While the “typical male stereotype” has expanded and changed over the decades, certain lifestyle items remain, decidedly, fitting for any man. Here is a local guy guide that covers the basics.
What makes a man? We asked Washtenaw County men who are making their mark about what they love, what they do, and who they admire.
Journalist, Media Producer, Organizer, Student
My career, and why I chose it: I believe the opportunities I have were made for me. I am answering my calling to contribute toward equity in journalism and the production of media, as well as to do my part to shift the narrative and standard of Black men. I am building platforms for more minoritized people to excel and that support transformative ideas.
How I spend a typical day: Some days I start early, while some days are a later start. I am working part time and completing my last semester at Eastern Michigan University toward a degree in Media Studies and Journalism with a minor in Marketing. I spend time with my loved ones. I take time to be present in the moment. I learn constantly from experiencing life, reading, and the richness of people around me. I laugh a lot and dress well. I care, especially, about the details. I approach life daily with passion tempered by my level headed, intuitive disposition. I eat and cook well. When my day is done, I kick my feet up with a cozy blanket and lounge like a boss.
My mantra: My mantra summarizes my personal outlook on life— “Through Christ anything is possible.” Be true to yourself, love wins, and kindness trumps hate.
A man I admire, and some of his qualities: The men I admire have a deep love for themselves and others around them, which is illuminated in their work, families, and actions.
The men that I can’t bring myself to admire are those who abuse their male privilege and exert toxic masculinity. I admire men who set a positive example and raise the bar for how other men can be better men and leverage our male privilege for the betterment of humanity and society.
Things I enjoy doing in my free time: I love to write creatively, listen to music, absorb art, and read, as well as grow and heal myself and the world from the inside out.
Chief Regulatory Engineer, Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Musician
Your career, and why you chose it: After awakening to the realities of our planet and civilization in college, I realized renewable energy was something I could get behind to be “part of the solution.” I’m Chief Regulatory Engineer with a non-profit called the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Basically, I work in public utility commission working groups around the country to help craft the rules around how distributed energy systems (like solar electric or batteries on homes and businesses) get connected to the electric grid. It’s an exciting time to help craft the way in which the grid will work in the future, with much more distributed energy. I never thought I’d be working mostly with words instead of circuits, but I love collaborating with different groups and trying to get the utility companies to “see the light.”
How you spend a typical day: Just a week ago I became a dad, so typical hasn’t meant anything since then. Before baby, I was going to the gym first thing in the morning, working either at home or at a café for 8 hours or so (reading, writing, and getting on conference calls), then making dinner with my wife. Playing guitar with or without my band in the basement, a walk by the river, or chilling at home were on the table— we’ll find out what “typical” means moving forward.
Your mantra: As funny as it is, I guess it’s “don’t worry, be happy.” I try to let my life unfold as the universe allows, rather than worrying about the future or the past. Happiness is my guiding light and I try to ensure what brings me joy is a part of my life.
A man you admire, and some of his qualities: I admire my friends who value life on earth and do their best to help create a better world, and who share their love with others.
Something you love to do in your free time: I’ve been working on allowing my emotions to play more of a role in my life, which I’m sure will take the rest of my life. It will also take the rest of my life to learn everything about playing the guitar.
Why you are a vegan: I remember having a slight discomfort in the back of my mind about eating animals. After learning about factory farming in college, I decided I didn’t want to take advantage of animals any more than I would take advantage of another person, and I went vegan. I definitely take advantage of kale, though.
Farmer, Dancer, Teacher
How I spend a typical day: There’s no such thing as a typical day for me, and I love that variety. I might be harvesting spinach in the morning and driving the tractor by noon. Then I might head home to cook, teach a tango lesson in the afternoon, and be off to go dancing at night. Or, I might take the day off and clean the house, daydream, write in my journal or map out future projects!
My Mantra: Tao.
A man I admire, and some of his qualities: I admire Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake or Sitting Bull, because he had an unhurried, grounded mindset as a leader who continued to call for peace and education even while needing to bravely lead his people into defensive battles against colonialism— fighting for his home, his people, and their way of life.
My career, and why I chose this line of work: I am a land worker and a dancer. I pursue these lifestyles for the richness of life that they bring, instead of pursuing something for money. In farming and landscaping I am able to experience the natural world and delight in its sweet and bitter gifts and lessons. In dancing I enjoy the passionate life of an Argentine tango dancer, traveling the world and making meaningful connections with people who have interesting stories. I enjoy teaching because I get to watch as people transform as they realize that they are both the clay and the artist.
Things I enjoy doing in my free time: I enjoy sailing and perpetually learning the art of life.
Distiller (Ann Arbor Distilling Company), Musician
It must be said: Despite a distiller being a stereotypically masculine role, it’s important to note that was not always the case. The fields of brewing, winemaking, and distilling, all owe inestimable praise and commendation for advancements made by women throughout history. Hildegard von Bingen, Maria the Jewess— I owe my career, vocation, and life to the work of these, and other, incredible women.
How I spend a typical day: I love early mornings at the distillery, the gentle knocking of the steam pipes warming up, the smell of the Bourbon casks— like snow is to a boy from Texas, the novelty hasn’t worn off on me.
I usually start the day by mashing in one of our grain bills, (i.e. Bourbon, Rye, or Wheat) for our vodka. This process involves dumping about a ton of grain into a giant cauldron (called a mash tun) and heating it until all of the starches are converted into sugars. The smell alone is worth all the work. I’m never far from the still during a distillation. I’m always tasting to make sure everything is running smoothly. Nothing about our process is automated, and I prefer it that way.
After the mash comes up to temperature, it is cooled and transferred to the fermenters where my little yeast friends enjoy a 7-day long feast. Then, it’s time to do what I do best, cleaning. Distilling is 95% cleaning. Luckily, my father was an officer in the Navy so being fastidious was never really ‘optional’.
My career, and why I chose it: Trained as a classical guitarist, I was in San Francisco finishing up my master’s degree at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music when I decided to order a beautiful Portuguese Alembic still. Beginner’s luck or fate, I was really happy with the results and fell in love with the practice.
Two years later my wife Lena was accepted as a doctoral candidate at U-M’s Musicology department. Lena pointed out to me that there was a distillery in Ann Arbor and that they were having a bottling party that night. I wound up meeting the owner Rob (Cleveland) and a few of the investors- I must have stuck out a bit, most people were laughing and carrying on but I was like a machine, helping to bottle the spirits. Rob brought me on board soon after.
From there it’s been a whirlwind. I just took my first vacation in two years! Some might read that and shudder but when your work is a vocation, often times the idea of a ‘vacation’ seems rather inconvenient.
A man you admire: The man I admire most is my father. Seeing my father is like looking into my future. Humble, indefatigable, compassionate, and kind; he’s my best friend and everything I could hope to be.
God’s Gift to Men
Whether you’re a macho man, Mr. Nice Guy, or just a regular bro, all men can agree on these dude-approved staples.
Cigars and drinks
What is more relaxing for a guy than drinking fine whisky or beer, smoking a cigar, eating delicious food, or watching sports? Doing all of those things AT THE SAME TIME. At Siris, you can do just that. On the bar’s lower level, you can gaze upon the mechanical wonder that is their beer cooler, where over 120 varieties of beers are cooled to optimal temperature. You can enjoy the beer variety and dozens of rare whiskies in the comfort of the ultimate man cave, which was carved from living rock and adorned with game trophies and tree stump tables. Come to Siris and enjoy the finer things.
sirisannarbor.com | 734 263-1296
207 N Main St, Ann Arbor
Bowling is a highly competitive yet minimally athletic sport that can be performed along with a beer, making it the perfect ‘Dad exercise’. Sure, women like to bowl, but this is really a dude thing. For Big Lebowski fans and anyone over 35, newer bowling establishments, with massive video screens and bumping music, could be a jarring disappointment. Maplewood maintains the classic keggling tradition in laid back style. Take a class or join one of their many leagues, which accommodate any ability level. Prices are reasonable, drinks are abundant, and there’s plenty of comfort food on the menu. Really, what more do you need for an evening out with the fellas?
maplewoodlanes.com | 734-429-5457
830 Woodward Dr, Saline
Adventures in Homebrewing
Adventures in Homebrewing is where dudes go to talk to other dudes about beer. The guys at AIH are all about making your beer dreams come true, and they are willing to go deep into the suds on any aspect of their favorite topic to help you, down to offering detailed feedback and analysis on samples brought in by customers. A great thing about brewing culture is the brotherhood between brewers. They share what they know— even their recipes— to raise the bar for the industry. Take up brewing and you will become part of a mind expanding culture of (mostly) men who are good at both talking and drinking.
homebrewing.org | 313-277-2739
6071 Jackson Rd, Ann Arbor
Men like to be pampered too, but in a manly way, by professionals talking boisterously about politics and real estate while shaving the hairs off your neck. The Fuller Cut on Ecorse Street in Ypsilanti, owned by Alex Fuller, can give you both a frohawk and an education. Fuller’s children’s literacy program gives kids who read a book to the barber $2 off their cut. Fuller Cut sponsors other barbershops that want to start their own program with a bookshelf full of books for kids of all reading levels.
thefullercut.com | 734-484-2860
307 Ecorse Rd, Ypsilanti
Varsity Barber Shop
This is the place to go in downtown Ann Arbor for a man’s haircut, beard trim, or classic straight blade shave. The barbers are all laid back dudes from the Irish Hills area, from tattooed Tony the heavy metal guitarist, to Russell-Crowe lookalike Mike, who might chat you up about your golf game, or his wife’s baking prowess. No reservations (the poster of a well-known actor reads, “Walkens only”) and no plastic accepted. Wait times can be insane, but feel free to sign the list, go outside and get a coffee, and return to engage in manly banter, watch sports on TV, or get lost in a men’s magazine.
734-761-8330 | 105 E Liberty, Ann Arbor
Explore the woods. Rent a yurt.
For a rustic and romantic getaway for two, this can really impress your date. Or, cram your buddies into the roughly 20×20 space, enjoy a few cold ones, and then snore in your sleeping bags until someone says it’s time to go fishing. Either scenario is perfectly legit when man meets yurt. Sadly, there are not nearly enough yurts available for rent, so make your reservations in advance.
midnrreservations.com | Search under ‘Yurt’.
8555 Silver Hill Rd, Pinckney Recreation Area
A Square Fight Club | boxing
Final Round | mixed martial arts
Are you tired of your arms feeling like rubber mallets? Want to turn them into sledge hammers? Learn how to fight for real while getting in the best shape of your life with the guidance of highly-trained coaches to develop your skills and bring out the fighting spirit within. Participate in a wide range of both group and individual programs that will leave you eager for the next round to knock out your fitness related New Year’s resolutions. This is an ideal way to develop boxing technique, body awareness, speed, and conditioning. Take your first steps towards becoming the athlete you’ve always wanted to be, and embody a unique confidence that will allow you to overcome any challenge.
Big slabs of meat
You can’t complete a manliness punchcard without acquiring mad barbecue skills (sorry vegetarians). The place to go for big, meaty ribs and chops is Sparrow Market, a Kerrytown mainstay, manned by Bob Sparrow— and a bevy of young female trainees. Bob’s long-standing relationships with farmers throughout the tri-state area assures you of high quality cuts for your grill or smoker, guaranteeing that your tailgate or BBQ party will be a chest-pounding success.
kerrytown.com/sparrowmeats | 734-761-8175
407 N 5th St
Want to rev up your sex life? Cirillas is not for the faint of heart. But the man who loves tools will find the selection highly satisfying. An added benefit is the extensive staff expertise about the hundreds of products.
cirillas.com | 734-477-5643
2925 Carpenter Rd, Ypsilanti
Mule Skinner Boots
Do you crave the feeling of leather? For many dudes, the answer is “Yes.” Satisfying your desire with the elevated standard of Mule Skinner Boots, over 45 years in business, is going to cost you, but rest assured that the investment will be worth it. Satisfied customers include a vegetable farmer in Webster Township who destroyed a new set of work boots every year for ten years until early 2015, when he bought a pair of Double H boots from Mule Skinner and has been wearing them ever since. ‘Nuff said.
muleskinnerboots.com | 734-475-0342
112 N Main St, Chelsea
Maison Edwards Smoke Shop
It can be a cold world for a smoker in 2019. Maison Edwards understands. In this haven for tobacco lovers, you can enjoy the rare pleasure of sitting back in a handsome leather chair and lighting up in public. Something about the rich smell of fine tobacco inspires reflection, and fascinating conversations between strangers, often sparked in this family-owned, Ann Arbor mainstay. And Maison Edwards encourages you to mingle the scent of classy tobacco with fine imported colognes, shaving creams, and aftershaves.
maisonedwards.com | 734-662-4145
11 Nickels Arcade
A true Ann Arbor institution, Stadium Hardware has just about every tool you could ever think of (and many you haven’t) into its no-frills Stadium Blvd. storefront. Do you struggle to change a lightbulb, yet have a burning desire to install a kitchen appliance yourself? The outstanding staff at Stadium Hardware are happy to walk you through all the steps of your project, often engaging other staff members for lively conversations about the pros and cons of various options. They also cut glass, make keys, match paint, thread pipe, and many other things you are much better off leaving to them.
734-663-8704 | 2177 W Stadium Blvd