"Man up!" That's the gauntlet thrown down at the feet of men and boys every day. Of course, it's not always that explicit, but it's undeniable.
It's implicit in the look of disdain shot at a man who doesn't know the score of last night's game or the guy who orders a salad at lunch.
It was explicit in countless ads littering much of the recent political season. Chet Traylor, Rand Paul, Sharon Angle and Sarah Palin, all mockingly challenged their opponents - and others in their party -- to just "man up!" Implicit or explicit, the message is the same - and crystal clear: if you don't man up you're a wimp, not worthy of your sex.
But what exactly does it mean to "man up?" Despite intense social pressure to just do it, the it remains surprisingly illusive. That's because masculinity - although not "in crisis," as recently reported by Newsweek - is in flux.
The fact is, research shows most men don't fit traditional definitions of masculinity. Most men aren't wimps either. The vast majority lie somewhere in a murky middle-ground that is manhood today.