Have All The Real Men Actually Settled On Mars?

Vivek Nagrani – My Two Bits


A young Marlon Brando.


I have been wondering why Sir Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are so fascinated with colonizing Mars. It finally struck me, real men seem to have already commenced the colonization of Mars. The aforementioned pioneers are simply setting up shop so eventually women can move there and the human population can be saved.

Maybe I am out on my own here, but I just do not see any great male role models. Be it sports, music, fashion, or film, I am lost when someone asks me who I see as a great role model. I have had to revert to the fictional character Bruce Wayne to serve as my muse for what I think a man should be.

I get it, times change and that forces change across the board. However, there are basic elements that have defined masculinity since the dawn of time and will continue for our existence – which may not be that long if Trump gets high on a super size value meal and decides to press the big button on his desk. Thank God he does not realize its just a buzzer that is connected to his favorite fast food joint.

Steve McQueen in cru tee, jeans, and sneakers.


What the hell has really happened? When I look back in time, men learned from their father’s who learned from their fathers. But today’s times are different and today’s youth are on their own. My dad sure as hell never used Tinder or eHarmony to meet women. This leaves a vacant space that where the rules have yet to be established. There are no social norms yet, no rules, no benchmarks for what is considered the right way.

In addition, society has just become accustomed to mediocrity. From product to talent, we live in a world where being average is acceptable. Kids win trophies for “participating” rather than actually winning by excelling. Innovation seems to be limited to the Billionaire Boys Club and the rest find solace in just re-making low hanging fruits. Today anyone willing to video themselves doing stupid shit can become a celebrity. Get a YouTube channel and you are a television star.  No one bothers to actually read these days either. What happened to actual talent? Just listen to today’s music. I do not want to sound like a crazy old guy but seriously, WTF is going on?

What really makes me nervous is the future of my eight year old daughter. Not so much for her but more for me. What kind of son in law am I going to be stuck with? So what is it to be a gentleman in today’s time? I sat down and had drinks with a cross section of women to find out what it is that makes a man today. Remember, times have changed and it is important that we are always evolving, but ironically, a lot of the basic traits that defined masculinity in the past seem to be exactly what has been forgotten today.

Circa 1940: American actor Humphrey Bogart (1899 – 1957) sitting on a fence smoking a pipe. (Photo by John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)


New/old rules that every man should follow in today’s uncharted times:

1.  A man should always open the door for a lady, the elderly and the less capable.

2.  A man should actually call when he is seeking the the audience of a woman.

3.  A man should take pride in not just what he wears but how he wears it.

4.  A man should always be gracious and polite to others… until deemed unworthy.

5.  A man should know his limits when it comes to drinking or other recreational drugs.

6.  A man should be physically fit or at least make an attempt to stay in shape.

7.  A man should be well-groomed. Never over-groomed or under-groomed, just groomed.

8.  A man should read at least two books a year (at this point, just reading is sufficient).

9.  A man should know how to cook three basic meals and do his own laundry if need be.

10.  A man should be able to keep a clean and tidy residence.


VKN Badass Guys: Richard Branson

Throughout history there have been exceptional men who’ve inspired us by the way they lead their lives and accomplish success. This is VK Nagrani’s Badass Guys Series.

From a small chain of record stores in the early 70’s to what is now a multi-billion dollar empire, the Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson knows a thing or two about business. But more importantly, Branson knows how to take risks and follow one’s heart. We’ve looked up to Richard Branson for the sheer way he carries himself, and for the simplicity in which he approaches life.

Want to know why we at VK Nagrani think Richard Branson is badass?

1. He Thirsts for Adventure; Goes for World Records

Branson strives to be, or at least attempts, to be the best in everything. He attempted the fastest Atlantic Ocean crossing ever in his Virgin Atlantic Challenger, and upon failing, tried a second time, beating the record by two hours in his Virgin Atlantic Challenger II.

He crossed the Pacific from Japan to Arctic Canada, a 6700-mile span, in a hot air balloon with a record-breaking speed of 245 mph. He also holds the world record for the fastest English Channel crossing ever in an amphibious vehicle, shattering the previous record of six hours with a time of an hour and 40 minutes. If the above world record attempts and Branson’s penchant for hot air balloons isn’t enough to solidify his thirst for adventure, then I don’t know what is.

2. He’s a Humanitarian

Branson has his hands in all kinds of humanitarian efforts, from being the founding sponsor of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) to his involvement with the International NGO Carbon War, it’s clear Branson cares about world issues and enjoys playing a deeper part than a passive role signing gaudy checks.

Branson is also involved with the African Wildlife Foundation, the Global Zero Campaign and helps funds The Elders — a small group of leaders founded by the late Nelson Mandella — which is focused on solving the world’s difficult problems without personal bias or interest getting in the way. He even earned the United Nations Correspondents Association Citizen of the World Award!

3. His World isn’t Ruled By “No” and “Cannot”

Anyone that’s known, worked with or interviewed Richard Branson will all say what a positive person he is. For some of you reading this, a guy worth over four billion dollars may seem like a no-brainer candidate to be happy, but more money is hardly the wellspring to true happiness. Branson gets his zest for life through pretty much every area on this list: his non-stop adventuring, endless curiosity, humanitarian efforts and ability to always live in the moment.

4. He’s Endlessly Curious and Engaged

Being curious is the secret to success. If you’re curious, you will undoubtedly innovate or improve upon things, either at your current workplace or in your own endeavor. Branson’s a self-proclaimed huge non-fiction reader, which is where he gets much of his inspiration for his own life. He also lives in the moment. When we’re engaged in life and not longing for the past or present, we can move forward with a quenchless desire to learn, experience, love, achieve our dreams and be fulfilled. Mr. Branson certainly has it right.

Keep checking the VK Nagrani blog for more editions of our Badass Guys Series.