How Do You Practice “Vibrant Masculinity”?

Decoding the term coined by an unlikely 25-year-old influencer

A photo of influencer Tony P. filming content in his apartment.
The one they call Tony P. wants you to "embrace new avenues of expression."
The Washington Post via Getty Im

Tony P. runs Washington, D.C.

A 25-year-old consultant named Anthony Polcari has become an unlikely influencer over the back half of this year, going viral for his unique “day in the life” content. Tony P. likes to film himself completing mundane tasks that most of us (yuppie bachelors, especially) tend to rue, outsource or neglect.

He’ll whip up a sensible dinner after a long day at the office, or scrub his bathroom before a trip out of town, dispelling little tips — logistical and psychological — that help him get the job done along the way. Tony P.’s also been known to share various wardrobe fits. Say, before going on a date, or meeting his friends to watch a football game.

Believe it or not, the Tony P. “persona” has morphed into a beloved bit online. Polcari now has over 100,000 followers and has amassed his own dedicated fanbase (they call themselves “The P Hive,” or Tony P.’s loyal bees.) In comment sections, these devotees compliment his dad drip, call him a “corporate weapon” and thank him for donating his kidneys to their loved ones.

In response, Polcari has doubled down on his good vibes, sharing more hacks for getting through the week, while also offering closer looks at various events and characters in his life. Over time, the group gag has morphed into something that’s rare and excellent online: a wellspring of positivity from a male influencer.

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The Tony P. Philosophy

In recent months, Polcari has introduced a concept that he calls “vibrant masculinity.” It’s a fascinating summation of his lifestyle approach — and one that all men could learn from, whether you’re 25 or 75.

“Vibrant masculinity means it’s okay to be assertive, to go after your dreams, to want a leadership role,” Polcari says. “But at the same time, to also know when it’s time to sit back, listen and let someone else take the lead as well. It also means we can hang out with friends, joke around, be sarcastic…but [we can still] lift each other up, give them a hug, have those intimate conversations and build those bonds that last a lifetime, as well.”

Tony P. has offered concrete examples of vibrant masculinity, using his own life as a touchpoint. He talks about loving going to the gym and watching football, but also embracing things like cooking, interior design and going to the theater. In a recent profile, he shared some treasured keepsakes from his wallet: next to a childhood T-ball photo were ticket stubs from Neil Diamond shows, which he once attended with his late great-aunt.

“You can do both,” he says in another video. “It’s about embracing new avenues of expression…while feeling comfortable within yourself that you can really dive in.”

How to Channel Vibrant Masculinity

We were reminded, when learning about Polcari’s philosophy, of a recent paragraph in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s fitness newsletter The Pump. Schwarzenegger’s colleague Daniel Ketchell discussed the scourge of upset men currently dominating social media feeds — casting their insecurities as far as the algorithm will allow — and how they’re getting masculinity all wrong.

“Real masculinity is confidence. It’s strength. It’s nurturing. It’s positive. [It] isn’t some puffed-up, showboating thing you must prove every second of every day. The manliest guys will never tell you how masculine they are,” Ketchell wrote.

He continued: “I’m lucky my dad showed me the way so that my version of masculinity can be a mix of lifting 500 pounds, walking miles with a heavy ruck on my back, being the cook for my family, changing a lot of diapers, and having pretend tea parties. I learned from him that doing any of these things and more is the opposite of emasculating — because real men do what needs to be done without asking if it is manly.”

All of this was co-signed by Conan the Barbarian. That’s saying something. In his own way, Polcari is broadcasting a very similar sensibility: don’t let what you learned or heard in the locker room dictate the maturity of your masculinity. That doesn’t mean the locker room is all bad (in fact, the late, great Coach Jimmy Valvano is one of Polcari’s heroes); it means that you can be intentional about the lessons you take with you.

Tony P. favors the positive ones. And he lets those lessons impact everything he does…down to scraping grease off his stovetop. (Which is the sort of household initiative that builds healthier relationships, by the way.) Already, his relentless earnestness has started to impact his online community.

One commenter wrote last week: “This is how change can happen. He avoids triggering buzzwords (patriarchy; toxicity; etc.) and makes it based on individual behavior, not systems of power.” Another wrote: “I’ve always loved your content, Tony, but this one knocked it out of the park. Keep being your vibrant self, you’re inspiring others to do the same.”

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