The question of how a man can be manly has many answers, but the most important view is that of the woman who is first in his life.
A manly man is one who makes his woman feel totally drawn to him. He makes her feel like the luckiest woman in the world when she is with him. He makes her want her children to look up to him and strive to be like him.
A male does not have to be gruff, hairy chested, or bossy and controlling to be a manly man. This is actually a stereotype of a man that is overused and outdated.
To open a door for a woman is quite manly. To do so for the elderly is equally manly. A man should teach both his sons and daughters to do this. What makes it manly then? It is practicing good manners, politeness, and respect to others. It takes a manly man to do so and to teach all his children likewise.
Gently placing his hand on a cherished one's shoulder as they walk is manly. To touch her boldly, possessively, and roughly in public is definitely not being a manly man of the sort in whose company a woman wants to be. On another note relating to being in public, a man who reaches for a woman's hand and holds it as they walk around the neighborhood, all the while smiling and conversing with her and speaking to the neighbors as well, is a very manly man. He is not afraid to let folks know he loves her and to engage in conversation which includes her, their friends, and strangers with whom they soon could become friends.
A genuine man is not afraid for his feelings to show. There is no more manly display than that of tears on a child's behalf or at the death of a loved one. Manly men do have emotions, and are not fearful to share them with those closest to them. They do not need to show false bravado or act hard, harsh, and uncaring.
Perhaps most importantly, a man's hands can reveal more about his manliness than anything else. A manly man's hands will bring memories of his actions to his wife's mind for scores of years after events occur. She will remember seeing those hands working on carburetors, plumbing, bicycles, mowers. She will see them helping her with tasks that required his physical strength, all the while remembering that he also asked her for help when he needed her smaller, thinner fingers to reach or gently place a part. Most manly of all will be the memory of his large, warm, loving hands as they held each of their newborn babies. Never could one witness a more manly picture of a man.