Truth in Television for many ancient cultures, where fashion was Serious Business for the aristocracy because it demonstrated your place in the wealthy warrior elite. Frills, loops, and other intricacies were expensive to create, and therefore displayed your status as upper-class. Tyrian Purple was a royal color since it was made from several thousand sea snails in an era without scuba gear. Look at any portrait of someone from 17th century Europe and remember that most of those guys in frills were also trained killers.
In the Wodaabe tribe men are the ones who wear makeup and have pretty contests to attract females.
Margaret Mead documented the Tchambuli (Chambri) people as having some similar role reversals.
Several Truth in Television examples from the ultra-manly National Football League. Although YMMV on whether the NFL is "manly", many people in Rugby playing countries do not think so and thats all we are going to say about that.:
Roosevelt "Rosey" Grier, one of the (American football) L.A. Rams' legendary "Fearsome Foursome", was a prototypical Scary Black Man... and needlepoint enthusiast. Specifically, petit-point, one of the fiddly-est daintiest forms of needlepoint.
The late Craig "Ironhead" Heyward did a famous TV commercial based on this trope. He implored men to try Zest's lather-producing but unmasculine loofa, by answering the questions viewers were undoubtedly thinking: "But Ironhead, aren't body washes for ladies?" "But Ironhead, what's with this thingy?"
Joe Namath famously wore fur coats on the sidelines. He also wore women's pantyhose in a feminine pose for a commercial. Behind the scenes, however, Namath was very reluctant to do the commercial in spite of the sizable paycheck. He also denies wearing pantyhose during the commercial, though some football players are said to wear it beneath their pants on cold days for extra insulation.
Ian Johnson. Record-setting runningback at Boise State. Hero of the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, possibly the greatest college football game of all time. Accomplished crocheter.
The Hogettes are a famous group of Washington Redskins fans who wear women's dresses to the games.
One-time teammate (and later NBC broadcaster) Merlin Olsen, who went on to a supporting role on Little House on the Prairie and did commercials for flower delivery service FTD.
Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers is widely regarded as one of the best defensive players of all time. In his spare time he grows flowers. He has also starred in shampoo commercials thanks to his trademark long, curly hair.
Even his "manlier" diversions are at odds with his hard-hitting style on the field: he likes playing the piano and studies theology in his spare time (he converted to Orthodox Christianity on account of the latter).
Another Pittsburgh Steeler, Lynn Swann, helped the team win its first four Super Bowl victories. The secret to his agility on the field was that he studied ballet during his time with the team..
Male athletes sometimes wear pink attire for Breast Cancer Awareness.
On October 4th, 2009, the NFL had a breast cancer awareness, week where many of the athletes and officials wore pink cleats, gloves, sweatbands, etc.
In Australia, for Breast Cancer Awareness month, there's a pair of badges with the very Trope Name on them alongside a pink ribbon.
A cricket test match in Sydney January 2010, which helped support breast cancer awareness. In order to get in, you had to wear pink.
During the first season of World Series Cricket, the West Indies were presented with bright pink kits and raised hell, insisting on a different colour. This was how they ended up with their current maroon kit. Many years later (2012) Sir Viv Richards (one of the coolest, and best, cricketers in history) explained on Test Match Special that this was just because it clashed horribly when they wore it and he had no other objections - "Real men do wear pink" - indeed, he was wearing pink while he had this conversation.
Australian rugby league team the Penrith Panthers have a set of jerseys in bright pink. And the referees, for the last few years, have worn bright pink shirts on field.
Pink bats, pink shoes, and in some cases pink helmets and jerseys are worn by many baseball teams for breast cancer awareness in October, along with ribbons, necklaces and bracelets. They're also worn on Mother's Day. Then they're auctioned off to raise money for the Komen Foundation.
USC quarterback Matt Leinart finished all his required credits in 3 years, but chose to stay in school and play a fourth. He only took Ballroom Dancing during that semester.
The German ice hockey team Berliner Eisbären (current title holder) also wore pink to increase awareness of breast cancer in a match against the Hannover Scorpions (currently second-best). Neither manliness nor skill seemed to have suffered from the colour, as they trounced their opponent 6:1.
Sean Avery, of the Dallas Stars in the equally ultra-manly National Hockey League, took the summer between seasons to work an unpaid internship at VOGUE Magazine.
In spite of its sissy reputation, ballet dancing is physically grueling, causing many manly men to take up ballet or have it in their background.
Lynn Swann took ballet, and even invited Mr. Rogers along to teach kids that Real Men can. It helps that his name is Lynn Swann.
Several NFL teams require (as depicted in at least one or two movies) their players to take ballet lessons, in order to give them the grace and balance required to run 100 yards in heavy padding.
Rugby players, notably the England squad, also take ballet lessons.
Jean-Claude Van Damme had ballet training, which is the origin of his trademark splits. He once claimed that if you can get through a ballet work-out, you can get through anything.
In the German army all uniforms have color coded edgings on the rank insignia that designate unite type. Pink markings identify a soldier as belonging to a tank unit. It has been so ever since the Wehrmacht years. Though, one should remember that these are the guys going into battle in a mountain of armour and air conditioning. And a priority target.
Philippe I, Duke of Orleans, an officer in pre-Revolutionary France, was an out-of-the-closet homosexual who loved ribbons, fashion, jewelry and such things, but it never prevented him from being a talented and brave general... much to his brother Louis XIV's chagrin.
Sir Edmund Hillary is notable for two things: Making the biggest mountain on the planet his bitch, and beekeeping. Traditionally the preserve of willowy ladies in big hats.
Famous grappler Gene LeBell was known for competing in, and frequently winning judo competitions while wearing a pink gi. He didn't set out to do this, however. As LeBell tells it, he washed his judo gi (which was white) the day of a tournament and didn't realize that there was a piece of red clothing bunched in with it, so naturally the gi was pink when it came out. He had no time to try and bleach it or put together another one, so he decided to go ahead and wear it. The extreme reaction Gene got from angry judo fans prompted Gene to make it a tradition.
Skater punks in skirts and punks in skirts in general. Only an idiot argues with a real punk. Combines with exhibitionism since they often wear a flowing skirt with nothing under it that easily flies up during a particularly involved thrasher or punk dance move....
The balaclava, as seen here, is a common military head-warmer while in cold warzones. They're usually made as gifts by civilians and have been around since at least the Crimean War.
Nothing outdoes the Evzones of Greece for girly looks with (historical) bad-assery. Underneath those stupid-looking pompoms on the shoes? 6-INCH NAILS. Specifically designed to be used on the crotchtacular regions.
Retired boxer Pinklon Thomas was briefly Heavyweight Champion and, according to Mike Tyson, gave Tyson his hardest fight prior to Tyson' first loss. And he did it in trunks that were pink or at least had pink borders. (Although obviously it's as much a pun of his name as anything).
When Anthony Bourdain went to Sweden for No Reservations, he interviewed two ski and snowboard champions who took up crochet after being injured. They were so good at it that they even sold customised hats, scarves, etc.
Also, ex-boxing champion Evander Holyfield and ex-UFC champ Chuck Liddell have both competed on Dancing with the Stars.
Mariusz Pudzianowski, five-time World's Strongest Man, came second on the Polish dancing show Taniec z Gwiazdami (Strictly Come Dancing).
Raivis Vidzis who was the WSM who won Dejo ar zvaigzni, the Latvian Strictly Come Dancing.
Warren Sapp, Jason Taylor, Emmitt Smith, and Jerry Rice all appeared on the Dancing with the Stars. All four were either the first runner-up or the champion of his respective season.
Helio Castroneves also won his season of Dancing with the Stars. He's the most recent of only five men to win the Indianapolis 500 in consecutive years.
Rapper DMX fails the manhood litmus test. Apparently he felt it was "ridiculous" and "disrespectful" to be forced to wear pink undergarments while serving time in Maricopa county jail.
Real Men Wear Pink is a common slogan on pink shirts sold during the annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon, Georgia. How seriously it is taken varies with the wearer.
David Lee Roth, a rather feminine-looking chap with a love of feather boas and other flamboyant stagewear who happens to be the on-again-off-again frontman for Van Halen, is a high-level black belt, and probably nailed more women than Wilt Chamberlain.
Swiss mercenaries and the German Landsknechts who imitated them were known as the most effective troops in the western world for hundreds of years. So notable was their reputation that they developed an outrageous fashion style to advertise their identity on the battlefield. They took to wearing puffed-out and frilly doublets bestrewn with brightly colored swatches of fabric, giant floppy berets topped with tall feathers, and candy-striped hose. The rainbow-colored uniforms of the Swiss Guard in Rome are based on this historical outfit.
During the nightmarish Liberian civil war, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia gained a well-earned reputation for brutality, raping and slaughtered over 150,000 people. They also fought wearing women's clothing and brightly colored wigs, believing that this would terrify their enemies and confuse their bullets. Remember, this is the same country that produced the Butt Naked Brigade.
FIRST RoboticsTeam 233 chose pink as their team color. At competitions, the women and men of the team will paint their entire bodies pink and cheer. They also hand out buttons with this trope title.
Al Capone invited press to a cookout he was hosting while wearing a pink apron during a campaign to improve his image by making him seem more personable and relatable. In this case, he was wearing pink to deliberately soften his image (tough guys don't wear pink?).
Many Spitfires used for photo reconnaissance were painted pink as a camouflage measure (it works far better than it sounds like it should—especially at sunrise and sunset, when these missions were often run). Not a good idea to mock fighter pilots.
Rahm Emanuel, the tough-as-nails Memetic Badass Mayor of Chicago and President Obama's former chief of staff, studied ballet as a boy, and was so good at it he earned a dance scholarship. He turned it down to go to study at Sarah Lawrence College instead. Where he graduated with a degree in... ballet.
While on the ice, legendary NHL Hall of Famer Jacques "Jake the Snake" Plante would wear toques that he knitted himself. Coach Toe Blake was not impressed; he felt that his players shouldn't wear anything that set them apart from their teammates. Plante is also the guy who popularized the goaltender's mask.
Many frat boys who try to act macho in most other ways wear pink or lilac polo shirts, apparently to capitalize on this trope. Still others just wear pink and hope the "tough guy" part will simply fall into place, not realizing that the trope is Real Men Wear Pink, not Wearing Pink Makes Real Men.
The "Pink Panzers" of the German Love Parade, a small convoy of pink tanks. An utterly adorable one showed up one year, the 'Goliath' suicide tank last glimpsed in WW2, pink and full of candy instead of deadly anti-tank mines. That's right. An exploding tank full of candy.
In World War II, Lord Mountbatten favored a certain shade of pinkish-grey for ships in his fleet. As German artillery sometimes used pink dye to see where their shells hit, this might have been justified. Not only that but you only have to wait till twilight to blend in, not darkness.
The British Army's SAS (Special Air Service), the nation's high water mark of manliness, rode desert patrols in their "Pink Panther" Land Rovers. Real Men don't just wear Pink, they drive it too!
There is a breast cancer charity that is run through rodeos and sponsored by Wrangler called Tough Enough to Wear Pink.
Pink Day, which is pretty much where everyone's expected to try this out. It started because one kid got picked on all day because he wore pink, went home and killed himself.
Yuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima is a professional K-1 fighter who recently won the K-1 World MAX 2010 Japan Tournament. He's also known for cosplaying during his ring entrances, and some of his cosplays include Haruhi, Ranka Lee, Hatsune Miku, Dokoro-chan, and several Touhou characters.
When Brazilian football team Atlético-MG decided their training kit would be pink, the uproar was tremendous (specially because their rival, Cruzeiro, wears blue, leading to many Pink Girl, Blue Boy jokes). Most supporters of the team replied with the trope name.
Warrior cultures primping and preening:
The Spartans were famous for doing each other's hair as a way of dealing with death. This is the only girly thing they really did, although the rest of their culture was also a bit Camp (well, Macho Camp) to modern eyes.
The Early Medieval Norse were also noted for their strict hygiene, combing their hair and beards daily, washing their faces every morning and bathing fully at least once a week. Many neighbouring peoples such as the Anglo-Saxons considered these habits to be rather effete and unbecoming of a "real" man. And then the Vikings happened.
The Anglo-Saxons were known for their hair care: combs are among their most common grave artifacts (men's graves, since you ask). So the Vikings must have been extra-effete...
The Pictish people of North-East Scotland didn't go in for writing, but left behind lots of standing stones with inscribed symbols. A particularly common symbol is called the "comb and mirror", leading some archaeologists to assume the Picts had women tribal leaders ... except that there is one Pictish stone showing a king and his warriors, all with long, flowing hair, the king's being noticeably more long and flowing than the others.
The Minnesänger Ulrich von Liechtenstein (d. 1275) went on a jousting tour in 1227 dressed as Lady Venus.
The most successful club in the Italian football (soccer) league, Juventus FC, originally played in pink jerseys. The change to the now-traditional black-and-white ones came about by accident, when a shipment of jerseys striped black and pink was ordered from England and the producer through a mix-up made them black and white instead.
Every other season they have been wearing pink as an away or third jersey.
The Sicilian football club US Palermo wears pink jerseys at home and white trimmed with pink for away games. According to one legend, the change of team colours from red and blue to pink and black in 1907 was the result of a laundry accident.
Another football team who wears pink (and proudly displays it as one of their main colors): Sport Boys, from Callao, Peru.
In the 1970s, the German football club Hamburger SV was re-dressed in pink (alternatively sky blue) jerseys in an effort to attract more female spectators. It was a quite successful time for the club, they won the German FA cup in 1976 and the European cup-winners' cup in 1977.
After Max Guazzini bought the French rugby club Stade Français Paris, he changed the club logos to three pink lightning-flashes. Since 2005 the team is dressed in pink and combinations of blue and pink. They became national champions in 2007. He was inspired to do this by Juventus FC, who in their centenary year 1997 wore pink away jerseys.
Recently, English rugby team Exeter Chiefs have also adopted pink away jerseys.
Don Cherry is well known for his vocal opinions on Hockey Night in Canada, but more recently he's become just as known for his increasingly colorful and flamboyant outfits, especially his ties. No one would ever question Cherry's machismo, though.
Pancho Villa's Badass Mustache didn't like alcohol, he actually enjoyed strawberry milkshakes.
Luciano Martiniano de Silva, ruthless Brazilian drug lord is apparently a great fan of... Justin Bieber.
Dustykatt exemplifies the Brony version of this trope.
The Greek roots of the name Philippe are "Philo" (love) and "Hippo" (Equin) the name literally means "he who loves Horses" despite that the name as a whole is a masculine one. Then again, considering equestrianism feminine is very much a western European thing, as well as (in historical terms) very recent.
One of the things recruits are taught in Basic Training is how to sew. The one thing that no one tells you about is aside from lots of pushups the other thing Basic Training is big on is uniform inspections. Soldiers are expected to know how to properly care for and maintain their uniforms as well as how to properly wear them. This means that basic repair work is your responsibility and if for some reason your clothes don't fit you properly it's your job to fix it.
Another decidedly unmanly skill which is taught at boot camp is the fundaments of pedicure. It's a useful skill. Callus, blisters, shoe chafe or broken nails are small things, but they are painful and can make a soldier unable to perform his/her duties. If it becomes septic, it can cause gangrene, requiring amputation, or causing death. Take care of your feet in combat, people.
Those rugged, manly pioneers? Cooks and sewers every one of them, and a lot of knitters, too. How else are you going to eat, mend your own stuff and make new pairs of socks out there in the wild frontier with none of them womenfolk about?
Ancient China has many legends and chronicles of mighty heroes who dressed up and took pride in their appearance. When they would meet their comrades, several verses are often devoted to them complimenting each other on how nice they look.
A lot of men like to knit, probably for the same reason those football players do needlepoint; it's relaxing. Good for a person's blood pressure.
Male beadworkers can also be found. Many of them are Native Americans making regalia for pow-wows.
James Rolfe made prominent usage of his Cinderella DVD in a rant about DVDs and Blu-Ray Discs with overly complex packaging.
Actor Gregory Peck, known during his career to rarely need a stunt double and did many of the fights in his movies, wasn't drafted into the military during WWII because of back injuries. Fox Studios made a statement saying that the injuries were the result of a row boat class, but the actor had gone on the record in later interviews saying that the injuries were actually the result of a dance class, saying that the studios didn't think dance classes were "macho" enough.
Kentaro Miura, creator of the ultra-manly (and disturbing) manga series Berserk, also happens to be a huge fan of the Idolmaster video games.
Former UFC Middleweight champion Rich "Ace" Franklin has for most of his career worn custom-made shorts with one brown and one pink leg.
Montreal Canadians goalie Carey Price had a pink mask and pads made by Reebok to raise Breast Cancer awareness in the 2011/12 season. They will be auctioned off to support the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation later in the season.
In the New Zealand division of Twenty20 cricket, the Northern Districts team wears a pink uniform in support of breast cancer research.
Contemporary illustrations tend to picture Britain's redcoats in bright, shining red. Unfortunately, this was only the case for the officers - the men were issued such crappy dye that their coats usually ended up pink in a couple of months (especially in hot climates). Campaigning armies took it even further - they patched their coats with bits of cloth and even enemy uniforms, so the average redcoat in the Napoleonic Wars was more a pink-with-technicolor-patchescoat.
Hugh Jackman has scored enough Badass points as Wolverine to survive him through the next Ice Age. He's also one of the few surviving song-and-dance men who admits his love of musicals, idolizing the greats like Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, and winning a Tony for playing Camp Gay Peter Allen in "The Boy From Oz."
Some World War II spy planes were painted pink. Justified in that these planes were intended to be flown during sunrise or sunset, where they would blend in better with the pink skies. Also, pink planes been found to blend in better with cloud cover than purely white planes. It should be noted that spy planes like these took some of the most dangerous missions, often flying behind enemy lines to photograph enemy troop movements and installations. Plus, their pink camouflage would only work in situations where flying conditions weren't perfect.
The Chevalier d'Eon was a famous 18th century soldier, spy and crossdresser who spent the second half of his life as a woman. He was also a Master Swordsman, defeating the Chevalier de Saint-George in an exhibition match while wearing a dress.
Non-sentient example; certain birds look beautiful but are quite violent. A rooster, for example, looks pretty, but they have been known to corner children and small dogs.
The swan is often cast in a feminine light, especially in old folk tales. Male swans, however, can and will go full blown Papa Wolf if they feel the cygnets are threatened. They are also entirely capable of wreaking havoc on an unlucky person if provoked; messing with one is a sure-fire way to look like you just lost a gang fight.
Many birds. The males are bright and showy to attract the attention of a female. The females are brown and drab, so that they can sit on the nest without shining a huge sign saying "Poultry dinner with a side of eggs!". The most prominent example of this is almost certainly peafowl; peahens have very drab brown colouration, but peacocks (the males) famously have bright multicoloured plumage Charles Darwin himself thought could not have evolved through "standard" natural selection, leading him (with a few other things) to theorise the existence of sexual selection—i.e. that the ridiculous colours helped the male birds mate (probably because female birds read the bright colours as a sign saying, more or less "look, I look like this, standing out like a sore thumb, and the predators still haven't got me. I have good genes and am a good mate.").
The leading rider in the Giro d'Italia wears a pink jersey. This color was chosen because the sports newspaper that created the race, La Gazzetta dello Sport, was printed on pink paper.note This is the same reason why the Tour de France leader wears a yellow jersey—L'Auto, the newspaper that created it, was printed on yellow paper.
Australian Cricketer Ray Lindwall, a terroriser of batsmen from the 40's to the 50's or later chamber of commerce florist for over forty years.
This video, where four members of a Japan Coast Guard vessel perform AKB48's "Aitakatta" (a ridiculously genki moe song) while dressed as schoolgirls.
Dean O'Banion, one of Al Capone's chief competitors, was also a well-known florist. While he became part-owner of a florist's shop as a money-laundering scheme, he was very fond of flowers and quickly turned out to be a knowledgeable and skilled flower arranger. From 1921 to his death in 1924, O'Banion's flower shop was the place when it came to floral arrangements for mob funerals.
Skipping/jump rope. Young boys often think of it as a girl's activity on the playground, only to grow up to discover it's a very popular workout technique of boxers and soldiers in particular for working on co-ordination and just generally staying in shape.
Before the New Zealand Rugby Union player Aaron Smith became professional, his day job was hairdressing. He still gives haircuts to his teammates and (in one competition) a lucky fan.
British strongman Geoff Capes has twice won the World's Strongest Man, five times won the World Highland Games Championships, and has won an unstated number of world titles for his budgerigars.
Anti-Bullying Day (A.K.A. Wear Pink Day) is an attempt to enforce this in real life. It was started when one kid in school was bullied for wearing pink, and someone else decided to take a stand against bullying by organizing a day through social media where everyone would wear a pink shirt. The trend took off like a rocket ship.