17 Tiny Things Women Can Do To Make The Man They Love Feel Big & Manly

So sweet you could cry.

doubled image of a happy couple hugging and smiling Getty

When you're a woman trying to think of sweet things to say to your boyfriend, it makes sense to try and remember some of the cute things your mom said or did for your dad back in the day.

Personally, I was raised in a household where traditional ideals of masculinity and what it means to be "a man" were rarely on display. My dad is a disabled, academic priest. You're more likely to spot cats wearing suits and walking on their hind legs while speaking in British accents than you are to see him doing something most people would consider "manly," like working on a car, for example.


For years, I was baffled about how my parents ever came together. He was, ostensibly, this nerd, and she was this fun-loving athletic type.

But then one day I realized that the key to what makes their relationship work is the way she always asks him to open jars for her when she needs to open a fresh one.

That might sound kind of ridiculous to you, but I think it's absolutely true.

Neither of my parents would ever conform to certain traditional gender roles of their time. She would never wear a full face of makeup everyday, and he would never repair a transmission. Yet they still recognized and appreciated the important little things they each could do in order to make her feel "like a woman" and him feel "like a man."


While such distinctions and gestures might sound silly and outdated, and while in many respects they are — it doesn't take a man, let alone a manly man, to pop open a jar of dill pickles — for my parents, this was and is about more than quick access to the contents of those jars.

When my mom turns a new jar over to my dad, it's her simple, loving way of saying, "I respect and admire you and your masculinity, and I appreciate the ways in which you care for me. You're my hero."

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It isn't a conversation they ever speak in words, but it's impossible to miss the swagger in my dad's step after he pops a top that's proven immovable to my mom and everyone else in the house.

While "being manly" doesn't mean that you are more of a man, it's something that many men sincerely appreciate, and this is especially true when they are made to feel good about their masculine nature by the woman they're in love with.

This sort of stuff doesn't have to be over the top or cheesy. It's not like every guy on planet Earth is dying to meet some broad who will fawn over his bulging pectorals (though some of those guys do, yes, very much exist). In fact, you may just be surprised to find out some of the things women do that men say make them feel most manly.

Don't believe me? Check out what happened when one redditor recently asked the guys on Reddit Ask Men this question: "What is something your SO does that makes you feel 'Manly'? [For example:] My girlfriend has really small hands and is short whenever I have to open something for her or she needs me to reach in high places I feel like the manly man I was born to be."


Here are 17 sweet, tiny things women do to make a man feel masculine, loved, special and needed.

How to Make a Man Feel Like a Man

1. Sleep while he drives.

"This is when I really feel like an adult. My wife and little girl sleeping, while I drive through the darkness, on our way home from a place far away. There is just something humbling about it."

2. Call him 'the man.'

"She called me 'the man [she loves]'. Not 'the guy' or 'the boy', but 'the man'. It might sound weird in English, but in my language, it's pretty satisfying."

3. Wait for his help.

"When we lift together she can't reach the pull-down bar so she lifts her hands up and waits for me to bring it down to her."


4. Wear his clothes.

"Wears my clothes. I love it. No idea why. I guess it makes me feel protective or something."

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5. Get clingy in the right way.

"When we would both be laying down cuddling, she would have her leg draped over me, her head on my chest, and if I made a sudden movement like get up to use the restroom or get some water she'd pull me back in as if saying not to leave. I'd nudge her a bit and tell her what I was gonna do, and she'd say, 'OK, but come back to me' all in a sleepy tone! Instant heart melt!"

6. Check him out.

"After 21 years and five kids, I still catch her checking me out whenever I'm doing yard work or working on a car or building something in the garage."


7. Ask for bear hugs.

"A girl I used to date, when she felt bad would hold our her arms and just say 'bear hug' and I'd wrap my arms around her and lift her, putting my face in her hair and I could feel her lips on the side of my head smiling. Sometimes I'd get bear hug requests and carry her from the bed to the couch when she was all frumpy and sad on the weekends."

8. Treat him like a king.

"When she giggles when I pick her up, or when she brings me a drink/food without me asking. I feel like a king getting served and like she's looking out for me and cares."



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9. Rub his beard.

"When she rubs my jaw. I don’t have much facial hair, but when she rubs my jaw just right it makes the stubble bristle."

10. Talk about him to your friends.

"When I overhear my wife tell her friends how lucky she is having me and all the things I do that make her feel special."

11. Let him cook the meat.

"I get to cook all the meat. She doesn't like touching raw meat ... and she says I'm better at cooking it anyway. No complaints about that."

12. Use him as a teddy bear.

"When I was driving us home late at night, my ex would sleep snuggled up with her head on my shoulder, hand on my bicep, holding my arm to her chest like a little girl with her teddy bear. She had terrible anxiety and trust issues and really put up a tough front, so those moments of trust and vulnerability were like a drug to me."


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13. Trust him to take the wheel.

"She asks me to drive, regardless of whose vehicle we are in. She doesn’t tell me how to drive, she doesn’t get scared or nervous when I drive like an idiot (I drive a Mini so I drive [crazy] more than I should). She simply lets me do what I need to do in order for us to get where we’re going."

14. Let him know he's appreciated.

"How every day we write down a list of things we are grateful for in a 'Gratitude Journal' she made for me as a little heartfelt gift for Valentine’s Day. The lists usually have a bunch of silly things but she always starts her list with my name and I always start mine with hers. On a bad day, she will write my name over and over on her list and hand it to me with a kiss."


15. Relax& in his arms.

"She snuggles up and then relaxes. I can feel the tension come out of her. best feeling in the world, knowing you have that effect on the person you love."

16. Get girly about his muscles.

"Sometimes when I'm on top of her, she says 'flex your arms', and I throw up a solid front double bi. She giggles and grabs my arms ... I feel like a king."

17. Tell him exactly how manly he is — and why.

"She's actually much better than me at tinkering around in the house. Thing is I grew up in an apartment and tinkering around was never really needed, so I never really learned to do it. I can handle a hammer and a screwdriver but anything more advanced than that ... ehh less so ... She on the other hand, grew up in a house, outside town with a really handyman kind of dad as opposed to my dad who is a nerd.

"So anyway, we were installing new door locks in the house and she had to show me how it's done and I just listened and followed her instructions. She says she finds it a huge turn on that I accept that a woman gives me instructions for a typically manly thing. I asked her why? She says, 'Because most men would feel their masculinity damaged in such a situation. You however are manly enough to not need to prove it to me through stuff like this.'


"I felt manly AF."

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman.