Nick Offerman: To show emotions ‘is a more manly stance than burying them’

Premiere Of The Orchard's "The Hero"

Actor/woodworker extraordinaire Nick Offerman, who will eternally be known as manly man Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation (RIP), recently spoke with Men’s Fitness about his new non-profit charity Would Works. The conversation led to talk about his Parks and Recreation character and what makes a man a man – and it’s not what you might suspect. The 47-year-old actor, and half of one of the coolest couples in Hollywood, lent his support to the charity, which started in 2009 and “creates and sells wood products that are hand-crafted by individuals who have an immediate financial need and are working towards a goal.”

When asked if he felt woodworking is a “manly” pursuit, Nick responded, “You know, it’s a funny thing. I’m careful about the definition of manly. Making anything with one’s hands is a very healthy pursuit.” He went on to share that his “greatest achievement” in woodworking was “a heart-shaped wooden box that housed the engagement ring with which I proposed to my wife [Megan Mullally]. She said yes, so I assume credit is partially due to that walnut box.” Awww.

Nick, who admitted that his favorite Ron Swanson-ism is “When I eat, it is the food that is scared,” also shared his take on manliness, and it’s certainly not something you’d probably hear from his on-screen counterpart.

I went to theatre school. I took two semesters of ballet. I’m the sissy in my family. I cry with pretty great regularity. It’s not entirely accurate to equate me with manliness. I stand for my principals and I work hard and I have good manners but machismo is a double-sided coin. A lot of people think it requires behavior that can quickly veer into misogyny and things I consider indecent. We’ve been sold this weird John Wayne mentality that fistfights and violence are vital to being a man. I’d rather hug than punch. Crying at something that moves you to joy or sadness is just as manly as chopping down a tree or punching out a bad guy.

[From Men’s Health]

When asked what makes him cry, Nick confessed, “I recently saw Alicia Keys perform live. I’d never seen her before and the sheer golden, heavenly talent issuing from her and her singing instrument had both my wife and me in tears. What a gorgeous gift she has. Her voice is so great.” He adds, that as far as shedding a tear when he’s moved, he has “no shame,” adding, “If you live your life openly with your emotions, that’s a more manly stance than burying them.”

He is pretty awesome, and I envy his and Megan’s relationship. He shared the key to their marital success during a recent interview on TODAY, saying “Well, we’re two humans trying to get along, just like any relationship, so I’d say I get a lot of mileage out of shutting my trap and listening. Compromise always leads to more kissing much quicker than obstinacy does.” What a guy, and what #relationshipgoals.

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28 Responses to “Nick Offerman: To show emotions ‘is a more manly stance than burying them’”

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  1. Handwoven says:

    I bloody love that whenever people bring up Ron Swanson and “manliness”, he talks about stuff like that. Like a conversation that could swing into some toxic masculinity BS, and instead he’s like “No, I can make my own canoe AND cry at Alicia Keys”.

    • Bishg says:

      Ron Swanson is the ultimate feminist!
      Despite his proclaimed “manliness” and his macho-attitude, he is a great supporter of women.

  2. Beth says:

    I love guys who can show emotions, and I don’t think it’s sissy when he does. A guy who loves hugs and is able to cry, is better than someone who’s cold as ice and hard as a rock about showing emotions

    • Whoopsy Daisy says:

      Not necassarily. Different people show emotions in different ways, it doesn’t make them better people.

    • Ceire says:

      I agree with the sentiment, but I also think there are lots of reasons why someone may have a harder time opening up, these things are absorbed so young, and can be hard to let go of.

      I’d much rather put the focus on how someone treats all the people around him – the people he loves, and strangers (especially service staff). That’s much more telling than someone who cries easily.

      Of course, I say that as someone who does not cry easily – especially in public – and I’ve been called heartless, when I think of myself as a bit of a softie. As a result, I don’t always trust tears in other people. I’ve had friends who cry at the drop of a hat, and it took me ages to see how mean they really were.

      Anyway, Nick Offerman is so clearly a Good Egg, that I would let him sob on my shoulder any day!

      • StumpyCorgi says:

        To add to your point about how one treats service people, my friend was working in a gas station and Nick Offerman came in. He was respectful, polite and all around lovely. 💕

  3. Nicole says:

    Yes yes and yes. I did a paper on the effects of toxic masculinity this year and it’s so sad. We are raising men who cannot express feeling or accurately identify them because emotions are “for girls”. It’s so damaging to boys.

  4. smcollins says:

    I love the way he talks, so elequent. And I love even more what he’s saying. On a superficial note, he was on an early episode of Will & Grace once (Karen was all hot & bothered by him) and he didn’t have his beard. Yowza! He is reeeaaaaalllly good-looking without his beard but it suits him, and I think he looks with it too. I hope he finds another show, he’s so much fun to watch.

    • Truthie says:

      +100000 Want more of Nick Offerman’s take on things . How to be manly without @#$&%grabbing or “watch me shower” or “watch me sex myself in your presence.”

  5. third ginger says:

    Super couple. They created two of the most memorable and hilarious characters in TV history.

    • Esmom says:

      They seem really cool. And wow, he is so much more handsome in real life than he is as Ron Swanson. I don’t think I realized the extent to which he seemed to physically transform for the character, too. Such great acting.

  6. Susie says:

    Had anybody heard of the reality tv show he and Amy Poehler are producing? It’s a crafting competition show.

  7. i don't know her says:


  8. littlemissnaughty says:

    It’s like cool water on a blistering burn, thanks for this post.

  9. Betsy says:

    My husband is so stoic that I think I’d actually be startled if he cried, but I cosign everything he said here!

  10. lala says:

    I just finished reading his first book – he is hilarious and I’m a fan! I never realized how hot he was either. wowza

  11. Zan says:

    He is great–and his laugh is awesome.
    I think he made Ron Swanson such a memorable, hilarious character because Offerman brought this depth and principled core to him. Swanson could have been a toxic mess, but Offerman gave him an honorable heart.
    Parks and Rec is my go-to show when I’m sick! No matter how gross or miserable I feel, it lifts my spirits.

  12. Veronica says:

    OMG I LOVE HIM. But like…not in an erotic way. Like a, can he be my pretend dad in another universe way?

  13. Bishg says:

    Is he standing in front of a movie poster featuring Ron 2? 😀

  14. lucy2 says:

    You know how when you’re young, the hot bad boys are all you want? Now that I’m older, all I want is a Ron Swanson/Nick Offerman.

  15. Eva says:

    He’s awesome!!! We desperately need more words like this. Time to stop thinking about toxic masculinity and machismo as “manly”.

  16. Lindy says:

    I’m raising a son (with another baby boy on the way this spring) and I spend a lot of time thinking about how to raise boys to be able to break out of the culture of toxic masculinity. We put so much of a burden on women (think of all the articles out there directed to women on how to avoid being raped, how to negotiate for a raise without seeming too aggressive, how to achieve work life balance etc.). I fully believe that the culture won’t change until men take steps to change the way male privilege works. I love reading about guys like this because it helps me feel like it’s actually possible to raise feminist sons who respect women, who do their part of the emotional labor necessary to make a good relationship, and who understand consent.

  17. Wilma says:

    I love what he’s saying (wish he didn’t use sissy though) and agree with him. My sister-in-law loves woodworking and I love making my own clothes. It’s the same feeling, the creativity and feeling independent.

  18. Penguen says:

    A couple years ago I was at an author reading of Sarah Vowel’s Lafayette book. Part way through, she was like, “I’d rather have my friend come up here and help me answer questions.” And out of nowhere, Nick Offerman appeared and joined Sarah onstage. He was off the cuff hilarious. Loved him in Parks and Rec, but this really cemented my love for him. Not to mention that he and Megan seem to have a great relationship. I’m an admirer.

  19. a reader says:

    I shamelessly LOVE him and Megan SOOOOOOOOO MUCH!!! #GOALS indeed!

    Massive HONKS for them both! <3 <3 <3