Cosmo Magazine 1902: What Men Like in Other Men

This is an overview of what men like in other men, and how this might change with the advent of AI.

Cosmo Magazine 1902 is a popular magazine that was published in 1902. It has articles on topics such as “traits of a man’s man.”

What men like in men cosmo magazine article 1902.

The following essay first published in a 1902 edition of Cosmopolitan Magazine (which began as a quality family publication before becoming a women’s publication). It poses an intriguing issue, in my opinion: What do guys like or appreciate in other men? There are a lot of articles these days about what men find beautiful in women and what women find appealing in men, but the traits that men respect and like in each other are seldom highlighted. Guys appear to instinctively know what characteristics we like in other men, but we frequently can’t describe them. Such sentiments are attempted to be expressed in this essay.

I’m interested whether you believe the same qualities that the author admired in men over a century ago are now features that current men appreciate in each other. What characteristics would you exclude or include? Let us know in the comments!

Please keep in mind that this article was published in 1902. As a result, the author holds certain views that may offend contemporary sensibilities. Guys, in my view, respect men who are not offended by anything and can simply express their dissatisfaction and back it up with well-reasoned reasons.

“Men’s Likes and Dislikes” August 1902, Rafford Pyke, Cosmopolitan Magazine

If you asked the ordinary male to tell you off the top of his head what attributes he admires in other men, he’d probably be stumped. “Oh, I don’t know!” would be his initial reaction, which is an easy technique for males to avoid thinking about unexpected or (to them) boring things. He’d offer you a list of attributes to which he’d be prepared to swear a little later, after pondering the situation in his mind. His list, on the other hand, would be very similar to “hundred-best-book” lists compiled by those who honestly feel they are expressing their own literary choices while really engaging in a bit of intellectual posturing. The ordinary guy would identify a lot of attributes that he thinks he likes rather than those that he really enjoys, much as these people cite novels that they believe they should like reading rather than those that they actually enjoy reading.

This kind of response is not false in the event of someone who attempts to list the qualities that he admires in other guys. Despite the fact that it is flawed and ultimately false, the guy is completely unaware of it. His unwillingness to understand his own preferences is what causes his replies to be inaccurate. The average guy has an unusually low ability for self-analysis. He seldom considers the root of his beliefs, the decisive element in his judgements, the ultimate source of his goals, or the underlying impulses that drive him. He observed astutely, reasoned rationally, and acted efficiently in all matters pertaining to the outward and material worlds; nevertheless, when it comes to the phenomena of the inner world – the world of his own Ego – he is disoriented and powerless. This is something he never thinks about, and if you question him carefully and don’t let him off the hook with broad generalizations, he will grow puzzled and, eventually, scornful, if not outright furious. He’ll start to think you’re a bit “weird,” and if he knows you well enough to be really honest with you, he’ll label your psychological questions as “rot.”


When you ask a guy what qualities he admires in other men, he is unable to provide you with a good response. …

[I]t will help to clear the air a bit if we first figure out what men detest in guys.

I assume that any guy who is a man would instantly agree that he despises a “Sissy,” but I doubt that most people could offer a detailed explanation of what a Sissy is on the spot…

Sissyism is a fascinating topic, first and foremost because there are so many Sissies in the world, and secondly because only a tiny percentage of them are typically identified as such. As a result, it could be useful to give Sissyism a little room here and to consider it in a scientific light, as it has a clear influence on the topic of this work, at least negatively.

When most people think about Sissies, they have a mental image in their head that is readily characterized. A thin, young body, smooth-faced, a bit vapid in expression, with light hair and pale blue eyes a little apart; a voice that was not necessarily weak, but lacked timbre, resonance, and carrying power. The lips are inadequately closed and the mouth is shaky. The chin narrows somewhat. The shoulders slope down, not with the peculiar slope and droop that often accompany great physical strength, as shown in the famous statue of the Farnese Hercules, but straight down, so that unless they are scientifically padded by the Sissy’s tailor, they barely give you the impression of being shoulders. The Adam’s apple, also known as the pomum Adami, is generally prominent on the neck. Hands and feet are often huge; if not enormous, they are generally poorly compacted and fitted together, giving the impression that they are more or less defective. The physical characteristics of one kind of Sissy are as follows.

In other ways, his characteristics are simply delineated and identified. He is courteous and eager to please. He aspires to always do what is right at the moment. He would never consider trying anything new or embarking on a fresh and unexpected path. He like being around women, and women, in turn, adore him. He is a highly helpful and completely innocent creature, created by Providence to transport wraps and rugs, arrange carriages, offer theater tickets, flowers, bonbons, opera boxes, and four-in-hands, all in accordance with his means and position. He’ll call on a female, or all of the girls he knows, on a daily basis for years, and it’ll never mean anything to him or them, since he’s basically a tame cat… He is really needed in contemporary life, since it is desired for young ladies to have some masculine creature about them to fetch and carry – one who will do it all for the sheer joy of the service, and who will never agitate, unsettle, or make them feel the need to be on their guard. Henry James paints the greatest image of this particular sort of Sissy, if a touch romanticized, in his delightful novella “An International Episode.” Turn the pages and you’ll discover a sublimated portrayal of a Sissy in the figure Willie Woodley, whose name is delicately felicitous and descriptive.


However, philosophical scholars of human existence are uninterested in Sissies of this kind. He’s just a rather effeminate young man who doesn’t matter. Men may laugh at him, but he isn’t significant enough to be genuinely loathed. The genuine Sissy, who has never been labeled as such, is any guy of any age or physical appearance who, for whatever reason, instills in you a vague but overpowering sense of melancholy. He doesn’t have to be physically weak. I’ve never seen a more perfect instance of this sort than a guy over six feet tall, with a muscular body and the torso of a gladiator. “Here is a guy!” you said when you first saw him. Nonetheless, he was a Sissy. Nature had only ridiculed him by bestowing such a presence on him. A Sissy-soul lurked behind his thews and sinews, behind his big chest and enormous head, and every man and woman who came to know him sensed it with an unfailing instinct. I’ve never seen a more powerful depiction of the significance of mind and body in relation to one another. He spoke nothing but nonsense when he talked. When he laughed, it was masked by a giggle. He yelled like a peevish lady when he was enraged. He whimpered when he got harmed. He simpered when he was happy. He was always flat, no matter what he did, said, or thought. This kind of Sissy is disliked by both men and women, and the reason for this, in the end, is that he is strangely lacking in everything. He strives to be like everyone else, yet he never quite fits in. He tries to project a manly demeanor with males, and they either laugh at him or shun him. He’s constantly looking for something he can’t seem to find. He tries to ingratiate himself with ladies, but they despise him. He is scared, chilly, and chicken-hearted. He wants to be thought of as dangerous – a rake, a man of the world, a gaillard, a viveur – so when he gets his nerves up over some little sin, he goes about and cackles about it, all the while quaking inside lest the wrong people hear it. He lacks courage, but he engages in a variety of disgusting small familiarities, such as the furtive clutching of hands, the pressure of arms, the ogling and leering, all of which he believes safe and yet beneficial to a reputation for bravery. He belongs to the street masher class, yet nothing matters to him since his blood is water. Women despise him! They will always forgive a guy who is impetuously overbold in their hearts, even if they never see him again; but a Sissy, with his flabby, lame, mawkish imitation of an ardor he never had, gives them a moral sickness. He will never be able to be whatever he attempts to be. He tries to be funny but comes across as flat; he wants to be deep but comes across as platitudinous; he tries to be bold but comes across as impudent; he tries to be fervent but comes across as obnoxious. As I already said, he symbolizes a certain intellectual and spiritual incompleteness, which causes the average man to feel strongly repulsed in his company.


The characteristics that this sort of Sissy is most deficient in are the characteristics that men most like in guys. Despite the fact that this is a pretty harsh description. Furthermore, we must differentiate between a guy who is just “popular” with others and a man who is really loved, a man to whom other men will turn not only in good times but also in bad, a man for whom they will make sacrifices and of whose friendship they are truly proud. Many men with easy manners, as well as a carefree, irresponsible, and jovial attitude, are popular. He has the knack of gaining new friends wherever he goes, amusing them, and establishing himself as a “nice guy.” All of this, however, is just on the surface. Something more basic must exist deep inside a man in order for him to grab and keep the hearts of other men. These essential characteristics are limited, and with the exception of one, they don’t need much more than a passing remark.

First and foremost, a guy must be “square,” which suggests that he must have a sense of honor. This has a huge impact on men’s relationships. They don’t demand it from women, at least not in the fullest meaning – a man’s sense; nonetheless, it is the basic foundation of male friendship. For it implies that one must be honest not just to one’s friends, but also, in a way, to those who are not friends, and maybe, enemies. Fair play and rigor in the game are manly ideals, and men will trust, like, and admire those who uphold them. Justice is at the heart of it all, the most male of values and the only one in which no woman has ever had a say. Some women have been generous, and others have been courageous, smart, and self-denying, but no woman has ever been completely fair. Justice, even-handed, clear-eyed, triumphant over prejudice and emotion – this is God’s gift to man alone, and only man can appreciate how magnificent and majestic it is.

Reasonability, another attribute that appeals to men when found in other men, is linked to it. It entails a lot of linked attributes, the most important of which is a sense of humor, which shines a bright light on so many problems, putting things in their proper proportions, and demonstrating how insignificant the minor things truly are. Reasonableness is a life lubricant, and its absence is an irritation. No other virtue can fully compensate for the lack of reasonableness, and whomever has it will be pulled to him like a magnet by all men.

Then there’s bravery, which without it, a man isn’t a man; generosity, which is truly an aspect of rationality; and, last, humility, which, although it subtly covers the other attributes, enhances their worth and adds to their appeal. And dignity, which few would mention or consider, is a crucial aspect of the character of the guy whom other men like the most. For dignity should not be confused with its imitators, such as stiffness, pomposity, or even reserve. It’s the touch of self-respect that resides in every excellent character and that, although never overtly forceful, can be felt and recognized even by the most casual soul. No really great guy has ever lacked it, and no human being has ever seen it as anything more than a demand on his affection. Because it implies that somewhere there is a barrier beyond which no one can cross, a barrier that blocks access to a human soul’s refuge. Because men respect this, and there is no lasting like without respect.


The final of all the attributes that men like in men is one of which few people are aware of, even when they are affected by it. Men despise effeminacy, as we’ve seen. Yes, they do. However, there is always a hint of something feminine in the essence of guys who other men admire the most. It’s like a sparkling silver thread woven into some utilitarian fabric, glittering within the web’s plain, robust structure, hardly perceptible yet adding a touch of beauty to the whole. This feminine characteristic in a guy provides the persona finesse. In terms of the mind, it includes intuition, sensitivity to all sensations, and the creative aspect, which illuminates the mind’s dark corners and points the road to tremendous accomplishment. In terms of temperament, it connotes softness and tenderness, which are the ideal complements to power. Other men have devoted not just their likes but their service, loyalty, and even their lives to men who have this final and best gift since the dawn of time.

So, what’s the conclusion? The honor that ennobles; the justice that ensures the right; the reasonableness that mellows and makes plain; the courage that proclaims virility; the generous instinct that disdains all meanness; the modesty that makes no boast; the dignity that earns respect; the fineness and tenderness that know and feel are all characteristics that men admire in men. But, if one thinks about it more seriously, can’t he summarize it in a single line and take it as fact that all men like a gentleman?



The “cosmo magazine pdf” is a magazine that was published by Cosmopolitan in 1902. The article, “What Men Like in Other Men”, is an interesting read.

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