What are "manly men," exactly? Kass says they're guys who are so manly that they don't even talk about it: "It's bragging." They're the type who will stand around in Lake Michigan to smoke a cigar, but not swim, because of "attitude." They'll eat "broken cashew pieces and beef jerky" and wash their Slim Jims down with grape pop.
It's pretty obvious when someone is a "manly man" because he's unpopular and persecuted by today's society. "Our modern American culture really doesn't like manly men much these days," says Kass. (Somebody better tell the Hollywood explosion-movie people about this.) But if you're still unclear on the concept, Kass is collecting photos for a new online scrapbook of specimens that he will never, ever turn into a glossy coffee table book, because those are for wimps. Some people have already contributed photos for this anthology, and based on the submissions, a "manly man" definitely should have at least one of the following:
* a mustache
* a muscle shirt
* no shirt at all
So how did all this talk about manliness come about? Well, the makers of Combos snacks collaborated with researcher Bert Sperling of Sperling’s BestPlaces to create a survey—Combos calls it a "study"—of 50 American cities, which inspired Kass to write his column. The Combos study gauged the manliness of the cities according to six criteria: sports, "manly lifestyle" (fishing, pickup truck-owning, etc.), "concentration of manly retail stores" (having a lot of chicken wing shops helped), "manly magazine subscriptions" (all the magazines with (half-)naked women on/in them), "manly occupations" (construction, policing, fire-fighting, probably bounty-hunting), and "salty snack sales" (surviving hypertension increases heroism and that's manly).
Cities were penalized if they had too many decor stores or coffee shops, because those venues (here's looking at you, Portland, Oregon) are for ladies and ladylike men. To come up with the categories, Combos sought direction from a group of scientists who are actively trapped in the year 1956, and who communicate with the modern world via rotary phone.
Luckily, Chicago's getting more manly by the minute. Since last year's survey, we've shot up 39 places to #7 — "partly thanks to a strong ranking (No. 3) in the manly occupations category," reports CBS Channel Two. Mayor Daley also helped out by taking matters into his own macho hands at given moments.
If more Chicago men start wearing hard-hats—or just snack harder—we can totally own this thing next year.