For some reason, gritty loners, hulking brutes, and all around uber-manly characters tend to gravitate towards at least one decidedly un-manly interest or hobby. Usually, it involves baking, sewing, or the color pink. While oftentimes this hobby is kept under wraps alongside the Embarrassing Middle Name, Mr. Badass quite often shamelessly enjoys it. Even more often, it's just one of those things you never bothered to ask about. Plus, apparently he was never instilled with the Pink Girl, Blue Boy archetype when he was growing up. Or maybe he was, and couldn't be bothered with it anyway. It's a safe assumption that he cares very deeply for his mother.
The basis is that someone who's self-evidently "masculine" doesn't need to demonstrate his masculinity in the stereotypical ways. If the Manly Man sees something as manly then it will become manly as he himself is the definition of manly, kind of like how celebrities tend to change fashion in Real Life. Then some men just like to use this as a practical reason to start fights or enjoy the fact that no one will dare to mock him. (Would you?)
As late as the 1950s, pink was still considered a "boy colour". Pink was seen as a shade of red, which relates to manly concepts like blood and war. Blue was associated with the Virgin Mary and was seen as a more serene colour reserved for girls (in fact, the traditional colour for wedding dresses used to be blue before Queen Victoria popularized the white dress; all that remained of that is the line calling for "something blue" in the rhyme).
In Japanese culture, pink is the traditional colour of masculinity, the opposite of Western Values for pink. The color is often associated with the cherry tree, symbolising a young samurai who had died at their prime.
This trope doesn't work on extremely feminine looking Bishōnen or Gender Benders, as it's about manly men. If a character has enough girlish traits or hobbies that it starts to compromise his manliness, especially if they have an effeminate appearance, then the character may be In Touch with His Feminine Side. If he looks macho but never acts it he's just a Gentle Giant.
Compare Less Embarrassing Term, Princesses Prefer Pink, Emotional Bruiser, Real Men Love Jesus, Agent Peacock, Gay Bravado, Purple Is Powerful (when people think just Graceful Ladies Like Purple), and Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak (this trope's distaff counterpart). Liable to overlap with Papa Wolf if the 'pink' in question is a loving nature.
If someone has these sort of characteristics, but is trying to hide them, then they may have an Unmanly Secret.
- Anime and Manga
- Comic Books
- Live-Action TV
- Professional Wrestling
- Video Games
- Web Comics
- Web Original
- Western Animation
- Real Life
- Toyota Racing did a "Sponsafy Your Car" contest that asked fans to go the Toyota Racing website and design their own paint scheme. In the commercial, a young girl named “Kimmy” designs a pink racecar for NASCAR star Kyle Busch. "Who doesn’t like kittens, bunnies and little baby seals?" Fiction has now become fact. He actually drove the pink car from the commercial in the 2010 NASCAR season.
- In New Zealand in the early 2000s, Tararua Milk ran adverts featuring a 'macho-looking bloke' describing himself engaging in decidedly un-manly activities: "I wear a pink shirt, but not at the rugby... I'll ask for directions, but only if I have to!"
- Oddly enough, "Real Men wear Pink" is a promotional tagline for Joop! cologne.
- There is a classic TV commercial for the "real" Yellow Pages that used the slogan, "Get Connected With the Real Yellow Pages." The ad featured a huge, bearded, brutal-looking, tattoo-encrusted Hell's Angel who is upset because he simply is not getting what he needs hanging out with the guys drinking beer. So he consults the yellow pages. A moment later, we see the biker all smiles and sunshine, surrounded by gray-haired old ladies, happily a part of their quilting circle.
- Played for Laughs in a commercial on the (now defunct) "Kids' WB" in which characters from different cartoons revealed their favorite Pokémon.
- Child of the Storm has Thor quite firmly insist that real men do cry and there is no shame in it, also enjoying snuggling with his girlfriend and son and watching Doctor Who and Lord of the Rings with them.
- Loki, meanwhile, is perfectly comfortable shifting into female form to exploit a loophole in the requirement for men and women to be paired off on official entry at an Asgardian function.
- And Steve, as per canon, is an artist who enjoys sketching.
- In The World in Black and White Ichigo is like this. How manly is he? He is a Vasto Lorde class hollow and it is greatly implied that he is the one doing the household chores and cooking while not gallivanting around Hueco Mundo. Not to mention he's apparently a popular writer of Shoujo Manga...
- Gabriel Blessing's brilliantly done The Hill of Swords is a Fate/stay night and The Familiar of Zero crossover that has FSN's Emiya Shirou gain a reputation for being murderously competent on the battlefield... and enjoying washing dishes, clothes, and cooking. Those who know of his reputation usually have to fight their way past a BSOD moment the first time they encounter him humming along while performing such tasks.
- Ryan Lee from Futari Wa Pretty Cure Dragon is a tough-as-nails martial artist who will go to any lengths to protect his friends. He also attends a girls' school, wears ballet shoes with his school uniform, and has been studying aikido, which is a graceful and dance-like martial art, for years prior to the story. He even wears pink in numerous episodes (not counting the pink skirt he wears with his school uniform), including a couple of episodes where he wears a leotard.
- There is a Pokémon ROM-hack called "Manly Pink Version". Its mascot is Audino.
- In The Cracks That Show Harry's goblin account manager is secretly fond of crocheting, while a goblin elder admits to having enjoyed baking once upon a time.
- Fallout: Equestria - The Chrysalis: Sickle may be a mare, but her pink coat and mane combined with... oh... just about everything else about her just screams this trope.
- Power Rangers: Shuriken Force has Joe, the male Pink Ranger. Though he acts like a bad boy and mouths off when he can get away with it, the only comment he makes is a confident retort to Lila about how much better he looks in the suit than she would, and in later chapters it's shown he actually has a train he painted pink when he was younger because he wanted it to brighten it up. It's also the first gift his adoptive parents bought him, and later becomes his zord
- In The Start of a New Life Sirius knits, having learned it from Harry's paternal grandmother. In the previous story he went up against Voldemort and about thirty Death Eaters and won. (Although it helped that he accidentally turned Voldemort into a cockroach...)
- In Loki's Family Hogun the Grim secretly enjoys gardening.
- In Bolt From The Blue, having his best friend deconstruct gender roles to him let Xanxus indulge in make-up. He's still able to literally roast your sorry ass.
- Surprisingly, this trope is Older Than Feudalism, at least. As punishment for killing somebody, Genius Bruiser Hercules is forced into slavery to Queen Omphale for a year, who forces him to wear women's clothing◊ and help with the weaving, while she wears his lion pelt and waves his club around. He doesn't complain too much, because, honestly, who's going to make fun of Hercules for wearing pink?
- He ain't the only one, either. Achilles spent a good part of his life Disguised in Drag per orders of his overprotective and worried mother, who wanted to keep him from dying in the war. Odysseus unmasked him by disguising himself as a vendor and exhibiting swords and jewelry to the local girls — Achilles was the only one in the crowd who chose the weapons.
- Dionysus is the god of wine. He parties all the time and dresses like a woman (how can you tell if they all wore robes? It was the color). Oh, and if you fail to show him the proper reverence he'll have his minions (drunk, horny women) tear you to shreds and eat you.
- In Norse Mythology, Thor and Loki had to dress up like girls to trick the Jotun giants into thinking Thor was Freia, whom the giant Thrym wanted to marry. This is one of the oldest, best-known and funniest of the Edda poems.
- Played with in Pickles: Nelson wishes he owned a unicorn, and his grandparents question his burgeoning sexuality. It turns he made the wish "because it has a sharp horn and kills things."
- In Zits, rebel punk drummer Pierce harbors a secret love of scrapbooking.
- Exalted's Malfeas; fallen king of the Yozi, font of unending and eternal rage, and lord of the dance. When lesser beings channel Malfeas' powers, they must be used for destructive, ruinous, needlessly brutal, overwhelming, intimidating, terrifying and cruel (and so on) purposes — and for playing music and dancing. His powers do not work for any other purposes. Ligier, his core aspect, is embarrassed about the fact that Malfeas likes dancing, but he still leads festival processions through the black streets of the Demon City.
- Warhammer 40,000 uses this frequently:
- The Dark Eldar wear a lot of purple and take pride from how classy and cultured they are. They also steal slaves and inflict misery and Cold-Blooded Torture on everyone they see (including each other) just for the hell of it, and they're vicious in a fistfight.
- The regular Eldar are nearly as bad, and they're even more cultured and classy than their Slaaneshi kin.
- The Blood Angels Space Marine chapter have a strong appreciation for things like art, poetry, and music, when they are not on the battlefield.
- Subverted by the Emperor's Children. Sadistic, evil, merciless, traitorous junkie rapists, they also wear hot pink armour and have a thing for velvet. Sounds like a villain counterpart to the Blood Angels at first, but the hot pink is actually part of the metaphor for drug withdrawal — they constantly crave drug-like highs from abusing their senses, and garish clashing pink-on-black is one of the few things that still works.
- In The Rose Tattoo, Estelle Hohengarten orders Serafina to make a man's shirt out of a piece of rose-colored silk. When Serafina objects that it's not a man's color, Estelle tells her, "This man is wild like a Gypsy." Serafina is not pleased to hear, years later, that Estelle was The Mistress of her late husband.
- Homestar Runner:
- Strong Bad enjoys bubble baths and baking. And owns a pink shower cap with a cherry-red heart print. In his case, however, it's more proof of how he fails to be as cool as he thinks he is.
- His big brother Strong Mad. 7 feet tall? Check. 100,000 pounds of muscle? Check. Ability to lift A.T.M.s, chomp computers, and bash your face in? Check to the third power squared. Purple singlet??? Check mate. He also has a lot of affection for small fuzzy things (like The Cheat).
- In the Lady Lumps VS Boy Bumps video Metro City, Mike Haggar's clothes are burnt off in a car accident, so he makes a skirt out of the fire like any real man would.
- Happy Tree Friends:
- Flippy dreams about riding unicorns over flower meadows and having tea parties with pink penguins, and the Collect Them All feature on one of the DVDs mentions he knits sweaters. He's also a war veteran who can (and, if his Ax-Crazy Split Personality is in control, will) kill you three times before you hit the floor.
- Cuddles, an impulsive and adventurous rabbit, literally wears pink. Pink bunny slippers, to be exact.
- In the Battle for Dream Island episode, Lofty, after Snowball pops one of his teammates balloons due to being pink, Erasrer claims that pink is manly too which they have a short argument about.
- DSBT InsaniT: K-Seal is pink! He's also an evil, cannibalistic, Fat Bastard.