We’re a simple breed, us blokes, aren’t we? Simple humans with simple needs. We like going down to the pub, drinking pints of lager and eating bags of crisps, then watching football and shouting at the TV. We like making things, destroying things, fixing things – not necessarily in that order. We like the fact that we can wee while standing up. We like getting together with other blokes and getting up to all sorts of other blokey things. And above all, we like being in competition with each other, being able to rub any minor victory in the face of all other blokes. Because really, what’s the point in living in you can’t delight in telling someone else that you’re better than them at something.
See the thing is, a true bloke can make a competition out of absolutely anything. Who can drink a pint the fastest, who can lift the heaviest weight, who can score the best goal on FIFA, who gets paid the most, you name it. Well now, thanks to ShortList, blokes in Manchester have one more thing to lord over the rest of the UK.
According to the guys over at ShortList, Manchester is officially the best place in the UK to a bloke (the official title is Best Place To Be A Man, but let’s not split hairs here). Suck it, rest of the country.
Before I delve deeper into this, I’ll give you the full top 12.
But how, I hear you cry, how did they decide which city was the best for blokes to be blokes in? Well, apparently they surveyed their readers and asked them what the most important factors were when choosing where to live, and then ranked the cities according to those factors.
These were the factors the ShortList readers came back with, in order of importance:
- Good access to shops
- Low crime
- Outdoor space near home
- Good restaurants
- Good phone reception
- Good local pubs
- Low house prices
- Low cost of living
- Good sport / exercise facilities
- Dating opportunities (if you were single)
- Cultural diversity
- Good live music / club scene
Seeing as I’ve lived in Manchester since 2008 – and I’m a top bloke, of course – I thought I might as well go through these points myself, to see if I agreed with them.
Good access to shops – I guess this is true, you’re spoilt for choice with shops around Manchester, whether you want to face the fresh hell of Market Street or appease your inner hipster in the Northern Quarter. Plus, there’s Spinningfield and The Trafford Centre as well. However, I’m a bit surprised that this ranked as the number 1 factor for men choosing where to live. It definitely wouldn’t rank at the top of my list.
Low crime – Obviously you get crime in Manchester, just like you get crime anywhere else. I’ve never been victim to it myself since moving here though, so can’t disagree with this.
Outdoor space near home – You know, because blokes love outdoor space, for their football and their sheds and their fires. Technically, every home has “outdoor space” near to it, but I’m guessing this refers to green outdoor space. Manchester does have an impressive selection of parks, so I guess this is another tick.
Good restaurants – We love a good restaurant, us blokes. Somewhere we can gorge ourselves on the flesh of animals – steaks, burgers, pies, bloke fuel. It seems there are about 5 new restaurants opening every week in Manchester, which I for one, am not complaining about.
Good phone reception – This is something people ranked as the 5th most important factor when choosing where to live? Really? It’s 2015, we’ve got self driving cars and virtual reality headsets, we’re basically living in the future, shouldn’t we just have good phone reception as standard wherever we go?
Good local pubs – I’m surprised this didn’t feature higher up the list of priorities, to be honest, because we bloody love a good pub, us blokes. According to the ShortList report, blokes in Manchester can enjoy a pint for £3 on average in Manchester, which I guess is fair. Some places are shockingly expensive (but they’re not the kind of places true blokes go to anyway), but then again you can hit up Oyster Bar for a pint of Dark Mild for less than £1.50. Recession proof boozing at its best.
Low house prices – I don’t make nearly enough money to even consider buying a house, so I couldn’t pass comment on this. My rent is pretty cheap though, in comparison to other places, so fair enough.
Low cost of living – Low cost of living is important for blokes, because we need some cash left over for going to the pub and bulk buying steaks to cook outside on our BBQs, because that’s what blokes do. Luckily, there are plenty of places in Manchester that cater for the budgeting bloke, so another tick here.
Good sport / exercise facilities – Manchester has some not entirely awful football teams, but nobody wants to hear about them. There are loads of places where blokes can partake in some good old fashioned exercise though, because we’ve got to keep fit, us blokes, haven’t we.
Dating opportunities (if you were single) – Again, this is another one I would’ve thought would be higher up the list, because there’s nothing blokes like more after sculling 6 pints of lager than going out on the pull, right? I don’t get how this one would be marked though – number of females, number of people in general, I don’t know. There are a lot of people in Manchester though, so fill your boots.
Cultural diversity – Pretty low down the list, this one. It seems as though ShortList readers didn’t value cultural diversity as much as good phone reception. Manchester is pretty culturally diverse though, you’ve got blokes from all over the world here. International blokes, all coming together as one.
Good live music / club scene – Another one I would’ve placed higher up the list, definitely not bottom. Because blokes love going out and listening to other blokes play music, don’t we? Sinking a few cheap pints, grabbing some other blokes around the shoulders, swaying in unison, bellowing out the lyrics to your favourite bloke anthems.
So, I can’t really argue with the results, although it does raise some questions about the people who were surveyed for this and their bloke priorities. Personally, my list would have been slightly different, but there you go.
I do love it in Manchester, don’t get me wrong, but I also love Liverpool, London, Newcastle, Leeds and a whole host of other places, that are all equally full of big old steaming blokes.
Anyway, enough with all of this, I’m off for a pint.