into concepts and stereotypes that they can wrap their minds around. When someone genuinely unique comes around, it’s our nature to cast stones at them.

It’s also human nature to fear and hate what we do not understand. Part of the reason I am so divisive is that, in my view, I’m fairly original. I can’t really be shoe-horned into the most of the standard categories because my personality is complex and my interests are varied. But I’m both comfortable and confident in living this way, as all Men should be.

Being an Original can and does cause some social strife, but this approach ultimately leads to greater glory. Having said that, in my case it doesn’t help that I refuse to explain myself or my actions most of the time, which leads me to my next topic:

III) Be Vague


Most people have this burning desire to be understood and to connect with other people. I am no different, but even more than being understood, I don’t want to be misunderstood. It leads to contradictions such as this, in which I will write 9,000 words about my outlook but refuse to offer some of the most basic details about my personal life.

To again cite a recent example, I quit Facebook because it was taking value from my life. While I was mainly using it to keep in contact with friends that live far away, what was happening was that people with agendas were taking some of the most off-base, trivial aspects of my personality and using them to make assaults on my character.

I covered it at length in the Quitting Facebook article, but an example was that people I dealt with professionally would take a Facebook picture of me from New Years 2007 or a profanity-laced post about the 2010 Hockey Olympic Gold-Medal Game and use it against me in any way possible.

Also as noted in the Facebook article, I can’t bring myself to take Facebook seriously, so rather than keep an account and censor myself, I chose to just eliminate the problem all together.

As noted above, people frequently misunderstand me because my appearance greatly varies and my personality traits are so contradictory. One moment I will come across as extremely intellectual, the next moment I will be involved in a fistfight. One minute I’ll be wearing a three-piece suit, and a moment later I’ll be wearing the tattered remains of a $5 t-shirt. One day I’ll have Conan-length hair, the next I’ll have a military buzzcut. There’s usually method to the madness, but to the unobservant it looks like I just do things.

But most people don’t care about your perspective or reasoning. Most people just want to stereotype each other for self-serving reasons. You don’t have to like this about people – I certainly don’t – but it’s a reality.

A high-value Man is not going to be drawn into the sorority-girl scheming and backstabbing that many people love to partake in. People are always going to talk about each other, but there are some people with nothing in their empty lives other than spreading gossip and baseless rumors. Like many Men of value, I consider people like this beneath me.

But people like this tend to create problems for me by constructing erroneous character assassinations, while I will not. As you may know, I am more of a “walk up and punch a guy in the face” type, but I obviously can’t risk going to jail every time someone spreads a rumor that I’m a drug dealer or a male escort.

My suggestion to the like-minded is to Be Vague. Limit your exposure. Your personal and professional business should not really concern other most other people. Plenty of very successful people, including the Greatest Man Alive, play their cards close to the vest. This method simply filters out potential problems, the same way a Spam folder filters junk e-mail.

People are always going to be critical, but you don’t need to give them additional ammunition. I prefer to choose my words somewhat carefully, and present my views on my own forum and in full. I’m a complex thinker with complex views, and I want these views to be fully explained before people jump to judgement.

I hate it when I’m having a conversation with someone and they take two sentences out of a 45-minute discussion and use that to form their impressions of me. But I really hate it when people take something I say or write as an obvious goof and use it to slander me. Being Vague just keeps a lot of the sorority sisters out of my personal affairs, and makes my life less complicated.

IV) Bros > Hos

I love women, to such a degree that it frequently gets me into trouble. I would say I have 80% of my private conversations with women, and surround myself with women by preference. Typically, women are a joy to be around, and I tend to prefer their company.

Meanwhile, I don’t have tons and tons of guy friends because I spend most of my time thinking about ways to beat other guys in competition or otherwise outdo them. For me and probably most other Alphas, male friendship is a rare privilege.

But I’m lucky enough to have 10-12 brothers, scattered across the globe, that I would push most other people out of a moving car for.

Let me tell you about my brother Chuck:

At the end of 2013, my housing development used a small contractual window to unilaterally terminate my lease. In English, they pulled a low-class move to evict me because I was locked in at a lower rent rate than they liked.

Anyway, I was left scrambling for a place to live. Faithful readers may recall that I got robbed at gunpoint that month. Those who know me personally also know that late 2013 was a really stressful time for me professionally. It’s like they say: when it rains, it pours.

Chuck must have seen my temples throbbing especially hard at Hockey one day, because out of the blue he says:

“No worries, bro. You can move in with me.”

It was an offer I couldn’t refuse. After I settled in, Chuck and I proceeded to have the best time two non-gay grown men can probably have. I haven’t laughed as hard in years as I did watching YouTube clips of LA Beast or Predator or Starship Troopers for the 80th time with my brother Chuck.

I’ve since moved out and Chuck has since gotten married, but at the time I needed a brother, and Chuck was a brother to me. He’s a tremendous individual, and I’ll always be extremely grateful to him.

Normally, I would dump a full drink on another guy or throw him down a small flight of stairs if he was preventing me from talking to a certain girl. So while for me it may be “Chicks Before Dicks” in most cases, like most High-T Men, my real brothers mean more to me than all the women in the world.

I actually have another very recent story that further speaks to that point, but I don’t think this is the time or place for it. I’ll probably retroactively link to it after the story is told. But the short version is that I picked the happiness of one of my brothers over a girl, because girls come and go. Brotherhood is more important than that, at least to Men of Value.

Speaking of girls coming and going…

V) Get the Girl


Everyone has “the one who got away.” Hell, by my count, I have two girls that got away, at least as of this writing.

But as a Man of Value, what you want to do most of the time is Get the Girl. Do not piss and moan and agonize about whether she likes you or not. Make your intentions known and aggressively pursue her, outside circumstances be damned.

There’s been this disappointing trend in which weak Men make excuses as to why they can’t get the Woman they want. They tiptoe around the central issues – the biggest of which is that she can probably get someone better – so they mope and wallow and ultimately chase her away with their desperation and neediness.

I’ll get into this more in the section Kill Before It Kills You, but until the time comes in which you need to totally wash your hands of a bad situation or a stiletto-wearing dumpster-fire of despair, you may need to ride things out until a certain lucky lady comes to the realization that you are in fact the Man for her.

This concept segues nicely into the 6th Commandment:

VI) Have a Set or Grow a Set


This is basically the same as Jack’s Rule #11 (Don’t Be a Coward). But if you want to take things a step beyond being unafraid, you need to Have a Set or Grow a Set.

If you’re going to Be a Man, go assert yourself. If you’re not, live the contented, quiet life of a mouse. But don’t whine about circumstances and misfortune if you’re never going to take a chance or make an ambitious play.

I don’t exactly know where it stems from, but many if not most people live entirely different lives in their head than they do out in the world. I’m a realist and I understand that for most people, family and work take precedence over their personal desires.  However, it also bothers me that most people marginalize themselves so much and compromise their sense of self so easily.

In Men, this reluctance to step on toes can become paralyzing to the point of contempt.  I sometimes want to shake indecisive or timid males and bark in my best Sobe Voice, “You are a Man. Grow Some Fucking Balls.”

This condition – prevalent, diluted masculinity – exists for a great number of reasons, most of which would go past the scope of this section. But the takeaway point is that in 2015, it’s harder than ever to be a High-T Man without being seen as a relic or a social outcast. The ability to navigate socially, rather than aggressively dominate, is a much-handier skill set to possess today.

For me and other High-T Men, it would be an ideal world if one could go around tuning up every amoral, disingenuous, and passive-aggressive coward that we came across. Alas, we live in an unjust, lawsuit-happy era, and it’s not socially acceptable to beat the tar out of every clown that cuts you off in traffic.

I may not act on all of my aggressive impulses – like Johnny Rico says in the award-winning film Starship Troopers, The Mobile Infantry doesn’t make stupid Troopers” – but when I have a strong opinion about something, I certainly make it known.

The Passive-Aggressive approach, i.e. being friendly to someone’s face and disrespectful behind their back, doesn’t fly with High-T Men. If you’re a Man and you have something to say, say it to someone’s face. Don’t wait until they get up to get a Sprite and then start whispering behind their back like a catty sorority girl.

In High-T Men, this mindset endures in all areas. While discretion may in fact be the better part of valor, there is also the notion that fortune favors the bold. As Woody Harrelson’s character Tallahassee likes to say in Zombieland, Nut Up or Shut Up.”

VII) Be Physically Dominant


Like most High-T Men, I am a Physical guy. Everything I like to do – sports, sex, working out, even the jobs I’ve taken on – is predicated on the use of my body. As such, it’s become my nature to be as Physically Dominant as possible.

Certain people are going to misread this idea and think, “Go start bullying people.” That’s not what I’m suggesting at all. But if you’re ethical and just, it almost behooves you to also be physically dominant so that you might uphold these values. It’s a cornerstone of Testosterone.

I’ve mentioned it several times, but there was an incident recently in which I was suspended from the Wilmington rink because I fought a kid. The kid threw a slew-foot on me, so I got up, and I warned him that his behavior was out of line. He not only refused to apologize or heed my warnings, but he continued to buzz around and say things that offended me. So, I fought him and roughed him up, and very honestly I could have beat him much worse.

People may rightly look at me as the bad guy in this situation, and that’s fair. But even in wailing on him a bit to try teaching him a lesson in respecting those bigger and stronger than you, I protected the kid. I’m a Hockey purist, and I don’t think there’s much honor in beating on a smaller person. But there’s even less honor in kicking out someone’s skates from behind and exposing them to severe injury.

The point is this: if you’re going to be an Alpha, i.e. Simba in the Lion King, you need to be physically dominant. If you are not, there is a good chance you will become a beta, i.e. Skar or the Jackals in The Lion King. As a craven beta, you will have to be the type that has to kick out the Alpha’s skates from behind because you can’t physically-compete with him. You will then you will have to cry out “I’m only 17!” so the Alpha doesn’t maul you. It’s a potentially bad life.

Apologies for mixing metaphors, but I’m a writer. It’s what we do.

Moving along, the more-appealing reason to be physically dominant revolves around a Man’s interactions with Women. I’m going to be as Vague as possible and not incriminate myself, but my  experience has been that most Women want a powerful Man who makes them feel protected. This is hard to accomplish when your girlfriend can out-lift you at the gym and wears the same size jeans as you. Remember what you’re supposed to be bringing to the table as a Man.


Since we’re talking about being physically dominant…

VIII) You WILL Do Squats


By my estimate, Mr. Olympia/fitness icon/actor/California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is the most fascinating person of his era, possibly only superseded by actor/martial artist/philosopher/writer Bruce Lee. The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding remains my favorite book and an essential read in the fitness community almost 30 years after first publication.

Arnold’s most-recent book, Total Recall, tells a tale that would be roundly rejected by book publishers as an absurd work of fiction due to unbelievability. Yet the spread of photos in the middle of the book, to say nothing of Arnold’s bodies of work in Bodybuilding, Acting, Fitness, and Politics, are proof of the epic life that he’s lived.

Like many people, I sometimes get very busy, and at the end of a long day the last thing I want to do is go force myself through a workout. But I like having high Testosterone and being good at sports, so most of the time I manage to drag myself in.

On the rare occasions when I absolutely lack motivation and my usual motivational carrots – Hockey, Women, personal pride, etc. – fail to inspire me, I use a photo of The Oak such as this to shame myself into going:


If you’ve read New Encyclopedia, then you’re familiar with the very distinct manner in which Arnold writes. He has no issue making up his own Austrian/English words (such as Problematical), and uses his unique brand of motivation/humiliation to inspire others. After a few reads through the massive tome that is New Encyclopedia, you can hear Arnold’s voice as clear as day shaming you into being less of a whiner and more of a winner.

Maybe I had a dream about it, but somewhere amidst the meandering 800+ pages of New Encyclopedia is a very basic tenet: You WILL Do Squats.

Squats are non-negotiable, if you consider yourself anything other than a complete girly-man. You WILL do them, under order of the Terminator himself.


Maybe you aren’t interested in Strength Training, but if you’re interested in Testosterone there’s a good chance that you have an unhealthy obsession with the iron. If you want to make Testosterone your religion, there’s no better building block than a high-volume squat workout. You WILL Do Squats, starting immediately.

IX) Kill Before It Kills You


I’m not going to get all Darwinian on you or overburden you with scholarly articles, as I’m apt to do. The cold truth of life is that the world is not a terribly nice place most of the time. As they say, it’s a dog-eat-dog world, and this is something most everyone will comes to learn as they mature.

While many are able to embrace this savage aspect of human nature, many others who are hard-wired with the instinct to protect others.

I am wired this way. I may be, as one woman famously put it, “a colossal dick”, but at the end of the day my instincts are to protect people in both physical and emotional ways. I am far from alone in this regard, as there are innumerable people who think of the good of the collective before they think of their personal desires.

A notable example from fiction is Rick Grimes, lead character of both The Walking Dead television show and The Walking Dead graphic novels. Throughout both the novels and the show, Rick is described as “a Man of Conscience”, and is frequently shown to have ethical objections to some of the horrible things he must do to ensure the safety of his family and friends.

But in the epic 4th Season finale, Rick very literally puts the 9th Commandment of Testosterone into practice:

The clip from The Walking Dead serves as a metaphor. In life, there are a great number of threats – some insidious, some obvious – that can compromise our health and livelihood. The key is to identify and eliminate these threats before they take a severe toll on you.

There are two particular areas in which I apply this commandment: Women and Work.

As I will discuss below, one of my bigger character flaws/traits is that I am a sucker for a damsel-in-distress. If a Woman appears to be in trouble or vulnerable, I am basically powerless to stop myself from trying to help her. Over the years, shrewd Women have observed this trait in me, and tooled me to various degrees.

While some people may read this and chuckle about what a chump I am, this trait – the need to intervene and help others – is also one of the strongest aspects of my character. I wouldn’t be who I am if I suddenly started turning a blind eye to others in need. I often proceed knowing that I’m being played, because that’s more palatable for me than the alternative.

Acknowledging that, the maturation process for me has been to identify when I am clearly being used, and to kill the relationship before it kills me.

I touched upon it in “On Doing the Right Thing I”, but I ended a close friendship with my former roommate because her toxicity was sucking the life out of me. In addition to being a sullen wench, not a week went by in which she didn’t manipulate me into helping her solve one of her personal problems or self-constructed dramas.

She was usually pretty personable with me, but she would surround herself with these douchebag, effete hipsters who would rightly see me as a threat and passive-aggressively provoke me into confrontation. I enjoyed her friendship a lot, but it was exhausting. One day, I took a deep breath and decided I had to remove her from my life, for the sake of my own well-being. I “killed” our relationship before it took anything more out of me.

That’s just one example, but it’s part of a larger pattern of traditional behavior for me. I’ve written in the past about what a problem quitting is for me, and for the longest time I was unable to separate quitting a relationship from “killing” one. I’ve changed in that regard, and while it may not be progress, but it’s definitely evolution.

The same goes for work. I was raised by a family of farmers, and I am fortunate enough to have a great work ethic and pride in being professional. The downside of this, as I discussed in Jack’s Rules, is that I’ll tend to let my personal pride keep me from leaving a bad job or hostile work environment.

I think everyone reading this can empathize, as they are either like me – i.e. tend to stay too long in flawed relationships because of personal integrity – or they are the sort of person who tries to exploit people like me. Regardless, the lesson is this:

To grow and thrive, a Man will sometimes need to make a hard choice and “kill” a given relationship. There could be any number of factors – money, sex, emotional investment, honor, etc. – that make the relationships seem salvageable, but a high-value Man will identify when a relationship has outlasted its usefulness, and sever it.

This isn’t as easy as it sounds, because most of the time there is a strong human component to a given relationship. Most of the time, “killing” a relationship will involve putting a weaker person out to pasture for the sake of your own well-being, and as a Man of Conscience, this will wear on you. But as a Man of Value, you will tap into your inner strength and make a hard choice that most other people cannot.

To be a strong-enough Man to accomplish this, you will need to learn the 10th Commandment well…

X) Don’t Beg for Mercy, Work for Strength


(John Cena Deadlifting 650 pounds, like a boss – don’t dare say he doesn’t deserve his spot)

We were told just to sit tight,
‘Cause somebody will soon arrive.
Help is on the way.
But it never came
It never came

Rise Against, Help Is On The Way

Megatron: [feigning defeat as he reaches for a gun] No more, Optimus Prime! Grant me mercy, I beg of you!

Optimus Prime: You, who are without mercy, now plead for it? I thought you were made of sterner stuff

Let me tell you one thing I’ve learned about Women. Free tip:

For many if not most Women, it doesn’t matter if you’re a Good Man or a Bad Man. What matters to them is if you’re a Strong Man. The rest is negotiable.

This isn’t meant to paint Women in an unflattering light, and there are certainly exceptions.  But my experience has been that Strength – be it emotional, physical, or otherwise – is the critical component Women seek when searching for an ideal mate.

There are some awful Men who do or have done extremely-well with Women. We also all know some great guys who can’t get anywhere with the fairer sex. Unfortunately, the misconception of many Men is that Bad Boys automatically get all of the Women, while nice guys don’t. This leads Good Men to behaving badly in the interest of doing better with Women.

But there are plenty of Good Men who do great with Women, and in fact I think if Women had their way, they would all have a Good Man. But their Man needs to be a Good, Strong Man, both emotionally/mentally as well as physically.

Strength is More than Physical. A Strong Man ideally would provide financial and psychological support when needed, and as noted above should be a pro in making his Woman feel comfortable. If he’s physically-strong to boot, the Man in question should be so busy fighting off Women with a stick that he doesn’t have time to address his other shortcomings, whatever they may be.

(My two cents? You should take care of your Woman, and she should let you. After all, she takes care of you. But I’m traditional.)

So let’s say I can sell you on the idea of being a Strong Man rather than a Good Man or a Bad Man. If you want Strength – emotional, physical, or otherwise – you’re going to have to work for it. Life is largely unfair, and you are not going be magically transformed from weak-willed to resolute. You are going to have to fight for Strength.

Let me tell you another thing I’ve learned: The Only Help is Self-Help.

Not to say that a lot of people haven’t helped me through the years, because I’ve been blessed enough to have had an outstanding support network, at times. But there have been a lot of times when, like most Men, I’ve basically been on my own. It always seems like this happens when the circumstances of life are at their most overwhelming.

Again, life can be brutal. I’ll steal this speech from Rocky Balboa:

Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!

Now if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth! But you gotta be willing to take the hits. And not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!

A Man can beg for mercy, but sometimes, there will be no mercy. A Man will need to work to find the Strength needed to Rise against whatever circumstances life has thrown at him. Testosterone will help greatly in this regard.


XI) Be a Hero


(Props to me for working not one but two relevant Zombieland references into the article)

If there’s an overriding theme to my work, it’s Be a Hero. There is very little in my eyes more masculine than stepping up when no one else will, especially as circumstances grow more daunting.

Anyone who reads my writing knows that I am a big fan of Heroes in all forms and shapes. But if I had to pick one, we all know it’s Batman. Here’s why:

Even the most casual fan is aware that young Bruce Wayne witnessed his parents being murdered, and rather than pout like a little girl or turn to chronic substance abuse, he dedicated himself to ensuring that such an incident would never have the opportunity to repeat itself.  He went on a decade-long odyssey in which he prepared his body and mind for a forthcoming war on injustice.

Being as realistic as possible in looking at the situation, if an eight-year old saw his parents killed before his eyes, he would likely be a fucking mess. Any number of emotional or psychological disorders would have likely crippled any child in Bruce Wayne’s position, and the fact that he was a pillow-soft rich kid makes it all the more likely he would have collapsed under duress. The real-life Bruce Wayne would have turned to drugs and alcohol, and ultimately let substance abuse consume him.

But that’s why the idea of Batman is so special, and resonates with fans as it does. Bruce Wayne, even with irreparable psychological damage, chose to Be a Hero. It would make him a one-in-a-billion type of person considering the circumstances, and that’s why Batman is a work of fiction. But it’s inspirational nonetheless.


It’s interesting to me that both Bruce Wayne and Patrick Bateman of American Psycho infamy are played by actor Christian Bale, because it allows for some interesting comparisons. Both obviously come from a great deal of money. Both have obvious psychological damage. Both exhibit great intelligence and extreme control-freak tendencies. Both show an obsession with their bodies and their health.

Watching the films in succession, it’s almost impossible at times to distinguish between Bale’s Bateman and his Batman. It’s a very thin line between the Man Bruce Wayne became and the one Patrick Bateman became. But that’s the point of the 11th Commandment of Testosterone. Be a Hero, by choice, even if circumstances lead you in the opposite direction.

It’s far more-realistic that a traumatized eight-year old would become Patrick Bateman, i.e. a murdering psychopath, than he would become a Hero. Not even a Man in a Bat costume, but a cop or a doctor or a firefighter, i.e. someone who works for the good of others.

In fact, I would go as far as to say that Bruce Wayne and Patrick Bateman even think in fundamentally similar ways. Not just in terms of control and precision, but also in terms of emotional scarring from trauma during development. In most interpretations, Batman/Bruce Wayne is shown to a borderline sociopath at best and at worst a very disturbed individual.

But that’s why Batman is so revered, even 75 years after the character’s creation. Batman does something that most people are incapable of, which is that he creates something good from great tragedy. He does not let tragedy dictate the person that he is or what he aims to accomplish. Even if Batman’s brain is not a nice place to be, he still opts to make positive, tangible contributions to the world around him.

Two scenes from Batman Begins reinforce this concept:

A Man can choose to benevolent, even if he’s an aggressive or even malicious person by nature. A Man can choose to Be a Hero, because a Man in control of himself. That’s the fundamental difference between Batman and Patrick Bateman: Bateman can’t control himself because deep down, he’s a scared little boy. Batman can control himself, and focus himself in a positive direction, because he’s a Man.

Batman is also the model for those who have had to work for their success, which many Men of Value have had to do. While some Men are born with seemingly-endless gifts and have their own unique struggles – not unlike Superman – many Men have had to build themselves from nothing. They have had to overcome a lack of talent with education and work ethic, and they have had to overcome personal issues on their own. Batman is a choice role-model for Men like this.

As a Man, realize that you have a choice. You don’t have to Be a Hero, but you also don’t have to let tragedy and circumstances outside of your control define you. The one thing a Strong Man can control is himself, how he acts and reacts to the world around him. It’s a great responsibility, but it’s also a tremendous freedom that weaker Men may never get to experience. As a Strong Man, the choice is yours.

Bonus Section

These two extras aren’t Testosterone Commandments per se, but they are both helpful things to know.

Bonus #1) Dictate Your Environment


“I don’t want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me.”

– Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson), The Departed

This isn’t a full-on commandment, but as a Man you do want to be conscious of how your environment impacts you, and vice versa.

My friends know that “the world is my living room”. I can frequently be seen walking around Hockey rinks barefoot or plugging my iPhone charger into any power outlet within sight because I am, for whatever reason, very comfortable making myself comfortable.

As my friends also know, I am very comfortable forcing my preferences onto other people. I’m a sport and I’ll be accommodating, but if you give me the slightest bit of latitude in making a decision, we are going to end up watching Super Troopers way more often than we watch the latest Sarah Jessica Parker farce/Rom-Com.

It’s the nature of Men to take something and make it theirs, and a Man’s environment is no different. A side effect of ramping up my natural Testosterone levels has been that I have become almost territorial. If you ever want to be embarrassed, come into my Hockey team’s locker room some time without an invitation. I promise no one will belittle and berate you louder that particular day.

You don’t have to be as obnoxiously-territorial as I can be to learn an important lesson in masculinity: Dictate Your Environment.

There is definitely a line between being a bane on society and being a mindless, timid conformist. A Man will dictate his environment to a large degree, as he knows his personal worth meets or exceeds that of the people around him. But a Man will usually not make those around him deliberately uncomfortable for his own sake. The key, as with most judgement calls, is to Walk the Line and show a reasonable amount of discretion without letting anyone else step on you.

Bonus #2) Understand the Nature of Estrogen

Before you get your thong in a twist, hear me out. This is not an attack on women. In fact, it’s a defense:

I’ve written extensively about the benefits of Testosterone, which you can of course read more about elsewhere. The opposite of Testosterone (not the antagonist, obviously) is Estrogen, a hormone that prominently occurs in Women. Estrogen exists in Men as well, leading to a disturbing number of maladies if left unchecked, but offers a number of benefits to Women including:

  • Increasing serotonin, and the number of serotonin receptors in the brain.
  • Modifying the production and the effects of endorphins, the “feel-good” chemicals in the brain.
  • Protecting nerves from damage, and possibly stimulating nerve growth.

Estrogen is also of course critical in female sexual development and child bearing. But the downside of Estrogen is that it’s an extremely volatile hormone, and that it can cause wild fluctuations in mood irrespective of gender. You can read the entirety of this WebMD article on Estrogen and Women’s Emotions here.

A condition called Estrogen Dominance can occur in both Men and Women, in which Estrogen levels run rampant and unchecked, leading to numerous problems. Here are some of the effects of Estrogen Dominance:


I am not going to do your reading for you, but you should understand the basic positive and negative effects of both Estrogen and Testosterone. If you’re thoroughly-undereducated, you can start with this scholarly article and work your way through.

Estrogen Dominance sounds like hell on earth to me, which is why I so voraciously chase Testosterone. But I am a Man, and I have the luxury of attempting to turn on my Testosterone like a spigot with smart lifestyle choices.

Women, however, generally have about 1/10th of the Testosterone of the average Man, thus missing out on most of the benefits of Testosterone while combating the Estrogen Dominance conditions detailed above. As an example, the average Woman has to work much harder to lose a few pounds than the average Man, again due to the average Woman’s Estrogen: Testosterone ratio.

Once more, this is not to say that there are no positives to Estrogen. There are many. It’s a hormone not unlike Ghrelin or Luteinizing Hormone or Cortisol and serves a major purpose within both male and female human bodies. But Estrogen Dominance is not a desirable condition for Men, and as noted above, even Women do not want out-of-whack Progesterone: Estrogen ratios.

I included this section for two reasons:

1) I think it’s important to educate Men on how problematical Estrogen Dominance can be, and how it can be contributing to any number of mental or physical problems a Man might be experiencing. I highly recommend that as a Man, you educate yourself on ways in which you can mitigate Estrogen Dominance – if only to limit your chances of conditions like Prostate Cancer – even if you do not wish to aggressively pursue high Testosterone levels.

2) I can’t believe I’m writing these words, but … try not to give Women such a hard time. Lord knows this is a case of “doing what I say, not what I do”, but the reality is that the hormonal deck is largely stacked against Women in many instances, and that’s before contributing factors such as Birth Control are thrown in.

As a Man, you can’t reasonably be expected to know what’s going on with a Woman at any given time. But as noted under the 11th Commandment, you can choose to cut a good girl some slack if she’s acting like a maniac. Educate yourself, adjust your patience accordingly, and make your own determinations.

Final Words on Testosterone


A brief list of things NOT to be:

Don’t Be a Coward

Don’t Be a Clown

Don’t Be a Crybaby

By now, you’re seeing a consistent theme in Testosterone-based behavior. Pretty much anything that lacks basic masculine dignity is a major no-no as far as this is concerned.

I have a passion for both Strength Training and body development, so it’s hard for me not to push the benefits of both. Do you need Strength Training to be a High-T or high-value male? Absolutely not. But is a passion for Strength Training or body development going to hinder you? Absolutely not.

In closing, if Being a Man were easy, every male would do it. Most take the easy way out and elect to gleefully conform to our current passive-aggressive culture, and generally bend over every time life decides to stick them. Being a Man of Value, rather than just a male placeholder, takes dedication and a stiff spine.

If you decide to rise to the challenge of Being a Man, know that the rewards are significant. But it won’t be effortless. You will need to dig in, and ideally with some support in the form of these Ten Eleven Commandments, you can become a Man of Conscience and Value. Lord knows we could use a few more.